Videos and SP

Rather quickly after Incarna was released, enterprising players had worked out how to get your own videos to be displayed on the Captain Quarters main screen.  Trigger pony and unicorn screen captures – amongst other things.   In reality, CCP should have foreseen that and had protections and checksums in place.

Their response – which took a little while, was in my mind a common sense one.  They made the process easier and explained how everyone could do it:

That saves face, and just “adds” a little to the game.

I made around 25M last week from empire PI and minimal trade.  For around an hours effort, maybe a bit more, that is reasonable.  I just need to ensure I spend that hour each week.

Training continues in game.  My main is 2 weeks off Logistics V, Alt 1 is 11 days off Minmatar Cruiser V, and Alt 3 is less than a day away from being able to use T2 Medium Artillery, to add to the Autocannon skill he picked up the other day.   They are at 85M, 78M and 8M SP respectively.  Alt 2 has 14M SP, and Alt 4 is a smidge under 2M.

I remember when I first started out in the game it seemed to take an age for your Skill points to amass to something worthwhile.  It was a goal within the game to reach each milestone – and you guessed you might be a capable pilot when you hit 10M, then it was 20M, then 30M, then 50M, then 75M… and now I am thinking, maybe when I hit 100M I might get to the point when I really know what I am doing…

Ratting 01

I have never really made much of an effort to do ratting in 0.0.  During my last stint in Null Sec I would have been lucky to rat an hour or two a month.  I’ve decided that I would make more of the opportunity this time round, if only just to keep the ISK ticking over.

I had meant to spend some time on Saturday getting used to the process, but instead ended up flying a Freighter around empire on one of my alts to help a Corp mate out.  (Moving supplies that he couldn’t, due to the current War Dec.)  I tried again on Sunday, but the effort was short lived.

The only PVE ship I moved down to 0.0 was an Ishtar.  While a practical, high tank, high DPS option, I very quickly remembered that I don’t actually like having to micro manage drones when busy watching my alignment, local and the Intel channels.  You really want your ratting process to be as simple as possible.

So then I spent the next 90 minutes trying to piece together an alternative ship and appropriate fittings, based on what was available on the market.  I ended up with an active shield tanked Cyclone.  I still have to pick up some rigs and ammo before I can take it out and give it a test though.  Those might require a little time and patience to grab due to their location.

I was also reminded quickly that if you loot your wrecks, you very quickly run out of cargo space.  I anchored a Giant Secure Container at a safe to ease that issue.

I plan on trying to optimise the process.  I usually over tank my ships – so this time I am actually looking to maximise damage, and use only the barest tank required.  I just need to balance it out.

Give them… huh?

Another day, another CCP blog…

I’m not sure if this says nothing, or says a lot.  It is acknowledgement that CCP is now concentrating on delivering to the players what they want.  You would think that was simple enough – but there has been a feeling for a while now that CCP was not focusing on the game.   The ship spinning,  EVE fonts, etc would suggest that maybe this return of focus is true.

Why make this blog however?  I guess CCP noticed the recent suggestions that some big news was expected, and this was to say we just have to wait a little longer for details.

Yet another Blog from CCP

CCP is on a roll, and released another Dev Blog

Basically it is a repeat of what was covered at (if I remember correctly) the fanfest, which is that they are looking at a formal way of rewarding players who identify and inform CCP of security issues within the game.  I wonder if this was the contentious blog?  In a practical sense, it is not something which will be used by the vast majority of the players, so I hope CCP don’t spend an inordinate amount of time polishing the concept off.  I have no problem with the idea – although in real life apparently the rewards offered up to help solve crimes are almost never actually paid out.

The New Alliance has had a War Declaration – its first it would seem.  It is from the same Corporation which was at war with our last Alliance when it (unrelated) closed up shop.  It is a bit unfortunate that we probably brought the unwanted attention across with us.  I assume they either thought we ran, and so wanted to grief us for doing so, or (just as likely) they got a spy in the corporation during its recent expansion, and want to make use of it.

