Only in EVE

We read today that CCP have banned The Mittani for 1 month and removed him from CSM7 for his drunken bullying of another player during Fanfest.


I expect the current flood of rage and venom will continue in the forums and blogs for a while, but this official response draws a line in the sand.

I don’t condone the behaviour, but felt the apology was contrite and appropriate, and the official response was somewhere within the bounds of what could be expected.

There are a couple things which stand out for me though.

The first is the strong sense that the player reaction was more often about personal hate and politics than concerns for other’s wellbeing.  This was the excuse needed to be able to attack the Mittani.  If it wasn’t this, it would have been something else down the track.

The second is the hypocrisy in the reactions.  Every day I see bullying in EVE – be it comments on killboard entries, in forums, on blogs, on News sites, or chat in local.  It is usually targeted at either goading the target into further ill-conceived responses, or eliciting tears or a laugh.  I don’t like it – but it proliferates EVE.  Understanding its context and having the fortitude to ignore it is important if you want to enjoy the game long term.  While the Mittani’s behaviour was wrong – there are many thousands of other players who have publically tormented and ridiculed other players.  Why isn’t there the same level of indignation and forum rage on these?

I can understand the view that the Mittani brought this upon himself with the role he played.  I certainly dislike the character, and was looking forward to the time when karma would strike and he’d be taken down a notch or two.  But this isn’t that moment for me.  Instead I’m left reflecting on how many people can’t differentiate between the boundaries of the game and real life, and allow themselves to be so worked up over it.

I very much liked Jester Trek’s blog post here.

I agree with that sentiment.

I was hoping to be wrong

I had written yesterday’s Blog Banter a while ago, but had not been keen to post it. In effect I was saying the CSM did not represent the average player, while hypocritically not bothering to vote.

The CSM7 election results are in:


Full counts are here:


And the DEV Blog feedback thread can be read here:


I can’t say I was surprised by the results. It makes sense that the people who were voted in tend to be in the harder areas of the game, with require much more effort and passion. I still contend, while these people certainly create game content, they do not represent the large number of casual players.

(And for the 500+ accounts that bothered to log in and vote for Mintrolio – shame on you.)

Do we really need the hassle of Online Spaceship Politicians?

Blog Banter 34: The Rise of the Spaceship Politicians

The polls have just opened closed for the election of candidates to occupy the 14 seats on the 7th Council of Stellar Management. To kick-start a topical CSM-themed banter, CCP Xhagen – fierce champion of freedom of speech and in his words, “the guy that gets yelled at when the CSM dudes do booboos” – has offered this question:

“How would you like to see the CSM grow, both in terms of player interaction and CCP interaction?”

I did not vote for this year’s CSM. I tried. I tried to read the statements of each candidate. I tried to follow the various interviews that were given. I tried the candidate comparison tool. In the end it just took too much time and effort.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea, and I think in certain ways the CSM has been useful. It is worth having, even if I don’t think it has anywhere near the power it thinks it does.

Why was it such a big job to just understand what each candidate stood for? I wanted a concise summary from each of them – but instead I more often found a few inane comments or propaganda images that said nothing, or promises that they could never deliver. If there was a detailed message, it was often spread across 100 blog and forum posts, scattered to all corners of the Internet. It seriously takes much less effort to research and understand the candidates I can vote for in my local Council, State or Federal elections.

So to start with – I would like the CSM to grow by having it easier for players to identify a candidate that they are happy to give their vote to:

. Candidates had to get a certain number of likes before they were included on the ballot paper. I am not sure if it is possible, but it would be nice if people were not able to give their “like” vote to more than one candidate. Maybe that will cut down on some of the numbers.  Otherwise increase the number of likes people need to generate.

. Ask candidates to label themselves against one or two areas of primary interest – such as Empire, Carebear, Null Sec, Faction Warfare, Pirate, Null Sec, Low Sec, Wormhole, Manufacturing, Trade – whatever. Have this on their Campaign thread title, so that voters can save some time by just focusing on the subset covering the areas most important to them.

. Provide a template for use in the first post of each Candidate’s forum campaign thread which prompts a certain number of standard questions, to help in comparing them

. Provide a standard search link for each candidate that lists all their forum posts

. I know this may seem silly, but for each account which votes put them into a raffle. The prize doesn’t have to be big – a PLEX, or a set of the freely given away ships, or something else which helps encourage people to vote.

The second reason I did not vote was because I couldn’t shake the malaise that the process was mostly pointless. Too many of the seats on the council would be controlled by power blocks whose members did not need to read up on all their options, they instead could just mindlessly vote for whoever their Alliance told them too.

