Tantrums and Trust

I tried to write a blog post a while ago about the animosity between some quarters of the EVE player base and CCP. What might have been the cause of it, and could CCP do anything to fix it? The post got so complex that I ended up abandoning it.

There were two aspects of my original draft that I came across today which I thought I’d throw out into the blog anyway.

The first relates to what we might classify as the irrational or rude hostility from some players – where if CCP sat down and looked closely at the issue there would be no real justification for the reaction. Interestingly I thought their best approach was probably to take on some parenting advice.

As I have mentioned, my six year old daughter has some challenging behavioural issues. CCP may need to approach such conflict as we do our daughters tantrums. Don’t pander to it, don’t reward it, don’t fuel it with attention; just stay calm, fair and consistent. It is not a fix, but it can help diminish the impact of the conflict.

The second related to trust.

My father did not have an ideal upbringing. His parents divorced when he was young, his Dad a womanising chain smoking drunk, his Mum self-centered and manipulative.

Dad took the lessons of his youth to heart, never smoked, rarely drank, never raised a hand against Mum, and always ensured we had a stable home with a roof over our heads and food on the table. He has been married to my mother for around 45 years now, and there is much I can commend him for.

However he also carries not so praiseworthy baggage. He has been conditioned to selfishness, which he is somewhat blind too; and also not to trust people. This includes my Mum – who is quite literally the most trustworthy person I’ve ever met.

I’ve also taken the lessons of my youth to heart. I try to mimic the good and avoid the bad examples my father set. Next year will be the 20th wedding anniversary for my wife and I, and our 25th year of being a couple.

Up until a few years ago, to the chagrin of my father, I trusted my wife implicitly. My natural inclination is to be circumspect, but I worked to keep that out of my marriage. When my wife turned 40 however she had what might be described as a mid-life crisis. She became more self-centered, and through a series of incidents I learnt that she was more inclined to hide the truth if inconvenient that I realised.

So trust is something I’ve had a focus on for most of my life.

From the T20 / Band of Brothers scandal, to their apology over Incarna and the Greed is Good memo, there have been a number of high profile situations over time where CCP have damaged the trust the players had in them.

It has been a couple of years and my wife is in a different head space now and has moved on. Just quietly however between you and me, I’ve never worked out how to fully get back to that 100% implicit trust. It might be 100% some days, 95% others, but my trust in her hasn’t’ been completely repaired.

I don’t really know how CCP can fix issues of trust between them and players. They have apologised, put steps in place to reduce the chance of it happening again, and for some areas shown their good intentions by avoiding repeating the same mistakes. Is it basically up to the players to make peace over trust issues, and if so, how?

Anyway – I found the thought process interesting.

BB67 – I am CCP Hermit

BB 62 – There has been a catastrophic accident in the CCP Offices and you have found your player account has been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer! You are now CCP Hermit and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So what are you going to have your team work on?

For obvious reasons if you follow this blog, I am going to focus on the niche of solo or small group exploration and nomadic movement.

I would like to dramatically increase the available exploration content, starting with the ideas in this list which are relatively easy and quick to implement before moving onto the harder options. They should fall into the category of sites or cosmic anomalies as appropriate.

The idea is to increase variety and mix up the ship hull and fitting options people might use or carry around during exploration. It is not to homogenise space or making Hi-Sec so interesting that you don’t want to move. The rewards from these sites and the frequency they can be found should be balanced and scaled.

Now the site ideas:

. Upsized Rats – on occasion find a solo NPC Battleship with a bounty of 500K in High-Sec, 1000K in Low-Sec, or 1500K in Null Sec. Mix it up with occasional doubles or triples (more commonly out of Hi-Sec), and small support wings.

. Out of place Rats – on occasion find a small group of NPC ships out of their usual Regions, such as Guristas in Sansha space, or Serpentis in Blood Raider. You might just use their version of the standard cosmic anomaly.

. Entirely out of place Rats – on occasion find a small group of Sleepers or Incursion rats.  The later would just give a small number of LP as reward.  (I wouldn’t mind seeing solo options added to Incursions – for simplicity maybe just having clearing Incursion rats from belts giving you minor LP rewards when the incursion is finished.  The rewards would only be a small fraction of running the proper sites – this is more just for variety.)

