Sunday, December 25, 2011

POD-ageddon X-Mass - Update 2 - It has started

I am taking a quick break from the X-Mass festivities to announce that POD-aggedon has started. Please post all killmails (in their entirety not a link) in the comments section of this post. Winner will receive a pirate or navy faction cruiser of choice.

Remember the Rules!
1. Kill must be in Hi-sec.
2. Runs from downtime December 24, 2011 to downtime January 1st 2012 (kills must be in by downtime).
3. Prices of implants to be calculated based upon Jita Market Prices/purchase contract prices. Thus a snake set is worth a LOT more than 100 +1 perception implants.
4. Implants must be in a head (only pod-kills count).
5. Podder (final blow) gets the credit, not the podded ;)

Good Luck!

Edit: Some confusion apparently, if you want to participate please post all of the pod killmails as comments to this message.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Focus on the Primary!

Flying in various RvB gangs, as well as a recent Public Agony destroyer gang, I have noticed that a LOT of people just don't seem to understand that focusing fire on the primary is not just a piece of gentle advice from the FC, but rather the difference between victory and defeat. When the FC is calling a primary, unless there is a very good reason, that is what you should be shooting at.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that the enemy is splitting their fire. When flying a ship in a 15v15 engagement in RvB I appreciate it when I start taking damage from a single ship, allowing me lots of time to warp out and then return to the battle. I appreciate it that my own fleet is not loosing a ship every few seconds to focused fire. Rather we are all being evenly pelted to one degree or another. Oddly enough when I am called primary I appreciate it that I am getting all of the enemy e-war placed on me. It is good that, three or four tracking disruptors, a few stasis webs and enough points are placed on me that even if I fit nothing but WCS in the lows I would still not be able to leave. I know that my going down at that point is diverting valuable ewar away from my own side allowing them to inflict maximum damage and maneuver as needed.

Unfortunately I know that the same lack of focused fire is happening from my side as well.

In short, when in fleet place your DPS on the primary. Spread your e-war appropriately across the enemy fleet. One side does that and the other does not, they will win.

Example of this would be on the Agony run destroyer fleet I was on. Although there was a large discussion in the forum from some non-agony wondering about the importance of shooting the primary, during the fleet we were able to give the FC the concentrated fire of all of our DPS. And thanks to the enemy fleet on two occasions spreading fire around to me enough that my paper thin thrasher had lots of time to get out of dodge when needed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

POD-ageddon X-Mass - Update 1 - How to submit

I am writing a little program to parse out killmails from the comments section of my blog. The way things are going to work is as follows. I will create a post for each day and players are to submit killmails as comments in a raw form (not as a link). My little app will parse through the killmails extracting things like the date, pilot, and what implants were destroyed. This will be loaded up into to a database to then calculate the totals. I will expect each killmail to also appear on battleclinic and I will audit the killmails, especially the winners, to confirm that they are legit. All killmails must be API verified by battleclinic so make sure you give them you API key.

Remember, PODageddon begins on christmas EVE, so get set to trash your sec status then. Merry podding everyone.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

POD-ageddon X-Mass December 24 - December 31

One of the nice new things in the Incarna patch is the addition of pods to kill-mails. Finally, killing a billion ISK pod reveals a billion ISK kill-mail :). Fools who afk fly through empire space, or otherwise think that their pods are safe should now know..... they will be killed, if only to pad some anti-social individual's kill-board. This is awesome. To celebrate this I am going to suggest we have a Christmas POD-agedon event (stealing the title mercilessly from Hulkageddon). From Chrismas EVE through to New Years EVE, pods in empire space should be warned.... death is coming.

I am still working on how to implement this. But the following basic rules should apply:

1. Kill must be in Hi-sec.
2. Runs from downtime December 24, 2011 to downtime January 1st 2012.
3. Prices of implants to be calculated based upon Jita Market Prices/purchase contract prices. Thus a snake set is worth a LOT more than 100 +1 perception implants.
4. Implants must be in a head (only pod-kills count).
5. Podder gets the credit, not the podded ;)

Prizes: TBD

I am far from wealthy so all I will throw into the prize pool is a pirate faction cruiser of choice for the contestant with highest total ISK of implants destroyed. Ideally I will get some additional prizes before the contest starts.

How to submit: TBD

Monday, December 5, 2011

Current Users of EVE ... Looks to be up about 10%

Last June I noticed that about a week after the Incarna patch, online users of EVE looked to be down about 10%. Lets see how things look now, nearly week after the Crucible patch:
It now looks to be up around 10% (green line compared to purple), hitting close to or exceeding 50k online users, numbers I have not seen in months. This seemed to have been true over this past weekend as well. In short, things are looking pretty good for this patch. Obviously there are a lot of possible factors, but considering the good reaction to this latest patch, in contrast to Incarna, I think that Crucible is to be credited.

CCP has done something that is almost unheard of in the tech industry, it put away it's own arrogance and listened to its users. That this happened in Iceland, a country credited with being populated by stubborn Vikings, is all the more exceptional.

But wait, there is more to be done. Firstly us EVE players really need to reward CCP for this shift. Give your friends invites. CCP has given out new 60 day invite key (which sadly does not reward the deliverer). Send this to a friend whom you think might want to play EVE. Imagine the effect within CCP, and the wider gaming community, if EVE suddenly gets a spike in revenue for:
1. All but abandoning micro-transactions
2. Listening to the users
3. Driving Improvements to old features instead of just adding more fluff.
4. Communicating openly with the player base.

Gamers all over the industry should know that this is the opportunity to show the publishers that we want quality over trinkets, game-play over pay-to-win and give developers frustrated by greedy executives a nice data point that says.... PLAYERS PLAYERS PLAYERS PLAYERS!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What... is your favourite colour? --- Blue. No, yel... auuuuuuuugh

Sorry for the lack of posting... the truth is that there has been so much happening I keep on starting topics and then deciding to switch topics over and and over again. I am going to try and finish some of the articles and will likely have quite a few posts this December. Here is the first.

So a couple of months ago I discussed how I had moved to Venal to run the very profitable Guristas missions. This worked pretty well and I am now more flush with ISK then ever before. I suspect I will be making periodic trips back. Having said that there was one big problem with Venal... it seems to be home to fail-corps. Due to it's issues getting access to empire, and the lack of good nearby PvP hunting grounds... PvP in Venal seems to consist mostly of bling'ed out T3 ships playing station games. Quite sad.

After making my ISK I started just roaming around Venal and eventually got frustrated. The nearby sov space was controlled by such entities as NC. and the Goons so it proved very hard for me to find appropriate targets for a solo frigate, as well hard to survive gate-camps in larger ships.

Since I was wasting hours and hours of hunting with little to show for it except losses to blobs, I decided to try a much more target rich environment, one where in a couple of systems were dozens of ships with ROE that discouraged blobbing and encouraged 1v1s. I joined Red Federation of Red vs Blue.

In two weeks of Red vs Blue I have racked up more kills then the preceding 6 months. It is senseless violence, but sometimes that is the best kind. We do play internet space-ships after all so it is hard to find meaning in anything we do.

Like all combat in EVE, RvB suffers from long waits to find targets, blobbing, station games and the like. However there is a mutual understanding between the sides that good-fights are the priority, not winning. 1v1s are often offered, and accepted. Players are willing to ship-down for fights. This, combined with a small operating arena chock full of people looking for a fight, leads to more good fights then I have seen elsewhere. In short, I can log in, spend an hour, have a good fight, and log-off.

I find that there is a huge variety of skill-levels within the teams. Sometimes you go into a fight against a faction frigate and are stunned to see a bunch of newbie flying and fitting mistakes. Other times it is obvious that a pro is at the controls, often with max skills/implants. A 'no-podding' rule allows players to invest in high-performance implants with little fear of loosing them.

