Happy 14th Birthday EVE

It is that time of year again – where EVE gets one year older and CCP hand out some free stuff via the redeeming system.  (On both Alpha and Omega Accounts – you have about two and a half weeks to grab them before they are removed.)

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/new-eden-turns-14-happy-anniversary/

Not one of their more creative or unique offerings, but the price is right.

What does 210 mean?

My Main EVE toon has passed 210M SP. In the New Eden of skill injectors, I’m not sure what meaning that number has. I certainly don’t pay it the sort of attention I have in the past.

At the moment Elmis is training skills I don’t really need but which were previously only on his Main Alt. He grabbed Shield Command Specialist V, is half way through Mining Director V, and is lined up to do Armored Command Specialist V after that. Since you no longer need to be a in fleet to use command bursts, I might find some interesting T3 or Command ship PVE fits to try.

Looking at my training history I have also picked up Neurotoxin Control V and Neurotoxin Recovery V.

At the moment Elmis has 3 rank III skills, 184 rank IV skills and 222 rank V skills.

I’m not entirely sure what I thought of the PvE presentation from Fanfest.

There are aspects I find interesting, cool even. There do seem to be some large risks associated with a final move to this sort of idea though. They are pushing for PvE to be like PVP – which won’t suit all players. I would assume they would need to balance bounty payouts – as it would likely take longer to kill NPCs. I would also assume coordinated NPC rats will mean some content you can solo now won’t be available to solo players afterwards. They also have to get their logic trees and programming right. I wonder if CCP have contemplated hiring bot writers to help them out.

Show me the Money

I realised the other day that I have spent more on World of Warships in 7 months than I have spent in EVE in over 3 years.

Both games can be played for free. In EVE you are restricted to a relatively small subset of skills, ships and fittings on a free account. In WoWS I think you can basically do everything on a Free account that you can do on a Premium account, the only difference is the premium account earns 50% more XP and Credits.

The grind in WoWS is real, especially if you are silly like me and tend to train all Destroyer, Cruiser and Battleship trees for all Nations all at the same time. Premium makes sense.

A year of premium time in WoWS is around 20% cheaper than a year’s subscription in EVE, but I have never paid that full price. I picked up 7 or 8 months on specials with reasonable discounts, plus more recently another 12 months at 50% off.

I have purchased extra port slots in WoWS – also on reasonable specials. This was required as I train so many ship lines, plus I have a tendency to keep my favourite hulls even after I stop using them. I have however picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I now actually have too many.

I have picked up extra reserve slots for Captains – again on special – and again I have since picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I also have too many.

I have purchased Credits and Doubloons – again always on special. The Credits get used on Ship upgrades – freeing me up from some of the grind. The Doubloons have been used to purchase some permanent camouflage, but mostly they get used for converting earnt XP from Elite and Premium ships into Free XP.

I have purchased flags packages, again always on special, and primarily for those focused on standard and Captain XP boots.

I also purchased some of the Christmas containers.

Mostly however I have purchased Premium ships – yet again, always on special. Some of these are kind of pay to win – the Murmansk, Belfast and Scharnhorst are particularly effective. Most however tend to be harder to play than standard ships. They might have a party trick or two, but they require more skill than average to make the most of them. I have purchased more of these Premium ships than I had any need too as I simply like trying many of them out. I might also have been caught up on occasion by the collect-ability / rarity of some of these hulls that might only turn up once a year.

I wonder how much more money CCP would make selling special edition collectable ships for limited periods of time from its store, instead of just the skins. They would have to be balanced very carefully. Probably won’t be worth the player upheaval, but Wargaming has been able to extract a lot more of my money than CCP has been able to.

Eye Candy

My EVE logins have been pretty light on so far this year. I have commonly gone a week or more between play sessions. Some of the hype around Fanfest though might have rubbed off as I have been logging in regularly over the last fortnight. Nothing to comment on as I am not doing anything worth posting about, but I am at least getting a return on my subscription money.

