Monthly Archives: June 2012

Getting the Word Out

With the advent of the internet, social media, and the ability of people to pass information faster and faster media campaigns have to be re-thought.  I’ve seen endless versions of the trailer for The Hobbit that seem completely wasteful.  You could start in late November, run an ad maybe 20 times and pack theaters.  Here’s the only ad you need.

Black Screen

*Knock Knock*

Round door opens, revealing a tall man, cloaked in grey with a long beard, blue hat and  a staff

“I’d Like you to come on an adventure”

Black Screen

December 13, 2012

ten seconds of air time and the theaters would be packed for days.

Want to turn heads announcing MWO at a convention?  Here’s your 30 seconds spot

Black Screen

Disembodied Voice

Reactor: Online

Sensors: Online

Weapon Systems: Online

All Systems:  Nominal

Wait 20 seconds while everyone in the room sprints to your booth.  Have medics on hand to deal with the injuries.

What do these two bits have going for them?  Iconic characters or a sequence that is so memorable that it brings your attention to the fore.  EvE needs these things like a fat kid needs to go for a jog.  Iconic character in EvE.  Has to be an NPC, God help you if you pick Chribba and the guy that plays him goes on a killing spree.  You want to make this guy the face of your game?  Mittens?  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… *gasp* MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAaaaaa….

Ok now that THAT is out of my system.  Let’s talk about PCs.  I’ve been thinking about this since I started this post.  Jamyl Sarum, Tibus Heath, Sansha Kuvakei, President Foitorien and I bet I spelled the last two wrong.  I don’t really think any of them would make a great “Face of EvE” maybe we can use this woman.  Maybe we can never speak of her again.  Maybe we should find an iconic sequence or soundbyte.  And yes, EvE has sound.

The rumbling hum of a mining laser?

Aura Laughing at you after you get podded?

The targeting sound?

None of those gets my heart beating.  Well unless I’m on an alt with auto-target on and I’m in a hauler, then the targeting sound gets my attention FAST.  Other than that?  Cricket’s chirping?  EvE lacks an iconic character because there’s no real characters or story set by the company.  It lacks an iconic experience because I bet there’s dozens who will read this blog who don’t know Aura laughs at you when you get podded, or what a mining laser sounds like, or even that EvE has sound.  People have short attention spans, a 3 minute trailer is too long.  1 minute is probably too long.  To get good exposure you need to get it out in 10 seconds.  I can’t do that about EvE. I can tell you LotR is coming, or Mechwarrior is coming.  EvE is great, but until EvE gets iconic EvE will struggle.  CCP can’t sell the game too well as long as the universal EvE experience is getting fucked over.

I’m using it every time I can

Aftershock

So goons might have taken advantage of faction warfare.  A lot.  A whole lot.  To the extent that it makes you laugh just to hear about it.  The numbers are so far beyond ludicrous that you can’t help but giggle when you see them.

Let’s back up a bit.  When I heard they were paying LP for kills in FW I assumed that it would be some horrible system that practically invited being gamed, then I saw that it was so reductive by nature that I figured no one would be able to game it.  The payout relative to isk was designed to make it so farming LP even with legit kills would just be a joke.  Even soloing faction fitted BS would provide only a decent reward.  Certainly enough to make the pilot killing it happy, but not enough to justify losing your officer fit baby for LP.

Obviously there are people better than me at gaming the system.  By cleverly manipulating the market Goons (and quite probably others) massively inflated the prices of worthless items, causing them to pay out LP rewards in amounts well on the far side of ludicrous.  There’s folks that have made themselves trillions of isk.  That’s a T at the start of that.  That’s a lot.  Speculation has gone from the silly to the ludicrous side on the total amount and frankly it doesn’t matter which is right.  That being said… there’s consequences.  Goons have come into a fortune that is notable even with their current embarrassment of riches, and much of it is likely in the hands of rank and file players, unlike tech which isn’t.