. Out of place resources – on occasion find 1-3 Asteroids in a mini-field in an area where you would not normally find them – so a single Mercoxit or a couple small Arkonor asteroids in High Sec. Consider mini Gas sites.  These sites should be small and not worth a great deal – it is more for variety.

. NPC Convoy Ambushes – you warp in on an NPC hauler with a number of guards. Consider these to be like Hauler spawns but they carry a much wider range of goods. The difference here is that these Convoys will warp away. You need to quickly lock a ship and warp disrupt it, then force the guards off before you find what loot it might be carrying.  This mechanism (having to scramble rats) could be implemented in multiple areas.

. Burner NPC sites – in effect small exploration sites that mimic Burner Missions with very difficult rats.

. Hidden NPC structures doing moon harvesting or reactions which you can place siphon units on to steal small volumes of goods. You possibly need to remove defenders or defensive weaponry. Have them only last a day or two before they are pulled down by the NPCs.

. Hidden NPC structures that you need to use Entosis links on. I’m not sure on the specifics of these – maybe listening or scanning arrays that you need to put through a number of defended reinforcement stages and get a bounty from Concord if you destroy them.

. Have a rare COSMOS type site which drops COSMOS type ingredients

. Have a rare COSMOS agent. They offer up 3 or 4 quests to any pilot who asks. However only the first to hand in a quest gets the reward and that quest is dropped as an option from the agent. The Agent disappears once all their missions are done or completed. These could be tied into the current COSMOS sites or be new / different ingredients.

I expect there would be many more viable options.  It think the feeling of exploration would be increased if you had a lot more different sites to come across.

Next are movement ideas:

. Smuggler Gates – an old topic for me. These are temporary NPC gates you have to scan down. These should last longer than normal locations – a week give or take a day. Generally Hi-Sec Smuggler Gates will go to neighbouring Low Sec areas, and Low Sec to Null Sec. They will reliably only connect to bordering zones or regions – so if you search Derelik Low Sec you might find Smuggler gates into Great Wildlands, Curse or Providence. This is one way of bypassing normal Gate bottlenecks. Either you need to pay the pirates operating these gates to pass, or destroy the guards and sentries to pass, or use Hacking or Entosis modules. In addition – these Gates can also be destroyed via DPS. Find a Smuggler Gate into your Null Sec constellation? Drop a small fleet on it and blow it up.

. Introduce a new class of ships somewhere between a Nestor and Orca. These would be Mobile Exploration bases you take with you on long roams. I’m thinking a Ship Maintenance bay of around 150,000m3, a Fleet Hanger of 10,000m3, an Ore hold, no offensive modules aside a couple flights of drones, and remote repair bonuses. Maybe even a bonus to movement under cloak. An Explorer would move around with a small selection of ships they can swap in and out of to run different sites.

. Allow jump clones to be moved in ships and stored in the same locations. Either move them in a new class of ships, or simply have a container they can be stored in and carried as cargo. Allow a much shorter jump clone timer if you swap within the same station. Maybe give the Mobile exploration base above a clone hold and reduction bonuses to the time you have to wait between clone changes.

I expect that should keep my development team busy for a while.

Other posts can be found here.

Judging Epicness

As mentioned, I am having a look at the EVE Epic Mission Arcs.  I am looking to do the Arcs I haven’t tried before, plus verify if they give Faction standing increases without the full negative hit on apposing Factions like normal storyline missions and Cosmos sites do.  You can find an overview here:

https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Epic_mission_arcs

There are 7 available, one each for Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, Minmatar, Sisters of EVE, Guristas and Angel. I am just focusing on the Empire Factions at the moment.

The Empire Epic Arcs are classified as Level 4, and require a standing of +5.00 (inclusive of skills) with the Agents you use to start them. Looking that up showed I did not have Corporation standings of note with any of them, so I had to rely on Faction standings. That meant only Amarr and Caldari Epic Arcs are available to me.

Here is a list of the Arc’s name, faction, initial agent corporation, and my derived standings:

Right to Rule – Amarr – Ministry of Internal Order (6.29, from Amarr)
Penumbra – Caldari – Expert Distribution (5.3, from Caldari)
Syndication – Gallente – Impetus (3.57, from Gallente)
Widlfire – Minmatar – Brutor Tribe (2.85, from Minmatar Republic)

I am not going to try and increase my Gallente or Minmatar Faction Standings via Tags or COSMOS missions as the Amarr and Caldari standings are as low as I want them to get. Instead I will run missions for the Agent’s Corporations to get access to the Arcs.