I’m sitting in 0.0 at the moment, where I had planned to focus my time for the next few weeks, so the war will again unlikely have any impact on me.  (Unless of course I decided to go looking for them in Empire.)


CCP released another blog –

This time they are updating the main font used in EVE.  I am very happy to see this overdue change.  Maybe I am just getting old, but it can be a struggle to work out system and character names with too many characters (such and I & 1, and O & 0) looking the same.

Keep these sorts of changes coming please CCP.

We can apparently expect some more blogs in the near future, although apparently the CSM – while happy, suggest there might be some controversy.  That’s got me interested.

Meanwhile in game, I parked an Orca at the local trading hub, and spent a lazy 500M ISK on ammunition and spare parts.  I literally started at the top of the market tree, and went down every pathway related to ship fittings, buying up anything I thought might be useful to have in 0.0 for quick fitting changes.  4 full Giant Secure Containers later, I moved everything to my low sec jump system, and got it safely down to 0.0.  I now have some 25 ships and 17,000m3 of supplies moved down there.  Next I have to start losing them…

There is certainly a different feeling with having assets in NPC 0.0 verses Sovereign 0.0.  Basically it is a lot less concerning.  You can’t be locked out of the station (ignoring short term camps), you don’t risk the assets becoming trapped, and the market is far better if you move and want to sell some stuff off.

Give them what they want

I can just imagine an exasperated voice from within CCP saying aloud “Bara gefa þeim það sem þeir vilja”. **

So spinning ships will hopefully hit the test server “soon”.  The screen images and description in the blog suggest it will closely mimic the old functionality, which I had not fully expected.  I am surprisingly pleased with this.

CCP will also be reverting the generated turret model icons back to the original custom drawn icons.  That will make things far more useable in game.

Some bits on Captain quarters I ignored.

Last of all they have a new Cyno effect which should be out on the test server within the week.

In reality it is not so much moving forward, but instead is just regaining lost functionality, but I am still looking forward to the above getting back on the EVE cluster.

(** Assumes the Google English to Icelandic translation worked ok)

Moving yet again…

The Alliance the corporation was in for the last month is closing down.  It appears the leadership was frustrated at the lack of people joining up for PVP ops.  While they needed some help with how to lead and motivate people, their main problem was that the majority of their membership was in clearly stated industrialist corporations.  I would have thought the results of that would have been kind of obvious.

Anyway – the Corporation leadership must be doing a reasonable job with their diplomacy, because we are moving with a minimum of fuss into another Alliance in the area.  Basically our Corporation is a relaxed environment with no CTAs or pressing demands on its players.  It aims to provide its membership with access to as many facets of the game as possible – hence its 0.0 presence.  (Plus all sorts of other projects and operations that you can join if you wish.)  The players in the area are there because they want to be.  They join on the ops because they want to.  It is an approach which isn’t always respected.  I hope the new Alliance don’t have any other expectations, and are a better fit.

There is also a War Dec active, but that personally isn’t likely to be much of a factor.

My main finished off all his current Capital skills to rank III, and just started off on Logistics V.

Alt 1 will be shortly finishing off Drone Sharpshooting V, before working on Launcher Rigging IV.  I am running out of suitable skills to get to rank V for him.  I might get his PI skills up next.  It is also probably time to start him training on other racial ships and guns.

Alt 2 will finish off her Orca skill plan in 12 hours.  She isn’t a brilliant Orca pilot, but workable for hauling and reasonable boosting.  At least she can just hop into the current fit of my main and Alt1 without me needing to swap anything.  When she is done I will swap the training over to Alt 3, who will focus on Mission running and PVP skills for a while.

Incarna 1.1.1

Incarna 1.1.1 has been released.  It was designed to fix issues introduced by Incarna 1.1.  Patch Notes can be found here:

Did anyone else find it strange that the download was much larger than the original patch it set out to fix? I am glad to see the cargohold issue appears to have been resolved.