Of course CCP *might* be nuking some wallets of people who went ape-shit on this.  Will be interesting to see just how far this goes.  When I first saw what had happened I assumed rather naively that it would be a few billion per person.  Check out Jester’s Trek for the picture that blew my mind.  At a few billion I think CCP has to laugh it off.  They messed up, people profited and harm was limited.  When the extent (and bragging) started it became clear shit was going to get rather more serious, and it did.

With their rather typical sociopathic nature, goons are saying they did nothing wrong and no-one was harmed.  Well other than people missioning in highsec selling competing items, like implants, faction ships etc.  Or people who stocked up on some of these items thinking their might be a tighter market in the future.  Of course theirs the Amarr who got rather crushed under the treads of the Goon tank.  Here’s the problem with bringing to FW anything that can be farmed.  It will draw the attention of the big people.  Goons clearly have folks in Minmatar FW, TEST now has FWEDDIT on the Amarrian side.  People who have worked hard for years within FW, who take genuine pleasure in this aspect of the game now find themselves at the mercy of uninterested Nullseccers who want to do nothing but farm content and make isk.  For a time Faction Warfare became the most ludicrously profitable means of making money and Goons freightered in loot (literally) to enhance their profits.

CCP has to balance things.  While FW needs and should have unique aspects that make it profitable, unless they want it to turn into “Nullsec Lite:  All the Drama, half the Space” they need to test more thoroughly.  When they manually update their prices they need to check for outliers, I have no idea what item was used but if it’s something like Kruul’s DNA and suddenly it’s average price is 10 billion a  pop EyjoG should be sitting up a little going “WTF” and hitting big red buttons.

Expecting Goons to act in anything but the narrowest, short-sighted, self-interested way is expecting something we will almost never see.  There’s even been some Goons asking what’s wrong with them keeping the money.  Well hmmm…. Let’s say there’s a new fleetcomp that requires Hyperions and is virtually unbeatable (yes I know it’s batshit crazy, roll with me) with their trillions of isk in profits they drive the price of Hypes so high that other alliances literally have to research BPOs to build their own to compete.  This kind of isk lets them play market games on the Wal-Mart scale, where they buy out everything, entire markets not of T2 sentry damage augs, but of Large Pulse Lasers, standing the market on it’s head and throwing grenades into the machinery of the economy instead of just wrenches.  People have said “Oh it’s not like they created isk.”  Well yeah they just created things that can be sold for isk.  What they did resembles real-life insurance fraud.  They grossly inflated the value of something, blew it up to collect on that value then blew up what was left to collect on the stated value of that.  No EvE isn’t real life, and it shouldn’t be treated as that, but I’m not going to shed any tears for people, no matter how creative, who exploit the system to that extent.  Of course I’m still giggling at the numbers.

Will Goons be punished?  Almost certainly, and likely beyond what has already happened.  Will FW see some sweeping changes as a result of this?  I hope so.  Will Eyjog face some ramifications?  I certainly hope so, he seems to have been completely asleep at the switch for this one.  Is the market in for some serious corrections as items disappear?  OHHHH yeah.  Let the speculation begin.

I’m using it every time I can

Purple Kool-Aid

So about the only flavor of Kool-Aid I ever liked was Purple.  I’m a picky person.  I’m sure this will surprise about 0 people that regularly tune into my blog.  CCP likes to mix a lot of flavors of Kool Aid and rarely do they manage to find the Purple.  That being said every once in a while they really hit a home run.  Crucible was a good example.  Even though it had a million flavors there was a lot of Purple in it.

OHH YEAH!!!!

Tiericide looks like a LOT of Purple.  We all like new ships.  I tend to let CCP stretch the definition.  The redone tier-1 and tier-2 ships might as well BE new ships.  When’s the last time anyone used a Heron?  How about an Atron?  A Burst?  I have a lolfit Breacher.  The cruisers are even more delineated.  Quick tell me the tier-1 Gallente Cruiser.  I bet you haven’t seen it undocked in years.  I bet NONE of you would have gotten it right before they did tier-1 Navy cruisers.

