Friday, December 31, 2010

My Predictions for 2011

For the first time I will attempt to predict the future in the MMO world.  And for not the first time, I will undoubtedly make a fool of myself on the blog.  But since that has never stopped me in the past, on with the predictions.

New games:

Although a lot of new MMOs are scheduled for release, I'll only make predictions about 2 games that I hope to play in 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT.  First, SWTOR.  As much as I would like to go out on a limb and predict the game will not launch in 2011, I just don't want to look like that big a fool.  Then again, I want to play this game, so picking an earlier date may just be wishful thinking.  So I will predict a 2011 Q4 launch for the game.  If I have to pick a month, I'll pick December.

I have greater hopes for RIFT.  I predict that they will make their announced launch date of Q1 2011 and will do very well, ending the year with between 300-400 thousand subscribers.

Existing games:

Eve Online - I will predict that not only will I finally get to walk around in stations with Incarna, but that during the month Incarna is released the peak concurrent user mark will once again break and will hit over 67,000 concurrent accounts.  According to Eve-Offline, the current mark is 60,453.

Other predictions for Eve Online is that the game will end the year with between 380-400 thousand active accounts and that the Sansha invasions introduced in Incursion will no longer be active.

EverQuest 2 - EQ2 will continue to lose players throughout the year, especially to RIFT.  By the end of the year, talk will again begin about the need for another round of server mergers.  In the meantime, EverQuest 2 Extended will do well, but the F2P service will still remain separate from the subscription service.

Star Wars: Galaxies - I'm going to go off on a limb and predict no server merges in 2011.  I am also going to go out on a limb and predict SW:G will not go F2P in 2011.  I think that SOE is saving its Star Wars love for Clone Wars Adventures.

Player multi-media:

One thing I really love is when games turn into true virtual worlds that spill over outside the computer screen.  I think that 2011 will prove to be a banner year in this regard for my favorite game.  In Eve, Incarna will give New Eden's film makers something new: avatars.  No longer will player-made videos be restricted to ships and still photos of players.  I predict a flood of new Eve videos will flood YouTube and that by the end of the year bloggers will be making up lists of best videos of 2011.

Also in Eve, I expect the podcast community to grow.  Lately the number of podcasts has grown (I currently have 7 in my feed) and I will predict that by the end of 2011 I'll be able to not only list 10 Eve podcasts on the blog, but get some flak for leaving someone out.  Hopefully that is not just wishful thinking.

That is all my predictions.  I could make more if I actually got into the world more, but New Eden has been such a good place to be that I haven't really wandered around too much.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Podcast Thoughts

Regular visitors to The Nosy Gamer may have noticed a little rearranging I've done to the site layout.  I've put all the Eve-related sites on the right hand side and all other subjects on the left.  I've also put the podcasts on the top of each column.  Part of the reason is to remind me when I need to plug in my iPod and iPad to update the podcasts I keep on them.  And after listening to a few this week, I have a couple of observations.

First, the Notalotofnews Newshour.  I was listening to episode 28 and I thought to myself, this format sounds familiar.  Then I listened a little more, and I thought, "Yivvits and mrbubbles".  It could be.  Has anyone seen Erin and Yivvits in the same room?  I'm two episodes behind right now and really need to listen some more.

Next is Broadcasts from the Ninveah.  First, Kirith is a carrier (and super-carrier) pilot, but for some reason the show notes on his site are occasionally stealthed.  That kind of thing should be reserved for cloaky freaks like me.  And on episode 30 (which has the stealth notes) he titled the show "Canadian Bacon" but never apologized for Brian Adams.  False advertising?

Finally is the case of The RIFT Podcast.  With the incredible access that Ari and Desi have to not only the community management staff but to the developers (Scott Hartsman twice!), I've wondered if the pair were either in the pockets of Trion or were using Jedi mind tricks.  At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter.  Ari wrote a post about the reservations and concerns she has about RIFT following the beta that I give far more credence to that those posted by Keen.  And on an appearance on Shut Up! We're Talking Episode 75, I think Ari let loose about the MMO industry in a more relaxed way that when she is hosting her own podcast.  I know want to go back and listen to Karen when she appeared on RIFT Podcast Episode 12.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Risk for the iPad

I've been having fun with the English/Bulgarian version of the BidBox Vocabulary Trainer, but I decided to get a non-educational game for those days when I just want to relax on the train.  EA is holding a sale on its iPad game apps so I purchased Risk for $3.99 yesterday.  I played through the tutorial version and the play was good.  I liked the feature that allows you (and more importantly the AI) to continuously attack, thus saving a lot of dice rolls.  I think the graphics are good and I didn't notice any sound, although one review on the games web page says it has sound.

For $3.99, I think the game is worth it.  I can't spend two hours every day on the train trying to learn Bulgarian.  I should, but my brain hurts too much.