In general members leave behind the 0.0 win at all costs mindset, but not always. I was on a fleet recently with a brand-new FC, with only a few months experience in game. As always happens he made a few mistakes and the fleet got routed. Not a big deal. One player complained but I, and others, reminded him that this was rather silly, and encouraged the rookie FC to try again. This is the sort of thing I love about EVE.

Income generation in RvB is not too hard. Obviously fighting grinds down ISK, but there is nothing to stop players from mission-ing, incursion-ing, wormhole-ing or doing other ISK generating activities outside of the few systems open for combat. Since the general fleet doctrine is to not fly expensive stuff unless you can afford it, this is not really a problem I see for most players.

Being hi-sec near Jita makes logistics easy. It is no problem buying a ship in Jita and two or three jumps later, being in the combat zone. Note: While no RvB fighing is allowed in Jita, the same cannot be said of the routes from Jita to the various HQ.

Anyways, RvB is good fun. If all you want to do is have great fights with much less blobbing, and less hours spent looking, these are great corps to look into.

Friday, November 11, 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You are not Cool: Drug Users Playing EVE

Cozmik R5's 'Ode to a friend' post got me thinking a lot about some of the things I have heard while playing EVE. Basically if I had to divide EVE into two groups it could be the 20-somethings (including some teenagers) that seem to be always talking about what awesome drugs they are taking, and the 30+ who think the 20 somethings are idiots.

The reason for the difference is simple. 20-somethings think that it is cool to be stoned, and that they are immortal. The 30+ know that being stoned is a waste, and have attended too many funerals of friends who died of drugs in their 20s to have any misconceptions about the dangers.

Personally I lost three people I knew to drugs. One in particular was a very close friend and former room-mate. His funeral was beyond horrible. The parents (immigrants who came to Canada to give their child a better life) had to be hospitalized and couldn't even attend due to grief. His life had been full of possibilities. He had recently finished a degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and was making lots of money in the early dot-com era. He had a passion for cars and recently bought some 80s V8 muscle car which he was souping up. Who knows what he could have accomplished if he had not overdosed?

Now the only reminder of him left in the world is his cat that is currently owned by his ex-girlfriend (who had to dump him early on in his drug use, you can imagine the amount of guilt she felt although it was not her fault, she tried but could get him to quit). The cat is very old now, probably will not make it through the winter. After that there will be nothing left of him. He would have been 38 this year.

Yesterday my baby daughter was sick with a cold. I took a vacation day and stayed home from work to take care of her. We spent the day playing and having fun (in between naps). It was a perfect day. Maybe it is just chemicals, the Dopamine, Oxytocin and other natural hormones that makes parents love their children, all I know is that the 'hit' from real life so outweighs the artificial hit from drugs, I think that anyone who bothers with them is a fool.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is CCP Rowing in the Same Direction

"You know, Gina, Apple is like a ship, that ship is loaded with treasure, but there's a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction."
-Gil Amelio (CEO of Apple 1996-1997)

Last June, as Incarna hit Hilmar game a presentation at the Game Horizon conference. I suggest all of you interested in what is going on watch this video:

Hilmar Veigar Petursson - CCP Games from Codeworks Ltd on Vimeo.

For those who don't have the 60 minutes to watch it Hilmar gives a great history of EVE Online and where it is going. A lot of it focuses on thier 'Carbon' engine and using it in EVE and World of Darkness. There is a mention that some things don't make sense in EVE but are implemented since they can be capitalized across the portfolio of games (i.e. World of Darkness). It is a very optimistic view of CCP where EVE is but one of three AAA products of CCP. CCP is a brand, it is an experience, it is the difference between getting coffee from McDonalds, and getting coffee from Starbucks. You come for the spaceships, you stay for the Monocles!

Compare this to the most recent interview with Hilmar in Eurogamer:

Probably the most important part is the end...
Hilmar Pétursson: We are back in the spaceship business.

As a player who pays real $$ for my subscription I feel that each month I am investing in EVE. Nearly three years of $15 per months x two accounts is quite an investment. After Incarna I felt like I was holding 2002 Nortel stock. After this past week I feel that I may be holding 1997 Apple stock.

Question remains however, is CCP all rowing in the same direction? When Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 the first thing he did was kill off dozens, hundreds of faltering products. To be an Apple developer at Steve Jobs' first developer conference was a painful event. But by cutting the crap and focusing on delivering what it's customers wanted Apple turned around and is now the most valuable company in the world. Not everything is perfect. DUST 514 should be on the PC, not the console. However that is more due to contractual obligations I suspect then anything else. Otherwise, based upon the recent devblogs, it seems that CCP is finally heading in the right direction.

I suspect based upon the massively article things are pretty chaotic at ccp. Insiders report that "All prior release planning is basically in the trash," and "also realise that people have heard too much bullshit". Development seems to be focused on easy wins for FIS that will make players happy. About time!

Not surprisingly there is a lot of resistance from management at CCP. Attitudes like "and say we have just hit a bump because some bad players refuse to see the awesomeness of our vision. We're told that it is not our fault." are toxic and completely contrary to the attitude needed for CCP to return. It seems that the CEO is on message however. With luck the rest of management will either come onside, or be replaced. Vikings were great rowers... they rowed across the Atlantic to settle in Labrador. I am sure they will come around.

Now back to shooting stuff...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Okay... I am Excited About the New Ship Class

Battlecruiser Definition
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Battlecruisers (also rendered as battle cruiser in some sources) were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship. They were similar in size and cost to a battleship, but while they typically used the same large-calibre main armament as a battleship, battlecruisers sacrificed armour protection in exchange for speed.
I have always disliked the naming of the battlecruiser class in EVE. A battlecruiser traditionally differs from a cruiser, not in the number of guns, but rather in their calibre. Basically a battleship with less armour and more speed. The most famous Battlecruiser being the HMS Hood that was destroyed spectacularly by the Bismark. In EVE battlecruisers are more like heavy cruisers. Less maneuverable but sporting more guns and heavier armour.

At present the closest thing we have to a real battle-cruiser is a nano+shield fit Minmattar BS like a nano-phoon or a nano-tempest. Great ships to fly but not really able to deliver on their promise. Fortunately CCP has remedied this with a new tier-3 battlecruiser designed not to fit medium guns, but rather large ones. Stats aren't in yet but these ships should have EHP significantly less than a normal BS, be faster, and deliver similar damage. Should be awesome. :)

The only problem I see with this is that I feel that large guns are a bit underpowered. With only about 30% more dps per gun then a medium gun, they will be hard pressed to make this new BC tier out damage the tier-2 BCs. Which, considering that they will have significant penalties in tracking relative to the medium gun equiped ships, they will have to do. Would it be game breaking to also give large guns a 20% DPS boost while doing this?

Between this and the other announcements CCP really seems to be back in to the game of EVE.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Incarna (Walking in Stations) is Officially Dead + Life Stages of a Tech Company

Okay, not officially, but now that CCP has all but abandoned World of Darkness, the main motivation for developing the NEX store, the graphics engine behind Incarna, and the jobs of 20% of the CCP workforce (about 100 people) is gone. What the player base wanted the player base got. Incarna is dead. Make no mistake, we will not see establishments nor any other walking in stations beyond the 3 additional captains quarters for the foreseeable future.

If you have been involved in IT as long as I have (pre dot-com boom to present) none of this is surprising. There is a very common life-span for most tech companies.

1. Founding - An innovative idea leads to the development of an innovative product.
2. Exponential Growth - As the product becomes popular growth and revenue doubles yearly or better
3. Executives Take Credit - The founder and other execs take credit for their awesome achievement ignoring that it was purely dumb luck and some timing that separates them from failed competition
4. Over-expansion - Knowing that they are fundamentally better then other companies the exponentially grow their workforce.
5. Disappointing Revenue - Ultimately revenue stops growing exponentially, while the workforce continues to grow at a ever increasing rate.
6. Arrogance - The executives, not understanding what has changed to stop exponential growth, continue to promise more and more while the company delivers less and less. Hope springs eternal at this point.
7. Failure - Company looses money, executives laid off with small golden parachute, workers screwed.
8. Dissolution or Continue as smaller company - says it all.