To start I just went with the old reliable Amarr. I’m about a third of the way through “Right to Rule”, getting an overview of the missions from here:

https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Right_to_Rule

The Nestor is holding up fine. As mentioned already, it is quick to align and warp, which makes such a difference as you move around. I will occasional move 20km or so away from a warp in point, but mostly I just deploy sentries and sit unmoving, taking the full force of incoming DPS. While I generally pay attention to wave triggers, I’ve had a couple missions where I’ve tanked 6+ Battleships and more than a dozen Elite Frigate, Elite Cruisers and Battlecruisers all firing away together. So far I don’t think I’ve got below 85% Armor. Having said that, I am sort of uneasy about where the tipping point would be for the hull.

I’ve stayed with fitting the Remote Armor repair – it has proven useful to be able to rep Drones to save me having to recall them constantly. It is not perfect – by the time you lock a drone taking damage it can sometimes already be in hull, but I haven’t lost one so far. I swapped out the web, which was having no real impact on DPS on Frigates / Cruisers, for a Cap Booster. I did this initially for a number of the missions with Neuting, although I did not specifically require it in the end. Where it has worked out is that the hull is not cap stable when running both the local repairer and the remote repairer at the same time. I do pulse the later, but when a drone ends up with half a dozen Elite rats hammering on it, being able to boost cap works out well. While the Navy Cap charges end up costing more than the Drone, it is less painful than the loss of DPS / replacing the drones.

There has been one mission so far where I needed to use a Data Analyzer – which the hull has bonuses for, so that was nice not having to consider changing to a different ship.

There are obviously other people running the same chains at the same time. There is a wide range of hulls being used, but the most common would be Rattlesnakes and Gilas, with a spattering of other Navy Faction Battleships (including a Bhaalgorn) and some Marauders.

The missions themselves are mostly standard fare and generally forgettable. It pays to read the background story as you go to give them more impact.

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I tractor in wrecks holding loot if they are in range. It was particularly useful in picking up Amarr tags during one mission, where the rats unusually could be killed with no faction standing impact

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There is a damaged station in Nishah with apparently broken graphics. (Unless the transparent cylinder is meant to represent some huge glass like object.)

 

o7 Ep 9

The latest episode of o7 is available on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkG3Thu2Gio

I’m still not sure if the lack of polish is endearing or not.

This was where CCP Seagull first announced that while CCP would continue with their 5 week release schedule, they would also be going back to doing large expansions.  It will be a mix of the old and new.  The reasoning was that players had a harder time seeing the big picture of where CCP was going with EVE with these small steps, and some larger blocks of work were better released in one big collection.  I have previously indicated I found the pace of change a little too hard to keep up with, so I am cautiously optimistic with this approach.  It does however come with risk.  I think we will have to wait and see.  The first expansion will be around the Citadel structures, and if I heard right, the Capital rebalance.

They referenced the suggestion that there might have been collusion in the Alliance Tournament between first and second place, which they were investigating.  I had read about it on several blogs.  It left me wondering – if proven, why EVE players do stuff like that.  I guess they won – but might end up losing bigger.

They discussed how Capsuleers would be deciding the next ruler of Amarr through a 4 v 4 player tournament fighting for the various Amarr houses.  I thought that was seriously cool.  Players having such a direct impact on the lore of the game and story telling moving forward.

It was also mentioned that CCP were going to try to release a monthly economic statistic report, the first coming out after EVE Vegas.   I am looking forward to that – although I hope they do it on schedule and keep doing it.  CCP ‘s track record on such things is a bit more miss than hit.

Worth a watch.

 

Lots of Info

There is a lot of information coming out about the game at the moment, multiple bits and bobs that I would have preferred to discuss in a timely manner, but I am not sure I’m going to be able to.

It has been great to see the CSM Summit minutes coming out in quick order.  These are so much more useful now.  The first 3 days worth are available here:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/csm-x-summit-i-day-one-meeting-minutes/
https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/csm-x-summit-i-day-two-meeting-minutes/
https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/csm-x-summit-i-day-three-meeting-minutes/

Adding context to these and giving a nice picture on what the process is, I’ve been following the blogs of various CSMX members, particularly:

https://www.fuzzwork.co.uk/posts/
http://www.lowseclifestyle.com/

There is a Dev blog about a change in how big releases are done.  The 5 week releases will continue, but they will also do a couple of expansions.

