Category Archives: Things You Should Know About

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

Ertoo III Moon 14

So Aridia keeps showing up in TheMittani.com these days.  I’m pretty sure even readers of this site aren’t too firm on where Aridia is, why it matters and whether or not they should give a shit.  Short, Short version:  It’s the crossroads of Delve, Solitude, Khanid, Genesis, and Fountain.  It’s a lot like Des Moines, Iowa.  There’s not a lot IN Des Moines, but it’s an easy drive to Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Kansas City, Omaha, and a slightly less easy drive to St. Louis.  Interstates all the way.  If you want to push it you can make Nashville, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh, in a day.  It has an R64 moon in a cul-de-sac.

Long version:  The big deal with Aridia, historically, is as a crossroads.  It is within jump range of nearly half of EvE.  When I lived there we had a guy in the alliance who had known bridge titans in range of us on his watchlist.  He constantly had names logging in or out.  To live in Aridia is to live with the threat of a bridge or a hotdrop as a fact of life.  For a long time Rooks and Kings kept people fairly honest, as they were pretty active in the area, living in nearby Syndicate.  Now they don’t seem to be as interested in the little playground.  Others have moved in and made their mark.  Drunk and Disorderly seems to have made a particular mark on the area.

R64 moons have long been in the back seat behind the Mighty Tech Monster.  This is going to apparently change with Odyssey.  Really it is.  We mean it this time.  If CCP finally delivers, and I think they will, then we will see the R64 moons become real hotspots for fights.  Oh yeah, there’s a Dyspro moon in Ertoo.  I know it pretty well since I managed to whelp a fleet at it once upon a time.  It isn’t the last fleet torn to shreds around that moon and pretty soon I suspect the amount of scrap metal around the moon to grow large enough to build a Ragnarok for every TEST member.  It’s just too tempting.  It’s right there, in bridge range of… everywhere.  Most alliances are smart enough to hold off, but now that Dyspro is going up in price, expect that to change.  That moon is a diamond mine, and Christmas is coming.  I expect battles there, big ones.  If I was running a major news site I’d have a toon logged in ready to start frapsing 24/7 as soon as things start heating up.

Finally, it’s a major crossroads, there’s so many places to drop a gatecamp in Aridia that you will see multiple fleets sometimes camping different gates in the same system.  For a smaller scale alliance it’s a smorgasbord of options.  Genesis isn’t the hotbed it was in the days of [NAWTI] but it certainly has it’s ways, Udianoor is lucrative… the list goes on.   Aridia has a lot of little things, one big thing, and it combines to create the sort of backstabbing morass of villainy that has made EvE famous.  Watch this space people, it might be quiet, but I doubt it will be dull.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

 

Dat Geddon

So CCP announced some changes to ships.  ‘Dat Geddon.

Amarr Battleship Skill Bonuses:
+10% to Drone damage and Hit Points (replaced large energy turret rate of fire)
+10% Energy Neutralizer and Energy Vampire range (replaced large energy turret cap use)

Slot layout: 7H(-1), 4M(+1), 7L(-1); 5 turrets(-2) , 5 launchers(+5)
Fittings: 14500 PWG(-2000), 550 CPU(+65)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 6800(+1331) / 8500(+1859) / 8000(+1789)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second) : 6200(+887.5) / 1087s / 5.7
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 100(-5) / .13(+.002) / 105200000 / 18.96s (+.29)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 125 / 375(+250)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 65km / 110 / 7
Sensor strength: 21 Radar Sensor Strength (+4)
Signature radius: 450 (+80)

HELLO NURSE!  Welcome to the new age of dead caps.  Seriously this thing is a beast.  It looks like you can fit a plate, a full rack of neuts, two heavy cap boosters, an MWD, and hardeners / DCU with an RCU II and then just rig for buffer and make caps cry a LONG way away.  Almost 38km away in fact.  Oh and 125m of heavy drones for flavor.  Throw in a DDA II instead of one of the hardeners and you can get a quite respectable 550+ DPS.  The changes in slots make the ships a bit more interesting, and the lost PG will absolutely be missed, but this is still a monstrous ship.  The Geddon has long been my favorite Amarr battleship, now it might be my favorite battleship period.  That much neuting turns this into the swiss army Dominix on crack.  Depending on the changes to the Dominix the new ‘Geddon might be my favorite ship.  Depending on how expensive they are, and I do expect the price to go up; although probably not as high as the current Abaddon prices, it should be quite economical to bring in dozens of them to hammer the cap of capfleets if you have the time to get them in place.