All tech companies seem to follow this. Some very large ones (I.B.M., Microsoft) sort of hit a a steady state that is still large for phase 8. Some even go through the cycle multiple times (Apple - currently starting phase 5 having gone from phase 8 to phase 2 around 1997). CCP seems to have finally hit phase 7.

All that is left is to ponder, will CCP be gone in a year? or will they continue to operate as a smaller entity? There is an outside chance of starting over at phase 2 once everything has crashed.

What would be ideal, is not a rebirth of CCP, but rather for them to understand that they need to operate as a smaller company, live within their means... and try and achieve excellence in the one thing that they have going for them.... EVE Online. The very worst thing that could possible happen is for Dust 514 to be a overnight hit moving CCP back to phase 2, generate $50 million in revenue overshadowing EVE Online only to collapse a year later leaving a broken company.

On a side note I will say to any of my readers who are laid off by CCP, life goes on. Don't take being laid-off as a personal failure, rather just consider it an opportunity for a new beginning. I myself have been laid-off several times. Once two weeks before my first child was born. As difficult as it was each time I have always found a better job in the end. May you all find happiness in your future endeavors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Three Great Blogs + an Honourable Mention

One thing about blogging about EVE is that I spend a lot of time reading other EVE blogs looking for new ideas. A good blog not only entertains, but provides thoughtful insight into some aspect of the game. Some blogs are more of a public diary, and I am okay with that, I just prefer blogs that have useful information in them. Sometimes I personally have succeeded in writing good stuff, other times I fall back down into either the public diary model, or worse, political junkie model.

Soon after I started blogging three new blogs cropped up that I feel are the best of the best. Not only do they provide excellent information, but they are well written and interesting to read. I highly recommend these to anyone who is following scram web.

1. The Altruist: As expected a blog from the headmaster of Agony's PVP University, contains valuable and accurate information for readers. The 'Know Your Enemy' series in particular is very well researched and is the best guide to PvP ships in existence. Any PvPer is well advised to give these articles a detailed read.

2. The FNG: This blog covers the EVE experience for a new player very well. The author started blogging soon after his character was created and set on a path of learning PvP and becoming a pirate. Concentrating primarily on the Punisher frigate at first, he shares his experience heading down this path. Oh, and his posts quote from Douglas Adams which is pure win.

3. Flight Of Dragons: How many times are new players told to just buy 20 T1 frigates and loose them to learn the ropes of PvP. Until now I am not sure anyone ever actually took this advice literally. Taurean Eltanin did and blogged about it. He provides a detailed AAR of each fight with those 20 frigates, and ships afterwords. At first he is clearly a noob. But after a few fights his technique improves and by the end of it he is an accomplished pirate with the Tuskers. After the 20 Punishers he goes on to more powerful ships, continuing to do an excellent AAR for each fight evaluating himself. A great inspiration, and a great resource for any capsuleer.

Honourable Mention
I thought I would add one more blog that is only on it's second post but shows promise. The Intercepted is another blog from an new-to-Agony member. His article on being an FC was great and shows real promise for the future. I hope he keeps it up.

Anyways, thanks to the above bloggers for the great reads. I hope you all continue your efforts. With each new blog post the EVE community becomes stronger and stronger. It is the strength of the community that makes an MMO, and the EVE community is probably the strongest of them all. (So strong that CCP's CEO is humbled by it)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death of Steve Jobs

It is with great sadness that I learn that Steve Jobs has passed. If you don't think that this is important just imagine the state of the computer industry if he never was....

Years later for a personal computer
Years later for a GUI
Lousy portable music players
Lousy smart phone interfaces
General lack of design philosophy in computers

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

EVE Missions - Or how I learned to stop worrying and love a good agent (especially the ones that say Y'aar)

As has been stated on this blog I have turned into a mission runner. Some might find it hard to believe that I would sink so low (myself included) but it has proved to exceed my very low expectations. Some aspects of mission running are awesome. If you like blowing up spaceships, missions certainly provide a volume approach to the act. At times, (say the Angels Extravaganza Bonus Room in a BS that can't really tank it) it can be very intense. At other times you wonder why you are paying $15 a month for this crap. Lets first cover the high points of missions:

The Good - Pirate Epic Arc Fun :)
If you haven't already tried the pirate epic arcs, then you really should. For once CCP actually implemented the feature intelligently. I am not going to bore you with the details of the missions, for that check out here and here for excellent guides.

First and foremost, these missions are actually fun. The mission text is better then the usual level 4 mission. The multiple choices make them feel a little less scripted. I really have to give CCP credit for making it so that you can do these Angel/Guristas missions using your empire faction standings. the rewards for the missions, especially the Angel Sound one, are very good. Between the two major item rewards, bounties and nice mission rewards, each arc should net in the neighborhood of 300 million isk for a few hours work. Personally I felt the missions themselves could be a bit harder, both my Jaguar and my Dramiel were able to make short work of the targets.

However what makes the missions challenging, and fun, is that they involve running around some very busy regions of 0.0 NPC space. I had to dodge three gate-camps, one of which was well run, in order to compete both arcs. The Angel mission, being in Curse, runs through some near perma-camped systems. The Guristas missions in Venal were not so heavily camped, but times change and space that is one-day empty can have a 200 man gate-camp the next day.

In addition to the gate-camps the locals are definitely interested in scanning you down and hunting you to extinction. While doting the Guristas arc, Sister's Combat Probes were seen a couple of times. Fortunately I was able to complete the mission before being dropped upon.

The biggest downside to the pirate arc missions is that you can only run them once every 3 months. This, plus there are only two arcs, one for the Angels and one for the Guristas. If they had another arc for each of the pirate factions that would have provided a lot more play-time. Unfortunatly CCP tends to forget about features as soon as they go live, so these two are probably all the arcs that we will see :(

While I did the Angel Sound Arc in a dual-prop Jaguar, I found that the following Dramiel to be pretty much a perfect ship for doing these. It is a little expensive (especially with the faction bling) but at less than 1/3 the rewards for the mission, a good investment:

[Dramiel, Mission Dram]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Gistii B-Type 1MN Afterburner
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Gistii B-Type Small Shield Booster
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

200mm AutoCannon II, EMP S
200mm AutoCannon II, EMP S
Rocket Launcher II, Gremlin Rocket

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

Hobgoblin II x3
Hobgoblin II x1

The Bad - Empire Level 4 Mission Running
It seems that throughout my entire EVE career Level 4 mission running has been the most loved by empire/hated by everyone else activity. In short, Level 4 missions are what EVE would be if it was a single player game. You are given a seemingly impossible task (take out 10 enemy BS + 40 support ships solo) and, through skill or just general personal brilliance, you succeed. Of course it does not really take much skill beyond finding Eve Survival. Thanks to lousy circa 2004 NPC AI, and a near total lack of variation in missions, it is surprisingly easy to take out an entire enemy fleet solo. Rather the challenge seems to be maximizing the ISK/hour ratio.

The missions are not without their challenges. I remember fondly managing the cap and shields of my Maelstrom keeping both in the Max recharge range to successfully tank Angel Extravaganza. Since the missions are invariably one vs a whole army, this can lead to certain challenges. However what frustrates me is the repetition. Over the last month these are the Level 4 missions that I have done:

The Assault - 3 times
The Modus Headhunters - 4 times
Recon (1,2,3) - 5 times
Angel Extravaganza - 4 times
Damsel in Distress - 7 times
Stop the Thief - 4 times
Pirate Invasion - 2 times
Smuggler Interception - 5 times
Massive Attack - 2 times
The Score - 1 times
Cargo Delivery - 4 times
Rigth Hand of Zazzmatazz - 2 times
Intercept the Saboteurs - 3 times
Duo of Death - 2 times

Notice something.... that is all of the level 4 missions that they have. For reasons having to do with protecting faction standing, and refusing to waste time salvaging drones, the above list of 15 or so missions is all that there is. Understand this... most of the 300,000 or so players of EVE spend most of their time doing the same bloody 15 missions. I understand there are a few more missions from other agents, and I may have missed a couple, but this is pretty messed up. How much work is it for CCP to develop a mission? Considering the 5+ years they have been working on these, and the tens of millions of $$ that have been paid by active accounts running primarily doing missions, there should be a heck of a lot more then this.

