Category Archives: Things I think I think
Sorry for being out. Work is picking up and it’s likely this whole quarter will be like this. Still and all I need to post MOAR. Especially when I’m up to about 20 drafts.
BUT ENOUGH OF THIS. Let’s talk about spaceships. Specifically, how fast they warp. Battleships went from 30ish seconds in warp (not counting align time) to 50+ not including your align time. That means that we’re talking around 2 minutes a system at an average of 20 AU. Longer warps take longer of course, and this is gonna change some things. I’m gonna talk about travel first.
Travelling is going to take longer. This is going to have a couple big effects. First: Taxi Titans are even more important. It’s hard to make a change that doesn’t help Goons but this one… it helps goons a lot. They can move heavier fleets faster than anyone especially on their home turf because they can ferry people with titans easily. That makes this a supercap buff in my book. They are that much more essential and the people that have them will profit more for it.
Fleet comps will have to be more diverse. Tackle will be essential as BS simply won’t arrive on the field with enough time to tackle anything. Just throwing in some dictors and logis probably won’t cut it. FCs and doctrine bunnies will have to look hard and how much they need. Also having squadrons that can go out and pin an enemy on the field, mix it up with them, while you get your hammer out is going to be important.
The nightmare in all this is coordination. Presumably fleets will still warp at the speed of the slowest ship. That part is easy, but getting your tackle out there moving at one speed, some heavier tackle out there at another, your battleships out there at yet another and god HELP you if you have to move caps within a system. Although as slow as they align that’s hardly new.
Planning and preparation is going to be huge. HUGE. The kind of operational planning that Goonswarm has long excelled in will be even more important once we cross the Rubicon. Alliances are going to find moving fleets to attack far more complicated, and even defending with a heavy fleet will likely cause far more issues than today. Oh and forget catching up in a BS. Not gonna happen. Unless you want to bring an inty, be on time. Inty pilots feel free to show up three hours late and buy your ship whenever because apparently you are a combination of fast as shit and unstoppable. Seriously.
There will be more consequences, intended and unintended. These are my first glance reactions.
And yes I do know there’s current CCP Financials. If you are really lucky I’ll hit that Thursday.
So this weekend I was in the Twin Cities. I stopped by the Games Workshop store up there. MANY years ago my long-suffering family took me to the one in… Seattle? Vancouver? Somewhere where it rains a lot. The place was amazing. Huge. Well stocked. Knowledgeable staff. Laid out far better than the local gaming stores nearest me. I was able to get a whole unit of Engineer Outriders, which were nearly impossible to acquire in any conventional manner available to a teenager way back then. If I was even a teenager.
Fast forward to Saturday. We get there, GF looks over the Eldar, the plan is to at least get her HQ (Farseer with retinue, or an avatar) and maybe some troops. Only… there’s no Avatar, and they only have the solo farseer sans retinue. The one staffer working there comes over, I ask him what’s the haps. Turns out they are direct order only. Even for GW stores. Now I’ve heard a bit about direct order. More on that in a minute. I didn’t realize that it applied even to GW stores. Then I started looking at the shelves. Almost NONE of the direct order line that I know of was on the shelves at all. Nothing. Period. Bupkis.
I’m not sure if this is just that store or what, but they don’t stock a TON of GW product because it’s not part of the core line. That’s lousy. Then I started to look over the store itself. I am blessed to have a place near me as good as Mayhem Comics of Des Moines. No they don’t give me a discount either. The place is big. Well lit, spacious walkways (which is important when gamers seem to grow side-to-side every year) attractive displays and a HUGE games room. The only place I think the GW store had a match was the quality of the staff. The gentleman there on Saturday was top notch. Knew the product line, had the answers, and as I observed him dealing with other customers he was extremely personable, and a great salesman and an ambassador. Seriously GW that guy needs to be doing more for you than working at/managing a shop.
But the GW shop was still smaller, less well equipped, and less well staffed with only one guy there on a Saturday, with an Army Book releasing that day. It lacked the massive game room, shelves and shelves of terrain, and additional stock that the folks at Mayhem keep on hand. When it comes down to encouraging the hobby, Mayhem does a better job than a GW store in addition to selling other products and even other wargames.