Tiericide will give us uses for all the ships that you haven’t seen undocked in years.  From the Bellicose to the Vigil ships are getting a look and a “balance pass” that will give all of them some role in the new paradigm of Combat (Line of Battle ships) Attack (think Tier 3 BCs) Bombardment (reach out and touch someone) and Support (fucking Falcons…) Now I don’t think they’ll get it all right.  When has CCP ever made it through a patch without some minor mishap, or even major oversight, but creating a system where every ship has its proponents and reasons to own and undock it sounds like a lot of fun to me.  Imagine kiting Bellicoses zooming around and engaging Ruptures on equal footing.  Ospreys being more than can flip victims, and Augorors being used for more than a component in a Guardian.

Frankly this is a good thing.  Having 2/3 or more of the ships in EvE tied up as unproductive hangar queens flown only by the grossly uninformed is pretty wasteful.  In fact it’s downright sad.  By doing this CCP is giving us back a lot of the work they’ve previously wasted.  Now all those Feroxes and Exequrors and Scythes that haven’t seen the vacuum of space in 3 years can roam free.  And I can sip my purple Kool Aid.  Oh yeah.

I’m using it every time I can

Wai So Seryus?

In my time in EvE I’ve seen a lot of people who played the game with an intensity and drive that beggars the imagination.  Some people simply don’t seem to get that EvE is a game!  While it certainly has more serious repercussions than other MMOs it is a game.  Earlier this month I sent Poetic Stanziel an EvE-mail that perhaps could have been better phrased.  Fortunately Poetic took it in the manner it was intended saving both of us unnecessary EvE-drama.

EvE tends to draw people in, and brings with it heightened emotions and occasionally a lot of stress.  Lots of people play games to relax, and sometimes EvE has the opposite effect, this can cause them to go mad, and do things they really shouldn’t.  For example over at Sovereignty Wars a while back someone flips his shit after getting booted from a chat channel (for flipping his shit) says some genuinely mean and possibly unforgivable things, and then gets creepy.  I actually made a list of things you could do in-game to deserve having someone wish cancer on you.  Ready for it?

What did you think?    Way to show your ass.  To someone you knew would put it out there for everyone.

Don’t be this guy

I’ve had RL friends explode at me and refuse to talk to me over in-game stuff.  I’ve had threats against my person both in and out of game.  Some have been “Dumb” enough to be petitionable, in fact back when I can-flipped (can miners for some reason got angrier faster than anyone in EvE) I considered the trifecta flip a can, kill their ship, and get tears angry enough to be able to petition the person.  That made for some fun days, especially when people disappeared for two weeks after the tears stopped.  I’ve been angry myself at in-game events, both meta game and actually in-game.  I tend to walk away.  It’s just not worth it.

EvE is fun, EvE is boring.  EvE is intense, EvE is so dull you cannot fathom why you log in some days.  EvE is what you make of it, and if you take it seriously and let it run your emotions it will tear you up.  It’s a game, play it like one.

I’m using it every time I can

Balancing Sucks

Balance is one of those functions of game development that just plain sucks.  Devs have access to a lot of resources that players don’t, more detailed logs, the “correct” formulas, testing tools and hardware, and of course paid staff to utilize these things in a hopefully motivated and intelligent fashion.  They also have the input of players, either through forums, bug reports and petitions, and activity that they observe in-game.