So what to do?
The solution for Toterra, amazingly enough, is to just have it all. Toterra is now running missions in 0.0. Thanks to the pirate arcs providing a 37% boost to faction standings, I could access level 2 Guristas agents, which allowed me to quickly grind up in a day or two so that I could run Level 4 missions. Not bad :). Additionally, the missions are much more profitable thanks to their LP. I am no expert on the mechanics of LP reward sizes but where I was usually getting 5000 minmattar LP per level 4 mission, I am now getting 10,000 Guristas LP per level 4 mission. Multiply this by the far more lucrative LP store (Crystal Implants anyone) and the money is actually quite nice. I can avoid doing missions for empire factions easily enough and still make over 50 million ISK/hour.

But what makes it really good is that the missions are actually interesting. Not in the sense that the missions themselves are interesting, but because this is 0.0 other players are a distinct worry. Instead of lumbering along in a Maelstrom, I am racing around in an Ishkur, Daredevil or a Dramiel. Yes, these ships can do many level 4 missions. Just watch out for webs and sister probes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The return of Ship Spinning...

fixing some things and moving forward

FINALLY! Hopefully they won't kill the GPU with this one.

And it also looks like they are fixing turret icons and changing the cyno effect.  Things are looking up :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is pirates the best race in Eve?

While checking out the new forums I noticed the following question in the EVE Trial Citizens Q&A forum. Is pirates the best race in Eve? Judging by the numerous responses to this possible troll question... this is a confusing topic.

So what is a pirate in EVE?

Their are two answers, one that a new player would give, and one that an experienced player would give.

New Players: For a new player a Pirate is a rat from a 'Pirate' NPC faction. Some of these like the Guristas have a back-story consistent with piracy. Others, like the Sansha, not so much but are still referred to as pirates by the game. In general players start by clearing the spacelanes of these threats to all that is good in the universe. Some players desire to join up with one of these factions, only to be thwarted by the discovery that the agents are out in 0.0 (oh noes doesn't that equate to instant death) and the lack of any real ability to join forces with these red crosses.

Non-new players
: For a non-new player these red crosses that we shoot at are not pirates. They are simply resources to be extracted, effectively asteroids that shoot back a little while being farmed. The truly ridiculous amount of carnage that even a single capsuleer can cause to even a massive Lv4 mission sized pirate fleet defies a RolePlaying explanation. Rather, for a player who has had a few months of game time, or even just a couple non-consensual PvP experiences, a pirate is another player that attempts to engage in non-consensual PvP. To be considered 'piracy' this PvP must take place in either low-sec or possibly as a suicide gank in empire space, and not part of a war-dec or a militia. Oddly enough PvP in 0.0 is usually not considered piracy. A player doing piracy will invariably suffer sec status hits and will usually be unable to even enter hi-sec without being shot at immediately. Often the trademark of a real pirate is the ransom demand. In an attempt to recover some of the cost of their destructive PvP activities a true pirate is more concerned about income from PvP then their killboard efficiency. Like the real pirates of old... EVE pirates do not fly the expensive and flashy ships, rather they fly efficient ships for their purposes.

As I once advised some new players who were ratting in a belt when I pounded in and blew them away, when there is another player on the field... the NPC ships, no matter how many or how large, are not the real threat anymore. Just because the pirate is in a Rifter and you are blowing up NPC Cynabals and Macharials means nothing. That pirate in the Rifter is the danger.

So is pirates the best race? Sort of a meaningless question. Is piracy the best thing to be doing then the answer is, like most things, it depends. Toterra tried the pirate life briefly and found it frustrating taking a major sec-status hit. However pirates do seem to have among the higest ration of doing that most desirable EVE PvP activity, small gang warfare so I understand the attraction. Maybe in some future expansion CCP will get it right and make piracy an easier activity to get into. We can only hope.

TL;DR - Pirates are players, not NPC ships.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Mitani and the CSM Realize They Have Been Played

First off, an apology for this negative anti-CCP article. Since monoclegate I have tried to avoid using this blog to bitch about negative things... but I just can't stop (sort of like I can't stop playing EVE).

I wrote a while back during the follow up to monoclegate that I felt that the Mitanni had done a marvelous job as CCPs public relations manager. The outcome of the summit, especially the video interview, brilliantly defused what for CCP was a potentially company ending catastrophe.

Now The Mitanni, and the rest of the CSM, realize that they were played. The issue... the minutes from that very summit. It appears that CCP and the CSM are at odds as to the contents of the minutes. Whatever 'accord' between the CSM and CCP appears to have broken down.

This is very discouraging. I had quit EVE over the issue of the door and the crap that was Incarna (yes I know I am back.... but that is another story). Every EVE player is hoping for one thing.. for CCP to realize just how good the game they have accidentally produced is, and how great they could make it if they just gave it a chance. Instead all we hear from CCP is how great some new game-breaking features like the NEX store are, how cool their console game is going to be because it interacts with the EVE players, and then a bunch of broken promises about EVE development.

I don't blame the CSM for trying to work with CCP. Many of them campaigned on taking a cooperative approach with CCP to prevent the breakdown that occurred with CSM 5. But now they realize that CSM 6 has been played. CCP used them for PR and now feels that they can be ignored since they have binding NDAs that prevent them from saying anything that CCP does not want them to say.

Edit: And the Mitanni has now declared war... The mittani declares war. On one hand you have CCP armed with the threat of banning a character and an NDA .... on the other hand you have a retired lawyer with a massive ego and who has a powerful influence over 7000 (goonswarm) accounts and entrenched himself into the gaming media (columnist at ten ton hammer).

In the spirit of the protest here are links to gaming magazine websites that are covering this (basically they all are).. – This site scooped the story, and caused all this. PCgamer GamerZone. Paper Shotgun- This one is particularly good. Get it everywhere.

Edit2: And another bang on commentary from former CCP Game Designer and current CSM representative Seleen

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wardecs and Eve Who

The carebear corp I am in was wardec'ed. One of the first things a corp should do when wardec'ed is to get a member list. Adding the members to your contact list means you can see who is online and who is not. Also allows the use of locator agents to find out where they are at any moment. In the past I would use battleclinic and look at kills/losses. This usually got most of the members but not quite all.

However last night I found this...

Fracken brilliant.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blog Banter: Arena

So someone has kicked off the post Crazy Kinux era blog banter with the idea of having an arena to create the opportunity for quick combat.:

EVE Quick Matches

Kirith Kodachi recently discussed the idea of what a World of Tanks style quick-match element would bring to EVE Online. Would the opportunity for a quick combat interest you? How could it be implemented? Could it be done without having a negative impact on existing gameplay elements? Or does such a concept have no place in EVE?

Personally I think that it is a fantastic idea. We seriously need in this game a way for solo pilots to get into arranged fights. Here are my two great ideas that really should be added to the game:

1. High-population Low-sec system with Belts: Wouldn't it be great if you could take a frigate to a low-sec system and, simply by using the directional scanner check out all of the belts looking for a similar frigate. If you see one odds are great that they would be looking for the same thing so warp to the belt at zero and presto... a 1 on 1. Naturally there is no real guarantee that the enemy will neither run nor call for backup, but, this being EVE and this being lowsec 90% of the time you will get a 1v1. I suggest we call this special system Amamake.