There is a quote I’ve always appreciated – based I assume on a better known comment attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

“A democracy is where 51% of people live, and 49% die.”

I hope CCP understand the current mechanism isn’t perfect, and that the CSM does not actually represent the “average” player. For example the CSM 6 chair was combative, derogatory towards CCP and most other players, and literally endorsed behaviour aimed at harming the game experience of as many people as he could.

I hope also however that CCP understand that they have not shown over the years that they fully understand what the average player wants to get out of EVE.

The CSM should be looked at as a somewhat unique opportunity for the developers and a subset of enthusiastic players to get together, bounce ideas and get feedback. It is worthwhile, but not the be all and end all. Over the last year I felt that it was in fact some of the threadnaughts on the forums, discussing new ideas – such as the one on the Player Owned Custom Officers, which provided the CCP developers with a clearer picture of where the general player base was coming from.

So in summary – make it easier to find someone to vote for, understand its limits, and keep the developers posting in the forums.

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

Back to defaults again and again

Crucible 1.5 arrived with a flurry of issues around the new EVE launcher. While I had no issues with the patching process, it did not seem to reliably support running two separate EVE install directories on the one system. Over the first week I had at random points each directory clear its cache and revert to default settings several times. Reconfiguring everything takes an age, so after the 5th occurrence I had to give up and just run EVE out of the one directory. This wasted a great deal of time and caused a fair bit of aggravation.  I still haven’t got each toon’s overview set up perfectly.

(The main reason for running multiple installs was to have a backup of the software (found to have been rather useful over the years), and so that I could set each install to run at different resolutions and quality settings.)

I have also found the client seems to use more memory, and the interface is slower to update. Hopefully with a bit of time – and the fact they are focusing on such things, that will improve again over time.

I re-set up my mission Orca, and set about crisscrossing the galaxy, grinding standings in missions again. Just as I got into this process my Alliance got war dec’d, which meant Empire was out of bounds for a while.

The logical conclusion was to just move to NPC 0.0 – but there is an issue there as well. We had a group of reds move into our main home system a little while ago, which has seen us relocate temporarily. (I say temporary, but the new location is better, so I suspect it will become more permanent.) The reds were actively camping the old system, and the route to the new, so I’ve sought of been caught in limbo.  (Plus with a rather large collection of ships to move, which is not particularly appealing.)

In the end I’ve just not been able to play that much.

Training continues. My main picked up Black Op and Marauder IV. Alt 1 completed Recon V, which made such a nice difference to those ships that I immediately set it for my main. Alt 1 is now working on Caldari and Amarr Frigate and Cruiser V skills – in anticipation of the splitting of the destroyer and battlecruiser skills into racial subtypes. Alt 2 continues with science training, just picking up the last 10 odd skills used in invention.  Not much else has been happening though, and due to RL, I expect that to remain the situation for a while to come.

CCP knows how to find drama

A summation of the Crucible 1.5 features (currently scheduled to be released on the 13th) are available here:

Good to see more DED complexes with new loot. I might have to do some more Exploration after it is released to check them out. The additional information in the Route Tab sounds interesting. I also love the concept of having color coding on market orders – to see if they are along your current route. Useful when you are on your way to Jita, but checking the regional markets for similar prices as you travel. The “Shift Drag” option for placing a Blueprint into the quick bar to get a neat list of ingredients is also very nice. It all seems to be a continuation of the Crucible theme and feel.

Next there was a very big Dev Blog on ship rebalancing:

This one could be interesting. I can see the logic in racial Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills. I can also see the logic in removing the tier system, and replacing it with a role classification. Some of the skill requirement changes might also work ok – such as dropping the requirement for the Covertor to rank IV. I don’t really like the idea of reducing the racial Capital perquisite to Battleship IV – but having more badly fitted and flown Capitals on the kill boards is probably a good thing in the end.

I do hope though the process doesn’t hit some of the more unique hulls – such as my favourite hauler, the Exequror cruiser. I also hope CCP improves on its math’s – when it indicated a racial Battleship would take “a bit longer” to train, I was assuming 5 to 15% longer, not 88% more. (That is more than a “bit” CCP Ytterbium)

But then I had to face the issue that was worrying away at the back of my mind. I have rank V in all racial hulls from Frigates to Battleships, plus in Destroyers and Battlecruisers. This change, on initial view, would see me lose the ability to fly 75% of the Command ships and interdictors I can fly now. Finding myself having to train the next 4 to 5 months just to get back to the same position would be infuriating.

So it was off to the forums – where the feedback thread was 40 pages long and growing rapidly.

What I did find was multiple comments from CCP that if people can fly the ship before any changes, that they will be able to fly them afterwards. Given the training costs for the extra racial hull skills are the same as the old generic skills; that would suggest the possibility of a whole heap of extra SP. Maybe if you don’t have them, queue up Destroyer and Battlecruiser V immediately.

