Category Archives: Things You Should Know About

Well That’s a Big Hole to Fill

Ripard Teg has laid down his pen.  Wow.  I have logged into EvE all of three times in the last month but I have kept abreast of the news and this has been huge, and bigger than some people realize.  The EvE blogging community is not as big as it once was, having been largely supplanted by sites like EN24 and TM.com, and many of the big names in the blogging community aren’t active, or aren’t doing a whole lot these days.  Part of the reason is traffic is down.  There used to be sites that would direct readers to blogs, like the old EvE Blog Pack, or Evebloggers (which seems to be kinda back) which could help a fledgling blog get some traffic.  Now you can pimp yourself on Reddit or hope for some publicity from forums or search engines, but there isn’t a lot of incentive to crank out a couple thousand words a week if only 4 people read them (and one is Bex who convos you in game to explain the big words).

Ripard had become the biggest supplier of hits to my site (after Reddit) by a long shot.  He represented nearly 1/3 of my incoming traffic over the last year, not counting Reddit.  His removal at a blow takes the dead center of the blogging community and removes it.  Now the structure is missing it’s strongest pillar and I wonder how long it will be before the roof caves in.  Independent bloggers don’t always add a lot, but their voice, and their unique bias makes them valuable.

And I haven’t even talked about Ripard’s voice.  He was the most prolific, the widest reaching, the most successful, and the 2nd most insightful blogger out there.  Mord Fiddle gets #1 there.  His voice on EN24 gave Riverini a real heavy stick to use to convince people that EN24 was a real deal.  Certainly far more credibility than I ever lent him, or Poetic (who I do hold in high regard).  If I had to make a top 10 or top 50 list of influential or must-read EvE posts my first question would be “How many Jester’s Trek posts can I use” because the top 10 would be JT and Fiddler’s Edge and the top 50 would have maybe 10 from other sources.  Most notably Evoganda, Mabrick’s Mumblings, @gamerchick42, and Nosy Gamer out of the current group.

Ripard Teg owes us nothing.  He has given freely of his time, of his insight and of his prolific writing to the entire community and he has made EvE a better game by his efforts.  Still and all it will be a lesser game, and blogging a lesser community for his absence.  I hope the bug bites him again, and I will now go off in search of a new default “What’s up in EvE today” blog.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

EvE is a Spectator Sport

So if you haven’t heard, there’s a book project on Kickstarter for a book on the history of the major players of EvE Online.  600 people have backed it already, with an average funding of about $22 each.  He’s already beaten his funding goal of $12,500.  Oh and it’s been going for about 8 hours.  Some heavy hitters have already backed it, Mynxee drew my attention to it and it continues to draw attention and support.  I rather suspect TheMittani.com will have a post on it soon and that will bring even more attention.  And filthy lucre.

The first thing I thought after backing it was “I haven’t played EvE in a month.  Why did I just back a book about it” and I realized something that I’ve known in the back of my head for a while.  EvE is a spectator sport.  I love baseball, I play softball.  I love reading.  My writing is a trial.  I love the drama and heights of EvE, but I’m not temperamentally fit to  climb those heights and battle in the arenas that are most interesting to me.  But by god I’ll throw down my hard earned cash to read about the people that do have what it takes.

CCP has created as their main, and only really profitable product, a game that is more entertaining to watch than it is to play for most of even its target audience.  Whether you enjoy the e-sport format of the tournaments, the news sources and outlets, or are eagerly anticipating the new book it seems like a lot of the best parts of EvE simply aren’t in-game anymore.  The problem with this is that CCP doesn’t control the news sources, or the new book.  They do have the graphic novel and apparently some kind of series that will come about because of this, but they need to get ahead of this cart.  They can’t let too many opportunities to make money off this game now that WoD is dead as a doornail.

Just my 2 cents.  I don’t deal in Isk anymore.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Massively Irrelevant

So I noticed the other day that Massively had missed a small story.  It concerned EvE Online.  And it concerned a battle you probably haven’t heard of.  The one where SEVENTY FIVE FUCKING TITANS DIED.  I looked for it, and I looked back and noticed that their coverage has been… very… meh.  I took to twitter and had pointed out to me by @Noizygamer that  Massively doesn’t cover in-game events in EvE.