2. Organized 1v1 tournament: If only CCP could think of a way that a blog or a magazine could sponsor and organize a 1v1 frigate tournament. That would be great! Players could sign up and organize fights. Maybe they could even have the organizers setup an in-game channel to help with the coordination. If only this were possible. Pity.

In all seriousness I think that an arena feature could work.... I just don't think 1) CCP could pull it off in a non-fail fashion and 2) it would not get boring real fast. The whole point of player created content is that, since it can evolve naturally, it is better then what can be imagines by a game designer. Yes, I played WOT, and eventually got bored and gave it up. No arranged 1v1 can compare to setting out in a T1 frig and hunting down a T2 frigate. Two hours of roaming ... two minutes of excitement = what EVE is all about.

Other opinions:
Kuro Mayuri: Exploring all New Eden has to offer
Kirith Kodachi: World of Tanks - lessons to be learned
Seismic Stan: Suddenly Combat: World of Spaceships
Arydanika: Blog Banter: Competition Arenas
Harrigan Vonstudly: Blog Banter: Quick matches. Eveharmony?
Drackarn: Eve Blog Banter - Quick Matches
Rhavas: NECL Season One
Noise: Arena PvP
Ender Black: Blog Banter: Quick Matches
Mike Azariah: Blog Banter: Pinks
Mabricks Mumblings: Chivalry, not cage fights.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sightseeing - The Golgothan Fields

The Minmatar Rebellion saw many battles, both on the ground and in space. The largest of the space battles took place in the Ennur system just a few weeks after the start of the rebellion. The main Amarr battle fleet had returned from Jovian space and intended to break the power of the rebels once and for all by sweeping through their core systems. The Minmatar met the Amarr with every ship they could muster. The battle was fierce and lasted for hours. In the end, the Minmatar withdrew and the Amarrians claimed victory; however, the Minmatar had succeeded in disabling or destroying the best capital ships in the Amarr fleet, thus reducing their offensive strength dramatically. Today the old battlefield, commonly known as the Golgothan Fields, is littered with old shipwrecks and infested with pirates who have taken refuge in the giant hulks. They defend their outposts fiercely, but daring scavengers can still sneak in and rummage around.

Bored running missions I thought I would do a bit of sightseeing... I decided to check out the Golgothan Fields... an historic site in the EVE back-story where the Minmattar Rebbelion lost a battle to the Amarrians, but set themselves up to eventually win their independence. Located in the Ennur System within Molden Heath Low-sec it was a quick march to this interesting ancient battlefield.

Upon arriving at the pocket I was immediately set upon by an Angel Cartel force that seems to inhabit this location. I decided to simply ignore them and have a look around. What I saw was what must have been the result of some a serious battle. Numerous debris fields of Minmatar and Ammarian ships. Importantly (for the back story) there is a cluster of Ammarian dreadnaught wrecks whose loss devastated the Ammarian response to the Minmattar rebellion.

Anyways this site is definitely worth the pilgrimage for any Matari pilot. Be advised though, the local capsuleer population is not above wrecking your vacation plans.

Local Angel Cartel Ships Saying 'Hello' (about 2 million total bounty)

Ammarian Dreadnaught Wrecks

Not Just Ammar Wrecks! Minmattar Technically Lost this Fight

Unknown Ship Floating Withing The Carnage

Of course after this I proceeded to fly into 0.0 where I lost a fight to a sabre/drake where I would have been able to kill the sabre if I had only been smart enough to turn on my warp scrambler/webifier. Oh well this carebear stuff is sure making me rusty :(

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ships I Fly - Mission Ishkur

Ah, my carebear plans seems to have hit two snags. Firstly, the corp I joined missions in space without a Republic Security Services agent, rather it is full of republic fleet agents. Secondly my corp has been war-dec'd. This has meant two things. Firstly I am having to grind up some standings with the republic fleet before I can get to Level 4 missions. Secondly I have to be careful with my mission ship. My main solution has been to grind level 2 and now level 3 missions with an Ishkur.

At first I started with a Jaguar but found that it was a bit of a PIA for missioning. It worked but it lacked the dps needed and, due to the fitting of multiple shield extenders and rigs, it took a lot of damage when I was doing some Level 3 missions. At this point I noticed that I now have the skills to fly an Ishkur.

The Ishkur is pretty sweet for my missioning style. It can get up close and lay into a target with close range/high damage blasters. From the blasters alone it can manage a respectable 150 dps. But what makes the Ishkur so ideal is the drone bay. Fitted with 5 Hobgoblin IIs these contribute an additional 99 dps (a bit less for me since my skills are far from max) which means the Ishkur can easily drop even BS sized rats. However what makes the drones so good is that they are autonomous. Once they start engaging the enemy they will switch targets all by themselves. This means I can point my ship at cruisers and larger ships, leaving the frigates to automatically be taken care of by my drones. Typically by the time I have taken care of the larger ships with my blasters, the frigates/destroyers have been destroyed.

The main risk to this ship is webifiers. If it gets webbed, and larger ships can get their DPS onto it, it will die quickly. Obviously it makes sense to prioritize any e-war frigs with webifiers and/or scramblers.

Others have managed to complete Level 4 missions with this ship. It apparently is quite doable (if a bit slow) with the addition of a bit of bling in the form of a dead-space afterburner to better speed tank. I have not done this yet but I will be trying it soon.

[Ishkur, mission ishkur]
Small Armor Repairer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Damage Control II

1MN Afterburner II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mission Hurricane

So on July 17th my last remaining account expired. I stopped playing EVE for a couple of weeks. Early August however I logged back in. CCP has a feature that allows you to get 4 hours of free game time on an expired account. Just enough to buy a plex in Jita. Toterra was back in game.

Why am I back?

Not sure... Mostly just missing my EVE fix. I am still infuriated at 'The Door' and reluctant to spend any real money on this game. But I have enough ISK to last a few months just buying plex so why not.

Now I had a big question... what to do. Finding myself in a NPC corp I thought that I might as well do something that I have never done in EVE, something that it seems everyone else has done, do Level 4 missions. I had sufficiently high standing with the Minmattar Republic Security Services corp to do Level 4 missions so I quickly found a couple of neighboring systems with level 4 mission agents and started plugging away.

Of course I am no expert at PVE ship fittings. The most common recomendation that would fit with my skillset was to go with a drake or a Mealstrom. Instead I decided to go against the grain and went with a mission hurricane.

[Hurricane, Tank Like a Drake]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II

10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II

425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Torrent Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Torrent Assault Missile

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hobgoblin II x1

Note: The invulnerability field should be swapped out for a mission specific hardener where applicable. Choose ammo types accordingly as well.

This ship is a pretty potent force. With a peak passive recharge rate of 495 DPS and a total firepower of 475 DPS it can both tank all but the toughest rooms and rip through any BS rat in seconds. Compared to a similar Drake the tank is somewhat weaker, but the damage is higher which makes for chewing through structures and large BS rats quicker. The main difference between this and a Drake is that a Drake will typically engage at long range. While this is purely a close range brawler. Basically approach target after target blasting away while letting the light drones kill pesky frigates, starting with those fitting warp scrambling e-war first.

How does it do for a new character?

One thing I always do when looking at fitting is figure out a low-cost/low-skill version. In my EFT I have a file setup with level 3 skills across the board. The idea is not to show the most a fit can do, rather to get an idea of how this would work on newer character. Here is a fit for a character with level 3 skills:
[Hurricane, low skill passive cane]
Shield Power Relay I
Shield Power Relay I
Shield Power Relay I
Shield Power Relay I
Shield Power Relay I
Power Diagnostic System I

Large Shield Extender I
Large Shield Extender I
10MN Afterburner I
Invulnerability Field I

425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
425mm AutoCannon I, EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I, Torrent Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I, Torrent Assault Missile

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin I x3
Hobgoblin I x1
Hobgoblin I x1

The DPS and the tank are about half that of the tech II / level 5 skill fit. But it still has a 240 dps tanks and a damage output of 216 DPS. More than enough to handle most level 3 missions.