Now about that direct order system. From what I understand: Direct Order is a subset of products that aren’t as common, and aren’t considered in as much demand. Stores are strictly limited in how much they can order in a given month, and it’s a harsh limit. If you need a lot of this stuff, well, your customer will have to order from GW directly. This is in addition to GW limitations to online shopping from 3rd parties, which is effectively total.
Now lets add this to GW’s litigious nature. GW would sue a cockroach for infringement if it grew a birthmark that looked like an aquila. The very popular site Beasts of War has been hammered frequently with cease and desist letters. Their partner, Wayland Games, would be massively affected should GW hammer Beasts of War. Beasts of war is in kind of a unique spot. Located with Wayland they can probably hit GW staffers with water balloons given a proper slingshot during their lunch break, and as one of the largest and most visible online reporters of wargaming news, they are frankly very large, and very hard to ignore for GW. It’d be about as subtle as the Red Sox owners putting in a billboard showing playoff results across the street from the Steinbrenners house. Tough to ignore.
Side note: Red Sox Nation, can we make that happen?
Now I’m not questioning GW’s right to protect their proprietary information. I’m questioning their judgement. They certainly have the right and some level of responsibility when it comes to protecting their info. I’m actually not even going to question their judgement at this point. It’s a bad fucking idea to do it in the manner they do. Stores are ambassadors for their product as well as outlets for sales. Online news sites drive demand for their products above and beyond what GW manages with their own website and youtube videos. This would be the equivalent of CCP slamming every single blog, podcast, vlog, or news site that uses their copyrighted material no matter how it was used. This would be like CCP going after me, the person sitting in this chair, with lawyers and all, for linking a video of one of their trailers. Literally. GW has gone after people that linked their own public videos.
The worst ambassador for GW is GW. Their stores are slipshod affairs. Their legal team is voracious and out of control. Their pricing is nonsensical. I could probably name 50 people who could do a better job running the company than they are and for once it’s not hyperbole. Those of you that have dealt with them in the past are probably nodding your heads.
They make great games. They make gorgeous miniatures, and the stores that carry them are worthwhile endeavors. I’ve played the game since you could get 30 marines for 30 bucks. I just wish the company at the top of the pyramid was less grimdark and more open and engaging.
So EvE Online is a game where the overwhelming majority of content is generated by the players. There just isn’t a lot that CCP has added to change the way the game is played that hasn’t been dwarfed by what players already did dating back to the addition of Incursions. There’s been adjustments, but for the most part players have been in the drivers seat. For two and a half years. With the same fundamental toolbox, and the same fundamental map until earlier this year. Now things are shifting. And CCP is kicking this boulder down the hill hard.
Ripard’s footnote about moons not being conflict drivers is interesting but I think he’s too close in. I think moons are meant to be a different kind of conflict driver. Renting space is how the big boys play, and will for a while, Moons will sit in between them and pure PvE moneymaking done in other arenas. CCP wants to create fights that aren’t CTAs, they want fleets that aren’t hundreds strong battling it out, and they see these mobile structures as a way to create a new type of combat. This gives the small fry a way to poke, harass and set traps for the big boys, and especially for their renters. I imagine the likes of Noir, R&K and Rote Kapelle are already looking at new and interesting ways to ruin unsuspecting folks weekends.
This patch seems aimed at finding a way for people to punch above their weight. Rather than continuing the rich get richer until their own weight/malaise/incompetence crushes them CCP wants to give the middleweights a tool that lets them set the table their way, and fight their way. Maybe they can’t topple the big boys, but they can apply pressure their own way, and in a meaningful way, not just killing afk ratters during CTAs. Stealing resources that go to the alliance. Even if moons aren’t the biggest income, they are important. Temporary bases in ratter space dropping property values faster than a KKK rally during an open house. Making small war on big people possible. Will it work? Probably not at first. And that’s why I’m not terribly sanguine about this. This patch will need constant updating. CCP will need to iterate and build on it. And that’s not what they do. I hope CCP will do it. I hope they will break with what they have done in the past. I hope they will take a good idea and keep working on it, keep building on it, and make it so the promise and the delivery match up.