NOTE: I have no business association with this game.  If you purchase it, I do not get a dime.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why I Don't Buy PLEX

One of the main ways that CCP fights companies engaging in selling isk in Eve Online is through the sale of PLEX.  PLEX, or Pilot's License EXtention, is good for paying for 30 days of subscription for the game.  The item can be traded on the market for isk, thus not only allowing people to purchase isk for cash legally, but also allowing other players to basically pay their subscriptions with in-game currency.  A nice solution to an ugly problem.

But would I ever take advantage of purchasing isk with real life money?  I can't see myself doing that.  Why?  Not for moral reasons, since buying isk is sanctioned by CCP.  Instead, I wouldn't buy isk because of the way I play games.  When I play games, I always find the journey more enjoyable than what I find at the end.  In Eve, a major part of the journey is making the isk to do all the things I want to do.  So for me, buying isk is the equivalent of the offline leveling offered in Age of Conan.

Let me give a current example.  One of my current goals is to purchase and fly an Orca.  Now, I could just go ahead and purchase 2 PLEX for $34.99 and then have enough isk to buy an Orca and have enough to spare to fit it out properly.  Or, I could figure out how to pay for one using completely in-game play.  Right now my quest for an Orca has led me into planetary interaction and gearing up to do level 4 missions.  As part of doing missions, I started investigating invention in order to produce tech 2 drones.  And once I figure out making drones, I will have the knowledge to make larger items like Cheetahs and Prowlers.

Some players don't want to go through all the time and effort to get their ship.  For them, paying $35 gets them past all the work and they can do what they really want to do.  But for me, overcoming all the obstacles and learning more about New Eden is much more satisfying.  And since Eve is a sandbox, I'll play the way I want to.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Action Report: The Viper's Pit

Christmas Eve promised to be a glorious day for Khumaak Flying Circus with the launch of Harm's Way, the corporation's first Maelstrom.  But just hours before the scheduled launch of the Matari-designed battleship, KHU suffered the worst losses in its history.  Below is the after action report on the fateful battle.



While searching for gravimetric sites in the Hotrardik system, I discovered a staging ground for the Angel Cartel located appoximately half-way between the first and second planets.  I transferred from the Traffic Copter (a Cheetah) to a Rupture-class cruiser and proceeded to warp into the site.  I was immediately attacked, webbed and destroyed before I could align and warp out of the area.

The decision was made to form up a punative expedition made up of my flying the Hurricane-class battlecruiser Good Times and Wandering Rose to provide back-up in the Cyclone-class battlecruiser Windswept Path.  The first insertion did not go well as Good Times was primaried by the Angel Cartel fleet and quickly punished the Hurricane, with the ship down to 1/4 armor before making its escape with no losses inflicted upon the Cartel forces.  After repairing the damages, a second attempt was made with Windswept Path jumping in ahead to draw the Cartel's fire.  While the Cartel focused on the Cyclone, I warped in and destroyed the stasis tower.  Then both ships warped out, with Windswept Path down to half-armor.

After repairing the Cyclone, a third insertion was made into the Cartel staging area, with Good Times again being primaried by the Cartel fleet.  This time, a Cartel cruiser was destroyed, but at the cost of Good Times.

With the loss of half of the corporation's battlecruiser strength, all thoughts were abandoned of carrying out punitive actions against the Angel Cartel forces in Hotrardik.  The priority was to minimize the losses suffered by the corp.  The problem then became salvaging as much as possible from the wreck of Good Times as possible.  Returning to the site in Traffic Copter proved that attempting to cloak to the wreck was impossible, as there were too many ships located between the warp-in point and the wreck.  The decision was then made to attempt to draw the Cartel ships away from the warp-in point and the wreck.

The first two attempts proved that Windswept Path as fitted could not do the job.  The ship was too slow and thus too easy to hit.  This led to the decision to fit the ship with an afterburner.  The afterburner was designed to accomplish two goals: make Windswept Path harder to hit and allow the battlecruiser to travel farther away from the wreck, hopefully drawing the Cartel ships with it.

After the first solo insertion of Windswept Path proved the concept feasible, the decision was made to commence hit-and-run tactics against the Cartel fleet.  Sensors indicated that the Cartel forces had no armor repping ships or facilities and the plan was to continue driving toward a location (which just happened to be aligned to a planet) to draw the Cartel towards that point in space.  With a tech II shield repper, I was able to regenerate my shields in the time it took to warp away from the assembly site and then return.  By keeping the pressure up, I not only accomplished the mission of drawing the Cartel away from the wreck, but succeeded in destroying two more cruisers.