All in all the mission Hurricane may not be as common as some of the other options... but it does work awfully well. It sure is more fun then lobbing missiles at a distance, waiting for the damage to build up from a Drake.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So that was the result from the Reykjavik. No to non-vanity microtransactions :). Also, no to removing the 'Door' and returning to the old station screen :(.

I am not sure why it took two days of negotiations, and another day of futzing around, to say all of this. I assume most of that time was Mittens giving free, and obviously much needed, advice about how to handle PR in the future.

Will EVE players come back?
Some will, others won't. My guess is about a 10% loss of subscribers by the end of the summer. Far less then if they had continued on their previous communication strategy.

What did EVE Players Get from all this
CCP should be now scared out of their minds of the players. If it weren't for the CSM doing all of their PR for them, they would be finished at this point. Considering their precarious financial state, A major drop in revenue would kill them dead.

Aside from that EVE players did not get very much not much. No replacement anytime soon for the hanger. No commitment to work on the long neglected backlog. No commitment to pull resources from vaporware to work on EVE. No changes to NeX store prices. All we really got was a reaffirmation of what they had said before the 'Fearless' scandal and the CEO letter.

Who benefited the most from this
The Mittani, and to a much lesser extent, the CSM. He saved their buts... big time. However I am not sure that the CSM, even led by the politically savvy Mittani, can bail them out through many more incompetent actions.

What about Toterra??
As long as we don't have the old station environment, or at least a new one that works on my computer, I can't actually play. I would love to, and I have tried (heck I am on tonight), but it just doesn't work very well. Expect a thorough review of Perpetuum soon, the good (obvious EVE copy) and the not so good (no spaceships).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

CCP Zulu: What he should have said

A LOT of this incarna controversy comes out of the bad PR containment from recent devblogs. This is what CCP Zulu's devblog should have said:
To say the launch of Incarna has been controversial is an understatement. We at CCP appreciate the passion that many of you have for the game and are always listening to feedback. Let me address some of the big issues that you are having below.

1. Video Card Heat: Our engineering teams are looking at this one closely. For now I suggest setting the card to interval 1 as that may reduce the heat without affecting game-play. Expect more on this later.

2. NeX Store Prices: In many ways we are finding the uproar over the high prices amusing. The issue here is clearly poor communication from us and we take all of the blame. What happened here is that when this was first developed a lot of the functionality you see in the character creator was going to be restricted to the NEX store. Piercings, tattoos, jewels on the forehead, etc were all going to cost small amounts of Aurum. Instead, after feedback from the Incursion character creator, we decided to make most of these items 'free' leaving only the most expensive ones in the store. We did not fully realize that this would make our store look a little unbalanced in the eyes of the players. Rather than nickle-and-dimeing (plexing and Auruming maybe) the players for low cost items, we only placed the premium items in the store and leaving items that we deem to have a lower cost to be free. In the future expect to see more less expensive, and more expensive, items appear.

3. The Hanger View: As many of you noticed the static view of the door when the station environment has been turned off is far from ideal. We are aware of this and are working to improve functionality for users whose computers are unable to take full advantage of CQ. Rest assured we at CCP are committed to giving the best possible gaming experience to as many possible hardware configurations as possible.

4. Fearless: This internal newsletter contained a great discussion about micro-transactions though a point-counterpoint series of articles. CCP Soundwave was assigned the task playing the parody of an 'Evil' game designer trying to push microtransactions to a ridiculous level. He even went so far as to pull material out of a 2008 April Fool's joke devblog about gold ammo. We are stunned that anyone would take his statements in the newsletter as actual policy. Rest assured that we at CCP understand the market based principles that make EVE special. If anything we suffer from an overabundance of caution at disrupting this. I can not go into details here as to microtransaction plans, however were not going to kill our golden goose to make a quick buck. Since many of you found the newsletter to be interesting reading, we are going to release portions of several other back-issues that players may find entertaining. But please don't take what is said in there as company gospel because it is very definitely not.

Instead CCP decided to blame us players for their problems. It may be too much to ask for definitive declarations of CCP policy while they are doing damage control. But they really need to work on diffusing situations, not feeding the fires.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Current Users of EVE ... Looks to be down about 10%

On the EVE online homepage there is a little graph showing the server population. At present it looks like there are noticeably less players on EVE then the same time last week.

It is a bit hard to tell due to server crashes and upgrades yesterday and DDOS attacks last week, but clearly the light green line (today) is not only lower than the red line for yesterday, but also lower then the purple line for last week. Eyeballing it I would say it is around 10% down.

It is hard not to blame Incarna and the protests. I am clearly not alone in my massive dissatisfaction with this latest patch resulting in my quitting.

CCP is rapidly loosing all credibility. Which is a shame. There was once a time when CCP had great plans for EVE. I was watching a 2009 youtube video starring Seleen (current CSM member, former CCP employee) talking about what great new features will be implemented after Dominion.

To summarize, he basically said once the core of Dominion was in they would move to doing things like the following:
Treaty Systems
    -taxes for allies in systems
    -blue for certain systems
    -central wallet for friendly fire incidents

Expand Military Upgrade possibilities
    -defense bunkers w guns near gates
    -starbases building something valuable.
    -fighter and bomber garrisons
    -intelligence tools (monitor traffic through stargates)

Upgrade to dock a Supercarrier
Agents into 0.0 outposts.
'Sky is the Limit'

If Incarna had some or even any of these enhancements I am sure that light green line would be on the other side of the red/purple lines. One of those pixels in that green line would even be Toterra come my TZ.

Edit: Trend (green below purple) seemed to have held until the extended downtime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nope EVE Still Broke :( - Trying Perpetuum

Trying to log into EVE tonight to see if the latest patch fixed things. After two patches were required (WTF!) I got the hanger again :(

In the meantime I have been trying Perpetuum since it promises to be closest to that old-fashioned EVE experience. I totally failed at first but now I am starting to get the hang of things and doing beginner missions. Looks like fun. It is seriously a blatent copy of EVE, but mecha instead of spaceships. Pretty fun.

I love the following video of some experienced EVE players trying PVP in Perpetuum for the first time. CCP should take notes... there is an obvious anti-blob mechanic:

I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what CCP does and less of what they say

Very short post...

There is a new patch today. Does this give us the old hanger as an option or not? Is CCP serious or not?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Numbers Don't Add Up

This post started out as a rant about CCP probably being in financial straights due to over-expansion of it's workforce and a drop-off in the rate of increase of subscriptions. However someone posted the CCP financial statements for 2010 (not leaked these documents are public) which clearly shows that although profits are down a small amount on rising revenue, the financials of CCP are fairly healthy. EDIT: People with a lot more idea how to read these things then I have concluded the opposite, CCP is in financial trouble. The profits are on paper only after capitalizing all development costs. Loans are due soon and CCP needs cash.

One thing that has really bugged me about the many misteps of CCP lately is that the numbers just don't add up. Lets look at $99 licensing fee controversy. Thinking it over I can only really think of about 10 to 20 possible customers for this. Things like EVE-FILES, EFT, Capsuleer (I know it doesn't exist anymore) evemon, dotlan, ombey's maps, eve-search, Battleclinic, a couple of killboard apps, and maybe a few others. As I said, about 20 customers. Even assuming there 100 possible customers you are still looking at less than $10,000 per year. This equates to about 1-2 months of salary for a lawyer or a developer, probably much less then the cost of implementation. CCP has revenue for EVE Online of $57,433,934, this represents less than 0.02% of that. Does not seem worth it.