I’ve been doing lots of hauling in my Exequror. I am quite a fan of how it looks wearing the YC119 Guardian’s Gala Spirit skin

 

Rose-coloured glasses

My wife was sitting opposite me in the living room the other day. She was browsing her Facebook feed on her iPad, her expression half engaged in what she was doing, half relaxed.  She was bathed in glorious soft late afternoon light and my heart skipped a beat to what was in my eyes a quintessential, picture-perfect scene. After a while I quietly got up, grabbed “the good camera” and took a couple quick photos before my wife became aware of what I was doing.

I’m overzealous when it comes to crafting the family photo album. If I take 100 photos over an outing, I’ll keep only 3 or 4 that best trigger our memories of the day. If I capture 20 perfect photos of the same person or scene in one sitting, I’ll keep only one. I tend to be very proud of the collection of photos I retain each year. In amongst those carefully selected slices of our life will be just a handful that grab right at our souls. The perfect representation of a person, a moment in time, a trigger not of a memory, but a flood of them. A photo you cherish for a life time. That was the sort of photo I was confident I had captured.

When I downloaded the photos later that evening I was instead a little disappointed. Technically they were good and captured the scene, but my wife was not the glowing beautiful woman that had taken my breath away just hours earlier. Your eyes were too easily drawn to the wrinkles, and posture, the not quite right hair, the slight hint of a dour edge to her expression. Instead what I had was a photo that would be looked at fondly as the years progressed. The sort of photo my wife would look at in her 50’s and remark that she always complained about her appearance in her 40’s, but now she realised she looked alright, and wished she appreciated it more at the time. The sort of thing she says now in her 40’s about photos taken of her in her 30’s.

Technically I could have swapped to a faster lens and used a much shallower depth of field to soften the photo, but the candid nature of the scene would have been lost to the set up. The expensive camera and lens did what it was designed too – captured a very large, sharply in focus image.

The reality is I see my wife through rose-coloured glasses. It is a consequence of not just loving her – but of being in love with her. It is a selective filter on what you see in your mind’s eye.

Now if you have read this far, you might be wondering what this has to do with EVE. I’ve been aware for a while now that I’ve put down my rose-coloured glasses when it comes to EVE. I love the game – but I am no longer in love with it. I felt this keenly as I watched, read and listened to the details coming out of EVE Fanfest 2017. I really needed some sort of inner predisposition to be happy with whatever I was being shown, because when looked at it objectively, there was very little to look forward to or be enthused about for the Solo player.

I feel like a broken record in this regard – but it is the game style I play and the primary focus of this blog.

The new PVE AI in the new PVE site sounded like it could be interesting – but there will only be one instance of the site in the game at any one time, and it will be defended by hundreds, maybe even thousands of NPCs. Obviously not content suitable for solo use!

I had a glimmer of hope when on one slide about the upcoming structure work CPP mentioned they were looking to support a wider variety of player types than they have been so far. Then I realised it would just be the need to have miners in the new moon goo collection process.

One of the few things relevant to me was CCP Seagull alluding to new content coming to Empire Space in the Winter Expansion. I got the impression it was PVE related, would be big, and that she wanted the players to find some of the details out for themselves in the game when it was released. I assume it relates to the NPC AI changes. If I had rose-coloured glasses I would be excited for the possibilities, but instead I’m left contemplating CCP’s apparent lack of understanding of their Empire players, and wondering if we would be as excited about this new thing as they are.

While it doesn’t really impact game play, CCP is continuing to try and improve the look of the game. There were several art concepts pictures shown for what CCP wouldn’t mind moving the in game space scape towards.

I like the idea of it, but at this point I’m over desperate instead for some worthwhile game play changes.

Off the pedestal

I paid for a year of premium time in World of Warships – then immediately had 8 or 9 losses in my next 10 battles. I played some really good games, but kept finding myself in teams that needed to be carried, and I am not good enough to do that.

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That can get rather frustrating.

EVE has definitely been dropped from the top of the pedestal for both the time and money I put into MMOs. I still play and have an active account, but no longer have that old passion. I tried – I really tried hard to keep it. It has just been too long since much of anything was introduced into the game that I was enthused about.

Who would have guessed that Solo Hermit game play isn’t on CCP’s development radar?