If Windswept Path had been able to tank the damage, the operation would have turned back to the offensive.  However, after 6 warp-ins, the Angel fleet, even with its losses, was still too much to handle in a straight up fight.  So on the 7th warp-in, I surprised the Cartel commander and flew straight for the wreck of Good Times, salvaging 5 650mm Artillery Cannon II, 1 'Malkuth' Assault Missile Launcher I, 1 Gyrostabilizer II, 1 Large Shield Extender II, 1 Shield Power Relay II, 1 Power Diagnostic System II, 13 Warrior I drones, 4598 Bloodclaw Light Missiles and 8339 rounds of Titanium Sabot M.  The success of the salvage operation turned a potential significant financial setback into a wake-up call costing a few million isk lost and hours of wasted time.

What went wrong:  This operation was marked with a high degree of overconfidence.  The first failure in the operation was the lack of proper scouting of the target.  Despite the fact a covert ops ship was present on the scene, the first insertion into the site was conducted by a Rupture, which quickly died.  And instead of my sticking around in my pod to gain an accurate assessment of the Angel Cartel forces, I immediately flew off to raise the stakes.

The second failure was not heeding the warning signs once the battlecruisers took the field.  Each battlecruiser received significant damage on each of the first two warp-ins and only managed to destroy the stasis tower.  That should have been a sign of trouble.  If after the first two warp-ins the attack was halted, the loss of the Rupture was something that could be easily absorbed by the corp.  Losing a Hurricane hurt, even with getting the salvage.

What went right:
  The recovery operation succeeded in drawing the Cartel away from the wreck, turning a disaster into a painful reminder to never underestimate an opponent.  Using hit-and-run tactics with a high operational tempo along with speed modules to make the ship faster than the opponent, I was able to outmaneuver the Cartel forces.

Lessons learned:  Over the past few months, running missions for agents for Minmatar-based corporations has led to a level of not only overconfidence, but slackness as Khumaak Flying Circus was provided with intelligence and did not have to obtain its own in regards to the Angel Cartel.  Now that KHU is beginning to conduct combat operations independent of the agents, the corporation's members need to go back to the intelligence-gathering activities that were in place when the corporation was first founded.

Another practice that needs to stop is not putting propulsion modules on the corporation's fighting ships.  While frigates and cruisers standardly fit afterburners, the practice was to not fit propulsion mods on battlecruisers. This operation showed the benefit of the afterburners and all combat ships from this point forward will fit either afterburners or microwarp drives.

The Khumaak Flying Circus is a Vherokior corporation.  In this operation, we encountered failure when we acted like the Brutor and tried to slug it out with the Cartel.  We succeeded when we remembered out roots and used speed and cunning to accomplish the task at hand.  Something to remember in our operations going forward.


Rosewalker
Chief Operations Officer
Khumaak Flying Circus

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you have a Merry Christmas, wherever you are.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

RIFT Beta NDA Drops and the First Impressions

With Trion dropping the NDA on the RIFT beta, the first reports are starting to circulate across the MMO blogosphere.  Here is a short roundup.

The RIFT had RIFT's Executive Producer Scott Hartsman on to answer a few questions about the betas and why the sudden dropping of the NDA.

Karen Bryan at Massively.com - "RIFT isn't perfect, and there's a lot that might feel all-to-familiar, but the rift invasions and the soul system address the two biggest problems in MMOs today: lack of player interaction and the limitations of the holy trinity in groups." 

Karen is a veteran EQ2 player and guild leader and may be better known for co-hosting the Shut Up, We're Talking podcast.  Her's was an opinion I was looking forward to reading.  Massively.com has come out with a lot of stories covering RIFT yesterday.

Tipa at West Karana - "I want to tell why this makes me feel like I felt when playing EverQuest, even though it really is nothing like EQ."

Syp at Bio Break - "The answers are 'Yes, although not perfect” and “Most definitely'." 

Keen - "Rift is an all-around good game.  That’s something that needs to be said up front since I will be delivering a few harsh truths to you as you read on.  Look at what has released over the past five plus years and you won’t find much better."

Kill Ten Rats - "Rift MMO feels like a polished Warhammer Online with more dynamic public quests. I am going to get it."

Blagpuss on Hardcore Casual - "What Trion have done, very professionally and successfully, is cherry-pick lots of things from other MMOs and synthesized them smoothly and convincingly into a coherent whole. Warhammer crossed with WoW is a pretty fair description, but I spotted a large dollop of EQ2 in there and a soupcon of Vanguard, while other people claimed to see strong ressemblences to Aion."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Got My Pew-Pew Back

I had a little time to play Eve last night so I thought I would practice my exploration skills and maybe find a site to mine in.  I didn't find any asteroids, but I did find a site that wouldn't accept cruiser sized ships.  What a perfect excuse to pull out my Jaguar.  I hadn't flown it since my half-baked attempt to catch pirates during Hulkageddon 3 and I still had the ship outfitted for PvP.  So I threw in a couple of T2 shield extenders and a T2 shield booster and went off to fight the Angel Cartel.