One of the safe assumptions is that all the soon-to-be-former-tier 1 Battleships will become EWAR ships.  Not much will change for the Scorp.  It might even get a nerf.  The Domi will be interesting.  Massive buffer + sensor damps should be real interesting.  The ‘Phoon is the one that might be real real interesting.  Target painters on a frigate are kind of a waste.  Target painters on a BS are potentially less so.  If it manages to acquire a web bonus it might become a monstrously popular ship.

Gallente must have done something to CCP.  The Mega still looks like a lot of fun (even more fun actually) but the Hype is still a hot mess, and the Domi isn’t looking nearly as standout as before.  Not because it got worse, because it didn’t, but because a lot of other ships got better.  I suppose this isn’t a bad thing as Domi’s can be pretty OP in small fights, but reading the forum thread feels like watching your favorite athlete walking into the locker room at the end of the season and realizing he didn’t have it this year and he’ll be older next year.

Winmatar seems to be adding a but of luster to the rust fleet.  Pests will get that much nastier (and I can’t WAIT to see the navy ones) with more PG, HP and cap.  Phoons get some love too.  They trade some drones for torp bonuses, and add some toughness as well.  Torps may not be the best weapon ever, but they certainly have some uses.  Especially backed up by plenty of webs and a TP or two.

The Caldari Rokh gets a nerf.  No more no-effort 140k ehp Rokhs.  We’ll have to settle for 130k now.  Ravens lose a high, gain a mid, some fitting space, lose some hitpoints and gain speed.  I don’t think it will bring cavalry ravens back just yet, but it should be interesting to see them as something other than cast iron tubs filled with lead spraying missiles.  Scorps get a bit tougher, a bit more cap and that’s about all.

I can’t wait for the Geddon.  I can’t wait for the fun of seeing it murdering cap on ships.  I can’t wait to see capfleet panic from a handful of geddons on D-scan.  I can’t wait for Odyssey.  I can’t wait to hear what the Gallente did to CCP Rise to make him so angry.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

King Alpha

Alpha is an interesting concept in MMOs.  It is simple enough in principle.  Do as much damage as possible, and do it all at once.  Sounds pretty simple, and it usually is, however there’s usually trade offs.  Weapons capable of high alpha often do terrible damage per second (DPS) For example in EvE the 1400mm cannons so beloved of every nullsec fleet do absolutely anemic damage.  The more DPS centric blasters do good damage, but also fire incredibly fast resulting in far higher damage per second.

What makes alpha the king of many fights is the “window of opportunity” for using it.  That is, making the most of the time you get.  Whether it’s killing a target before reps can land in EvE, or hitting a fast-moving ‘mech as it scampers between buildings in MWO, in PvP you rarely get to just lay on the triggers and apply a steady stream of hits.  You have to hit hard when you can, and be ready for the next strike.  What works against alpha is that the weapons that tend to be best for it tend to be BIG.  They mean flying a slower ship, one that usually can’t keep up, or running in a larger, slower ‘mech, that is more vulnerable to the fast ankle-biters.

Delivering damage well also requires a certain level of skill, whether it’s ensuring a whole fleet fires its salvos at once (shut up it is a skill I’ve seen fleets that couldn’t alpha a T1 battlecruiser when they had tons of damage on the field) or popping out from cover in MWO to hammer a persistent enemy, people have to know what they are doing, these are usually pretty basic, simple skills.  You would be amazed at the number of people who never bother to develop these basic, simple skills.

Things that trump alpha tend to be tough, fast moving enemies that can move through the fire zone, mitigate the damage in some way, and tear apart the alpha boats taking advantage of the fact that they can’t be fast, AND tough, AND deliver a ton of damage.  They have to fail on one of these points and a good brawler can get in close, and take advantage of his higher DPS to score the kill, or kite the enemy from beyond range of effective alpha and peck away at him.

Coordinated alpha strikes, involving multiple platforms can be devastating.  We’ve all seen the ships in EvE simply evaporate under 1400s, often before half the fleet can fire, or seen a ‘mech torn limb from limb by heavy alpha strikes from the dreaded dual AC-20 builds.  In EvE you can’t rep wrecks and in MWO you can’t fight back if you are dead.  That’s why a lot of groups build for alpha right now, it plays into their strengths.  That’s one of the reasons EvE fleets tend towards alpha-centric weapons (lag is also a big factor.)

So if you aren’t building for alpha, you better have a plan to deal with it.  Fly dangerous.  Score kills.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Making Things Matter: Nooblets

Not N00BS! Nooblets.  Those endlessly inquisitive, endlessly optimistic, endlessly hopeful characters most of us scrape off our boots on our way to a real fight.  Now the shoe might be moving a bit.  The redone T1 frigs and T1 cruisers are not to be ignored.  TheMittani.com has reported some nasty fighting and a couple nights ago Get Off My Lawn treated Retirement Club to a demonstration.  29 T2 ships against the 39 man LAWN fleet (later joined by some Space Monkeys pissed about a Pally loss and some more gnomes who missed the bridge) with results that left me stunned.  I was resigned to losing my Omen, and nearly did, dipping to 22% before I remembered to Orbit giving our hero logi squad the chance to save me.  I managed to limp home at 22% structure with my Omen!

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

And you know who else can fly Tech 1 Cruisers?  Nooblets.  Lots and lots of Nooblets.  With coaching and leadership these ships can be extremely effective.  And if you welp a fleet or 5, you still haven’t lost the 2.7 Billion + isk our 401k friends did.  These kinds of fleets need a LOT of leadership though, likely “skill” positions like fast tackle, Logi, and EWAR will be filled with a WIDE variety of skill levels.  Getting people to understand their role and what to do is a huge challenge opportunity to excel for leaders.

For years TEST and Goons have been championing the Rifter Stampede, where every Nooblet they could lay hands on was encouraged to hop in a rifter and go tackle something.  Now they can take those hundreds of people and put them in Omens and Stabbers and Vexors (oh my!) supported by Celestis, Arbitrators, Augorors, and nearly a dozen other ships I can’t even NAME; and they will be effective.  The previously crushing advantage held by more skilled players has been softened.  The sledgehammers the elitists in EvE once wielded with near impunity has been cut down and the eggshells Nooblets were expected to compete with given spikes, and a tougher skin.

One of the most common complaints a new player could make was that he had nothing to do other than fly a cheap ship, or PvE when he started out.  Now that is no longer true.  Now a new player can be flying a version of the Omen I used in about 3 weeks with minimal skills, and fully T2 the bastard in 3 months or so, including time to get the fitting skills right.  In this period of time a new pilot can finish the tutorials, take several classes in EvE University, take some Agony Unleashed courses and find a good place anywhere in EvE and contribute in frigates OR cruisers.  Having useful, powerful hulls that can compete right down to the ground floor of EvE is a great incentive to avoid the rush to Battleships that drives many a Nooblet (myself included) into a ship he cannot afford to lose, and cannot realistically fly.

There’s another big lesson to be learned with these ships.  That losing a ship is not the end of the world.  These ships are not exactly tough.  While they aren’t made of tissue paper, they aren’t bricks either, with the exception of YOU Mr. Maller!

You Smug Tough Bastard

But losing these ships, even repeatedly, wouldn’t strain the resources of a veteran, and most alliances, and even many corps, could realistically work to provide a stable of ready to go ships for their newer players to drop into and go.

To me at least, the ease of getting players into these ships, combined with their obvious utility, and the low risk of loss that comes with flying these ships combines to give new players more to play for, more to play with, and more reason to play.

BONUS:  Video of the fight from one of the few other Omen pilots we had.  Because apparently NO ONE LIKES LAZZORS PEW PEW PEW

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Collecting the Bones to Beat the Dead Horse Again

Ok I’ve already said CCP doesn’t seem to have a plan and is staffed with people who don’t seem to get the game most of us play, or at least the one we want to.  I blame CCP for this of course, it is their company, but that’s only because they’ve set themselves up with the wrong advisory board.  Yeah, THAT dead horse.  The current CSM is a very knowledgeable group.  Their prowess within EvE is well know, but this isn’t a “Revolutionary” group.  These are established people, with their own niches to tend to, and their own document talking about future development of EvE doesn’t talk about a specific vision, merely the mechanics that would improve the game we inhabit.  In their defense this was not the intention of the document, but still they seem to be listening to the same music as CCP, if not dancing the same dance.

The CSM is a grand experiment in democracy, and it’s achievements should not be ignored, however if the purpose of the CSM is to “represent society interests to CCP,” then they really aren’t built to do the job.  They represent big blocs of voters, because that’s who wins elections.  They respond to issues that hit them hard, and work best when responding to issues that affect them or those near them directly.  Their fields of expertise are limited, and while they are at least familiar with most of the game, there’s a lot they just don’t know.

CCP first has to pick a direction.  The current CSM can certainly serve to advise them on that.  For the next CSM, CCP needs to engage with them both as a council, and as individuals.  They also need to screen them to some extent.  CCP needs to be proactive at seeking out and finding advisors who can provide good and useful input as much on what CCP *NEEDS* input on as well as people who can represent every aspect of EvE from the most ignorant, blissful carebear to the most unrepentant pirates.  They need to bring in people who run Large POSes all by themselves, an people who think triple tanking their new retriever is a good idea.  More on that in a moment.  They need to reach out to people who join, run, and help organize 10,000 man alliances, and people who start solo tax shelters.  They need to find trainers who take the time to teach this game to new players and work HARD to bring their lessons to Iceland.

New players offer a very important resource to CCP.  I know GMs reach out to new players, I had a new alt that got convo’d by a GM a while back.  I think picking out a few (screening for real name and billing information to make sure they are real) and getting them on skype to talk about what perceptions they have about the game might be very illuminating.  Heck a survey to see what information they have gleaned about the game could be quit interesting.  CCP recognizes players as a resource of more than just money, but they haven’t acted to capitalize on that resource.  As a result CCP often grasps at straws and has even fallen into the dreaded “It was not intended” mindset so hated in WoW devs.  Now CCP has the right and responsibility to make sure game-breaking behavior doesn’t happen, but it is a VERY powerful and loaded phrase.  Unintended consequences are what makes EvE awesome.  Whether it’s battle-badgers, Hulkageddon, triage-coasting, or any of a host of other creative responses to tactical problems or boredom, what players achieve should far outweigh what the devs intend.

The bottom line is CCP lacks vision, it isn’t using its tools and resources well, and while it continues to maintain an interesting game it’s improving by increments, and giving itself no chance at revolutionizing its niche.  Some of this is by design, but failure by design is still failure.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

I’m Back. And my Gumball is RED.

Well I caved.  Not quite sure I’m ready yet of course, but you don’t play EvE to play it safe.  I have removed Fancy Hats from Kraken.  It’s just not fair to them to have a corp sitting there with no active members, and no real interest in picking up activity to the level that FW simply demands.

I will say the first thing I did after swapping from my Archon to my Ishkur and undocking (I’m not a total moron) was to turn my gumball red.  I’m not flying with no damn safety!  I’m in the alliance cooldown, so I’m still in FW and likely won’t be doing much.  I plan on trying out random things that seem shiny.  Maybe sitting in a Pilgrim near a can miner to see if anyone is dumb enough to try to flip.  That actually sounds like a lot of fun actually.  I plan to focus a lot more on writing, and on writing well.  I plan on writing about things that matter.  I plan on writing about the demographics of EvE, the choices CCP makes, and things that change the course of the game for the people playing it.  Oh and I plan on talking about me, but if you’ve been paying ANY attention here you already knew that.

Come and chat in Hat Box.  Let me know if something big is going down.  Oh, and Fly Dangerous.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Ten Lousy Minutes

And no we aren’t talking about the sum of my sex life for the past 6 months.  We’re talking about how long I could stomache SW:TOR’s godawful F2P model.  Ten lousy minutes.

I was barraged with “opportunities” to buy things.  Either Cartel Coins, or things you buy WITH cartel coins.  Things like travel, experience boosts, character slots, most of the usual suspects, but there’s a few more.  The quest reward screen has not one but TWO things that you cannot get without plinking down your own heard earned coin.  Part of the quest reward is entangled, and so is part of the experience reward.  I wish I was kidding.

Field revives are limited as well, and so is some equipment.  Now this raised an eyebrow and I haven’t confirmed it but it SEEMS to me that certain gear requires you to A) Pay for the ability to Raid (Operations) and then B) to pay for the ability to equip items of that caliber.

Fuck you.

Seriously.

I get that you have to make money.  I get that content doesn’t spring full-grown from the brow of Lucas.  I do.  I understand that these games still are in the business of making money and that they have to cover operations costs to even get there.  Free to Play should be limited.  Fine.  But if my screen has more than 4 store logos on it you will piss me off.  If I’ve seen well into the double-digits offers within ten minutes?  Fuck You.

LotRO is bad enough.  There’s the icon that’s always up, there’s reminders when you are in an area with inaccessible content (all over the place in fact) but you can get away from that.  And if you buy content, you get everything in that content, you don’t miss out on the items because they are too uber, you don’t chase multiple money gates to get to do what you want to do.  Even routine actions will require you to spend money, and This spreadsheet shows everything wrong with the model.  SO many fundamental things are arbitrarily removed.  Seriously your F2P character managed to get a purple item?  Fuck you he can’t equip it.  You are getting owned by people in PvP and need to throw in some augments to balance things out?  Pay to win sucka!

SW:TOR has been a mismanaged nightmare since launch.  I was optimistic.  I was hopeful.  Now I’m just pissed.

I saw a great presentation a few weeks ago on F2P gaming.  They referred to games as “Money Pits”  the idea is to make the pit both wide and deep.  You want it wide to get as many people in it and as deep as possible to get as much out of those people as possible.  I get that.  It makes a lot of sense.  You get it by offering NEW things to those who pay, not by restricting basic content.  That is a mistake LotRO still hasn’t completely fixed from their own lauch (bags, trait slots) but at the same time they’ve offered new things to deepen the money pit (Tomes of stat upgrades, star-lit crystals to upgrade legendary items.)  By giving a satisfactory experience to people, something LotRO manages to do and SW:TOR has yet to do even when it was P2P, you make the pit wide.  You can sell a lot more $70 dollar monocles to people who are having fun than you will experience boosters to people who are immediately seeing “PAY TO WIN” all over every speck of Coruscant.

Ten minutes SW:TOR, after several hours redownloading the game.  It’s gone.  It won’t come back unless your successors convince me to trust them, because I’m done trusting you.

I’m using it every time I can

Walking For a Cause

One of the things I love about EvE is the strength of the community.  One of the things that can turn me on or off of a game is it’s own community.  The second best community in gaming has to belong to Lord of the Rings Online.  The website “A Casual Stroll to Mordor” is one of the best resources any game could ask for and in-game the community is beyond fantastic.

This month they are walking along the route of the ring, from Bag-End to Rivendell.  Why would someone want to use LotRO’s horribly slow walking animation over such a vast distance?  To support Child’s Play.  So far they are over halfway to their goal of $7000 with 17 days to go.  They still have several auctions going, and those should knock them over $4000, but they need help to get there.

Saturday, 6 October I lined up my Guardian Byrndof (after a late start) to catch the good folks of the Landroval server at the Forsaken Inn (the Fellowship wisely avoided it.  Place is a dump, 1/2 star) to join their second half of the walk to Weathertop.

Weathertop in the distance

The crowd was pretty impressive.  At least 40 in attendance.  I wasn’t able to get on any comms they were on, but clearly speechifying happened.

Inching Closer

The fine costuming available in LotRO was on display as well during the speechifying.

 

Hidden in this picture, a stein, a lantern and a pretzel

So if you have a few minutes and dollars, head over to their website and give a little for the baby Hobbits.  It’s a great cause and a great bunch of people.  Oh and my main on Landroval is now Corelin so don’t worry, all is well in the universe, whichever universe I’m in 😉

 

I’m using it every time I can