Um.  What… The… Fuck…

Seriously what’s the point?  CCP Has twitter, facebook, all the social media stuff.  What’s the point of having people presumably being paid to write about EvE.  The problem is they either aren’t allowed to talk about the actual game, or they simply choose not to.  And that’s not ok.  That’s like a food critic going to a restaurant and talking about the kitchen utensils, the wait staff, and the decor, and what kind of restaurant it is, but not mentioning anything about the actual food.  WTF are they paying you for.   Their opinion pieces are tolerable, but I’d much rather see someone giving Mord Fiddle money to write more, or Ripard Teg, or Rixx, or Noizy, and hell while I’m giving other people’s money away I can always use some.

Massively is a neat website, and one I like to check often, but I rarely find a reason to actually hit a story, because… well… they don’t write stories.  They gloss over things, they pass by things, but half the time I’m clicking into a story it’s to go straight to the bottom and click through to the source material because all they seem to do is rehash the source.  That’s not reporting.  I’d rather have an RSS feed that was smart enough to find new MMOs for me when I get bored of EvE.

But as long as we’re talking about what they DO provide, well lets look at some Op Eds.

Brendan Drain’s latest - His research is shoddy, his ideas are stale, and his writing is bare bones.  (Seriously, there were financials put out twice last year.  BRENDAN YOU ARE GETTING PAID TO DO THIS AND I’M NOT!  If you want to report the information you have to dig to find it, and if you did you’d find out their subscription revenue is still increasing - page 9 at the bottom)

I’m just gonna link Fiddler’s Edge because… well… I have no interest in being fair.  Mord has Brendan beaten like a rented mule.  When he talks about details, he has his ducks in a row.

Who do you think deserves a paying job doing this.  Brendan or Mord?  Who would make their company more relevant.  Most importantly: who wants to read more stories that just rehash a press release?

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

They’re Core for a Reason

So Ripard has started “Throwing Grenades” at the Core Skills.  His reasoning behind it is frankly… bizarre.

…but if you think about it, I think you’ll agree it’s still pretty bad.

That 25 million SP or some subset of it consumes anywhere from six months to a year of training… six months to a year in which your sensors are getting 4% stronger or your ship is getting 5% faster or your ability to fit a shield upgrade module is being improved by 5% or your kinetic armor resistance is going up by 5%. They represent a lot of little incremental increases that the bulk of us EVE veterans have come to take for granted and just assume that any character worth anything is already going to have.

These skills provide a very important multiplier that separates people who use them from people who don’t.  Same as Implants, same as Faction ships and ammo.  If there aren’t advantages to be gained then some people won’t have as much of an incentive to keep playing, to keep striving to improve their character across the full spectrum of available advantages.

Yes these skills are going to be tied up in Malcanis’ Law, but as the law points out, it’s rather all-inclusive.  I am a huge fan of easing the curve for new players, but there has to be a curve.  This is what Ripard very notably leaves out.  These skills don’t “Just” provide 2-5% per level to a whole range of ship attributes.  They also gate modules.  Let’s look at two different viewpoints of Hull Upgrades (and yes I’m picking a skill with a lot of modules, deal with it) Ripard merely points out 5% to armor amount, as if that’s all it produces.  Let’s look at a bit more comprehensive view.

  • Level 1
    • Armor Plates 50mm-100mm (T1)
    • Damage Control (T1)
    • Expanded Cargohold (T1)
    • Intertia Stabilizers (T1)
    • Nanofiber Structures (T1)
    • Overdrives (T1)
    • Reinforced Bulkheads (T1)
    • Resistance Plating (T1)
  • Level 2
    • Armor Plates 200mm-400mm (T1)
    • Expanded Cargohold (T2)
    • Intertia Stabilizers (T2)
    • Nanofiber Structures (T2)
    • Overdrives (T2)
    • Reinforced Bulkheads (T2)
  • Level 3
    • Armor Hardeners (T1)
    • Armor Plates 50mm-100mm (T2) 800mm-1600mm (T1)
    • Energized Plating (T1)
  • Level 4
    • Skills – Armor Compensation (All)
    • Armor Plates 200mm (T2)
    • Damage Control (T2)
    • Resistance Plating (T2)
  • Level 5
    • Skills Capital Repair Systems
    • Armor Hardeners (T2)
    • Armor Plates 400mm-1600mm (T2)
    • Energized Plating (T2)

That’s a bit of a difference.  These skills aren’t just boosting core abilities of the players’ ships.  They provide access to modules and playstyles that otherwise aren’t available.  Is it possible to play and enjoy the game without them?  Ask Brave Newbies!