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/looking-behind-and-looking-ahead-an-update-from-executive-producer-ccp-seagull/

I think this is – overall, a good thing.  I might discuss this more.

There was also a structure Dev blog

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/citadels-sieges-and-you-v2/

I need to re-read that one a couple of times.  I think it is a good idea to bring back a form of HP grind.  It just needs to be carefully balanced.  It references Capitals as retaining a role in Structure take downs.  That should please people.

 

Flimsy but an excuse

Anyone paying attention will have noticed I’ve wanted to get myself a Nestor, but couldn’t come up with any sort of half plausible reason to do so.

Don’t judge me, but I’ve decided to use the Nestor to run the Faction Epic Arcs.

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 Being fitted out in Jita 4-4

 

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First flight

 

I’ve come up with a first draft PVE fit. I expect it will need to change after using it in practice. I’m not sure what to do with the second utility high slot for example. I thought maybe being able to repair my own drones would be useful, but locking time and delay until end of cycle for armor repair makes that problematic.

Here’s the initial fit I am trying.

[Nestor, Draft]
Damage Control II
Corelum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Corelum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Centus X-Type Large Armor Repairer
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Gist X-Type 100MN Afterburner
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Dual Heavy Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Dual Heavy Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Dual Heavy Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Dual Heavy Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Dual Heavy Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Small Tractor Beam II
Large Remote Armor Repairer II

Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Large Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Curator II x5

It is a little more bling fit than usual for me – maybe around 60-70% of the Hull cost.

It is very quickly to align and warp, which makes it nice for a battleship to fly around. It has the 5,000m3 Fleet hanger , which makes it ideal for carrying different fitting options and doing chain quests where you have to keep moving (EDIT.. no it doesn’t – it has a 5K Ship Maintenance Bay.  No idea what use that is.) On paper it has 101K EHP, reps 746 DPS, and does with Curator’s 729 dps. That is closer than I expected to get to my Rattlesnake PVE fit, which has 133K EHP, reps 753 DPS and does 897 DPS with Curator’s.

I’ll have to fly it a lot more before I can know if I am on the right path with my initial fit.  While I like it so far, it does feel more of a gank target than I would normally fly.

Nine

My main EVE character turns 9 today. The anniversary has been on my mind of late, and that has been reflected in a number of my recent posts. Just how have I managed to play this one computer game about spaceships for 9 years straight? It seems quite a feat, in a geeky sort of way.

I think the game looks great. I like collecting “stuff”. I like setting goals, planning, adapting, working things out, and testing different ideas and approaches. I have however done most of what a solo risk-averse carebear can do in game, and admit I can go periods of time where I am basically waiting for CCP to give me something new to try, or a new ship to fly, or a rule change to adjust too. So it is not really the mechanics of the game which have kept me here for so long.

Almost everyone I’ve befriended in game over the years has now departed. The channels I’ve used to keep in touch are now empty and silent. Real life limits my ability to contribute to a corporation, so I fly solo. If I ignore this blog, it is not really the social draw card which keeps me here.

I do love the sandpit aspect of the game. I like that despite all the opinions and advice, I can work out ways to play the game as I want to. But amusing myself in my anti-establishment ways still doesn’t account for the longevity.

One of the underlying reasons I am still here is that I love the complexity in even simple tasks. I mentioned I recently sold off 3B ISK worth of stuff in game. That involved identifying gear you don’t really need to be stockpiling. Working out what market you take it to. What do you haul it in, how many trips do you make; how much value do you move in each trip? When do you sell to buy orders, when do you place a sell order and what price do you set? I appreciate the immersive distraction it provides from real life.

It was however something DireNecessity said in a recent comment which really hit the nail on the head in explaining why I have continued to play for so long. EVE is not a natural fit to my personality – it takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me. I like the fact the game makes me question my instinctive reactions, and dares me to improve on them. It exposes me to a wide range of personalities, from the obnoxious to the most decent. It gives practice in dealing with conflict. It obliges me to be more resilient.

This hasn’t changed me into some sort of bloodthirsty PVP seeker, but I like undocking and testing my mettle against the environment and other players. I like how it could go pear-shaped at any moment. I like avoiding the loss EVE always threatens. I guess I like the challenge of making my game of EVE as relatively boring as possible.

And on that bombshell… here’s to reaching 10 years.