I have to say I had fun fighting the rats for a change.  I think the reason is that I fit all of my mission ships with artillery and just kite the rats.  That is a much safer route that fitting autocannons and getting up close and personal.  But last night I flew my autocannon fitted assault frigate into a site and got into a dog fight.  At one point with my shields almost gone and my cap not much better, I hit the afterburners and put some distance between myself and three Angel fighters who were doggedly trying to follow.  But I got a breather and was able to double-back and not only destroy the three ships but a couple others that spawned as I killed the third one.

Sure, the salvage plus the bounties on the rats maybe came out to be 1.2 million isk.  But that wasn't the point.  I had fun shooting things again.  Autocannons make life so much more interesting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eve Cinema Trailer

Since I live outside Chicago, I have a chance to see the Eve trailer appearing in select markets across the United States.  But after seeing the clip on YouTube, I'm glad I didn't make the 30 minute trip to the nearest theater.  I think the trailer was, to use a technical term, meh.  I'll let you judge for yourself.




Monday, December 20, 2010

Unexpected Goodies

Sunday did not start out well.  I did not feel well and waking up to do planetary interaction was not what I wanted to do.  So after determining that I needed to change the PI harvesting cycle from early morning to late at night, I logged into the game for 20 minutes and went back to bed for 5 hours.  I didn't even sleep that late when recovering from jet lag.

Once I finally woke up, I decided to do a little light activity while watching football.  Making bookmarks does not have to be as stressful as I made it last weekend.  So I just relaxed and created observation bookmarks at the asteroid belts in the high-sec system I do most of my planetary interaction activity in.  Why?  Because the mining is pretty decent in that system and by using bookmarks I can speed up the time it takes to start mining.  Instead of warping to the entry point of an asteroid belt and then having to slow boat to the asteroids, a miner can warp to the bookmark, see where the asteroids are, and then warp to the asteroid.  A great time saver.

The best part of creating bookmarks in high sec is that I don't have to sneak around.  Just warp to the entry point of a belt and then hit the micro-warp drive until I reach 150 km away from the belt and then make a bookmark.  Easy.  The next time I do this in high sec I'm going to use something that can fight back, since I could have picked up a little spare isk by shooting all the rats that came out to chase me.

I was feeling a bit better after I ate dinner so I decided to brush up on my exploration skills instead of watching the Patriots-Packers game.  I'm glad I did.  I found two sites in the system, a magnetometric and a combat site.  The magnetometric site turned out to be an old Angel Cartel ship graveyard and I got about 2-3 million isk in salvage from it.  But the pleasant surprise I received was in the combat site.  After clearing out the Angel Cartel ships I found Jaspet and Hemorphite.  I hit the jackpot!

Okay, for me it was the jackpot.  Two types of low-sec ore in a .6 security system?  And more importantly for my industrial plans, two types of ore that produce zydrine, which is very important for some of the production I want to get into to.  One thousand units of zydrine will go a long way.  And the 22,000 units of nocxium I can refine from the ore is even more welcome, since I was beginning to run low.

One other thing I should mention.  Last night was the first time I had mined outside of a mission in months.  But I still remembered to bring a Mammoth along to not only hold the ore, but to salvage all the rats that made the mistake of attacking my Covetor.  A tractor beam and salvager brought in enough salvage and loot to pay for the hemorphite mining crystals and Hemorphite Processing skill book I had to buy before going out on the mining op.  And how did I get my hemorphite processing skill up to level 3 so I could use the mining crystals?  Some unused skill points from the learning skills point refund last week.  Sometimes things just happen right.  Now if I just didn't feel so miserable while being so happy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting Serious About Production

I actually got home from work at a decent hour last night and had some time to fly around New Eden for a bit.  I still don't feel like shooting anything, so I decided to work on my industrial plans.  I like to make my own ammunition so I picked up a blueprint so I could make some shells for my new Maelstrom I plan on undocking for the first time Christmas Eve.

The next things I did were a step up in my involvement in production.  That is because I began to copy blueprints in order to make T2 drones and ships.  Right now I'm making copies of the Warrior I, Probe and Wreathe blueprints.  The drones to add to the dps of my Maelstrom and other combat ships and the Probe and Wreathe blueprints with an eye on making Cheetahs and Prowlers.  It may not make economic sense, but I just want to fly around in ships I've made myself and I think I'm at the point I can seriously try.

I also picked up a Mammoth blueprint.  While making a Mastodon is tempting, what I really plan on doing is seeing if a market exists for the hauler.  I love the ship and if all else fails I can have backups in the corp hanger.

On the hauling side of the business, I spent a lot of the skill points Rosewalker received from the elimination of the training skills to train Mining Foreman and Mining Barge both up to V.  That means Rosewalker is less than 90 minutes away from being able to fly an Orca while Wandering Rose can fly one now.  Now I just need to get the money for a capital industrial ship while also buying things to conduct T2 production.  Sounds like I need to do some more research to figure out the best way to proceed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Didn't You Shoot The Pirate?