Usually the Slippery Slope argument is a logical fallacy.  The argument when Learning Skills were eliminated was that it was the first step on a slippery slope.  I more or less ignored it, partially because I supported the initiative, and partially because I don’t buy a slippery slope argument when it’s based on one action.  Now we have someone who is smart, capable, and influential arguing for the next step.  Now I’m speaking up.  People shouldn’t be handed access to everything.  Players need to learn to handle the basics, and step up into bigger, more potent ships.  Handing them every module included in these skills, handing them every benefit that older players have earned, devalues it.  It roughly parallels theme parks handing out level-capped toons to new players.  You don’t get more good players by doing it, you get a horde of people who barely understand what they are doing.  Sure things could be fine-tuned, some skills could be rolled together (Armor/Shield compensation being high on the list) but simply lopping off all these skills seems a completely ludicrous idea.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Poetic Tripe

So I found a NEAT POST dating way back on @gamerchick42 and thought I’d steal the idea.

Carebear by Rudyard Kipling

O it’s Carebear this and Carebear that and Carebear wont you shoot?
But it’s “How you doing buddy?” When he’s splitting up the loot.
He’s splitting up the loot my friends, he’s splitting up the loot!
O it’s “How you doing buddy?” When he’s splitting up the loot!

Henry V, by William Shakespeare

By Jove, I am not covetous of isk,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my SRP,
It yearns me not if men my doctrines steal,
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet killmails,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith my coz, wish not a man from Goons
God’s Peace! I would not lose so many a killmail
As one goon more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have.  O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, FC, through my fleets,
That he which hath brought a drake or sebo’d alphaing killmail whore of a ship
Let him depart; his ammo shall be saved
And his participation shall be noted as he were here
We would not die in that man’s company
Who shows up merely to make numbers and steal my killmails.

Wormholes by Alfred Tennyson

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer wormhole.
Jump in, start scanning and cloak up at a safe
Finding sites and moons unoccupied
To find the stars unclaiméd and the orbits
Of the shattered planets until I die
It may be we shall find an unclaimed C5-C5
And meet the great Bob the Wormhole God whom we fear
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Shattered Narwhals, and AHARM, and R&K, that which we were, we are
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
made weak by wormhole death and bad sites but wealthy in wallets
To Scan, to Plex, and never to negotiate!

Cynabal by Lewis Carrol (edited with help from Shootin’ Star)

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy pods
Did skid and tumble in the warp;
All mimsy were the Basilisks,
And the Ishkurs raths outgrabe.

Beware the Cynabal my son!
The points that traps, the guns that smash!
Beware the OGB and shun
The fruminous Thrasher-thrash!

He took his god-tanked Geddon in his hand
Long time the manxom foe he sought
and rested by the Tama gate,
And orbited a while in thought

And as in uffish thought he orbited
the Cynabal came, with MWDs of flame,
Came burning in to land the point
And smacked local as he came

F1, F2! F1, F2! and through and through
The Bane Rage Torps went snicker-snack!
He looted its wreck, and with its loot
Went galumphing back.

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish Carebear!
O frabjous day!  Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy pods
Did skid and tumble in the warp;
All mimsy were the Basilisks,
And the Ishkurs raths outgrabe.

Null Flight

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Empire,
And danced the heavens on tear-streaked wings;
Nullward I’ve raced and joined the tumbling mirth of countless goons
and done a hundred things You would never do
scammed and blobbed and flown in endless CTAs.
Spinning there I’ve spammed local countless systems
and flung my eager craft through airless halls of null.