So one of my pet peeves in table top games is this race to play the largest point value possible. In Warmahordes it’s 50 points or bust. In Warhammer it’s 2000+ or it’s pointless. In 40K it’s 1850 or more or you are wasting peoples’ time. These games are played on a fairly small surface. 40k is played on a 6′x4′ table, and the table is almost always COVERED in terrain. Fantasy tends to be on a larger table but even then there’s so much terrain, and so much of it impassable, that you cannot run a big army on the table without being completely crowded in. This isn’t that much of a problem to me. What is a problem is that the gamers invariably complain about the impossibility of moving their army.
So, how do you get more space? Play a small damn army you whiny bastards! No seriously, you sound like Captain Renault closing down Rick’s in Casablanca
The answer to the problem of moving massive armies through extremely tight terrain is: DON’T. Don’t race to the massive point values. Play them once in a while or two. Play them as part of a campaign. Make it an Event with the capital letter. I’m not saying don’t revel in the pageantry, I’m just saying that there’s a reward for smaller games.
You could play 3 1000 point battles in the time it takes to make it through a single 2000 point battle. You can fine tune your tactics with single units, and see how they perform in certain situations, and you have an excuse to be terrible, because luck is a MUCH larger factor in a 1000 point game. A single turn of good shooting or combat is much more likely to cause the game to turn. A single bad move can save or wreck your battle. But it’s a lot of fun! You have to go without a unit that is normally part of your fine-tuned 2000 point threshing machine.
So mix it up. Play at a thousand. Play at 1500. Heck push some tables together and play at 3000 or 4000 once or twice. 2000 or whatever can be fun, but mix it up. Try something different, don’t bury the table in minis and wonder why you can’t move.
So CCP made their announcement today. Rubicon sure looks like a sexy patch. I’m gonna run down the list here:
In a little less than a month we will see
We all love new ships. New designs and SEXY designs.
That’s a ship I’d fly even if it WASN’T armor and drone bonuses. And yes that’s what it seems to be. This not only fills a MUCH needed gap in the basic racial combination grid as far as faction ships (calling Sisters “Pirates” seems a bit odd) but also brings a completely new flavor to the basic designs. I can’t wait to see what they do with Calmatar ships now.
Marauders is old news, but fun. Inties and Dictors are neat, and the Inty changes to being more mobile in every sense of the word seem awesome. EAFs aren’t mentioned on the website but I do hope they make it in as TM.com has said. Dictors should pose an interesting challenge. These are already essential ships, but at times they seem ridiculously defenseless and at others they seem incredibly powerful. Maybe it’s the mark of them already being decently balanced as a class, but some of them REALLY need a balance pass to be useful for something other than planting a bubble.
Oh, we get to take over highsec POCOs now. Maybe NOW we’ll see some action in highsec wardecs. Come to think of it… we may have a new career out there for people that want to do that. I like less NPC action, and I like more pew pew. That means I have to give this two thumbs up even if it means a crap ton of structure shoots right?
Mini structures we can haul around to do things for us. Other than bubbles I mean. This is NOT a new idea. In fact it probably pre-dates virtually the entire CCP dev team at this point. I bet they think they came up with it all on their own. I really like the “Yurt” and there’s gonna be a lot of tactical shifts based on the cyno stuffer. Hot dropping people just got tougher, that’s for sure. Also you can make a profitable raid just knowing where the good moons are. This will give small gangs a lot more utility, and provide some bonuses to larger gangs, although not as much as they tend to have all those resources with them already if they want. I do like the concept though. We shall have to see how it plays out.
My main account is currently unsubbed. This isn’t news to those that know me I’m guessing. I’m not done with EvE. I probably won’t be done until the servers shut down. I am burnt out a bit and enjoying other games and activities too much to play though. I’ll certainly burn a plex around patch day. Whether it will keep me for more time than that remains to be seen. CCP has been all over the place recently, and there seems to be a lack of understanding between the players and the staffers on the culture of the game. I want the players to win but they don’t hold the levers of power so we shall see where that goes and whether I dive back into the game with my cutlass in my teeth or remain an observer looking in.