I went right through the CSM11 Summit 2 notes looking for inspiration, but found only a single thing that was particularly interesting. There would be changes to the scanning UI, but nothing fundamental to game play, just tweaks to try correcting earlier mistakes in the design.  Mostly this effort however was deflating – with CCP saying things I didn’t like, agreed with and supported by the Null Sec heavy CSM.

I didn’t run a single Guardian’s Gala event site – it was just far too much of the same. Instead I went to Jita towards the end of the event and purchased the handful of skins I liked the look of.

I am however logging in regularly and am working through a To Do List for my newest Alt, but what I am up to doesn’t really seem blog worthy!

After finishing the New Player Experience and running all the Career agent missions, I decided to make a move to a High Sec area with access to lots of Low Security space. It was some 20 jumps away from where I started.

It took me some 150 odd jumps to move 6 fully fitted ships into my new home system, via the Amarr trade hub to tweak fittings. Several times I had to stop and wait for excess gear to sell on the market before I had the money to finish off some of the ships. Not a T2 module in sight, and often a lower Meta level item picked because I couldn’t afford the more expensive ones. It was kind of enjoyable.

One play session might involve making a flight one way between my old and new home. Another session might have been spent in Pfya trying to find a suitable fit with low skill points and little ISK.

When Burn Jita came along I simply did not log in for a week. The alt couldn’t afford to lose one of these ships to a griefing gank.

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I’ve ended up with 6 rigged and fitted hulls, a small collection of spares, and around 500,000 odd in ISK (total worth somewhere between 5 and 10 M ISK), ready to start trying to accumulate some wealth.

I have two haulers (one slower with more capacity but less tank, the other faster with less capacity but more tank), a mining frigate, a scanning frigate, and a combat frigate and destroyer for PVE.

As I said – I am finding this process kind of amusing and enjoyable.

BB80 – Who is listening to who?

BB80 – CCP Seagull encourages everyone to get involved in CSM12. Blogger Neville Smit noted that CSM11 had done a good job with minimum drama, but with only 10 seats available in CSM12 the Null Sec power-blocs will likely take them all. Is he right and will it be a good or bad thing?

I liked the concept of the CSM. I thought it could engage the player base, channel good ideas into CCP, and filter out some of their bad ideas. I remained optimistic for a long time, but that is no longer the case. I think I was pretty naive.

To me the mechanism never seemed to live up to its potential. The CSM members often lacked the personality or skills to be effective advocates.  EVE Players attacked their own representatives and gamed and damaged the systems that had been put in place. CCP already seemed set in the direction they wanted to take the game, and only really gave lip service to the CSM.

I assume this lack of impact or influence helped fuel the apparent adversarial relationship between the CSM and CCP.

Even given my perception, I still got value out of the CSM. I liked the flow of information it prompted, both on updates in the pipeline and the general discussion on feature ideas and impacts. In particular, I have read all CSM Summit meeting notes from cover to cover. I could still generally find something to be excited about, and thank the CSM process for the heads up.

In the CSM11 Summit notes I was struck by how much more cordial the relationship seemed between the CSM and CCP. Some years you could feel the palpable friction, but not with CSM11. It seemed so much more productive.

Why? The largest part of CSM11 were Null Sec representatives. Have they been able to marshal the considerable resources of their Alliances to be more organised, professional and influential? Did Null Sec put forward the best of themselves? Did they do a better job of persuading CCP towards their ideas? It seems logical from previous year results that most of the top 10 winners in CSM12 will be from Null Sec. I think Neville will be right in that regard. Does it matter? Might it even be favorable?

Reading the last Summit notes I think the answer became more apparent. There were disagreements and hard questions from the CSM to CCP, must mostly I got the impression they were on the same wavelength.

Was this because CCP suddenly became more flexible in the direction they were taking the game? Did CSM11 feel happier because they were more influential? Or – was it that CSM11 agreed more with what CCP was already doing? I have felt for some years that CCP is focused on a type of conflict in game which makes it easier for the stronger to crush the weaker. The sort of changes the powerful Null Sec groups are more likely to be happier with.

I don’t think it really matters what happens with CSM12. CCP will do what they already planned to do, and the only difference will be the facade cast over the CSM12 term. It will appear productive if they agree with CCP, unproductive if they don’t.

Other Blog Banter posts on this topic can be found here.