Ever Deeper into the lawless zones
I’ve ratted the ore-swept belts while AFK,
where never bantam, or even breacher, flew;
and, while with silent, thoughtless mind I’ve shot
the loyal blue in his own space space,
Infuriating my diplo, who cries “WHY GOD?!”.”

I'm using it every time I can
I’m using it every time I can

They Did What? WHEN?

NOPE NOPE NOPE.  INFO FROM CCP’S FINANCIALS HAS CHANGED

MY OUTLOOK ON THIS.  BLOG POST TOMORROW WILL COVER

HOW AND WHY THE BLOG BELOW IS MORE OR LESS COMPLETELY

WRONG.

So we all missed it.  I didn’t see any commentary on it, I didn’t see anyone talking it up much on twitter, even TMC missed the implications on their article about the big plex sale on Amazon.  And I can’t say it’s really THAT surprising, but I’m surprised nonetheless.

First let’s go back to the first blog I wrote that was linked by outside sites.  Here.  The short, short version is: CCP operates off large cash loan that run October – October.  In June 2011 they had gotten so far behind the curve that they didn’t have the money to pay back the loans, and they were losing $500k a month developing Dust 514.  If you look around on my site, or consult your memory, you will find that CCP ended up selling a ton of plex at a discount, and then firing 25% of their staff.

So last week, Amazon put plex on sale.  Big time.  There was even a much smaller discount on CCP’s site.  People cashed in.  The price cratered from 600 Million on 9-24 to 550 million on the 29th.  Currently it has slid back up to 574 million, but a lot of people probably built quite a tidy stockpile of gametime or Plex at a discount.

More importantly, however, this is a big red flag for CCP’s health as a company.  It says that once again, for the second time (at least) in the last three years, CCP has run into a major cash flow problem that prevents them from paying back their loan on time, which would burn their credit rating, and make the next loan much more difficult to acquire.

This one wasn’t as big a shortfall, it didn’t seem to require quite as many drastic measures, but that does not make it less disturbing.  Back in 2011 CCP could have cut off Dust and/or WoD, or severely curtailed them to limit the damage going forward, and they did, as well as cutting down on staff and other drastic measures.  In 2013 Dust is open for business and shuttering it would look just awful, and likely cut off a lot of potential for investments should CCP’s owners want to go that route.  WoD isn’t exactly getting so much money that there’s anything meaningful to cut at this point, and CCP has seen so many devs leave this year that they probably don’t have a lot of fat to trim on that end of the budget.

I may be overstating things, and this year, unlike in 2011, I don’t have CCP’s financials sitting on my desktop letting me look through for the details.  However a sale like this is a bad sign.  A discount that deep means CCP is getting a lot less money in return for getting cash now.  Instead of getting whatever their take is on $50 bucks from amazon, they get their take of $37.50.  A 25% hit, and they still owe 30 days / plex.  Sure not all plex are redeemed for game time, but I bet a lot more are when the isk price drops.  This means CCP knows that rather than getting an average of $16.66 per player plexing, they are going to get $12.50 (minus Amazon’s take) and that they are ok with that as long as it fixes their cash flow problems.  That’s fine, that’s a business decision, but to have to make that decision at the end of September, with loan repayments to make, and in a situation where there’s no really good choices to raise money… No bueno.  No Bueno.

And that’s what we missed.  We missed that CCP is, if not struggling financially, than at least staggering a bit, at a time when their resources to cure that stagger are extremely limited.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Special Delivery

Delivering Damage is huge in games these days.  EvE, your theme park of choice, Warmahordes, Warhammer (40k) you can have the most unbelievably killy bits on the field, but if you can’t deliver them to a range at which they can do damage… you are sucking.

I’m going to talk about a few examples.  The old Megathron was a good example of poor damage delivery.  It could be built into a true monster, but all too often it could be kited and picked apart because it was soooo sluggish and soooo hard to handle for the average pilot.  Not to say you couldn’t accomplish awesome with it, but it was hard.  Harder than it needed to be IMNSHO.