So CCP had an interesting interview regarding the battle of 6V. Especially with regards to the technical side and TiDi. As many people (myself included) have said; the bottom line is we’ve passed the point where the EvE game client + the current technology can handle loads players are putting on it. The inability to take advantage of multithreaded cores and the way that technology has developed away from CCP’s needs has brought us to the point where nearly any coalition can bring more ships than any server can handle.
I’ve already talked about how CCP needs to develop the technology and the programming to handle this, but it looks like it’s very basic architecture level. That’s a lot of work to fix. A ridiculous lot. The bottom line is they really don’t have the ability to fix things at that level in any kind of timely fashion. Especially as CCP Veritas said (cribbing in the whole interview bit)
TMC: With this battle, do you think that EVE has reached a limit of what TiDi can do for it? Is it time to look for new hardware or new ideas?
CCP Veritas: I’m going to say an answer, and you’re not going to like it. Then I’m going to say some more words, and you’re going to like it. Ready? The answer to your question is no. That’s because the answer for it was nine months ago, and that’s when I started looking at performance again.
So I’m guessing CCP has made progress, and has gotten themselves to where they at least have the project going. The problem is they are chasing a community that has passed them. This is not a good strategy, this was a forseeable problem, and there should be a nearly constant team working on it to bring solutions about before they are needed, not 9 months after the fact. Fleets will expand to fill the infrastructure that the game contains, and then go +1. That’s the EvE way.
So there’s two kinds of infrastructure, the nuts and bolts of the actual game, that is, the code and hardware that runs the code which we’ve clearly overrun and then there’s the actual gameplay mechanics that bring fleets together.
Fleets can jump using Titan Bridges to Cynos skipping intervening gates, arriving rapidly straight onto the battlefield. The most powerful ships in the game are frequently relegated to the role of Taxis. The Erebus should be in interbus colors for all the ferrying it does. I’m all for the Titan having it’s bridge sharply limited. Have an upper mass limit of what can go through, then a cooldown equivalent to the old Titan Doomsday cooldown. Sure they can use more titans to get fleets moving, but how many Titans do you want sitting crippled even in the safety of a POS? This would make it harder to move numerous fleets around. It’s a brute-force solution, but it’s better than watching 4k people struggle with the client for 6 hours.
The other big thing is looking at the objectives and strategy. Right now there’s huge timers for big structures that attract massive fleets. There’s no incentive to split your fleet as it A) runs counter to strategy by splitting your offensive and defensive power, and B) slows down your actual attack and completion of the objectives. But what if we could change B? What if there were smaller objectives in every constellation, rather like FW bunkers, that gave the controller an advantage in fights elsewhere? Having secondary objectives for every battle would be fantastic. Perhaps a nerf or buff to structure hitpoints, added or subtracted range to capital jumps/bridges. Make each battle a series of interconnected parts, rather than dueling steamrollers.
Anything other than “+1″
So the battle of 6V had another subplot. Would the system hold up? The answer is an absolute and completely unqualified “sorta” and I really mean that. First I want to talk a bit about pre-Tidi EvE. Before TiDi battles were crazy. Things worked well up to a point, then as they got worse things cascaded, and generally if your alliance got two full fleets into a system first the battle was over. Period. The other side wouldn’t even be able to load grid. There were some hardware changes that basically modified the numbers needed to swamp a system, but not what actually happened to the system once it got swapped.
TiDi changed things. By slowing the whole process for everyone by a roughly equal amount the misery gets spread. People jumping in get a chance to load grid as the server doesn’t overload as badly. In theory at least. This creates a very elastic band-aid for the problem. The basic causes are still there, eventually the system can’t handle the load, now it stretches time out to give itself time to deal with the inputs. As long as the load isn’t exceeded the battle progresses. Slowly.
6V exceeded the load. TiDi hit 10% in a system that was as fully reinforced as CCP could make it. Then things got weird. Old Skool weird. Modules not activating. Targets not locking despite showing as locked. Not being able to swap ammo types/scripts. Basically all of a sudden it was like TiDi didn’t exist. All we’d done was move a decimal point to where things broke down. There were reports of people having issues entering the system. Even at a crawl the game wasn’t working right.