I am being reminded of some of the drawbacks of being in 0.0.  There is an expectation you need to be in the standing fleet or on comms – even though you might only be logged in to get some admin done, and are either docked the entire time or cloaked at a safe spot.  People also start yelling and getting angry because the red camps are not being broken, or someone foolishly jumped into said camp and no one came to help them.  Meanwhile I am busy with the kids and not even looking at the game client.  You get this underlying sense that if you are not active in 0.0 that it is best not to bother logging in.  That in itself is not a good thing.

Back into Null

I’ve been reading about EVE more than playing it recently, so this weekend I made the point of spending a lot of time flying in space.  (I don’t think my wife was all that impressed.)

I missed yet another weekly cycle of PI and Trade, so my profits this month crashed to around 35 Mil.  I reset everything on Saturday, and I need to try and get back into a pattern with it.

I then organised connections to the Corporation and Alliance Voice Comms.  Interesting how API based security has become the norm.

Next I jumped into a Covert Ops, and made my way down to my Corporations Null Sec home.  This required more than a dozen jumps through low sec and 0.0, the first half of the journey without the benefit of any real Intel.  This actually took a couple sessions across two days – primarily as in each system I made scouting bookmarks on at least the in and out gates, any stations, and one or more safe spots.  I figured I would be using the pipe every so often, so the preparations were worthwhile. I also had to hold up on occasion and wait for camps to move.  (67 bookmarks made and counting.)

The trip itself was relatively uneventful for myself, but an interesting education.  It is NPC Null Sec, so somewhat different to what I am was used to.  The jump from high sec to low sec was camped, but they were warping in and out hoping to catch slow moving haulers and battleships, so the Covert Ops slipped through without an issue.  I watched their games for a while as I worked on my bookmarks.  They were not terrible successful, but since most pilots were at -9.9 security statuses, I assumed they must have got kills somewhere along the line.

The step into 0.0 and the first 4 odd jumps were relatively quiet.  There were multiple paths you could take, and most systems averaged 4 gates, so camping this environment was probably more miss than hit.  Still there were lots of people moving solo and (more often) in small groups, hunting each other.

Close to my new home there were choke points, but with Intel these were easy enough to navigate through. Of course, being NPC 0.0 anyone could dock, and sometimes had multiple choices of where.  I am going to have to get used to sharing the home systems with targets which may or may not be active.

The market in the region was a little better than expected, but it still took more than an hour to collect the supplies to allow me to open a Cyno up.  Meanwhile my Alt loaded up the Carrier and got into a position to jump, and when things were quiet I managed to move down a dozen small PVP ships and important supplies, such as spare implants.  I still have another load of ships and supplies to move down, but that can wait a few days.  Ideally I should end up with 2 clones for my main and alt1 down in the region, but that will also have to wait.

I don’t expect that I will spend a huge amount of time in 0.0, but I do want the option.  I also wouldn’t mind doing some PI and exploration sites, just to see how they compare to high and low sec areas.  All told EVE did what it was meant to this weekend; provide some quality, distracted down time.

I did have one complaint – CCP had a few dodgy issues introduced with the Incarna 1.1 patch – such as undocking to find some or all of your modules offline (very annoying and dangerous), and the one which bugged me all weekend, having your cargohold window disappear every time you docked, and randomly when you jumped into different systems.

Incarna thoughts 11

CCP have finally released the emergency summit minutes.  The blog can be found here:

The minutes were… well… kind of confusing.  Where’s the controversy that saw them withheld for so long?  They provided very little information over what we have already been told, and the tone of them seemed fine.  It will be interesting if the CSM come out and say they are happy or not with the document in its current form.

The information is also somewhat old, but the little bits that stood out for me:

. CCP has a priority goal of ensuring multiple clients work ok with captain quarters – but offset that with saying the game has always been GPU intensive, and that they don’t officially support multiple clients.  (Reading between the lines, I got the impression 2 clients should end up working ok, but above that you just need to have really good computer hardware.)

. They had seen no concrete cases of graphics cards over heating after the change

.  The ship spinning option won’t be the same as before – it will just look similar and function similarly to the old hanger.  This one will be interesting, as it isn’t just the metaphorical spinning people want, but the low resource needs of the old environment.  Even just looking at the door / static environment, the Incarna client uses more resources than the old spinning ship one did.

. They are looking to improve the new gun icons.  (Which frankly should not have been released like that in the first place.)

. CCP thinks its NeX Strategy is right

Is EVE dying?

This is an interesting article giving an overview of what the CSM is trying to do and why:

In short, get CCP upper management to put more resources into the flying in space aspects of the game through a media campaign.  I hope it works – although I suspect the resultant silence, PR spin or lip service will just frustrate people more.

In line with this current push by CSM has been lots of speculation on the health of EVE, and the suggestion it is on some sort of precipice, and could topple to its death unless the issues are fixed now.

I don’t believe that.

You could lose many of the old school players – but the game could probably go on for quite some time just with a steady turnover of new players who find a year or two worth of entertainment in the current environment.  If some of the old guard leave it might even open up opportunities for the younger players. That scenario would just need CCP to market the game appropriately.

I am mindful of this when listening to the younger players in my Corporation – the excitement and interest they have in areas of the game I had long since gotten bored with.  Or the enthusiasm they report at flying a new hull (usually badly fitted as they hadn’t got to those skills yet).

After a while I would imagine CCP management will turn their gaze back to the game, and we will start to get the sort of content we are asking for, and the game will probably pick up and move forward after a period of stagnation.

I could imagine three risks to EVE.  The first is that CCP makes a mess of World of Darkness and / or Dust, and goes bust.  I’d expect the game, which is profitable in its current form and has some nice technologies would be purchased by another development house, so would go on.  The second is that CCP is horrendously successful with World of Darkness and / or Dust, and simply never bothers to give EVE its true focus again.  The third is competition – where a viable replacement hits the market.  That last one is something CCP could respond to with the type of development we want now.

Regardless, while I see EVE Online dying for a lot of individuals, I don’t see the game itself dying any time soon.

Blog Banter 28: “The Future of EVE Online, CCP and the CSM.”

“In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it’s customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP’s recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it’s player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online’s continued health and growth be assured?”

I suspect CCP’s statistics are telling them that they have nothing to worry about.

While the conflict is real – only a minority of players are upset.  Most EVE players do not read the MMO and EVE related news sites, or the forums, or blogs, or tweets.  They just log into the game, explore, and do whatever interests them.  There is enough content to keep these players interested and busy for years.

The CSM itself is voted in by a relatively small minority of the players, and is prone to being manipulated by alliance sized interest groups. There are many reasons not to take them seriously.

So it would just be a storm in a tea cup, as the saying goes, except for the fact that the statistics don’t really tell the full story.

The small percentage of upset and disenfranchised players is certainly providing bad press – but to me the issue is more important than just that.  The players who are raging are those who are passionate about the game.  They write the blogs, troll the forums, post the videos, create the tools and applications, drive the in game content and politics.  They invest silly amounts of effort into the game – and are the core of what makes EVE Online distinctive.

They are stakeholders in the games development and success.  These are in part what the CSM represents.  These are the key players that CCP should be trying to keep in the game.

I am not sure what the CSM can do to be honest.  The powers that be at CCP give the impression that they are smug in their self-assuredness that they know what they are doing, and that they have got things right.  It would be rather easy for them to view the impertinent and self-important theatrics from the CSM as the excuse they need to ignore or scrap the group.

In part the game needs resources put into its development, but possibly more than that, it seems like the CCP senior management needs to be forced to play EVE at least one hour a day.  Maybe then they might stop coming across as so out of touch, and appreciate what the rabble rousing players are trying to say.

A list of participants (that will be updated by the owner as time permits) can be found here:

Incarna thoughts 09

The current CSM Chair (known in game as The Mittani) posted an article on Kugutsumen that suggests the CCP upper management is “hell-bent on running Eve Online into the ground”.  (You can read it here)

He indicates the EVE Flying In Space experience is suffering due to CCP’s development of their World of Darkness and DUST products, and that “we will not stand idly by as an alliance while our subscription money goes to waste, watching the game we pay to play spiraling into entropy due to the folly and neglect of CCP’s management”.