I receive a lot of questions at work.  "How do I do this?"  "Can I do that?"  "How long will it take you to do xyz?"  The one question I never thought I'd get asked was: "why didn't you shoot the pirate?  I have a co-worker who is interested in Eve Online and he read Monday's post on my adventures making bookmarks this past weekend.  He wanted to know why I just didn't kill the pirate I encountered.

The short answer is that I don't equip guns on my Cheetah.  The Cheetah is a covert ops ship and does sneaky recce stuff very well.  Combat?  Not so well.  The Cheetah has 3 high slots, and after fitting a cloak and a probe launcher, what you have left is just enough to either irritate someone or have them laugh at you if they are in anything tougher than a pod.


Now, what my friend doesn't know is that Eve has another class of cloaky ship I could have flown: the stealth bomber.  But I don't own one yet.  Why?  Because I don't have the spare cash lying around to buy one right now.  I just bought a Maelstrom that I'll unwrap and start flying on Christmas Eve, which is when my skill plan has Rosewalker finishing Minmatar Battleship IV.  I always seem to have more pressing needs that picking up a fun ship like the Hound.


A more important reason is that for making bookmarks, the Cheetah is just a better ship for the task.  Since I like to make close observation points while traveling cloaked, the Cheetah's greater sub-warp speed (a base of 381 m/s compared to the Hound's 284 m/s) lets me create more bookmarks in the same amount of time.  The Cheetah also has a slightly larger cargo hold, which, combined with the fact that I'm not carrying any ammunition, gives me the option to pick up some courier contracts while I'm out and about (I carried out 2 over the weekend).  And the Cheetah's greater warp speed allows me to not only keep ahead of any roaming gangs I may encounter, but allows me to get to the area of operations faster as well as spend less time completing courier missions.

So that's why I didn't shoot the pirate.  Not because I'm a big carebear.  Really.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Part Of The Reason For The Delay in Deploying Incursion Part 2

CCP had to delay the release of the second incursion patch from today to tomorrow.  CCP Red Button posted one of the reasons yesterday on the forums.

Thought I'd post some pictures of Stuff™ that happened today for those interrested.

Burned bladecenter
Burned blade 1
burned blade 2

As you can see we had a decent bonfire burning in our datacenter today. While not the primary reason for the delayed patch tomorrow this was definitely a pretty big contributing factor. This morning we had an alarm triggered on a powersupply in one of the bladecenters containing the Singularity testcluster. When reseating the powersupply which is part of a routine troubleshooting procedure before replacing with a spare part it somehow mysteriously, even magically (cause yet undetermined, and this is the first time we have this happen) managed to cause an internal short circuit in the bladecenter, completely fry one of the blades and seriously singe a few of the others. As you can imagine this caused us to immediately pull the bladecenter out of service and thus shutting down our primary public test server while we were juggling hamsters between cages to make Stuff™ work again.

Having Singularity, which is our primary staging server, shut down for several hours on the day before a big deployment is far from ideal, in fact it is critical as we use every hour right up until the last minute to test, retest and test again that everything is working. So add this to other issues that we were dealing with today and the prudent thing to do was to delay the patch and have a second dress rehearsal tomorrow, this time hopefully without incident.

Oh and by the way, the hamsters are still alive if somewhat visibly shaken.

Vote For Best Eve GM/Dev/Forum Mod

Trader Gandry has started a thread on the Eve Online forums asking players to vote for their favorite GM, dev, or forum moderator and is throwing in a prize for participating.
We all ( meaning us forumscouts) have seen plenty of replies, threadlocks and random bantering of Devs, GM's and forummods.

Some are received better than others but in general most also understand that leading a herd of sheep takes a well disciplined but also fun Herder.

Therefor I would like to make a little appreciation contest for your favourite GM, Dev, Forum Moderator.

1 vote per character and explenation as of why is optional.

Voting will end December 31st 2010 at midnight EVE-time.

The winning GM, Dev, Forum Moderator voters will then go into a pool and I will ask Chribba to do a random draw and the winner will receive 250 mill ISK from me.
This thread has the potential to become an epic thread.  Already I have seen links to a thread in which CCP Prism X nerfed a poster and another in which CCP Lemur performed some extraordinary customer service.  I can't wait to see what other gems come out of the thread.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bookmarks Are Your Friends

I posted Friday that I was tired of shooting things and wanted to do something different.  So what did I do?  I ventured into low-sec and set up bookmarks in three systems.  That's right; I left the safety of high-sec and didn't even look to shoot anything.  Have I lost my carebear mind?

Not really.  If I have a low-sec system populated with bookmarks, I feel a lot safer than traveling into one without the preparation.  While I was in Eve University, the faculty began an in-depth study of bookmarks and were in the process of developing a class when I left.  I'm impressed with the current Bookmarks article on the Eve University Wiki and wish I had read it before embarking on this weekend's adventure.  But I think the Uni training I did remember came in handy.