One of the more obvious traits of human beings is we tend to complain a lot more readily and vocally than we admire or compliment.  This is actually a bit of a survival instinct, if you are injured you tend to shout or scream in pain, either getting you help and attention or warning people to avoid your location, whereas if you are enjoying a good meal your utterances will be rather less excited and notable, allowing you to be more selective of your own beneficiaries.  This instinctive behavior tends to get complemented by traits we pick up.  How many people in EvE have heard of exploits running rampant, sometimes for months or years while people get space-rich?  Folks didn’t advertise their caviar and champagne. Here I’m thinking about Ferrogel and infinite tracking infinite range guns in wormholes as two examples.  Meanwhile if something is unbalanced and people DO find out about it, like what happened with T20, or a horribly unbalanced ship type, like “Tracking Titans” people will scream to high heaven about cockroaches in their crackers.

However there’s no natural filter between perceived unfairness and actual unfairness.  The forums are filled with endless pages of folks whining about how unfair this, that and the other activity/ship/what have you is.  To a poorly informed observer all of these complaints have equal weight on the surface, and can be greatly influenced not by their facts, but by the writing in them.  For example let’s look at Geksz post last week

I hope after the changes the Hulk can tank ships at least half of it’s price tag. (something that is ment for mining doesn’t mean it should be defensless, and easy pray) – Some ppl will pop ur stuff even if it wasn’t profitable, if it looks good on their killboard…

and further on

Btw. if u don’t mine in a hostile enviroment – for example High sec – why would u fit for tank?
Everything u do in eve u aim for maximum efficiency. Like when u do missions u won’t fit more tank, or pvp modules just becouse there is a possibility that someone would jump in on u and gank ur ship. But even if that happens a PvE fit mission ship has a chance to fight back, and withstand some vollies.

reading this you might think that the Hulk is an utterly indefensible ship and that by rights it ought to have defenses equal to “A ship half of it’s price tag” i.e. an Armageddon.  I’m not going to go into why it’s silly for an industrial ship to be able to tank a full-up battleship in a game predicated on PvP.

Meanwhile let’s look at this post from Cantabar

Station games as far as I can tell are pretty much against everything CCP stands for.

Station games save ships when they should die.

Station games give the cowardly High Sec war deccers a mechanic to hide behind even tho they are the ones that aggressed.

I am tired of trying to go 1v2 and having to go home with no kill simply because I dont have the dps to alpha one of the 2 players.

Proposal: Make warp scrambled ships unable to dock. Or better yet make ships that are being aggressed currently unable to dock similar to the nerf of the super loggoffski trick.

Pro: More ships will die and this promotes more actual fights.

Con: Cowards wont be able to hide behind station mechanics anymore.

This is a terribly written proposal, and you’d be easily forgiven for skipping by it except for one little problem.  It really does cover a serious problem that CCP has been working on.  Reading the forums is the best and worst place to find issues that need to be worked on.  A GM who can sort wheat from chaff well will be loved while a GM with a little less discretion will earn the ire of the entire community (ohai CCP Greyscale!)

Then changes get made, and everyone is happy and the devs feel brilliant and the game goes on to unprecedented success.  Ok get up off the ground and back in your chair, rub your sides until the aching subsides.  A change could be completely brilliant, or utter rubbish and get identical responses.  If you are strong of stomach look at your favorite and least favorite dev blogs lately.

The reasons for these reactions come from two sources, first the changes are necessarily imperfect.  Devs don’t exactly have perfect vision of how their changes will work out.  Look at how quickly wardec changes and Incursion changes are being adjusted or rolled back.  I can only imagine how CCP reacts when innovative videos of new tactics are passed around with the latest samples of emergent gameplay.  The second part is that balance changes tend to hurt someone.  Wounded people scream.  Loud.  Publicly.  Often.  Rather than seeing an opportunity elsewhere they will often dig in their heels and oppose oppose oppose without considering the benefits newly opened.  I should note in passing that I always give due and proper consideration to the benefits and drawbacks of a new change before decrying it as horrible.  I am a careful and considered speaker, you lot are all trolls.