Also lets look at the idea of vanity items within EVE. There is a really great slideshow from EA called Playing To Win. It describes the challenges of getting players in a free to play game to pay for items in the store. At first they only had vanity items, and they had a lot of them. Hundreds of different shirts, pants, shoes, accessories giving millions of possible looks were available. In the end the revenue generated from the just over 1.25% of users who used the store was about $0.25 per user of the game per month. IOW the entire vanity item store in EVE would be expected to generate, if it had hundreds of different items, (360,000 users * 0.25) $75,000 per month or $900,000 per year. This works out to about 1.5% of boost to overall revenue. Assuming that there were 9 or less developers/lawyers/artists/game-designers/GMs working on this feature it might just barely be worth it. But this is assuming that 1. there is a huge variety of items, and 2. users can see the things that are bought. In fact, CCP had to know that many of not most users will be turning of CQ from the get-go due to systems requirements and the desire to multi-box. So the number was most likely going to be much much lower. This also explains the 'Door' screen when you turn off CQ and the refusal to promise to keep the no CQ option in the future. They need your eyeballs to see your character or there is no hope.

As for selling 'Pay to win' items, those that give a player an advantage the numbers clearly make no sense at all. As shown in the above mentioned slideshow, going to a 'Pay to win' model resulted in generating approximately 2x the revenue per player, or about $900,000 additional revenue. However, unlike battlefield in the example, if there was even a 1.5% drop in subscriptions as a result (and there certainly would be considering the outrage that was promised in the past and we have seen this past week), this benefit to CCP would be fully negated.

How on Earth is CCP going to recoup the tens of millions of dollars that they have spent on Carbon, walking in stations, World of Darkness?

Nothing is adding up. What one earth is going on with CCP.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Send words of Support CCP Pann whose daughter had to undergo emergency surgery on the following thread

CCP Pann, originator of what is probably the largest threadnaught of RAGE in EVE history, is reported to be tending to her daughter who had emergency surgery. I would like any and all of my readers to give her their best wishes in the following thread:

CCP Pann - I hope your daughter is okay

I also invite other bloggers and tweeters to forward this thread onwards.

Fearless... Devblogs and LIES damed LIES and hiding from the past

Everyone who cares has probably already read the 'Fearless' newsletter and CCP Zulu's response to the massive outrage. But there is something that seems to be missing in all this.

I am going to include a couple of quotes here..

First from the Newsletter:
One other service we’re looking at is selling faction standings. We want to offer convenience for a price.
-Scott Holden

Second from CCP Zulu's Recent Devblog:
While it‘s perfectly fine to disagree and attack CCP over policies or actions we take, we think it‘s not cool how individuals that work here have been called out and dragged through the mud due to something they wrote in the internal company newsletter. Seriously, these people were doing their jobs and do not deserve the hate and shitstorm being pointed at them.
-CCP Zulu

And lastly lets look at a previous Devblog dating to last year from CCP Zulu:
The scope will be (and there‘s no design has been done around this, we‘re just talking strategy now) that anything that doesn‘t affect gameplay directly can be, potentially, sold for PLEX or other means.
-CCP Zulu

What is important is the dates. The newsletter is from this past May. The earlier devblog is from last November.

There is a lie buried somewhere here.

It does not make sense for CCP to be debating extensively about gameplay affecting microtransactions in EVE after they have firmly committed to not have gameplay affecting microtransaction within EVE. Either the first CCP Zulu devblog is a lie or the second one is.

EVE can be fixed. CCP knows the way... they just seem to refuse to go there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Terrible Day

I had a really shitty day yesterday. The company I work for is having lay-offs despite making hundreds of millions of dollars in profit last quarter. Two people in my group were laid off in the afternoon. I spent the day talking to them as though there was nothing wrong. Yet in the afternoon their world crashed all to make a 0.001% improvement on some billionaires short term investment portfolio.

Pretty shitty day for me.... really shitty day for them. When I got home I had a nice stiff drink. After getting the kids to bed I logged into EVE and was faced with this...
IMHO this door image is a massive fuck you to the EVE community. In every game I have played there has always been a bunch of graphics settings. People with state-of-the art computer systems could have a higher resolution, better textures, etc. However most games tried their best to accommodate players with lower quality computers. Sure the graphics weren't there but they did whatever they could to let you play the game and enjoy the experience. Not EVE. Rather then give us the hanger that we used to see, or a view of our spaceship, they went with what they must have known was a totally immersion breaking image. Quite frankly they are saying to the entire player base who turned off CQ that they don't want us to enjoy the game. THIS 'DOOR' SCREEN HAD TO BE DELIBERATE.

That is why I quit last night. CCP does not want me to play EVE. It is as simple as that.

Of course that was not the only problem with Incarna. They also had all this greedy crap about charging ridiculous prices for monocles, plus the newsletter where they basically said that they need to milk EVE players for all they are worth to develop the WOD game. Even if that means doing the very things that EVE players have been begging and ragequitting over. CCP does not want players who care about the sandbox to play EVE as well. Here I was experiencing greed based lay-offs during the day, litterally watching people's livelyhood get destroyed for the greed of others, and when I logged into EVE I just got more of that.

So I quit.

It was an impulse decision.

I had been considering scaling back my play for a while but seeing that door and seeing that level of greed and lying, plus some single-malt scotch, meant I typed up a frantic post on my blog and posted it.

I also was not alone. Several other blogs had also posted the 'I quit' message. This plus a total shit-storm in the forums makes me think that CCP could not help but hear the message.

I woke up this morning with a mild hangover and started wondering 'What had I done.' That is until tonight when I tried to log into EVE again to finish an article about the new player experience I started a week ago. I saw the 'Door'. Then I remembered why I quit.

What does CCP need to do now?
Roll back.
Roll back the hanger screen so we can see our ship again without blasting our graphics cards.
Roll back CQ and put it back on the test server and keep it there until it is much closer to being ready.
Roll back the Microtransaction store. Vow to NEVER EVER bring it back. CCP can not ever be trusted to do microtransactions in EVE for anything ever again.
Keep the new login screen for Incarna... that and maybe the turrets was the only good thing about this long delayed expansion.
And the hardest thing of all... rebuild their reputation in the EVE community. Incarna was bad. The newsletter revealing their lies, damned lies, and outright greed was inexcusable. They need to fix this. I don't know what they need to do but they need to do it now.

I am quite sure they will do none of those things so for me... EVE is going to stay dead. It was such a part of my life that I will probably try it again and again over the next month. I am sure I will continue to blog about my frustrations and stuff until all my readers have left me sick of my negativity. But as long as the door stays... I will never be logged in for more than a few seconds.

And then there is this...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One year of Scram Web -- AND AN EMO RAGE QUIT of EVE

So after one year of scram web talking about all things EVE, I am now quitting EVE. This last expansions is an abomination.


I can barely play the new patch. The only way I can is to turn off the station environment and see the big FUCK YOU ASSHOLE BUY A $500 NVIDIA SYSTEM screen.

I loved EVE. It was a huge part of my life. Almost every day I played. I ignored my wife, my kids and my work at times to play. NO MORE. EVE IS DEAD TO ME.

I could go on about the reasons but there really is no point, everyone already knows. CCP is a shit company. They really are. Just read the 'Greed Is Good' internal memo to get an idea of what they think of you. They think they have about 300k people hooked on a drug that is EVE and are pushing for all that they can. As of today I am no longer one of them.

So Scram Web is no longer an 'EVE Online Blog'. I may use it to talk about other things in the future. But EVE is done.

I would like to thank all the friends I have made with other players over the years. I will always have my heart in Agony Unleashed and wish them all the best in the future. BDEAL, I hardly knew you but it was fun while it lasted.


I will probably be giving some of my stuff away over the next few weeks until my account expires in July but I will be keeping the character just in case CCP ever gets a clue.

