Category Archives: Uncategorized

NaNoWriMo

Ok, I’m going to just officially take the month of November off so I can work on my horrible novel for NaNoWriMo.  I’ll probably cave in and do a Rubicon post and one concerning the CCP financials that came out a bit ago, but don’t expect much more than that.  Fly dangerous etc. etc.

Some Days it Doesn’t Pay to Get Out of Bed

So today was… eventful.  In that “May you live in interesting times” way.  The plan was to get online early today, help out our more inexperienced members prepare for a major operation, link up one group of my friends with another group, go on a major operation and maybe kill some ships in the process.  Ideally bad guys ships but lately that hasn’t happened too much.

What I got was a Category 5 Drama Llama with all the trimmings.  First while trying to advise a noob on the fine art of not bringing Caldari ships to an armor fleet I managed to damage his special snowflake feelings.  Now I will admit that I normally have all of the tact and diplomacy you would expect of someone who spent five years in a career that specialized in the art of delivering 98 pound packages of high explosives to customers whether they wanted them or not, but when training and advising I can be a very good mentor.  This guy decided to flip the fuck out.  To wit:

oh im sorry i thought i was paying for my account not you core but ok sinc eyou are paying for my account ill fly the way you want

It’s been well over a year, and quite possibly two since I banned someone from my pub channel.  This guy got himself the old heave ho.  Having a first-rate temper tantrum is a fantastic way to get on my bad side.

So I was in a foul mood.  Had to talk to a few people to see if we could calm other folks who were unamused by those shenanigans, got the fires out in time for the op.  Start bringing in the new friends and waddya know, they don’t like the old friends.  Well then.  Fine we had some hiccups but I get them smoothed over with my patented subtle problem smoother.

Competition Matters

After my delicate handling of that situation… my contact proceeds to melt down in comms, then in chat.  Fine, some people are red to each other for a reason, I thank them for getting out, getting staged, and taking the time to set up.  I figure that’s it.  I can’t really blame them, there were a lot of issues and I was happy to skate out on the drama.  Then I get a convo/evemail from the guy organizing the whole op.  Well shit.  Turns out the new guys had someone go around the bend a bit.  A tad.  A smidgen.  Just about… ohhhh…. from here to the center of the galaxy as it turns out.  He convo’d the guy running our op.  Apparently thought he was the target.  Decided to spill the beans and tell him about the ambush.  You know.  The one he was organizing.  Giving him enough information that, if he was actually the bad guys, he could have avoided our attack, or set up an even bigger counter and blown us up.

Not.  Cool.  I’ll admit I flipped my shit at this point.  I probably swore enough to blister paint for a good 30-45 seconds.  I told him the guy he was a fucking morong and I got out of their channel, and directed all my corpmates to do the same.  Let them know in a general sense what was going on and to just focus on the op and did my best to follow my own advice.  I let the higher elements know what was going on and apologized for what happened.  We fleeted up and waited.  The op was a failure, no ships were lost because no opposition showed up, but we got some sexy screenshots from Fancy Hats flying around.

If you see me coming better step aside

If you see me coming better step aside

A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died.

A lot of men didn’t and a lot of men died.

I've got one fist of Iron, the other one's steel

I’ve got one fist of Iron, the other one’s steel

I've got one fist of Iron, the other one's steel

I’ve got one fist of Iron, the other one’s steel

And if the right one doesn't get you

And if the right one doesn’t get you

 

That left one will!

That left one will!

Fly dangerous.  Score Kills.  TAKE THIS DRAMA LLAMA OFF MY HANDS.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

 

 

 

 

Blasting some dust off

Sooo after a less than stellar roam a week and some back, we headed out again.  Still flying really basic, but fun, T1 cruisers we headed out from Amdonen.  Ami used to be gatecamped at least 12 hours a day.  It was a great place for a fight.  Now it’s mostly empty.  Our biggest threat was someone complementing my blog, temporarily inflating my head so much I couldn’t fit through the out gate.

We headed on towards Antem.  We didn’t even make it to the system, we could tell from statistics that it wasn’t worth it.  Antem used to be another hotbed of action.  The loss of Chain of Cha0s in the system really has been a loss to the game.  Heading on to Gonditsa we found something in progress.  No idea what as there is a 130+ AU warp which gives people time to deagress, and possibly log off safely while our fleet limped in.  During our travels we chased a few ships but I’m not a brilliant enough tactician to catch something really effectively.  We Ping Ponged a Hawk for a bit, missed an Omen by just a bit too much to pursue, and just decided to move on.

Finally re-arriving in Aridia, our old stomping grounds, we tried to poke DPR and get a fight from him but there wasn’t anything going.  We wandered down to Vehan and camped the HUGE gate there and FINALLY got something.  A Thorax popped in and the chase was on.  Scant seconds later the fleet was close in, guns and drones hammering and shortly a bright blast announced the death of our prey, soon to be followed by the pod and the odd Magnate that was snooping around while shots were flying.  Flush with success we warped off to a safe and waited long enough for our timers to go away, then re-entered highsec to dock up.

We had better communication, better numbers, better piloting and were better prepared.  Waddya know we scored more kills.  Funny how that works out.

‘Till next time.  Fly Dangerous.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

I Want You to Want Me!

Mord FiddleJan 23, 8:33 pm

Well, now you’re just ignoring me. ;) Why do you believe people should be forced out of highsec?

I haven’t been ignoring you Mord.  I’ve been puzzling out a proper, non-flippant answer.  The short version is:  I don’t want to force people to do anything.  This is EvE.  I want them to move of their own accord, for reasons that make sense to them at the time.

I write a blog so you get the long version for free -

I think it’s fantastic that there’s people who stop travelling out when the sec status starts looking yellow.  They turn around and scamper back.  They find their rut and they travel it doing the things they like for as long as they want.  It’s fantastic.  They are enjoying the game their way.

The problem is they are likely engaging in single-player EvE.  It may actually be a small group, but they are not really doing much to create content for the greater community, and they aren’t terribly likely to stick around according to CCP’s metrics.  CCP has stated repeatedly that players are far more likely to stick around if they are engaging with other players socially.  Usually this means a corp/alliance.  I think there’s two reasons for this.  A player who works with other players is more willing to share in risks, and a player who is confronted with adversity is far more likely to recognize the scope of them, and overcome them either by getting advice before the adversity and mitigating their risk or by having a support network that can soften the blow with recovery efforts.

Let’s zoom out a stage.

Many, if not most, highsec-only players believe that they are, or at least should be, totally safe as long as they are playing in highsec, and not doing anything aggressive towards another player.  They think that their sole responsibility for self-preservation is to keep themselves out of 0.4 and lower sec status systems.  They do not think to protect themselves from people willing to lose a ship to destroy what they are flying.  When they do lose a ship to people willing to make that effort they blame it not on themselves for failing to protect themselves, but on the gankers, and not in such a way as to give them credit.  They do not recognize that self-preservation is forever and always their own responsibility and that a reliance on CONCORD and other players forbearance is a fickle means of protecting ones hard-earned isk.

This is not to say that gankers are all wonderful people that shit rainbows.  Some of them are bullies, some of them are jerks, some of them are people playing the game their own way.  Just like the miners.  The difference is in how they define their way, and how they understand the game.

Now if a miner belongs to a corp that does have a support they can still lose their shit, but they aren’t likely to leave the game.  As long as the corp supports them.  I have lost some EMBARRASSING ships.  However I had corpmates who supported me.  I had a community I belonged to, and who helped me see the scope of things and how unimportant one miserable Drake was.

Eventually that community led me to branch out.  To see PvP not as an evil practice to be avoided, but a fun and challenging (but hopefully not too challenging) focus of the game.  I want people to see as many reasons as possible to leave highsec, and I want highsec to be as limited as possible in pursuit of that goal.  Not every player is going to get involved in blowing up other players spaceships.  At least not directly.  However, at some point in his EvE career, every player needs to realize that pvp is the foundation of the game, and can happen to anyone at any time.  The players least likely to understand this are the highsec carebears who never venture beyond 0.5 for fear of encountering… well… EvE.

I want production to be more practical and useful in low/null to make the decision on where to manufacture goods to actually involve a choice other than “Safest area with the most available slots = win for me!”

I want resources to be more accessible and valuable in low/null to create an economic push so that veld isn’t always a “top 3″ mineral when it comes to value.

I want low/null to have useful and unique mechanics that make them more fun and enjoyable.

Some of these already exist.  The last one especially has quite a few options, but there still isn’t enough to drive the great hordes out of highsec empire.  Having unique resources that cannot be collected in highsec space helps.  Having unique gameplay opportunities, like wormholes, or FW, helps.  Having organizations that help even the newest players capitalize on the opportunities to be found below 0.4 helps.  Look at Goons and TEST.  They can and will take players still in awe at the power of their reaper, slap them in a rifter and throw them to a system with a name like VFK.  They will bring them in, teach them to play and understand the game, and give them an opportunity to grow.  Sure they can be an embarrassment to the community, but they also contribute to the community.  Look at the rage being spouted by highsec carebears almost every day over at minerbumping.com and you will see just how “noble” the pvp-averse carebears can be.

So no.  No I don’t want to force people out of highsec.  I want them to want to move out themselves.  I want them to go out and create content of their own and discover the real awe of EvE.  The ability to drive your storyline wherever you want it, not just Motsu station.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

The Batphone Rings – A Story in Pictures

How I feel when I get a call for help:

Because Bex has Batphoned me more times than the rest of EvE Combined.

Sadly our average response looks rather like:

Quick to a System 35 jumps from where I told you to base!

Fortunately a good part of the time it ends like THIS:

and not as much like this:

Because blue explosions are better when they are bad guys.  Or at least not close friends.   Or at least not your own ship.

I’m using it every time I can

Planning for Failure

Planning requires a lot of skull sweat.  Believe it or not the actions you take in-game, the fleet doctrines, the tactics, the logistical chain that supports you, all of it, requires a lot of planning, not just seeing something neat on the forums.

S I L E N T. kind of mastered one particular sort of bad planning.  They came up with very good plans that they didn’t have the resources to execute.  I have a favorite saying “So many great plans have to be abandoned because they just don’t work.”  It certainly applied to S I L E N T.

Planning is a poorly understood process.  First you have to do a survey of your assets and capabilities.  What you can and can’t do makes up a big part of the process.  An entity with 60 highly skilled veterans with a wide variety of ships has an entirely different toolbox than an alliance with 200 relatively inexperienced pilots.

Second you have to take a serious look at your likely opposition.  It doesn’t have to be a first-rate intel assessment, but you should really know what fleets they like to bring.  A slow, short ranged BS fleet doesn’t make much sense if your opponent flies fast, long range sniper gangs.

Third you have to develop plans that will actually work.  You have to find a combination of things that your guys can do, things that will work against the enemy, and that retain the versatility to work against random pass-through roams.  This can involve HUGE amounts of work, and any mistakes in steps one and two can utterly ruin your planning.  Thinking you can get 10 logis and 40-50 Tier 3 BCs looks great for an alpha fleet.  When you get 6 and 22 it doesn’t work.  At all.

Fourth you have to disseminate the plan to the people who are going to execute it.  Ideally without handing the keys to the kingdom to your opposition.  This is the biggest challenge when it comes to tight-rope walking in EvE leadership.  Your flunkies, erm… minions… PILOTS have to have enough information to execute any plans you come up with fluidly in challenging circumstances, but anything you give out can be leaked.

Fifth you have to constantly be updating all along this chain.  You have to recognize changes in your capabilities and your opponents, update your plans and pass them on, another form of the OODA loop I’ve been harping on lately.  Planning never ends, good entities have people constantly looking at each step in in the process, determining what adjustments need to be made and when to introduce a new doctrine.

Without a good and consistent planning process nothing can get going, and even success can’t be sustained.  Alliances that win sov do it with sustained, skilled drives, alliances that consistently fail miss one of the first 3 steps, alliances that balloon and then collapse tend to either overachieve or not follow the final step.  You don’t have to do everything perfectly, you do have to do it all to some extent.

I’m using it every time I can

Convention This!

Hong WeiLoh at his blog, “Carebears with Claws” had a great post about “fixing” things.  One thing he points out that I really like is that we should base our suggestions on the lore of the game.  Ok.  So… wardecs.  Little skinny.  Well I see all these things about the Yulai Convention.  Oh C’mon.  Yer fuckin with me right?  Nada?

The lore and background of EvE is sadly lacking, I agree with Hong that we need to base suggestions on solid lore, but solid lore for wardecs is fundamentally lacking.  I don’t think we need the full document, but I think some effort by CCP to produce the largely relevant portions would be of immense value to players.  Right now when a war ends you get this

From: CONCORD
Sent: NEVAAAAAAAAAAR

The war between My Awesome Corp and Your Crappy Corp is coming to an end.  My Awesome Corp has retracted the war against Your Awesome Corp. The war will be declared as being over after approximately 24 hours.

The notice starting a wardec has even less.

CCP has thrown a large, heavy, rusty gauntlet on the floor for this summer.  To do wardecs right I think they need to make them make sense from start to finish, complete with working into the lore of the game why CONCORD with its highly punitive DED would just go out and allow corps to start bashing on each other in highsec.  Cassus Belli, bribes, something to start the process, goals, objectives, ways and means of stopping the wardec, all need to be not only presented in in-game mechanics, but as part of the EvE universe that includes trillions of people to go with the hundreds of thousands of capsuleers.

I'm using it every time I can

0th Pillar of Gaming

When SW:TOR came out folks were rabid about the “4th pillar of gaming”  They emphasized story which works GREAT for the 180 hours or so it takes you to get through the story on a class.  MMOs, as Bioware is finding out, require more than that.  Once you get through the “Basic Content” there has to be a reason to keep playing.  For some games it’s the equipment hamster wheel.  For some it is the desire to finish harder and harder endgame content even if the storyline is exhausted.  For some it is building something more awesome and being part of a community.

EvE Players take a different approach to building a pillar

You think we'd build something tasteful?

EvE takes over with it’s “0th Pillar”  EvE online PLAYERS generates a simply incredible amount of content.  Programs like EvE-HQ and Evemon and EFT that are so useful as to practically be required to play.  Blogs as varied as EVE Travel, with it’s content of snapshots of sites and sights in EvE; A Missioner in Eve, which takes place nearly completely “in character” yet still covers a diverse field of content; from the gleefully sadistic My Loot Your Tears to the unopologetically supportive Mabrick’s Mumblings .  Metagame commentary from sites like Jester’s Trek and Poetic add context to nearly every forum poast.  EvE players have generated a Manual for the hardest game ever to learn where CCP has utterly failed to do so.  Or even try.  There are multiple newspapers, a player elected advisory board, lotteries, poker, 3rd party escrow brokers, out and out pyramid scams, you name it.

Without the tools, the content and the player-driven engine EvE would have nothing.  Players drive EvE.  Players give value to everything in the game from ships to weapons to achievements.

CCP has placed the foundation for this pillar.  The players have built it.  While I don’t hesitate to give CCP an enormous amount of credit for the vision it took to lay this foundation and for building on it even as players stretch it to the limit, the design and shape of the pillar itself belongs to the players.  For better or worse we built it and it is our accomplishment.

I'm using it every time I can

CSM 7: Things I’d Like to See

LAST CSM POST FOR A WHILE UNLESS SOMETHING REALLY STUPID COMES UP!  I PROMISE!

Knowledge of Wardecs will be an obvious one, as well as a familiarity of highsec mechanics.  With both wardecs and crimewatch being priorities for the summer this nearly goes without saying.

3rd Party Content:  This is an enormous part of the EvE world.  3rd party content really sets the game apart.  The differences between corps/alliances and guilds in other games is tremendous and the blogs, message boards, 3rd party programs and such are a tremendous, indispensable asset to the community and, by extension, to CCP.  I myself use Aura for my android and EvE-HQ for nearly everything else, and you may have heard about my blog, so I am keenly interested to see how CCP will continue to develop its relationship with 3rd party developers after the 3rd party licensing fiasco last year.

Now let me say I encourage some parts of that initiative, although as a whole it was poorly thought out and planned as the “Big Red Statement” in the comments thread pointed out.  I think the involvement of people interested in microtransactions and outside development like T’amber of even *shudder* Roc would help guide CCP to a program that would allow them control of their IP while at the same time allowing people who have busted their butts to provide useful goods and services out of game to recoup their costs.

Interest in Microtransactions:  MMOs are moving more and more towards microtransactions.  They give companies a faster return on their investment and the income stream is easier to monitor.  Non game-changing microtransactions will benefit the EvE Community including providing a benefit to FiS by increasing CCPs total revenue, some of which will be spent on FiS, some of which wont.

Incarna Iteration: Wait What?  I’m actually serious here.  The EvE vision used to be a lot more Babylon 5-ish, with the idea of actual agent offices, concourses and bars and casinos.  Incarna was to be the first step in that direction.  With a character creatr that has the potential to make Champions Online sit up and take notice, and some of the most tight-knit player groups in the game, sitting alone in stations needs work.  It will be a process, there is no need to put 60 devs on it right now.  CCP needs to plan it, they need to talk with players, starting with the CSM to figure out how to plan it.  They need to rework the Nex store price scheme and figure out how to make it a boon to the company, not an odd duck in the corner.  The CSM by definition includes the players whose judgement is most respected, and they are covered by an NDA.  They can help plan this, they can look at the vision and decide how good or bad it is.

Finally:  Lowsec:    People with interesting ideas to make lowsec more fun.  Changes to gate-gun and GCC mechanics are great, but not enough.  Every space is defined by its own characteristics.  Lowsec seems to feature empty locals just as much as wormholes.  It will take a lot more than a couple structural changes to fix this, and the process will take a lot more than 1 CSM to complete.

I'm using it every time I can

His Name was Brian Flores

It seems pithy to write about the loss of a friend, and trusted comrade on an EvE blog.  There is a reason for it and it’s one I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

Known as Hairlessharry to those he flew with, Brian was a loyal friend, a fierce enemy and a wise and judicious leader whose judgement was valued by everyone who knew him.  He opened his house to friends he had never met, offering them the comforts of his hearth and home.  I met him only twice in person, briefly both times, and probably spoke fewer than a hundred words to him other than over voice clients.  Yet I had a standing invitation to his house, and I was not alone in this.

So many of his friends only knew him by his moniker.  They didn’t know his face, barely knew his voice unless they’d been in leadership councils with him.  They knew him nonetheless.

He made few decisions, and took stands only in crucial matters.  I suspect many of us would have trouble finding a decision he made.  We trusted him nonetheless.

He would stand up for you, even against his dearest friends if you were right and they were wrong.  He had moral courage by the bucket, and integrity by the mile.

He scored his first kill in EvE in April of 2009 near as I can tell.  Losing a faction-fit Prophecy to kill a Cerberus.

He scored his last kill on January 8th of this year.  It was a doozy.

Brian was a good friend to all those lucky enough to call him so.  Harry was a fearsome foe to his enemies.  He is gone too soon from this life, and my heart aches for his family, for those close to him, and for those who will never get to know him.

Why do I write this here?  For his friends.  While I am sure we will have a memorial for him in-game for those who knew him only as Harry, I wanted his friends to know more about him outside the pod.

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