So Devs cannot foresee what will happen with their changes, innovators will constantly surprise them with unexpected ramifications and surprising takes on the changes they make.  They cannot please everyone and many people they do please choose to keep quiet.  They make these changes for a few reasons.  One of the biggest is that there likely IS an overarching plan for EvE and to bring the game in line with the plan changes have to be made.  The devs also have to prevent extreme actions from upsetting the community at large.  Not so much elements within the community as much as the “Sacred Cows” which have evolved and become pillars of the game community at large.  Changes outside these themes are rare, and should be.  Balance for Balance’s sake is not part of EvE any more than some abstract definition of “fair” and while diverse fleets of many different ships and shiptypes are appealing, trying to create them artificially is doomed, only in extreme situations where a race is nearly unused will result in massive, sweeping changes.

I’m using it every time I can

It’s Wednesday Sir

Hieronymus Karl Frederick, Baron von Munchausen:  Gentlemen, don’t you think it would be a good idea to silence those enemy cannons?  

Bored Soldier:  No sir

HKFBvM:  No?  

BS:  It’s wednesday

HKFBvM:  (disgusted) oh… wednesday

Retaining large-scale control of a warzone doesn’t seem particularly advantageous.  Having it at one moment is, especially if you know when that moment will be and can cash in your LP.  Keeping it is a chore and a bother.  Control of individual systems might make some difference tactically, allowing one side or another to dock up and base out of one system at need.  The LP benefit is tremendous, but doesn’t require sustained control to be used.  The rest of the benefits are such a joke that they might as well not exist.

For most of the story of Adventures of Baron von Munchausen, the Baron, an idealistic old man, is opposed by the Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, a “realist” who doesn’t see the point of fighting a war with heroism and extreme efforts, but rather an intensely organized “rational” method that seems limp and uninspiring.  Jackson would LOVE faction warfare.

The good Baron would be dashing from one endangered system to the next, chasing out plexers and running defensive complexes, holding the line against the invading Turk.  He sees the adventure and need to control the area, defend the space of his militia.

Jackson would be planning one day blitzes, seizing control of the warzone in one day of supreme effort, coordinating efforts to drive warzone control as high as possible to cash in the LP they farm over the rest of the week.  The other side would of course do the same thing.  Possibly even coordinating days to do these activities to prevent working at cross purposes.

There’s two reasons for the lack of desire for defense.  The first is the fact that you don’t need to hold the space for any sustained period of time.  The second is the difficulty in holding a system.  You have to run twice as many sites as the attacker and get no benefit other than retaining their current benefits, which they likely don’t need as they’ve already cashed in their LP.  Rather than defend space to hold benefits they cannot utilize because they’ve burned out their LP, which can’t be replenished on defense except slowly through kills.  EvE players tend to be rational creatures.  They want rewards for their actions.  There’s far more Horatio Jacksons than Baron von Munchausen, and if CCP wants to see things tilt the other way they need a reason.  Players need a reason for a crazy man on a horse to charge out screaming:

HFKBvM:  They’re inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!”

rather than

Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson: Ah, the officer who risked his life by singlehandedly destroying…
Functionary: [whispering in his ear] Six.
ROHJ: *Six* enemy cannon and rescuing…
F: Ten.
ROHJ: Ten of our men held captive by The Turk.
Sting (I’m not kidding): Yes, sir.
ROHJ: The officer about whom we’ve heard so much.
Sting: I suppose so, sir.
ROHJ: Always taking risks far beyond the call of duty.
Sting : I only did my best, sir.
ROHJ: Have him executed at once.
Soldier: Yes, sir. Come along.
ROHJ: This sort of behavior is demoralizing for the ordinary soldiers and citizens who are trying to lead normal, simple, unexceptional lives. I think things are difficult enough as it is without these emotional people rocking the boat.

Because right now there’s often a sentiment of “let ‘em take the system.  We’ll just take it back and profit from it!” and while that may be the logical solution in EvE, it doesn’t make much sense.