So – assuming I don’t have to spend time training ships I already can fly, the general idea of these changes is good.

Last of all, Jester’s Trek Blog has a couple of interesting posts recently. The most recent is a continuation of his review of the EVE average log on counts, which is well worth a read:

Previous to that was a less than positive review of the Eve – CSM match website.

Funny enough I had already tried that site out (having used it last year also), but while I am full of praise for the idea and effort, the results in practise were next to pointless.

Speaking of pointless – I am quickly heading towards the decision of not bothering to vote for this years CSM. I’ve read the starting post of about a third of the independent’s CSM threads, and come away disillusioned by the lack of platforms or an overview of goals. There were just too many iterations of “Hi, I’ve been playing EVE for x number of years, and am familiar with it – vote for me.”

To my mind a CSM member has no power to implement a game change – they just provide feedback on what CCP wants to do. At best they might be able to proffer up ideas, or warn off CCP from bad ideas. What I want is someone to vote for who I feel thinks similarly about the game as I do. An understanding of Carebears, a focus on the sandpit nature of the game, an appreciative love of the game, and the ability to communicate and be mature enough to interact positively with players, other CSM members, and CCP. Sell yourselves for goodness sake.

A mishmash of nothing

The kids were sick for a week with gastro, so very little was accomplished in game. While they are ok now, my wife and I are still somewhat shell shocked. At one point I counted more than 20 loads of washing done in 4 days.

It took a while to motivate myself, but this afternoon I finally managed to log in and update my various industry activities. My PI has basically ground to a halt, with none of my stocks moving. It is waiting for me to identify what items currently sell at a worthwhile profit. While that wouldn’t be difficult to do, the thought of changing all my planets has sapped any motivation to get started. General trade volumes remain low, with related subdued profits. I have sold some 175M worth of T2 item’s so far that I’ve manufactured, which makes a bit of a dent into the setup costs. I suspect I won’t be manufacturing Crow’s all that often. I can’t make a profit on those at trade hub prices.

The DEV blogs have continued over the last fortnight.

A team has been put together to revisit the new player experience, to try and improve the retention rates. Obviously worthwhile:


They announced that there should be small releases in March and April, with the next major release being called Inferno, coming out just before the northern summer. It was light on details – as is pretty common before Fanfest, but it will apparently focus directly and indirectly on conflict.


There was a blog from the Avatar team. Again this was relatively light on detail, basically saying they are just working on some minor tweaks while going back to the drawing board to try and identify the most effective way for WIS technology to enhance the game.


The new launcher has reached Singularity if you want to have a look at it now:


They are remodeling the Rookie ships – which is a good starting point for the new player experience. All of them look better.


There is an explanation on the standardisation of EVE modules, implants and script names. I understand the need for this, although it will take a little while to adjust to it.


There are 40 candidates for the upcoming CSM elections. I’m not sure I will have the motivation to read all their campaign messages. I guess after I arbitrarily dismiss the Null Sec voting block candidates, it might be more manageable. I was rather horrified to see that Mintrolio was the only Australian candidate. I don’t know why his obviously faked; one trick pony comment style garners so much mirth or support.


Last but not least, we learn no one was at the helm of the anti-bot processes at CCP for a while, but they flicked a switch again recently and identified 1,000+ more accounts using bots. What was particularly nice to read is that once warned for this, a character will be locked to that account from then on.


Even though I haven’t been that active, the skill training is however rolling along.

My main is just short of 94M SP. His Capital skill training is coming along well – covering off all Racial Carrier, Local and Remote Capital Amor, Shield and Energy, and both Tactical Reconfiguration skills to rank IV. He still has 3 Racial Dreads, and various Dread weapons to get from rank III to IV, but I put them temporarily on hold just to cover off a few different things. I’ve recently picked up Transports IV and Infomorph Psychology V, and am currently working on Black Ops IV.

Alt 1 is up to 87M, and after finishing up all the Minmatar medium T2 hull and weapon skills, is currently working on Recon V.

Alt 2 has hit 20M, and is currently working on Frigate Construction V so she can manufacture the Retribution BPC’s she invented. (Can’t remember if I remarked or not, I ran 18 invention jobs for 7 successes.) After that it will be science skills for further invention opportunities.

I won’t have much time for EVE in the next few weeks, but after that I should have some extra free time in my evenings. I had been getting stuck in DDO night after night trying to keep up with a burst of Guild activity based around several friends working towards completionist goals. Miss a couple nights and you basically would never catch up. They have however scaled the schedule back to 3 nights a week.