Most of the benchmarks I set up were observation bookmarks.  Because the Khumaak Flying Circus has a strong stealth identity, I set my observation bookmarks up a bit differently than advised by Eve Uni.  Instead of setting up my bookmarks off-grid, I set my bookmarks up on-grid, but over 150 km from the object under observation.  I prefer eyes-on observation instead of relying on the directional scanner.  I want to not only see what ships are present, but their flight paths and, more importantly, whether the capsuleers under observation are flashy or not. 

The two most important types of targets to keep under observation are jump gates and stations.  Jump gates because gate camps are one of the most dangerous events a small hauling corp can face.  Stations because a station camp is something to be avoided at all cost.  Because I have a lot more experience working around gate camps than station camps, I'd like to avoid them.

However, sometimes the pirate's station camp is inside the station.  I encountered that Sunday when a pirate undocked in a Damnation right after I undocked in my Cheetah.  That is why I also set up instant warp-out bookmarks.  The instant warp-out bookmark gives a capsuleer the ability to quickly warp away from a station and away from trouble.  Since I plan to move transport ships into these stations as part of my hauling business, anything that reduces the time they are vulnerable is welcome.

I mentioned before that I feel much safer in systems with bookmarks than those without.  So how do I approach a system in which I have no bookmarks?  First, I always use a covert ops ship to do the initial insertion into a low-sec system.  Next, I use the 30 seconds of cloak you have when jumping into a system to see who is around.  If I spot another ship, especially a flashy pirate like happened to me on Saturday, I open up the pod saver tab on my overview and warp to a planet.  If I'm alone, I have the option of staying at the gate and slowboating to a point in space to create my first bookmark in the system.  In either case, once I start moving around to other objects to create other observation points, I like to make bookmarks along the way.  The Eve Uni Wiki gives instructions on how to make mid-point and unaligned safe spots.

From a selfish perspective, I hope that the vast majority of carebears keep their fear of low-sec space.  Why?  Because I believe that a lot of the small packages I see as courier contracts are made by players afraid to risk their own ships in low-sec.  Also, I notice that those stations offering blueprint copying services in low-sec or in high-sec systems surrounded by low-sec are a lot less crowded than those in easily accessible high-sec stations.

As a big carebear myself, I understand the fear in those carebear hearts.  When I jumped into that first low-sec system on Saturday and saw that pirate waiting to lock me down and pod me, it took all my Eve University training and experience ghosting about the Hed constellation to keep from panicking and get away.  But I'll admit that once I was safe my hands were shaking for at least 5 minutes because of the adrenaline rush caused by the encounter.  But there is profit to be made from going where others fear to tread.  As CCP so eloquently put it, "Dare to be bold pilot."

Friday, December 10, 2010

All Pew-Pewed Out

Lately I just haven't felt like shooting things.  I discovered the problem is not just in Eve Online.  I tried to get into shooting up robots in Perpetuum and I just couldn't get excited.  I hopped into World of Warcraft and just wanted to harvest and make things.  The only time I got excited was when a mob dropped some wool so I could make some 8-slot bags.  Go figure.

Fortunately Eve offers more than shooting things.  I'm looking into new types of things to manufacture.  Next week when we get our skill points back from our learning skills I plan on Production Efficiency V.  I've mentioned I'm thinking of getting into constructing industrial ships to go along with running a hauling business.  I'm also thinking about drone production, since I have a real bad habit of warping and leaving my drones behind.

I also have plan to have Rosewalker fly around all cloaked up and doing sneaky stuff.  I've got a couple of low-sec systems in mind that really need bookmarks made in them so I can try to haul stuff through them.  I also need to get back into exploration.  Using probes is a perishable skill and I need the practice.

Of course, I may feel like shooting things again once I train up Minmatar Battleship to IV so I can fly a either a Tempest or a Maelstrom.  Flying something actually designed to do level 4 missions might get me out of my funk.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First Private Corporation Enters Space

To players of Eve Online, private corporations play a leading role in space flight.  Perpetuum takes it one step further and corporations dominate the landscape.  And why not?  The history of science fiction is replete with space-going entrepreneurs, from Isaac Asimov's Hober Mallow in Foundation to Klaus Hauptman in David Weber's Honor Harrington novels.

Yesterday real life inched further towards science fiction with Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) successful orbital mission placing a pressurized capsule into space.  The SpaceX's plans are more like planetary interaction launches than a flight of Rifters, but it is a start.

The flight was broadcast live via webcam and I have included the link to YouTube below.





Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Perpetuum: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the nice marketing folks at Avatar Creations about a new game.

Hi!

We at Avatar Creations have found our way over to Nosy Gamer.
In recognition of your readership, we would like to invite you to
check out our recently launched science fiction sandbox MMO,
Perpetuum.