So this is it. At 6V the line was reached on what we can expect as far as battle size. The old problems showed back up and over the next year I expect we will meet them more and more often.
So first I want to make the problem worse. Let’s double the number of squads in a wing, and wings in a fleet. That will increase fleets to over 1000 members. This will make forming fleets easier. It will even make it easier for alliances that can’t get 1000 members as they don’t need to find a guy with FC five to get past 200. Now nearly any schlub can do it. This will get big coalition battles happening more often, which is frankly good for EvE.
Second, CCP needs to seriously look at tearing down their infrastructure and starting over. CCP needs to spend resources to acquire servers and develop the software to run on them to allow themselves to sit 10,000 men in a system and not rely on TiDi to paper over the holes. Yes I know that’s a tall order. It might even require developing completely new hardware. I also know that if CCP wants EvE to be more than a 500k-750k person game it needs to happen.
So there were two comments out of the 6V fight that I just cannot agree with. The first one is from the normally brilliant Ripard Teg who believes
that there was some kind of back-channel negotiated peace offered by TEST over the weekend… and the CFC rejected it out of hand. I said last week that Fountain has traditionally been the road to an invasion of Delve. Goons have about a 50/50 success rate at invading Delve.
I have to ask: Why the HELL would Goons invade Delve? They have just come out of a lengthy, painful, but successful war. They still have a LOT of structures to shoot, and probably it will be one helluva grind to get rid of the structures involved. Finally there’s claiming such sov as they do want to, mostly to keep TEST from having easy access to the moons that Goons fought to take. Finally: Goons don’t hate TEST. They don’t want to destroy the alliance, they don’t want to salt their fields. They want to go back to the old relationship where there’s two coalitions and they work in concert. Just with more wealth in the Goons pockets. That’s probably not too realistic but it’s a helluva lot more than expecting Goons to find someone ELSE they want to install in Delve and keep watch over.
Second there’s a gem from Gevlon.
The propaganda of TEST bankruptcy will end just as fast as “N3 is destroyed by the sov-dropping director”. TEST can no longer bankrupt. Moons can be taken, members not. As long as there are members loging in, there will be ISK in the chest, therefore there will be SRP. As long as there is SRP, there will be PvP-er to fly them. As the funds increase, more will be available for “get your first battleship for free” or “hourly pay for structure grinders” or free slowcats.
No. What’s more FUCK no. Depending on the wealthy in your corp or alliance to pay for everything is a bad idea. It’s a historically bad idea. Now that’s not saying I don’t practice it myself, but I’m leading a corp with 20 guys. Doing it for an alliance with 500 times that? TERRIBAD. FUCKING TERRIBAD. It’s a band-aid on an amputated arm. It’s one thing to do this for a single war. It’s another to try to make this policy. The idea that “Moons can be taken, members not” is ridiculous. Members don’t have to be taken. They just have to lose interest. They just have to see their hard earned isk wasted by untalented leadership. They just have to leave the corp. That moon will pump out it’s mud as long as you hook a POS up to it. Depending on your members is like betting on the Battlestar Galactica. Rooting for it? Sure. Betting on it? Fuck no. That bitch is going DOWN. The other side has reliable sources of income and replenishment. Galactica has only what it brought with it and what it can scrounge on the way. Take out the Hollywood element and who wins?
So let’s put these together. TEST has a very precarious, undependable strategy that simply begs to fall apart under pressure, looks like a really tempting target, especially after all the fighting that’s already happened right? Not so fast speedy. The main opponents aren’t TEST. They are ennui, boredom, and motivation. Why the hell do Goons want Delve? What is going to keep them interested in fighting hundreds of structures that don’t shoot back, night after night, for months? How will they keep their members in a region SO far from home for a goal that probably doesn’t interest any of them at all?
So my money is on Goons doing no more than harassing TEST. MAYBE taking a staging station or two. Which is good for TEST because anyone who thinks you can win a war by depending on the kindness of strangers is kidding themselves.