We hate you and you and you

CCP recently introduced Triglavian invasions into High Sec.  Unlike Incursions, which you can pretty much ignore if you want too, the Triglavians appear to occasionally Station and Gate camp, leading to travelling player kills showing up on the killboards.

I noted many examples of Null Sec players crowing about this.

CCP then introduced Drifter invasions into Null Sec.  These also Camp systems, but in addition are reinforcing large numbers of structures.

I noted many examples of High Sec players crowing about this.

Because the mechanics of these Invasions have been unclear and changing, I’ve delayed making a judgement on them.  I had wondered how I would feel if my Azbel was reinforced by NPCs, and what if anything I could do about it as a casual solo player.  In the meanwhile I’ve held off getting negative standings with the Triglavians, and for the most part stopped playing in and through impacted systems.

Currently various Null Sec groups are having to return to their homes to defend against seemingly quite widespread invasions.  Understandably, many don’t appear happy.  Some are very, very unhappy.

They want to cause pain, and are coming after High Sec (and CCP).

https://imperium.news/drifter-invasion-nullsec-response/

To quote ..

“This new Drifter invasion has been neither engaging and challenging PvE”

..has caused significant stresses within nullsec empires

..this forced exercise in monotony brings longer-term player retention back into the limelight

It may well reach a point where these players simply decide that the game is beyond unplayable, and leave forever

..as the nullsec groups are unable to .. deploy against each other, they will instead extract content from high sec

The major power blocs will be forming a cartel to enact an embargo of raw materials into High Security space

 

It is vaguely like the gaming version of family violence. I’d prefer to have said that differently, so as not to downplay such a serious topic, but the mindset, lack of respect, anger, desire for retribution goes beyond just the standard bullying.  It is throwing around weight, power, spite, frustration.

It is fascinating – in the best and worst ways.

My personal view?  I think what CCP is doing is intriguing but dangerous, and requires a deft balancing act to get right.

 

Cancerous Players made me open my wallet

I’m still here, meandering about keeping myself half amused. (How often have I said that in recent years?) I log in every day to check if I have had a War Dec, and more recently, to look in on what those pesky NPCs are up too.

What prompted me to write this post is the other day CCP introduced a $5USD starter pack, aimed at new players. It included some worthless skins and apparel, a skill training and damage booster for pilots less than 35 days old, and 1M non-transferable Skill Points. The concept was to try and keep more of the new pilots in the game by giving them a boost at the start of their careers. Let them get into an extra ship or three early. Break down some of that initial barrier. I would presume it would also help condition them to open their wallets.

However, in the words of CCP Falcon – “the pack received significant hostility from parts of the EVE community”.

The problem? Well, there were roughly four main themes I could see.

First – it was Pay to Win.

Technically if you put two new players against each other, one who spent $5USD to get 1M Skill points, and one who didn’t, the cashed-up pilot would probably be at an advantage. Hard to argue. However, I did not really see that mentioned. The problem seemed to be the direct translation between paying cash and getting skill points.

EVE has been Pay to Win for a long time, although in a nuanced way. I can buy PLEX for cash. I sell it on the market. I use those proceeds to buy Skill points that I then inject. It takes just a few minutes and I can do it without undocking from Jita. It is cash for skill points, although with an extra step and the requirement for another player to have extracted the skill points.

I also get an advantage with double training and access to extra skills if I have an Omega Account. I get that by paying cash, or earning enough in game to buy PLEX, that someone else has paid cash for. We even just recently got 1M Skill points given to us – if we had an Omega Account during the Anniversary celebrations.

The nuance is that lots of ISK and skill points in this game is not a guarantee of a win. You can’t just drop $10,000 USD and instantly become a version of Mitanni or some PVP god. EVE is more of a Cash for an advantage type game.

Personally, I am not fussed by this $5 starter kit.

Second – this was made available to everyone.

The starter pack was put into the Account Management system and made available to all players, not just new players. This upset people.

There are a handful of DLC’s available to all players as a once off purchase. Sometimes CCP offers them for sale at 50% off and they are a real bargain. I’ve highlighted some here before. I’ve always viewed these packages as something that can give an old player a bit of a boost and renewed enthusiasm for the game.

Personally, I am not fussed that this starter kit was available to everyone.

Third – the CSM was not consulted.

The view was expressed that if CCP had asked the CSM about this starter pack – they would have been advised against doing it.

I am not so sure but given the CSM was (is) in transition from old to new, this might not have been a straightforward thing.

Personally, I am not that fussed that the CSM was not consulted.

Fourth – I really hate CCP.

Not me – I don’t hate CCP. Over and over I read rants and arguments and carry on that had nothing really to do with the starter pack, and all to do with being an excuse to vent and hate on CCP. As someone on Twitter remarked, cancerous players (or x-players) whose sole purpose is to damage CCP and the game.

 

I can understand why someone can rationally think this starter pack is a bad idea – even if I don’t. I can see how people could come up with some rational arguments to back up their view – even if I disagree.  It probably isn’t a clear cut black and white issue.  The overriding thought should however be the intent and positive goal CCP had for this Pack.  Fine if you disagree with it – but surely new player retention is a worthwhile goal.  You could argue productively for how CCP could have done it better.

The end result is CCP has backpedalled and apologised – to a part of the EVE community who won’t care or stop their attacks.

CCP will be adjusting how the pack is offered.  In the meanwhile, there is (or was) a small window for people to purchase these packs.

So that is what I did – purchasing a pack for each of my accounts. Not because I thought it was a great deal. Not because I wanted or needed the Skill Points. I purchased them and sent CCP a little cash to quietly support their endeavours.  I did this because I view the whiners as having a much more damaging and corrupting influence on this game of ours than a possibly misdirected starter pack.

CCP’s response can be seen in the Dev Blog here:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/ptrtk0/skillpoints-cash-and-new-players-an-update

They are back

The Triglavian’s are back in my home system – which is again a parameter system to another invasion.

The various official news feeds for EVE suggest these invasions will have ramped up over the original ones. I had wondered if we might end up with different sorts of Drifter invasions of varying strengths, but the Agency interface doesn’t seem to differentiate.

I suspect with each iteration the invasions will get harder and more impactful, until we end up with more high level PVE unavailable to or ignored by most.

There are also references and suggestions in various EVE media that these invasions do or will end up attacking player owned structures in High Sec. I wonder if they only attack if the structures attack them first, or only if the corporation has bad standings against the Triglavians, or if they attack regardless. I wonder how much damage they do. Could you lose your structure in one of these invasions?

Goodness – the tears that would bring.

I’ve already noticed haulers being killed by Triglavians on stations and gates, and your route planner specifically highlights systems under invasion and advises you of their danger. You ignore them at your own peril.

Invaded

EVE’s latest expansion “Invasion” has gone live, with the Triglavian’s moving into known space in a Sansha Incursion type of way.

I was up at 4am this morning with another serious headache, so while I waited for the painkillers to start working I updated my EVE client and logged in. I found myself, well, invaded.

The system info panel was in Triglavian.

 

The tone of space had gone from a brown yellow to red.

 

And my Azabel looked different (I think it was being scanned at the time).

 

There seemed to be only one main thing I had to update in my overview settings – “Invading Precursor Entities”, to see the new NPCs. There were also some asteroids that may (or may not) have turned up with the same update.

 

You also get this pop up when you undock – and I assume also when you move through impacted gates. That suggests you might not be able to ignore an invasion as you can – for all intents and purposes, Sansha Incursions. In line with this I noticed people commenting about Triglavians camping gates.

I did not engage any of the NPCs I came across – simply as I don’t know what impact negative standings might have. Similarly I did not engage the NPCs from my Azabel. There were some NPC frigates flying around the stations scanning things – but I left them alone and they appeared to leave me alone.

My home system was a Perimeter System – 2 jumps out from the Foothold system. Systems 1 jump out are called Adjacent systems – and are apparently more dangerous. The Foothold system is the most dangerous.

I stayed logged in for a while – watching the invasion chat channel and local.

Some of the locals attacked Frigates on a station and had extra NPCs warp in on them. The suggestion was this little engagement was very difficult to solo, with the pilots having to warp out or dock up to save themselves.

Mostly however I was left in the system alone. Whatever content was available in a Perimeter System didn’t seem to be attracting many players.

I noted you could salvage the NPCs once killed – although it was remarked several times it was more lucrative to loot the destroyed player wrecks instead. It was also commented at one point that Concord still turned up to destroy a Suicide Ganker.

While flying around I happened across this fleet in a belt:

16 Frigates, 4 destroyers and 2 cruisers.

I was almost instantly locked and had them close range at 2K+ m/s. I warped out ok, but they had closed a lot of distance in a short amount of time. Knowing some of them scram, I can see how easy it could be to lose a ship.

About 15 hours after the expansion went live the status of the invasion in my area changed:

“The World Ark is no longer detected”.

I’m not sure if they managed to complete the invasion.  Whatever changed, it did not clear the NPCs quickly.

There were apparently public fleets of up to 40 operating in the Foothold system.

So, some mild excitement.

I’ll have to wait to hear / see / read some of the feedback on just how interesting and well balanced CCP has got this.

 

When you become known on first name basis – the Brisc saga

Most EVE Players who pay any attention to social media would be aware of the Brisc Rubal saga.

On April 8th (2019), CCP Dopamine published a since removed Dev-blog, announcing Brisc had been removed from CSM 13 and had all of his accounts permanently banned from the game after being found to have shared confidential information. Two members of his Alliance were also given one-year bans.

CCP Dopamine went on to say it was the CSM itself who alerted them to Brisc’s lack of integrity, that CCP valued the CSM, and that they would put extra procedures in place to reduce the chance of this happening again.

I did not know Brisc Rubal from a bar of soap – but I did not take what CCP had said on face value. I’ve wondered previously about the quality of their investigations and the level of natural justice in some of their public banning’s.

So, I took the time to read what was being written on the blogs, forums, social media and gaming sites. The general impression I got – right or wrong, was that Brisc was more actively engaged with the EVE community than some of the other CSM members, and that there was some genuine surprise – and even doubt – about the situation.

There were also plenty of detractors – many gleeful about the situation – but none seemed to be saying anything compelling.

Then Brisc Rubal spoke up. He said he had not been aware of the accusation until CCP had published their Dev-blog, that they had not spoken to him as part of their investigation, that he denied it, and that he was waiting for someone at CCP to respond to his urgent queries.

It is seemingly becoming a lost art – but I still find it possible to put myself in the shoes of others. I know how I would feel if I was suddenly banned from EVE after many years of investment – in time, money and social interaction, possibly unfairly, without any opportunity to defend myself.

On April 17th (2019), CCP, via their communications team, released a new Dev-blog. This stated that subsequent to the banning they had held “further” discussions with the affected parties, and that they would be conducting an internal review to substantiate the evidence available and to evaluate their handling of the situation.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pq436e/interim-statement-on-brisc-rubal-follow-up-investigation

The court of public opinion seemed to have made their own conclusions by this point – but the conciliatory tone of the Dev-blog suggested at CCP feeling the situation might not have been as black and white as they had first alleged.

Last, on April 26th, CCP Grendel announced in a Dev-blog that CCP had too hastily acted upon unsubstantiated assumptions, and that their initial findings and actions were incorrect. None of the players punished had breached the rules as suggested.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pqiubr/final-statement-on-brisc-rubal-follow-up-investigation

CCP apologised, restored the accounts and assets of the three impacted players, and would provide appropriate rectification. That was to be their final statement on the event.

All’s well that ends well.

But of course, it is not. Understandably Brisc subsequently resigned from the CSM, and opinions and reactions from the EVE player and once were player base have flown thick and fast. Another (to some extent) damaging own goal by CCP.

Up until now I had not planned to remark on it. There was already more than enough thoughts and comments available online, but then I read an article on EVENews24 by Seraph IX Basarab.

http://evenews24.com/2019/05/11/a-brisc-redemption/

I will paraphrase using selective quotes.

When Brisc Rubal was removed from the CSM and banned from Eve I avoided rushing to judgement

CCP back tracked its claim regarding Brisc and the two other players in question and unbanned them all completely

Brisc has resigned as CSM as a result.

Here is another possibility

Maybe Brisc and company did knowingly take advantage of privileged knowledge

Maybe CCP had enough evidence to ban them by CCP standards. Question is would they have enough evidence to stand up in a real life court of law?

so CCP officially forgives/unbans Brisc while the deal is made that he resigns as CSM

there’s really not much else to address on the matter specifically

Lots of maybes, but a bucket of defamation thrown anyway.

Conspiracy theory, fake news, insightful truth? Who knows – but it is a noteworthy example of what I found wrapped up around the situation Brisc found themselves in. A diverse and complex narrative, different agendas, and a community disinclined to stop and put themselves in the shoes of others.  Equal measure of fascinating and disheartening.

Yet another one

April joined a string of ridiculously busy months.

EVE barely got looked at, aside the obligatory two minutes daily log in to check for War Declarations. I might have managed one PI cycle, and one short BPO shopping trip. Everything else ran down to idle, including one of my training queues.

I think I’ve only had one battle in World of Warships in months. I haven’t done anything in Dungeon and Dragons Online in months. I haven’t kept up with my iPad games for months. Writing anything for this blog has been a struggle for months.

I know it is a common complaint from me – but this year my wife has surpassed all her previous efforts in making our lives unnecessarily busy. It has long since crossed over into pathological.

I have been playing a bit of Minecraft of late – the only gaming I have managed to fit in to my life. I had an odd situation where I stopped having monsters spawning anywhere near my home. In the end I found several waterholes filled to overflowing with water zombies. I used 3 full stone swords to cull just a fraction of them and started having mobs spawn again in the area.

I also managed – just once, to get out and harvest a meal of wild duck.

Mostly however I see no light at the end of the busyness tunnel.

Mood Lighting

The April release has just gone live. This item is immediately noticeable:

“Graphics:
This release sees the first update of an ongoing iteration of hangar visuals. Hangars have now been moved over into our Space Object Factory system, which improves maintenance and allows easier updating of the visuals going forward. What you will see is brand new lighting! The lighting has been reworked with a focus on the ship, with more contrast, color and life being the order of the day.”

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pphodr/patch-notes-for-april-2019-release

First impression is that the background now looks a little too dark.  A bit like how the game can be I guess.