Category Archives: Blog Banter
So yeah, it’s been a minute. A lot of things have gone on, both good and bad, in real life. The short short version is I’ve unsubscribed for a short list of reasons, but believe me I’ll be watching EvE and rejoining the Greatest Gaming Community at some point in the future.
On to the Banter
There is no finer spectacle in the universe of EVE Online than the explosive dance of weapon-laden spaceships in combat. The yearly Alliance Tournament is the jewel in EVE Online’s eSports crown and the upcoming New Eden Open should deliver the same gladiatorial entertainment showcase.
Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike?
eSports is one of those fads that looks to be hanging around. Frankly I think it’s GREAT for gaming as a whole. EvE Online is not gaming as a whole. EvE Online is such a Balkanized, Byzantine mess of politics and backstabbing that, frankly, I think EvE-like should replace both of those adjectives. This doesn’t mix well with eSports. The greatest alliance tournament matches for most of the community to watch were things like Star Fraction disassembling BOB, the last match at AT IX, the games where the meta game didn’t so much peek through as much as it came SCREAMING TO THE FOREFRONT with the presumptive level playing field crying limply from the meta games’ bloody jaws.
The problem is if you want to attract sponsors they want to know things are above board. They want a presumption of fairness and equality. They don’t want EvE, they want EvE-light. They want a clean, pure version of a game that revels in muck and wallows in filth. EvE isn’t about what happens in space ships. It’s about what happens in smokey (chat) rooms, it’s about what happens between the lines, in E-mails and EvE mails, in skype calls and phone calls, on TS and Vent, battles are won and lost in-game. Wars are won offline. In tournaments individual matches CAN be won in-game, but most were decided long before the ships start moving.
Now I’m not saying EvE doesn’t need some sort of Arena, but I am saying that creating one and holding it up as “THIS is EVE ONLINE!” is disingenuous at best, and even misses the point of the game; although it certainly would be interesting to see a rise of currently unaffiliated “factions” all about battling it out in a “meta-enabled” gladiatorial arena, this approach seems to not be held in favor by CCP, likely as they feel it would not be nearly as appealing to sponsors. Because surely there’s never been a major arena based organization with blatantly unfair matches, frequently scripted events and stoylines so complex the writers from Dallas started taking notes.
Wait, what’s that? It’s the Undertaker’s music!
Wouldn’t it be great to have arena matches that represented EvE? Not some idealized version of the same system. Actual EvE. Backstabbing, plotting, treachery and sudden swift strikes completely upsetting the carefully prepared odds books? I’d love it.
P.S. I will be posting more here, about gaming in general, both table top and online.
P.P.S. Orakkus and James 315 better be getting spots on the blog pack soon. Sadly it looks like there will soon be quite a few openings.
P.P.P.S. congrats to Roc for getting EvE and gaming in general some great press. I may not like his blog too much and have even attacked him a time or two, but credit where it is due, he has made EvE look better this week.
“With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the best and the worst for EVE Online?”
As I recently mentioned, CCP has had a real mixed bag of expansions and patches. I think I have two favorites. Apocrypha and Crucible. I’m betting I’m not the only one homing in on those two either.
Apocrypha was probably the most ambitious expansion EvE had. 4 new ships, and entire new class of space, entirely new mechanics. DOZENS of new ship configurations to balance (or not) the skill queue, attribute respecs, and the new fitting screen. All in all a HUGE expansion; albeit spread out over a couple patches. This expansion changed the way I played EvE. I tried wormholes, got my first capital ship kill, messed around with T3 ships, oh and NEVER AGAIN HAD TO WAKE UP AT THREE A.M. TO CHANGE A SKILL. EVAR.
The new fitting window, the skill queue and wormholes themselves would have been fascinating. The Tech 3 ships, the Attribute respecs, and the epic mission arcs drove it further up. Apocrypha was a masterpiece for CCP an ambitious project that paid off richly. Apocrypha took EvE from being a game one endured as much as played, and made it one it was possible to truly enjoy.