EDIT: Lets go over the issues:
1. Special graphics for NVIDIA only. Sorry 50% of customers using ATI.
2. Ridiculous prices for monocle and other in game bling. Pure profiteering!
3. 'If we stop mining bots the economy will crash... therefore we won't stop mining bots' ... paraphrased from their chief economist
4. Captains quarters (CQ) requiring a huge jump in system requirements.
5. If you turn off captainst quarters you get a nice image of a door... that is all. You can't even see what ship you have let alone have something that looks like the old hanger.
6. Lets charge everyone in the community (which would have included things like project hallibut) $99 for making the EVE community the best in the gaming world. Seriously, charge Chribba money for the services he provides the EVE community.
7. CQ only being released in Minmattar
8. CQ being single avatar only...
9. CQ providing pretty much zero usefull functionality
10. Failure to broadcast or even announce on the radio the first two weekends of the Alliance Tournament
11. Forum Security Failures
12. New Maller skin in 2011. New Scorpion skin in 2009. Not exactly improving the graphics of ships that people actually fly. Maybe do the Drake, Hurricane, Rifter or Hulk next so that people will actually see the new ship models.
13. Avatars have not nearly the customizations in looks from pre-Incursions
14. Incursions his-sec mechanics causing fleets to be obliterated by CONCORD due to friendly fire.
15. Super-capitals ONLINE. Supercarriers have killed 0.0 even more then the old Titans did.
16. No X-Box or PC version of DUST514.
17. No new PvP ships since Apocrypha.
18. No promised non-cruiser T3
19. Missing industrial T3 subsystem (or something like that)
20. Years and Years of acknowledging the need to fix Hybrids... nothing done.
More later when I feel like typing some more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eve Online - Incarna Expansion - First Impressions

You're kidding right?
This is it?
$45 for a monocle !!!

And now I can't even multi-box? (EDIT: You can turn off WIS on the Graphic Content Settings Screen :) (EDIT2: Of course once you turn off the WIS part you just get a static image of DOOR. Before at least you would see your ship. Basically CCP is saying 'FUCK YOU!' if you don't want WIS)

People are right.. this blog is turning negative to CCP.... time to change things. Read the following to feel better...

Hello boys and girls, this is your old pal, Stinky Totarra
This is a song about a Incarna, NO this is a song about being happy
That's right!
Its the happy happy, joy joy song!

Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy joy

I dont' think your happy enough, that's right!
I'll teach you to be happy!
I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
Now boys and girls, lets try it again...

Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy joy!

Iff-in you ain`t the grandaddy of all liars!
The little critters of nature...they don't know that they're ugly.
That's very funny! A fly marrying a bumble bee!
I told you I'd shoot, but you didn't believe me!
WHY didn't you believe me?

Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy, joy joy
Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy, joy joy joyyyy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tournament Setups: Viable Anti-ECM setup

This tournament has seen the very effective use of ECM to disable the opposing team and result in a stron victory. It does beg the question, 'What setup could be created that would be effective against both an ECM team, yet still be effective against on ECM teams?'.

There are several things a team can do to counter ECM

1. Use ships from one race only. An ECM team can only have so many racial jammers. By going with only one race you make it much harder for them to choose.
2. Lots of free midslots for ECCM. Armour tank teams genrally have free mid-slots which are ideal for boosting sensor strength though ECCM modules.
3. Sensor Dampers FTW. Sensor dampers force ECM ships closer where they are vulnerable. Also effective against non-ECM teams especially kiting teams.
4. High damage. When given a chance, the team has to kill before loosing another lock.
5. Drones. Drones can still be usefull when a ship is jammed. Hard to manage but still effective.

To this end I have come up with a setup that has all of these elements. Basically it is a variation of the Armour BC team using only Gallente ships. Gallente is an unpopular race to there is an additional advantage of perhaps the enemy fielding few if any racial jammers. Each ship in the setup below has a high sensor strength with only the interceptors having less than 60. In addition there are a total of 6 sensor dampers, 3 of them bonused. The setup had a huge amount of DPS comming in at around 4000 before overheating. Although not very fast, the setup can damp out the enemy sensors forcing them closer. The taranis act as tackle grabbing ships and waiting for the armour to come and pound.

Here is the setup:
30 points 3x Brutix
39 points 3x Myrmadon
12 points 1x Onieros
 6 points  2x Tyranis
13 points 1x lach
100 points, 10 ships

Here are the ship fittings:

[Oneiros, Jam me :)]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

10MN Afterburner II
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 400
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range

Large 'Solace' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction
Large 'Solace' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction
Medium 'Solace' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction
Medium 'Solace' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Hammerhead II x5

[Myrmidon, ECM Mymidon]
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon I Microwarpdrive
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Warp Scrambler II
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Information Warfare Link - Sensor Integrity

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Ogre II x2
Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x1

Fit a different link on each one. I suggest one for armour resists, one for sensor integrity and one for speed.
[Brutix, New Setup 1]
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon I Microwarpdrive
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Stasis Webifier II

Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Hammerhead II x5

Brutal close range power.

[Taranis, fasf]
Damage Control II
Magnetometric Backup Array II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Phased Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters
Warp Scrambler II
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I

125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, EMP S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, EMP S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, EMP S
Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I

Warrior II x2

Fast tackle.

[Lachesis, New Setup 1]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon I Microwarpdrive
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening
Warp Scrambler II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Hammerhead II x3
Hobgoblin II x2

Effectively un-jammable (especially with sensor integrity link). This will force enemy jammers or kiters in nice and close. Extended range scram to act as tackle.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Aliance Tournament IX - Group Stages Day 2

Unfortunatly I missed watching the tourney on the live stream so I had to wait for the matches being posted to youtube.

In general I am pretty disappointed with the Day 2 action. ECM heavy teams did very well as most teams did not fit ECCM on their ships. In the setups I posted most of the setups used ECCM and there was a reason. A ECM setup going against a team without ECCM will win handily.

So for this comming weekend, please, everyone add ECCM to their setups. Even the setups I had posted that did not use ECCM (like the tier-1 revenge) probably should drop an e-war on each ship and put on an ECCM. Even just putting 3 projected ECCM modules on a cormorant or two could make a big difference.

There are the matches that I though were pretty good:

Circle Of Two vs Outbreak
Great match with Outbreak bringing the Team Minmattar Setup I had posted about earlier. Basically a copy of the PL setup from last year. It handedly trashed Circle of Two.

We Form VOLTRON vs Power of Two
I really like Voltron's setup here. Makes no apologies for being high damage. Spectacular how fast Power of Two ships went down after being tackled by the long range scrams of the Proteus. Still the remarkable tank of the Tengus held up amazingly well.

Aggravated Assault.. vs The R0NIN
Interesting fight in which Aggravated Assault brought the ridiculous heavy e-war setup used by PL. The R0NIN showed why the setup is indeed crap. A few recons/T3 which I assumed had ECCM = no more ECM and a victory for R0NIN. Watch this fight to see how to take down ECM setups.

Black Legion. vs Nulli Secunda
Potentially interesting site between two potentially great setups. At first I was excitted to see two armour tanking curses being fielded. Regretably looking at lossmails there was no real synergy on the Nulli Secunda side. It really does not make sense to waste 2 mid-slots on a Curse with small Capacitor boosters. Put a cap tx mod on the guardian instead if you must or better yet replace the Legion with something a bit more appropriate. Black Legion went with Sliepnir/cyclone team minmattar variation. A very nice setup which brought them victory. However they really should be putting ECCM on those easy to jam Minmattar ships.

Pandemic Legion vs Unaffiliated
Hard not to feel bad for Unaffiliated going up against PL. Not only has PL won the last three tourneys, has excellent pilots, but they are also fielding over 1 billion skillpoints. Personally I thought Unaffiliated put in a good effort with their setup, but it was not enough. With ships from all 4 races they were vulnerable to ECM despite loss-mails showing some use of ECCM on their T1 ships. Once their curse went down it was over.

Against ALL Authorities vs Raiden
Again team-minmatar (cyclone variation) vs a kiting setup with Tengus and bombers. Despite a very nice bombing run from Raiden, it was all over pretty quick once those same bombers went down.

Team-minmatar (with ECCM) > ECM > kiting > crap

Also, if you are putting together a dogs breakfast of a team... consider just pulling successful teams from years past instead.