I’m using it every time I can

Tick Tock

Theme for today:  

People in EvE want to draw a line and stick people on one side or the other.  I’m not a good supporter, I might be a goon apologist.  If I am it’s because I think I recognize the real “why” behind their leadership decisions.  The clock is ticking.  Goonswarm will fall (again) one day, and possibly sooner than we think.  No really!  If I’d told you on New Years Day 2009 that BoB was dead you’d have laughed me out of the room and asked how I knew that all the way in Iraq.  If I told you on New Years Day 2010 that Atlas was doomed you’d have shaken your head.  If I’d had the gall to suggest in 2011 that NC was a staggering wreck ready to collapse under it’s own weight you’d unsubscribe from my blog.  Alliances fall, and Goonswarm leadership knows this better than anyone.  Heck Mittens himself could write a pretty entertaining book on how to collapse an alliance, and probably has between all he’s written for EvE.  I know I’d buy that for a dollar.

Goonswarm is a little different than the above superpowers, when Goonswarm falls (again) it won’t be a shattering collapse like BoB or NC, but instead a crash like -A- or RA or even UK, part of a cycle where they will rebound around a shared sense of community.  I imagine they like to think they’ll rebound as high as they have gotten, but their leadership also knows it’s far from guaranteed.  Whether they fall because of internal divisions, apathy, or some upstart alliance just thwacking them in the face, raising themselves to the heights of power they have now would be a masterful effort, and one they might not be capable of achieving.

So the clock is ticking, it might be imminent, it might not.  It’s still time to make hay; and make hay they have.  So far they’ve supported Hulkageddon to the tune of an incredible profit.  Assuming tech is still around 70% of a hulk’s build cost and goons directly control even as little as 20% of the tech in EvE (and I think it’s a far, FAR larger percentage of the total) and that a Hulk costs 250 million to build, you are looking at 33 million in goon’s wallets on average for each hulk built.  Subtract 10 mill for bounties and who gives a fuck goons got richer.  In order to make this work they built an API app that reads kills on their killboard, and for every 10 exhumers you have killed sends you 100 million isk.  I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating:  Goons have created a “Kill 10 rats” quest in EvE, that people are doing in droves.

In addition Goons are taking their war in the metagame to an overt level.  They have turned it from a war of mudslinging, infiltration and harassment to outright assaults, and they could make it even better.  They could institute a bounty system.  For every 10 kills of the target, be it a player, a corporation, or an alliance, payouts will happen.  I bet they could even set a floor value to the kills.  Part of me is surprised it hasn’t already happened.

Goonswarm knows roughly what one timer is on the clock.  Their hold on Tech is about to be broken by GM intervention.  They know the mechanic is broken, and that it’s been broken before and fixed before.  They know OTEC will last about one one millionth of a second after CCP changes the rules, then the rush will be on.

Goonswarm knows that they fight a constant battle against ennui, both leader and player, and that one day key leaders or players just might not be there.  This gives them both reason to innovate new ideas and to burn their stash before ennui can set it.

Goonswarm knows that empires fall, and their leaders want to have as memorable a ride as possible.  They will act with this in mind.

I don’t particularly like what the goons are doing with MiniLuv, but I admire it.  Only in EvE could this happen, any other game would be banning people left, right and center for the actions taken around MiniLuv.  Here it might not be celebrated, but at least it can be recognized.  Goonswarm’s clock is ticking, and they plan to empty the magazine before they run out of time.

I’m using it every time I can

Lower the Basket

Like a lot of white jewish guys I can’t dunk.  Like most guys I can deal with it in one of three ways, I can give up on it, I can work out and get above the rim, or I can lower the basket.

The last option works great when I’m in the driveway on my own hoop.  It doesn’t work so well when I go out to the Y and play even a pickup game.  If dunking is my goal I have to step up my game.  I have to go to the mountain.

Today the mountain came to the miner.

CCP released a devblog, lots of good stuff for frigate lovers, new destroyers, and big changes to mining barges.

  • Procurer/Skiff: primarily made for self-defense. Better mining rate than the ORE frig, good ore bay, but capable of having battleship-like EHP.
  • Retriever/Mackinaw: made for self-reliance. Has the largest ore bay, similear to the size of a jet can, second best mining output but less EHP than the procurer mining barge.
  • Covetor/hulk: ore bay is identical to its current cargo hold, little to average EHP, but best mining output. Basically made for group operations when players have industrials and protection to back them up.

This seems to be a response to forum whines about the survivability of mining ships.  Rather than players relying on themselves to make themselves better, or by banding together to work as a team, CCP has handed them ships that greatly increase the capability of miners to operate solo.  Let’s assume that a decently tanked hulk sits around 20k EHP.  A Procurer/Skiff with “Battleship-Like EHP” will likely end up with a MINIMUM of 50k EHP and probably 70-80k EHP.  Assuming a retriever/mack sits in between we are talking 35-50k EHP.  This gives miners greater resilience against ganks fine, they are happy for about a week.

Here’s the problem

The gankers will adjust.

This isn’t a solution.  This is a band-aid.  This fixes the symptoms.  The disease is still there.  The disease is the lack of adaptability in the mining community.  Lowering the basket makes it physically possible to dunk.  If I want to do it in a game there’s one other consideration.  If someone stands in front of the rim they can block you and no amount of lowering the rim will help you.  You have to deal with the other player.

You have to deal with the other player.

You Have to deal with the other player.

THE OTHER PLAYER.

THE OTHER PLAYER!!!!!

Because this is a Massively Multi-PLAYER game.  If your problem is the way in which other players play the game then you have to adjust how you play the game.  This might reduce he impact of some ganking strategies, it might make it possible for you to dunk, but it doesn’t make it impossible to get blocked.

I’m using it every time I can

Let’s Take it From the Top

Winning a war in EvE happens most often because one thing happens.  One side breaks and stops fighting.  It may look different in different areas, wormholes becoming abandoned, highsec entities evaporating in the solar wind, lowsec alliances shattering, nullsec evacuation parties complete with sexy freighter ganks.

What has evolved more than a little is the means of bringing about this final collapse, what causes the breaking point to be passed.  Traditionally it’s taken either crushing defeats, where an alliances will to fight is shattered, like the battle of D-GTMI; or the more subtle ennui where a combination of factors has decayed an entities ability to the point where it collapses as much under its own weight as under the guns of its’ foes.

These two are also very much in evidence in real-life warfare.  Either a climactic battle that breaks the power of one struggle, or a slow grind into oblivion.  Recently we’ve seen a new strategy emerge.  Decapitation.  The U.S. has engaged in drone strikes against suspected Al Qaeda leaders.  I’m not qualified to comment on the legality and it would probably be unwise for me to comment on the morality of the strikes.  I don’t think the effectiveness is too easily measured at this point, but it can’t have a good effect on the Al Qaeda leadership network to constantly have to replace top-echelon leaders.

These kind of strikes work best under a few circumstances.  First you have to be able to target people effectively, identifying people, their locations.  Second you have to be able to get assets into position to make a strike.  Third you have to consider yourself more or less immune to these kinds of strikes yourself.

Let’s go back to EvE shall we?  What often causes problems in an entity is a leadership crisis.  Leadership folks that cannot act effectively for whatever reason completely destabilizes the entity they lead.  One line you will see over and over on EN24 when talking about failcascades is “Leadership seemed uninterested and disconnected,”  or “Events were disorganized as leadership could not seem to handle the situation.”  Leadership crises often cause massive problems up and down an alliance’s power structure.