The article was picked up by several gaming websites, which I assume is in part some of the loud statements The Mittani suggested his alliance would be making in the coming weeks on this topic.

I’m not sure as to what end this will have – and when it comes to the Goons, it is never a good idea to make assumptions.  The underlying question of the Incarna riots still seem to be stuck in people’s mind – is CCP really listening to their players?  I wonder if direct attacks on CCP by the Mittani might break CSM rules?  Won’t it be interesting if The Mittani is removed from the CSM because of anti-CCP views he pushes in the media?  Is that what he is aiming for – or maybe we will see a very public resignation because he views the CSM as a waste of time?  Or will this just end up as a lot of hot air…

Regardless – hurry up CCP and give your players some reason to believe and trust in you.

Incarna thoughts 08

So it has been 2 months since the emergency CSM/CCP summit over the NeX store and Incarna release.  There was a joint statement and a video released at the time, with the expectation minutes would be subsequently be made available.

On the weekend CSM Member Trebor posted a message on his blog (which can be found here) giving an update on the status of those minutes.

In short – the CSM wanted the minutes to convey the severity of their concerns and criticisms (it is what the players would have expected of them), while CCP wanted it to convey a more congenial tone.  While it would appear some key people involved did spend time away on vacation which will have slowed things down, the delay on releasing the minutes relates to an impasse between the CSM and CPP.  (Not on the content it would seem, just the tone.)

I just can’t shake the feeling that CCP really did not learn anything from this experience.  They know best, the majority of players are happy, and that this is just a PR exercise to try and placate the minority of players who are upset.  And they might well be right.  We would be able to judge that for ourselves somewhat however – since the Quarterly Economic Newsletter (QEN) includes such things as active account information.  Except CCP haven’t released a QEN all year (and if I read between the lines, we will instead just be getting some less than impressive price index graph and a data dump for people to extract their own information from.)

CCP announced recently their first ever PLEX sale.  (A mild discount if you were to spend $200.)  There was a surprising level of negative feedback on this – the pricing point, the motive behind it, etc.   In the grand scheme of things why would you rage over it?  If the offer isn’t of interest to you, don’t take it up.  I think the feedback however is a small sign of people’s continued discontent towards CCP.

While CCP might be right that only a minority of players are upset with them, these seem to be the ones who are passionate about the game, those who blog on it, read and are involved in EVE forums and news sites, post on Facebook, etc.  I suspect that minority, which CCP is haphazardly trying to placate in a condescending manor, are responsible for driving much of the content which differentiates EVE from the other MMOs.

So CCP – get off your high horse, stop thinking you are smarter than your players, and get some passion and excitement back into the game.  If the CSM were angry at the emergency summit, that is the way the minutes should read.


Finished the stockpile

I passed the Corp trial period and have been accepted as a normal member.

They are going through quite a recruitment drive at the moment.  The process is reasonable enough – a get to know you application form, checks via your API, employment history, killboard history, forum posts and sales and contract history, and a chat with a recruiter.  There is a preference towards older players with families.  With each influx of players however I get nervous when flying around in a Hulk or the Orca, in case one is an awoxer (Definition here ).  So far so good.

I was given some good quality quiet time today (in celebration of Father’s Day), so spent a lot of it in EVE.  I finished off my 0.0 ship collection, and got it all moved into low sec for storage and in readiness to be jumped down into 0.0.

This has been quite a process.  Given game changes, and a strong preference from the Alliance to field cheap ships, I have had to review and redo almost all of my fittings.  This could take more than a day for each specific ship type and purpose.  In the end I now have ready to lose a Curse, 2 Celestis, 2 Ruptures, 2 Hurricanes, an Arbitrator, 2 fleet and 1 solo Manticore, 2 Taranis, 2 Thrashers, 2 Sabres, a Rapier, 2 Covert Ops, a PVE Ishtar, and a collection of implant and ammo supplies.

I won’t move all of them down, but it gives me a pool of ships at hand which are ready to roll.

I’ll need to get a couple clones down to 0.0 for each of my Toons.  I won’t rush that process – but might think about it during the week when the pipes (which the Alliance does not own or control) are quieter.