I like to call Crucible “The Expansion that Saved EvE” and it’s no exaggeration to call it that after the Summer of Rage. CCP had driven the player base to the edge of revolt, and then drove it over. The list of changes made on Crucible is staggering. Just from the standpoint of graphics there’s the V3 graphics, nebulae, new captains quarters, and engine trails. New Battlecruisers, new neocom, new rookie ship designs, assault frigate rebalancing, watch list changes, and easier overheating. The list goes on and on and on, all of it stuff practically designed to bring back and calm the raging capsuleers.
Crucible was an example of low-hanging fruit being reaped by CCP. Years of backlog of iteration and quality of life fixes cleared out in one expansion. Crucible took the door to enjoyment opened up by Apocrypha and slammed it wide open. A more responsive, beautiful game, fewer session timers, more ships and improvements made to older ones that needed it. This expansion made EvE a joy to play.
First: Theme music
2nd: Yes it’s a CSM post. Blog Banter > my silly promises.
Right now the CSM consists of literally the biggest “Killers, Thieves and Lawyers” with backers enough to walk across their backs to Iceland.
The biggest issue they run into is that they are billed as something of a governing body. They don’t set policy, They aren’t the arbiters of justice. The Council of Stellar Management manages nothing. This does make managing expectations a little difficult. Up until about mid summer of 2011 this CSM was not exactly high on peoples rankings. Especially when the Summer of Rage broke and they appeared powerless. During the Summer of Rage the people on the CSM managed to channel all the anger of the player base and use it as leverage, the Devs were much more inclined to listen to the CSM, as much out of CCP desperation as anything. Suddenly the reviled CSM became beloved. Now they are expected to cure cancer. Let’s reel this in now.
CSM 7 should be the last CSM. Let’s replace it with the Stellar Advisory Council. The Stellar Advisory Council will have 6 different focuses. Nullsec Representative, Wormhole Rep, Low-Sec Rep, Highsec Rep, Industrial Rep, and 3rd party development/media rep.
Each focus would have two people. Ideally they would come from different groups. Individuals planning on voting would declare two “focus” groups DURING THE NOMINATION PROCESS. Once you have declared a focus you will be voting in that election. For example I’d declare Low-Sec and 3rd Party / media. In addition to, while declaring for the election, characters must (of course) pick a focus to run for. CCP will vet this. If Mittens wants to run as a Highsec or Wormhole Rep CCP can take a look at his game activity, position and roles and say, “nuh uh, change it or lose eligibility” assuming they don’t just strip your eligibility for the election to punish shenanigans.
The Fanfest trip is still granted to the top X vote getters, with additional seats given to specific members CCP needs to speak. Onus on CCP here. In addition, consultations will be less high profile. The devs should pull in everyone over the course of the year, but a lot of the consultations can be handled with trips to the nearest offices, to meet with relevant people. There’s no point having the Wormhole and Highsec guy spinning their chairs in the back of the room or playing on their phones while the Nullsec and Industrial guys come up with a plan for player built stations to get more industrial clout.
There will still be 1 big annual summit with the big 6 (top vote-getter for each category) with topics broken up by “CSM at-large” categories, things that will change the entire game, and topics for smaller “working groups” so that once the “big picture” stuff is out of the way the working groups can focus on the issues of their constituents with the dev teams working in their arenas.
Finally… I DEMAND that the SAC be given fancy hats to wear at all their public appearances.
Blog Banter 33: The Capsuleer ExperienceLike mana from Valhalla (yes I know I’m mixing my religious metaphors), the latest Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him “…we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’” and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on “…where and why people lose interest in EVE…”.
“We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems.”
2x Standard Missile Launcher I
Warp Scrambler I
Small Shield Booster I
Power Diagnostic System I
Every race gets something similar active tanked, nothing blingy, just straight up get in there and pew pew.
You are directed to go help secure a wreck that has components to repair your stargate home. This mission takes place in a new feature. The Arena. On entering the arena the player is added to one of two fleets. I should point out all new players in EvE will be sent to the same system to ensure that the arena isn’t dead, and there should be advisors in system as well to help out. Upon joining this fleet you have kill rights on all people on the other side. Go crazy folks, after a certain amount of time in the area, or upon losing your ship, or scoring a certain number of kills your mission completes letting you get back to business. The goal isn’t to make stone cold killers, it’s to keep people from panicking when they see red on their overview.