Melee DPS in The Secret World.  One of the most fun Theme Parks out there, Melee DPS was completely useless in endgame because you could barely keep up with the boss, and godforbid you actually caught him because he’d nuke you the fuck down in two seconds.  PAINFUL.  Bad Gameplay design too.

Warmahordes is all about damage delivery.  You have to figure out the perfect way to get troops into the fight intact as many of the attacks are nearly impossible to live through and the game is designed to be incredibly lethal.  Figuring out the perfect way to deliver your melee monsters across the field was the be-all end-all of the game.  Makes for some very interesting strategies.

Warhammer Fantasy focuses on how to deliver damage as well, however things are a bit different in Fantasy.  The field tends to be much more crowded, and the targets are less distinct.  The goal then becomes getting your damage intact, through your screens and the enemy’s screens without it getting crippled or destroyed.  All this on a field replete with Chariots, Artillery, Mages, and Mayhem.  One of the reasons I really love Fantasy is the complexity of the situation.

EvE has made damage delivery quite an art itself.  You want to be as close as possible to make sure the target is tackled hard and in optimal, BUT if you get too close you lose tracking and can’t hit at all.  Range control becomes a huge issue, getting to set up the target the way you want it, whether it be sensor damps, webs, tracking disruptors, you name it.  Fleets handle things differently, depending on warpins and maneuvering to achieve the range the fleet comp is set up for, but whichever side gets to dictate range to allow them to deliver damage their way has a crushing advantage.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Learning to Fly

One of the things I’ve been thinking about with Fancy Hats growing, and growing with new people, is how to advise people on when to get in a bigger ship.  I have my own opinions (naturally) and I thought I’d share them here:

T1 Frigates – ALWAYS fly T1 frigates.  They are fun.

T1 Destroyers – Another great ship for everyone

T1 Cruisers – I’m pretty liberal about hopping in these.  They are a lot of fun as well, much more capable than they used to be, and still pretty cheap.  You want to be fitting some T2 mods before you use them a lot.  Especially tank.

T1 Battlecruisers – Full T2 tank, decent fitting skills, and some secondary weapon skills will all make your first time in a battlecruiser both more enjoyable, and longer than mine was.

T1 Battleshisp – T2 tank, good to great fitting skills.  T2 weapons are a Good Idea.  If you can’t even fit T1 large guns… don’t fly it.

I know that getting into a bigger class of ships is fun and exciting.  It will be that much more fun and exciting when you are skilled enough to enjoy those ships and not watch them ‘splode 20 minutes after you get in.  Again trust me on this.

T2 Frigates – T2 mids and lows.  T2 guns for AFs.

T2 Destroyers – Fully T2

T2 Cruisers – Logistics require excellent fitting skills, HACs absolutely require T2 guns.  AB-SO-LUTE-LY people.  Recons require pretty much all the support skills to be excellent as well.

T2 BCs – Command skills, FULL T2 fittings.

T2 BS – Do I have to mention you really don’t want T1 guns on a Marauder?

Now, a pet peeve of mine

Faction ships deserve T2 guns.  Please people.  I know most offenders are wallet warriors wanting a badass Raven with only 2 million SP, but PLEASE, Faction guns are good, but they are no substitute for T2 guns.  Bring the right tools, do these majestic behemoths justice.  Fit them with the weapons they deserve.

Pirate Faction I’ll even go a step beyond.  With Pirate Faction ships you really should consider some faction tank modules.  Unlike the guns, everything else is usually better faction or deadspace in some way.  Sure you can fully T2 the thing, and you should at least have the SKILLS to do so, but improving a ship by throwing faction on there at this price point is probably something to at least consider.

These are my hard-and-fast rules.  The goal is to prevent players from losing isk by flying ships that they cannot really fly properly, that they cannot protect in combat, and cannot utilize to any extent.  Special pet peeves for people using T1 frigate guns on BS, or somehow flying HACs with a T1 fit.  If you can’t take advantage of the ship’s bonuses to a great extent, you should fly a smaller (but not lesser) ship that you can get more mileage out of.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Rape Culture Fucking Sucks

So the battle’s over.  We won.  We won big because we’re awesome.  We’re big manly men flying invincible internet spaceships and we won against carefully stacked odds that look in their favor but really aren’t.  We raped ‘em.

