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.

Collecting

Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) Middle Earth Role Playing game (MERP) was the very first commercial desktop RPG I played. It was licensed through Tolkien Enterprises and was based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I absolutely loved the campaign and adventure modules, and found most to be of high quality.

That was back more than 30 years ago – in my early years of High School. I hadn’t yet started earning money and my Dad hated the idea of the game, so unfortunately I was never able to buy many of the books.

We moved on to ICE’s Rolemaster and Terry Amthor’s Shadow World / Loremaster environment – another setting I loved. I was able to purchase most of these books over time, but the MERP gear was rarely available.

By the time I had gone through Uni, started my career and set up house with my now wife, ICE was headed into bankruptcy, had lost its Tolkien license and there were no more new books released.

I did buy all the Forgotten Realm Setting books for D&D 3.0 and 3.5 versions when they came out. I’ve rarely played games using them, but loved the format and quality of the books. They are easily good enough just to read for reading sake, and sit on my bookcase in great condition. I still regretted however not being able to collect the MERP books.

For the last five odd years I have taken to looking for the MERP books on Ebay. I have now picked up some 40 of the 100 odd products released, most in as new condition. I’ve paid less than $10 for some, more than $60 for others, but mostly between $20 and $40. I’ve seen some books go for more than $100, although they often get relisted again soon after as the more successful auctions don’t seem to go through reliably. It amazes me that you can receive in the mail a book that is 30 odd years old, yet in as new condition.

In the last year or so however nothing new seems to be put up for auction – aside the same old over priced items relisted month after month after month. There are more options overseas, but I’ve tended to stick to the Australian site. I take the approach that if I get lucky, all good – if not, never mind.

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Part of the Collection

My history of role playing games certainly plays a big part in why I’ve liked and spent so long in EVE.  My experience with collecting MERP books also probably explains why I have purchased most of the books and what not related to EVE when they are released.

What you can Afford

I am still plugging away slowly on my EveHermit Alt. I finished the New Player Experience, did the Career Agents, and am currently in the process of selling up and moving to a new area.

Overall this process is much better than it used to be, and you seem to come out of it with enough wealth to get properly started. It is however still nowhere near as complete and polished as it should be. I hit plenty of little roadblocks and confusing areas which I expect would frustrate new players and possibly put them off the game.

It has been refreshing to deal with the confines of low skill points and an empty wallet. I’ve enjoyed setting up ships with lots of meta 1 to 4 modules and having to make decisions based on price. Similarly, I’ve found it interesting to be exposed again to the chatter in Starter systems and NPC Corp. There is a wide spectrum of ignorance to be found – from the obnoxious to the earnest. There is lots of bravado and crap spoken, intermixed with the genuinely helpful. I even learnt something new about the game the other day that I had never come across before – although for the life of me, I now can’t remember what the hell it was.

I have however found myself viewing the Griefers and Gankers differently who make a point of feeding on the tears of the littlest of fish. My main character can afford to play the game with them. I can afford the losses if I ignore them. I can afford to buy whatever ship and fitting I want to lower the risk they pose. I can afford to skip over just what their behaviour represents in real life. It is much harder to do that when each barely fit ship you fly represents a large proportion of your in-game wealth.

Closed

At the end of last year I applied a PLEX against my unsubscribed Alt account, to allow me to respond to the War Dec which ended up not requiring a response.

Aside throwing some Omega skills into the training queue, I effectively ignored the account for the rest of the month. I assumed after 30 days it would switch back to an Alpha state again.

Half way through February EVEMon started to warn me that I had less than one day training on that Alt account. It appeared that Transport Ship V had continued to train for a dozen odd days after my PLEX had expired.

I logged into the account – was told it was now in an Alpha Clone state, and the last 12 hours of Transport Ship V stopped.

I did a quick search on Google but didn’t find anything conclusive.

I then logged a bug report – but CCP’s response was to close the ticket without comment.

Free SP for me I guess.

The new and not so shiny

As luck would have it, my twelve month subscription on my main EVE account had almost expired. I grabbed another 12 months and was able to pick up the bonus 120 days of multiple character training that CCP is currently offering.

I’ve mentioned before – but I have previously had an unskilled Alt called EveHermit. I didn’t use the pilot, but it stopped anyone else impersonating me and gave me options if I wanted too. I unfortunately had to delete the Alt during a process of consolidating accounts, needing its slot to allow the transfer of other Alts.

As luck would have it, no one else had grabbed the free name. (I say that tongue in cheek.) After sculpturing a look and setting up version two of EveHermit, I was thrown into the new, New Player experience. This should be interesting.

I dutifully followed the instructions on looking at different objects, zooming in and out, and covering basic movement.

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Very early on during the process I was asked to loot a wreck. I was then asked to close the inventory window. I did – but it wasn’t acknowledged by Aura. I assume this was because I had already opened the inventory window before looting the wreck. I opened and closed the window a number of times but I couldn’t move forward with the tutorial.

I logged out of the game and restarted.

My starter Corvette dropped out of its emergency warp back into the site, and I was back at the start of the New Player Experience.

I started through the first steps again but then there was a loud bang and the entire site despawned.

Scratching my head I then noticed the Operations Info Panel now gave me an option to warp to another location, which I did.

I dropped out of warp into a new instant of the site – once again back at the start of the New Player Experience.

This was getting a little tiresome.

I started the process again and a few steps in, BOOM. The site despawned again. What the?

I was again given the option to warp to the third instance of the site, once again with the new player experience back at the start.

I went through the process again – thankfully without explosions, but once against got stuck with the game not accepting I had closed the inventory window. This time I had not opened it in advance. In fact, I was careful to do nothing but exactly what I was told to by the client.

Scratching my head again and thinking what the hell – the only thing I could think of was that I had moved the Inventory icon onto the Neocom, and was using that to open the Inventory Window. What would happen if I opened the Inventory Window via the Neocom menu instead? When I subsequently closed the Inventory window Aura acknowledged the task as complete and I was finally able to move on.

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I’ll have more thoughts on this later when / if I manage to finish the process.

WoWS – I finally reached mediocrity

It took almost 700 battles, but I have finally wrestled myself into the mediocrity of a 50% battle win rate in World of Warships. This was after languishing around 47% from battle 100 to 600.

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There are excuses outside of just being a poor player, particularly in my preference towards using Cruisers. In reality however I was just not playing the game in an optimal way. Like Homer or Bart Simpson, I would repeat my failing tactics over and over. Not because I couldn’t see there were better ways, but because those better ways lead to a less satisfying game.

I didn’t relent and play differently, instead Wargaming changed the rules. They added some skills, tweaked some ship attributes, and I was able to mitigate some of the punishment from pushing forward earlier in the game. Instead of dying soon after first being detected, I now often get the chance to push, retreat, adjusting and push forward again a number of times over. That means I am more often a positive contributor to my team, and that seems to help with the average win rate.

Yes – I am cheering 50%.

BB79 – Go long

BB78Should CCP put effort in to reward long term loyal customers? Is this lack of gratitude towards loyal customers alienating? Do people wish for a change here? Is it too self-righteous to expect small signs of gratitude for being a loyal customer? Or is it just a case of there is no need and HTFU snowflake?

For quite a while l liked the idea of some special memento or similar to acknowledge in game the number of years someone has been playing EVE.

Nothing that can be monetarised. A POD or ship skin that is automatically injected, or medals you can choose to show or not, maybe access to some unique station without services or an unusual system that has no resources you can take. Some sort of official acknowledgement of the longevity with a cool novelty factor but otherwise no impact on the game.

When I first heard such suggestions it seemed to be readily supported. With time however now I hear just as many dissenters. It wouldn’t be fair on younger players, or new players; old players already have too many toys, we would need to ensure it only went to active players not just those who pay their subscriptions, and so on.

I must have missed the in-game release of the new Super Capital “EVE is Fair”.

Just make it very simple – add up the time an account is active (either paid or through PLEX), and when they reach milestone years give some sort of token to the highest SP character on the account. It doesn’t matter if they spent the entire time AFK, or constantly generated in game content, they have been around and financially contributing to the running of the game. Let them feel like a special little snowflake for a few minutes. Let them stop and reflect on how many years they have wasted.

Do I think this is really necessary?  No.  Do I think it might encourage people to stay subscribed for longer?  I doubt it.  Then why?  It is one more little bit of cool or interest added to the game, which some players will get a kick out of and enjoy.

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