Each mission spawns a new ship from here on out.
The next mission is a bit more directed. You are sent to a site where another player is guarding a can. You steal from the can and place it into your own container for pickup. Hijinks ensue.
The next mission? Go out, blow up some rats and guard a can until it gets picked up. You will NEVER GUESS what happens next.
Both of these complete for both players when a player ship gets wrecked in the site.
The purpose of these two missions is to familiarize players with can mechanics and point out just how unsecure they are.
The penultimate mission will be a tutorial in how to escape being podded. It will talk about session change timers, aggression timers, and all the fun factors that keep you from jumping or docking. You will be sent in to another ambush. When you land, scram frigs, cruisers, BS or two. The frigates will be on top of you, the others closing fast. CONCORD will communicate that they are unable to respond in time, and to prepare for pod ejection by selection a celestial and warping away (spamming the button if necessary) as soon as the ship is destroyed. Once the player has escaped they are directed to land on the station, at this point they get a shuttle, a certificate, a decent isk reward for the whole chain and a bookmark to a working stargate back to the “normal” tutorial system.
Obviously it is a rough idea, it will need some refinement, but I don’t get paid for this. CCP’s Player Experience team does. Make it happen gents!
“A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons’ Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an “opt out of PvP” option.
Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?”
If you know anything about me you can see this coming a mile off. If you don’t, and judging by the number of people I have coming from Ripard against older readers, you might not, I am a bit abrupt on this topic.
You can already opt-out of PvP.
If you don’t hit that button, they can’t blow up your ship. Whine all you want, EvE is a PvP game. Everyone vs. Everyone.
Of course your market orders will still get undercut, you will fall for scam contracts. Your spreadsheets won’t predict the spike in prices of the commodity you dumped, in short, if you don’t want pvp in any form: Click Here.
P.S. if you like that game let me know, we really do want to review it on my podcast on Don’t Stand in the Fire.
In my post “Assumption of Risk” I talked about how risk is part of EvE, and that portion is diminishing. Poetic Stanziel the brought some light to EvE-University’s contribution to the issue. I am operating under the assumption that EvE Online is a PvP-centric game. If I wanted to play Hello Kitty Online I’d find out the URL and start playing that. You assume a certain level of risk when you PvP flag yourself in any game. Not many people know what the PvP flag looks like in EvE so allow me to show you what it looks like.
EvE is getting away from this. Frankly I think we might see the last highsec killmail sometime in the next 18 months at the rate CCP is going. The changes to wardec mechanics make it so that they really aren’t worth the trouble. Changes to ganking that are already on SiSi indicate that harsher penalties for highsec ganks might be in the cards. I don’t want this, other PvPers don’t want this, and PvE players don’t want it either. With less PvP there is less demand for ships and modules, with lower demand, there is lower prices and profits, and with lower prices and profits people, especially those buying plexes, cannot afford to play the game.
So I’m going to improve things in part by rolling back changes. Decshields – Gone, Refunding ships for people who undocked with a timer – Gone, Warnings before repping people who have aggro – Gone (although you will get a replacement warning when someone with an aggro timer joins your fleet.)
The wardec mechanics will change completely. Voting timers are gone. As soon as there is a majority, BAM sanctionable action. When you go to start a dec you have to decide what kind of war you are creating. I envision a system where there are different objectives and conditions that, when met, make the war cheaper to renew (or end it if the defenders are successful.) In addition the dec sticks to the corp, if they join an alliance then the alliance gets involved, if they drop, the dec against the alliance drops and the dec against the corp sticks.
Finally – neutral reppers. It’s over. You can’t stop neutral scouts, covops, whatever. But neutral repping is done. Doesn’t work anymore, if someone is at war CONCORD blocks you from repping.
Station games are another thing on my shit list. We need a station window, and to change how docking timers work. I’ve made suggestions before on this and while it’s not a perfect list, it is better than what exists now as far as problems. I’d also change the “skin” of stations so that your distance from the station is measured by… your distance from the station not the weird bubbles we have now. EVERY station becomes a kickout MUAHAHAHAHA.
So yes better highsec PvP (for me.) That’s what I’d do.