No.  Wait.  We Didn’t.

You know why?  Because internet spaceships are awesome.  AND RAPE ISN’T!  It’s a simple concept but let’s face it some of us in the TL;DR crowd need pictures.  So I got Rixx to make me some.

It's hip to be square

This poster is also awesome.

By trivializing rape we act permissive towards it.  We pretend that it is not only not a crime, but is, in fact, something to be desired.  No we probably don’t all think that way, but it’s the image we put out and it encourages those who are of a mindset to do this horrible crime, and it’s a deterrent for the survivors of this crime to speak out, to get help.  We tell them it’s trivial.  It’s not a big deal.  You should harden the fuck up and deal with it.

This is wrong.  Rape is a horrible crime, it frequently exacts a lifetime toll on the victims and the victim blaming and shaming can cause even more pain.  And yes saying “We Raped Them” is victim shaming.  It says to rape victims that you are noobs.  That you are bad.  That you should have fought harder.  That you had control of your fate and could and SHOULD have done something.

We need to knock it off.  We are better than this.  We are capable of extolling our victories and coping with our defeats without hurting each other.  We may not always agree with each other but we are one community, the best community in gaming, and we can be better.  We owe it to the survivors in our midst.  We owe it to the survivors among our friends.  We should make ourselves clear to those animals among us that we do NOT tolerate, do NOT condone, and do NOT embrace anything that would comfort and console THEM.

Take it upon yourselves.  Stop using this language.  Stop using Rape as a descriptive term for success.

Gonna use this for a while

Gonna use this for a while

Intelligently Gathering Intelligence

So some of my friends are getting ready to toss out a highsec wardec.  Fun times.  They talked to me for some ideas and we went through the intel gathering process.  This used to be an absolutely arcane process that required time, patience, knowledge, and a lot of luck.  First:  A disclaimer.  This is for highsec wardecs.  Outside of highsec, wardecs make no sense.

The process used to be trolling around their stomping grounds with the corp set red and picking up names, searching battleclinic (and eve-kill) and the forums, to attempt to get names, then checking them in-game.  Dealing with the older battleclinic setup, with it’s far more limited information-gathering tools, to attempt to come up with fittings they use, and devising tactics to use against them.

Now you drop the name into EvEwho and start rolling.  Battleclinic and eve-kill are in far wider use, and offer fantastic tools to gather information, as well as the new zkillboard.  Information can be rapidly assembled and prepared, which leads us to the crux of the matter.  Finally you can see how they react to wards by checking out war reports, as well as seeing what kind of allies they can bring with them.  Now you can get all the information.  Now you can get it all together in an eminently usable form for highsec wardecs.  What do you do with it?

There’s several levels you can go to.  Bare minimum – Figure out who uses what ships.  Plan ships to bring when you see those people on to counter them, preferably something totally debilitating.  This involves basically going through each pilots solo killboard and looking at losses and kills and seeing what they used and how it was fitted if they lost it.  Simple stuff.

Next there’s allies.  Checking to see who usually yarrs in on wars declared on them, and seeing what will be the likely end result of a wardec.  This can involve any and all of the surrounding steps, but should at least involve the previous one.

The next level is to go around their stomping grounds, checking moons for POS Towers, or, as I call them, ISK Pinatas.  The goal is to identify assets that you can force them to fight over, and to figure out just how clever their leadership is, as they should take an interest in highsec POS towers as they are a total pain in the ass to replace, and tend to be rather lucrative.

The next level is a bit more onerous, it usually involves your underemployed people, or your drunken australian friends.  First you find their active times on their killboards, see when they killed with what, then you get your friends to stay on, pay attention and see roughly when people log in and out.  This lets you plan when to be active to take advantage of the enemies’ work/rest cycle and to get them into the fights YOU want them in.

The ideal goal of this process is to go into a battle with the people you want on your side, in the right ships, fighting the right enemies, with confidence in both the hostiles numbers and equipment.  The idea is to not fight a fair fight, it’s to make the fight look fair enough to get it and then smash them in as lopsided a fashion as possible.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers