Category Archives: Things I think I think
Ok, this is a follow on the my post $ensational(ism) from the other day. And since I used the Dollar sign there, I’m throwing the Cent sign here. At the end of $ensational(ism) I threw out a statement that hadn’t really been introduced or supported, and I didn’t really like leaving it out there. It’s kind of an itch that I need to scratch.
Battles don’t happen in a vacuum. There’s a rich context for them. There’s a reason for them, and that reason tells part of the story. For example let’s look at the Halloween war. N3 booted Solar out of that bastion of Russian Rodina, the Eastern Drone Regions. Because EvE has always been at war with Eastasia. In fact I think this poster could be a great EvE recruiting poster:
So N3 has gone after the Russians. PL is backing them because they are bored and getting paid (presumably) Goons are backing the Russians because the one thing the Goons will almost always do is help the Russians and the only people the Russians can be absolutely counted on to help is the Goons. They have had each other’s back for a long time.
Added to the fun: PL and Goons have a deep and complex relationship. Frenemies is probably too strong, but Friendly Rivals certainly isn’t too strong a term. Their mutual history runs a long damn time, and includes a lot of knives in a lot of backs. Right now they trust each other in that way you trust someone who you know is planning to knife you at some point, just not this week.
On to the point. Right now CCP is seeing a huge rush of people trying out EvE due to the media coverage of B-R. These players joined because they saw huge space battles, they saw huge numbers of players, of dollars, of explosions. Right now a lot of them are finding out 2 things. First: This game is COMPLICATED. Second: You can get into a lot of content in a hurry if you make the right connections, but it might not be for you, and even if it is it might not be the best thing. CCP has sold people a game where you fight battles with thousands of players, in a universe where you can make a mark forever. What they didn’t mention too loudly was that there’s not many battles that big, and except for the statue, the odds of you making your mark in any lasting way are pretty small. Sure you can be bold, lead, and do great things. You can also get chased out in ignominy in three weeks.
Now just in case you are a new player looking for tips, here’s some for you:
- Don’t fit warp core stabs. Just don’t.
- Ask questions. If you don’t get answers you can understand, ask again somewhere else.
- Find a community to be a part of. You don’t have to actually join a corp, but you really should start making friends ASAP.
- Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.
- Try different things.
- Ask for help.
- Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
- Don’t fit stabs.
- Fill the slots on your ship.
- 1 tank per ship please
- Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose
- and Don’t. Fit. Stabs.
Thanks to some considerable success at work I’ll soon be coming into a good chunk of money, part of which I plan on using to buy plex. BTW thanks PL for dropping the value of PLEX. I hope you will consider my need to make isk before you whelp your next fleet of Titans.
Seriously though, I should have about as much isk as I have ever had, finally giving in and briefly being a wallet warrior. There’s quite a few things I plan on buying, and I’d like to throw out the list to see what suggestions I can get from the peanut gallery. So here we go
- Naglfar – Always been my favorite dread just for the aesthetics. The fact that it’s total FOTM adds considerably to my desire to pull the trigger
- Black Ops BS – Leaning towards the Panther, but entertaining the thought of a Sin. Anyone care to advise me on which hangar queen is most desirable?
- Fittings for 1 and 2. Honestly I’ve been looking at a lot of Nag fits and it almost seems like you want 2 or 3 full sets of fittings depending on what you are doing, is that correct or am I just seeing the most fail killmails.
- A solid warchest of money to engage in arbitrage. I have never really figured out a good income stream for EvE, but this seems like something I can do before work, and that I can do more or less on my own. I’ve tried missions, incursions, and while I can do them, it just doesn’t seem that good. I know there’s not a lot of great routes still out there but it seems like eve-central can make even humble old me do a decent job on trading.
- ALL THE T1 CRUISERS. Seriously I’m about ready to fit up 10 from each race, load them into a carrier and jump them into lowsec. Even if I lose them in job lots I can just start over if I’m making a decent amount of money on #4.
- The alliance shopping list. Every alliance has one, I figure as long as I’m hitting the candy aisle I can pick up the veggies.
I’m mainly looking for opinions on 1-4. I could in theory drop into any dread but the Phoenix because… fuck the Phoenix. I *like* the nag, it’s powerful, versatile, and most importantly: Vertical. I could be sold on the Rev (I figure being the toughest guy in a small gang has its advantages) and ditto on the Moros (still versatile, and who doesn’t like stupidly large damage numbers) but I’m leaning nag.
For BLOPS, there seem to be a lot of choices. The Panther has the Minmatar advantages of speed, and a total lack of Cap dependency, The Sin gives you a swiss army knife if you go gunless in the highs, or a solid beatstick if you shield tank it, and throw down with guns and damage mods, The redeemer has the tank and I always love firin’ mah lazors. Ripard’s Widow fit looks like the FOTM and a good one at that.
Obviously fittings are important. Both of the above ships will be the first I’ve had in their respective categories. I’m trying to avoid my tradition of losing the first ship in any given category within a week, which has held true for everything except carriers and command ships. Seriously. I need to not be losing these.
Finally money making. I am terribad at this. It’s embarrassing. The most success I ever had was manufacturing T3s. This required a lot of moving parts, and while I was quite good at it, and made boatloads of money, a lot of my profit came because I was freeloading on someone else’s POS for R&D and manufacturing. Not really an option at the moment. I also had a couple embarrassments when it came to transportation. Most of these were “You left the epoxy in Jitamart asshat” but one of them was of the “Hey the gankers figured out your schedule asshat” variety. I actually own a researched Archon BPO, and I could probably be doing copies of that just on the side, but without the component BPCs I’m not hardly making a lot of money on that end, even with them I’m not sure about the profitability of the beast these days.
So I throw it to you long-suffering readers. I should have a good load of isk. What to do with it?
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?
So CCP has decided to point the finger at drones for HED. Maybe not the whole finger, but a big part of, shall we say… a central one?
Seriously, drones have been a problem for a while, and it’s not news to most EvE grognards. Drones have become the new missiles. The system that stands out as a huge problem. I’m pretty sure I know what the solution will be. Drones will be launched and operate as a single element. Ships will only be able to carry full drone groups. These drones will do, and take damage as single elements, and have capabilities based on what are now full groups.
This would have a lot of ramifications. An absolute ton. The 75m3 mixed group would be… interesting to say the least. Drone cycling, where you swap out singlets that are taking damage for ones that are undamaged, would go away completely. Ships with multiple drone groups could consider it, but as is, the somewhat irritating. In cap fights the wings of fighters and bombers can cause staggering amounts of lag. Compressing these huge groups from dozens per ship, quickly scaling to thousands in the large null battles, to 1 per ship would be a huge boon to the poor, long-suffering hamsters trying frantically to keep up with the fleets of New Eden.
This will change a lot of things. It will dumb down the game. It will change how a lot of modules work. Especially on carriers and supercarriers. Smartbombing drones will have to be done very differently. The drones skill itself will change a lot, as you will either be able to launch a full flight, or no drones.
I don’t actually have too many problems with this, in some ways it’s dumbing down the game, but I suspect that it can be used to bring new players into drone combat faster, letting them launch flights of T1 light drones pretty quickly, where I see the most trouble is figuring out a way to keep DCUs useful. Brute force could be used, just adding a damage bonus that gets the stacking penalty for other DCUs, but not for DDAs. I do like the simplification that this change would represent, not only would it clean up the overview, (and formations of drones/fighters flying around could offer a really neat visual should CCP try that) but it would dramatically simplify the back end of large battles. Rather than calculating the position of thousands and thousands of drones you just calculate a max of one drone flight / ship on the field. This would cut the contribution to lag by a huge amount for each drone boat, and even more for carriers and supers.
This isn’t a panacea. This will not fix every issue currently plaguing large battles in EvE. It does remove some gameplay elements; but I, personally, don’t think that those elements are hugely important to the game, and their removal in the name of streamlining what has become partly responsible for the catastrophic lag in large battles, with thousands of players involved.
I suspect that this is getting a long look in Iceland, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find the CSM had been consulted on this idea. Even as a complete off-the-cuff issue.
One of the things that I think makes the game exceptionally bad for new players is: it’s very unrewarding to new players. You just don’t feel like you are getting a lot done. There’s a reason for that. You aren’t. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, EvE is a game where everyone contributes to the same sandbox, and plays in the mess that results. New players probably shouldn’t have as much impact as older, more committed bittervets. They simply haven’t contributed enough to enjoy the unique fruits of EvE.
That being said there’s no reason to punish them by making them sit and wait for SP to tick up until they can do something worth actually doing. Another important observation: Skillpoints are worth FAR more to new players than they are to someone with 100m + SP. If you gave me a choice between 1m SP for Corelin, or 100k each for the two alts on his account I’d take the 200k and be delighted. Seriously. I have no idea what to do for Corelin next. Meanwhile, as Ripard Teg points out, there’s a ton of stuff a new character has to learn to be useful. Well, there’s a ton of stuff a new PLAYER has to learn too. Eliminating core skills would just allow everyone to alt up that much faster, which definitely invokes Malcanis’ law. Now let me try to avoid it.
Reward all players with SP relevant to the activity they are doing. Firing guns? Bonus SP applied to any gunnery skill. Hit the afterburners? Navigation time! Jumping/warping/flying your ship? Hey spaceship command got some love! This rewards players for logging in and doing things. Buying and selling a lot gets you some Trade skills, slogging away at inventions helps science skills, setting up colonies for PI.
This would be a tremendous boon for new players. It would reward them for doing what we want them to do anyway, getting in the game, flying around and interacting. This also allows them to expand their capabilities faster. Frankly a character that is zooming around, using systems and gaining experience SHOULD learn faster than a character who is never even logged in. How much faster I leave to CCP, but I think looking at systems like Perpetuum or Battlestar Galactica Online, where SP either accumulates and/or is earned, and THEN is allocated as needed, I find the EvE system to be somewhat lacking. What’s even better is allocating the accumulated XP would frankly be rewarding, think about spending a fair amount of time playing according to the way you want, and having 50k or so SP built up to drop on a couple supporting skills you really weren’t looking forward to training, without interrupting your quest for that shiny new ship.
And no, you don’t get backdated experience for all your frantic clicking. Neither do you need it frankly.
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.
Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 52st edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.
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Go to the always useful EVE-Offline.net (http://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility) and take a look at the All Time (weekly average) graph for concurrent accounts logged in.
For the past four and a half years, the graph has hovered around that 30,000 mark; it is, for all intents and purposes, a plateau. But everything must come to an end sooner or later and that is what this blog banter is about.What’s on the other side of that plateau?Is there any path for CCP to follow to raise those numbers upwards for a sustained period, or is EVE going to enter a decline to lower logged in numbers from this point? How soon will we see an end to this plateau? Months? Years? Or will you argue that ‘never’ is a possibility? Or you can look at the root causes of the plateau and tackle the question if it could have been avoided or shortened if CCP had taken different actions in the past.
We Need New Things, Not Just Fixes
This has been a CCP Theme for a long time. Every patch needs new things, and new things have to literally be bright, shiny and new. This, frankly, isn’t true. Look at the re-balancing project. We got dozens of new ships out of it. Or are you going to tell me you used a Bellicose or a Scythe, or an Augoror for more than an hour of your EvE career prior to the change? This has been one of the most popular features in EvE, and while it required a lot of work, all these ships were in the game, just rusting. Big time. CCP has a long laundry list of things that need to be updated, modernized, and just plain fixed, but they don’t want to do them because they feel the need to have something shiny and new even if it doesn’t do a lot to bring in new players, or make the game more interesting for older ones. I’m looking at you new hacking mechanics.
LISTEN TO ME I’M HERE, I’M LOUD AND I PAY YOU MONIEZ
Ok this is hardly something CCP alone does. SWTOR is getting ruined by this, but that’s a topic I’ve beaten to death. CCP spends a ton of time and effort trying to balance things in nullsec when a large attraction of nullsec is how lassez faire it is. There’s few controls, limits, or hard rules that come from CCP out there. Yes gameplay in general should be balanced, but the CSM has come to be dominated by people who live in Null, or their bastard weird cousins the wormholers.
These people do deal with a lot of issues, and getting their input on topics is absolutely valid, but anytime I hear Goons screaming about balance I remember to grab the salt out of my car because I’m going to need it for more than just the walkway. CCP needs to talk to people who don’t communicate well, who aren’t part of a well-organized bloc. They need more Mike Azariah’s and even Gevlon Goblins and fewer Mynnas. Not that Mynna isn’t a valuable addition, simply that the efforts of people like her are duplicated by the efforts of others.
The New Player Shell Game
Ok so I’ve seen Butterfly Effect, I’ve seen the Origins video, I’ve seen all the trailers, I start my trial and… I’m in a rinky dink ship flying around shooting red crosses. Pardon me if I hardly feel Empyrean. CCP can always depend on some new players to rotate in, and some others to rotate out. To grow its player base it has to contend with two things, the fact that there’s more and more older and tougher players, putting new players at a bigger and bigger SP disadvantage, and that new players just don’t feel powerful. At all. Champions Online does a fantastic job of making you feel powerful and important literally from the first second. You are a superhero saving the entire world from an alien invasion starting in the first moments of the tutorial. In EvE you aren’t.
CCP needs to find a way to make players feel more important, to emphasize that you take part in a larger game, but that your contributions have meaning. Good luck with this one by the way. It’s far and away the most important one and if I had a good answer I’d be sending you a resume, not putting it in a blog. CCP needs new players, and they need a way to keep them around. That’s the only way they will get past the plateau. Everything else on this list is just getting more of the “already in” crowd playing at once.
But it’s Too Haaaaaaaaard
Kvit yer Kvetching. Fix POS towers. I understand legacy code needs to be dealt with carefully. Ideally with napalm. It’s not going to magically be new, fresh, well documented code Monday morning. I’ve at least done enough programming to know that.
Do The Creep
When I started a small gang was 2-12 people. When my most recent Hiatus started people were talking about small roams with 30+ people. 30+ isn’t a small group. Most of the missions I took part in in Iraq had less than 20 people along for the ride. 30 is a considerable effort for a lot of corps. This does more damage to the little/middle group. They take out a fleet of 12-15 and find it’s all to easy to strike out for 2 hours, then get jumped by a 30+ small gang and ruined for no return. I know CCP is inching forward in attempts to let smaller fleets stand a chance, but Malcanis’ law applies to size as well as SP. Sure a mechanic might benefit a huge fleet less per person than it would a smaller fleet, but unless it is designed to actually hurt a huge fleet and degrade its capabilities, it’s unlikely to make a huge effort.
CCP has to get over its own issues to get past this plateau, and they have to do it without killing the game. On one side they have to commit to fixing the game, without the need for shiny, distracting bits, figure out a way to engage people who don’t really want to be engaged, and solve the problem that is fleet size creep. On the other hand they need to find a way to make new players relevant in a game increasingly filled with older, meaner, more despicable characters, in support of making the New Player Experience fun, interesting and engaging. Good luck!
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.