Now on to The Mittani.  If there has been a message he has brought to EvE for the last few months it has been “Wherever you are, we can find you,” and he’s made it clear his enemies are indeed vulnerable.  Now let’s talk about who his enemies are.  Goons are as much a playstyle as an alliance, and their enemies are as much metagame foes as they are in-game foes.  His Ministry of Love has been formed to fight this war.  Just as the US uses drones and special forces to hunt an enemy that no longer meets them in the field, Goons are using Miniluv to deal (in)justice to their foes from the forums.  Forum-whiners, Bloggers, Podcasters, anyone who doesn’t fit the message they bring is a target.  Screaming whining entitled forum bitch?  Probably making the list.  CSM rep preaching against the message?  On the list.  Talking about the “Chin-Pussy” hope your alts are unknown to Goons.

Goons have to have an enemy.  They are a chaotic whirlwind of emotion, and they crave enemies to fight to justify their feeling of persecution.  There really isn’t a good enemy to fight outside of -A- & co right now, and CFC leadership wants to milk tech for all it’s worth, so they are chasing ideological enemies.  Of course their ideological enemies aren’t in nullsec at the moment, so Miniluv was born.  To carry out leadership strikes in this war against their enemies who don’t hold space.  How will they fight?  Wardecs if they are bored, or the target is exceptionally weak.  Infiltration/Awoxing for some, and ganks for others.  Wardecs would be the old school, armies grinding nations to dust.  Ganks are the drone strikes, and Infiltration would be the viral attacks on Iran that absolutely positively didn’t come from anyone we know about.

I’m using it every time I can

How’d You Expect That to Work?

Soo with the new update to Faction Warfare CCP has decided that all the rewards will go to the attacker.  The incentive to defend is to not get locked out of stations in systems and to maintain your current LP store standing, oh and hold onto those extra R&D slots you installed in the stations in that lowsec system you carried your BPOs to.

You don’t get LP, you don’t get much, if any standing, and per Susan Black who I trust to know a little more about FW than I do, you gain less System Control % for defending a plex than an attacker does for attacking it.  That means that in the time it takes me to run the 300 odd systems to regain full control of a system, I could have taken over 2 systems and gained the additional LP store bonus for total control of the whole thing.  Never mind the PvP aspect, which is ostensibly what the whole FW system is about.

This creates a situation somewhat similar to Castle swapping in WoW or the Ilum dailies in SWTOR.  The biggest difference is that there is at least a modicum of a reason to protect a system.  2 in fact.  1 so you can dock up, which people don’t worry about because they can base safely in highsec anyway, and 2 you maintain your overall control.  The system itself just doesn’t have much importance unless you happen to have stuff in station in it.  Even maintaining overall control seems dubious.  I could maintain control of one system, or I could lose it, and use the effort I would have spent regaining control of that system to take 2 other systems, one to make up for the one I lost, and 1 to put me ahead.

This assumes you have systems you can take of course, but here’s the catch, if I’m a plexer, and if there’s no systems I can take, I WANT YOU TO TAKE SYSTEMS.  I get no further reward for being great, and while there may be phenominal discounts at the LP store, it’s hard to take advantage of them without LP.

Defenders need rewards, attackers should get higher rewards, but defense should get something.  If a General told you “Hey look, Mexico invaded.  We lost San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas, but we took Mexico City, Tijuana, Mexicali, Tampico, Cancun, Cozumel, Santa Sosalina, AND La Paz, we’re WAY ahead on points!” you’d smile at him, shake his hand and go call for the guys with the hug-me jackets.  That’s a ridiculously stupid way to fight a war, but that’s what CCP is motivating pilots to do.  If the Caldari give up on Manjonakk and instead capture Ashitsu and Enaluri, they’ve come out way ahead on LP and on standings.

Of course there is something of a counter to this.  People that want PvP tend to want fights they have a degree of confidence in.  They want to get the easy kills and have time to plan if something nasty shows up.  This means that the hardcore PvPers have incentive to hang around systems that need defense.  They can score some easy kills picking off the odd Plexer hunting easy LP, and earning a few LP themselves.

Defense needs rewards, defense wins championships and without some tangible reward for defense, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get anyone motivated to do more than shoot people trying to run plexes.

I’m using it every time I can

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