We're letting a few select members of the MMO community have free
early access memberships, and we would like to offer you the chance to
come and check out the game with the first of the players.

Please feel free to share any thoughts you have about our game with
your readership, or with us so that we may further improve the game.
The following access code can be used immediately to enter the early
access period.

We look forward to seeing you in-game!

Barna Buza
Perpetuum Press Coordinator

"A few select members"?  If they picked me, the list must not have been that exclusive.

I didn't take advantage of the offer immediately because I was busy in real life as well as setting up planetary interaction colonies.  But I decided to see if the game would allow me in after the 25 November launch, and sure enough the code was still good.  So I have a free account until the 6 January.  I may do their bidding and write about the game.  After all, how can I resist looking at a game that people are saying is an Eve clone?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Operation Smile: This Is War

CCP recommended another player-made video on its YouTube channel last week.  The video is one player's idea of what an Eve trailer should look like.  He used previously published CCP trailers that used the Trinity 2 graphics engineCrazykinux's comparison of the old and new graphics engines explains why that was a good choice.

After watching this, I immediately downloaded it and put it on my iPad.  I think after watching, you'll understand why.




Monday, December 6, 2010

Station Cash: Should I Thank or Curse It?

I saw a post on EQ2Wire this weekend that opened up an old wound.  Smokejumper, the Senior Producer for Everquest 2, let loose the secret that the main EQ2 team had been (and still are) making all the Station Cash Marketplace items and not a dedicated team as SOE had previously maintained when the Station Cash items were first introduced.

Hmm ... let me think.  Did the diversion of resources perhaps impact how fast the Sentinel's Fate expansion was produced?  I think so.  So part of the reason for the delay from November 2009 to February 2010 for the release was that the dev team just wasn't as big as was busy making appearance items and other items for sale.

Now, I was never one of those players who opposed the introduction of the marketplace and SOE selling items that way.  After all, if that kept EQ2 running, I was happy.  I would never quit the game because of Station Cash.

At least, I never thought I would.  But with this news (and yes, I believed SOE about a dedicated SC team), I may have to ammend that statement.  Why?  Let's look at last year's timeline.
June 2009 - Brenlo announces at SOE Fan Faire that Sentinel's Fate would launch in February 2010 instead of November 2009. 

8 August 2009 - I download Eve Online and make a trial account.  Rosewalker becomes a capsuleer.

11 August 2009 - Eve is so good I subscribe.

10 September 2009 - Eve is so good I get a second account.  Wandering Rose is born.

19 September 2009 - Finish getting all my crafting alts to level 80.  Now have a max level crafter for each crafting profession.

10 October 2009 - In EQ2, my level 80 ranger gets her 200th AA point and is basically finished development.

17 October 2009 - Rosewalker joins Eve University.

2 November 2010 - I cancel my Station Access account.
Looking back, once I reached all of my objectives in EQ2, I then went full-bore into Eve.  Would I have done so if I new a new adventure was awaiting me in a few weeks?  Probably not, because I would have been studying for the new expansion and making preparations in-game.  Also, when you have 3+ years invested in a character, letting go is hard.  I still occasionally think about logging back into EQ2, but I just don't want to spend the money on the new expansion when I know I have to do things in New Eden.

So should I be happy that SOE's Station Cash scheme helped push me out the door into the wonderful world of New Eden, or should I curse Station Cash for leading me to abandon characters I had spent so much time developing?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Operation Smile: Chribba

With Monday's announcement that Hulkageddon 4 will occur in February 2011, all thoughts go out to the poor miners.  But some miners are more equal than others.  Take the most famous miner of all: Chribba.  Owner of Unity Station in Providence since October, the man with the largest super-cap mining fleet in New Eden is perhaps best known for his dreadnaught, The Veldnaught, that still flies around the Amar system.

But there is a dark side to Chribba, which was captured in this secretly recorded video.  Never, ever get between Chribba and veldspar.




Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New Game

I have had an iPod touch since May, but I had never downloaded a game from the App Store before.  Now that I have an iPad, I decided I really needed to get some apps for it.  So what was the first one I downloaded?  A game of course.  But I had to buy something a bit useful as well.  So I purchased the BidBod Vocabulary Trainer, English-Bulgarian version for $4.99.  Here is the description off of the sales page.

Learn the most common 1,000 words in Bulgarian.

Being able to utilize two languages sharpens your mental skills and has positive benefits on your everyday life.

Whether you're a novice or an expert you'll enjoy playing the BidBox Vocabulary Training game.

This game let's you build your vocabulary with just a few words at a time. You'll repeat the same words until you can confidently identify and select 15 correct answers in 30 seconds. This system permanently places the association of each word to its English counter part into your long term memory. It is a very natural way to learn a new language.

Vocabulary is the cornerstone of every language. The 1,000 words in this program represent the majority of written words used.

Dedicate just a few minutes a day and you'll learn to recognize the majority of Bulgarian words in just a few weeks.

I'm not really sure how well the game will help me learn.  From playing it up to stage 8, I think I can safely say that this is not a primary way to learn a foreign language.  But I can see where this game can help supplement my study of Bulgarian.  And it looks like the app is made for 33 languages.

NOTE: I have no business association with this game.  If you purchase it, I do not get a dime.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Incursion Is Going To Be Role Playing Fun

I don't know just how crazy Pandemic Legion really is, but if this post concerning the latest Sansha invasion into Oruse is any indication, the Intergalatic Summit is going to get even more crazy than it usually is.

The PL Ministry of Communication intercepted this message from an anonymous source. It appears the GalNet center was "politely asked not to publish" this report, and instead a different recreation of events was being authored. Pandemic Legion has decided not to heed the warnings and would like the free information to flow.
Quote:

**Start of secure transmission **
The population of Oruse was spared today in what may prove to be a dramatic change in the fight against the Sansha heathens. Various Empires, aware of their inability to save their people, decided to go private. Pandemic Legion, fresh off their latest successful contract against Northern Coalition forces, were contracted to counter the Sansha forces attempting to abduct Orusian settlers.

Upon report of the intrusion, Pandemic Legion forces mobilized quickly to fight off the attack. The Nation was commanded by Citizen Astur in a Wyvern Class Supercarrier, showing how little faith they had in him. Settlers on Oruse's second moon were under attack and the Empires were nowhere to be seen. As the first settler was being abducted, a one-hundred man Pandemic Legion Capital Fleet entered system. Within minutes the entire Sansha fleet, over one-hundred-and-fifty ships including Astru's Wyvern, was reduced to mere wreckage. All settlers were returned planetside, and all are accounted for without serious injury.

In a sad attempt to save face, Citizen Astur claimed to have captured tens-of-thousands of settlers. However, upon inspection the Oruse solar-system, nobody has been reported missing and only one woman is injured. Thank you, Pandemic Legion. The people of Oruse II owe you a debt of gratitude.

** End of transmission **
** Secure line terminated **




The Pandemic Legion Ministry of Mercenary Contracts has no comment on which Empire put us on retainer. We can, however, confirm that Loyalty Point compensation was large enough to ensure that, assuming the same rate is granted, on the next attack we will drop whatever we're doing to fight off the Sansha heathens.

My First Steps In Incursion

I logged into Eve last night wondering what Incursion would look like.  I can say I like it so far.  First, the update.  I really like the fact I didn't have to log in to each of my clients to do the update, which is good since I have the game installed on 3 computers.  Since I only have 2 accounts, that allowed me to get the installations over with faster.

The third computer I have the game installed on is my laptop and that was the one I was most interested in logging into last night.  That is because I wanted to test out the multi-monitor support and the new window re-sizing feature.  The only problem I really encountered is that I could not get the Fixed mode to use up all of the monitor except for the tool bar.  I just realized I failed to test to see if I can get the full screen to show up on my big screen TV instead of my laptop monitor if I choose Full Screen mode.  So that is the last test I have to run.  But otherwise, I like the changes to the sizing of the windows.

I tried to do my planetary interaction on my laptop while looking at the big screen TV.  I was able to nicely stretch the game window so that my colony was on the TV while all the menu boxes were on my laptop screen.  That part worked well.  And the PI graphics really look good on a 61" screen TV.  There were only two issues.  The first was the font was still too small from looking at the screen from my couch.  The second is that I need a mouse for my laptop if I want to try PI on my laptop again.  Otherwise I was pleased.

Some of the new graphics for the item icons are nice.  Over my last few game sessions I spent my non-PI time consolidating  all of my stuff.  I am finally completely out of Aldrat and only have 2 industrial ships and some unprocessed ore left in the general area.  The icons came in handy because I didn't realize I had faction ammo until I started moving things into my cargo holds.  The little green symbol really did show up.

The only other thing I noticed last night was that ships in fleets don't jump around as much when doing fleet jumps.  When I do my moving I have two characters flying industrials to cut down on time.  And while the graphics now look smoother, I had some problems clicking on the jump button to warp through gates.  I think something changed just a little and I'll have to get used to the new timing, because I was a lot smoother jumping my two man fleets through gates in Tyrannis.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Planetary Interaction And Preparing For Downtime

Anytime an extended downtime is announced, I start preparing for the worst.  With today's downtime from 1100 - 1400 GMT to deploy the first part of Incursion, I've gone ahead and made sure I have some 4 day skills in my skill queues.  But this time I also had to prepare for the possible negative effects on my planetary interaction colonies.

Unlike the skills queue, any lengthy extended downtime affects my PI activities.  I don't have a lot of free time so I like to do my clicking when I wake up.  6:30 am in Chicago is 1230 GMT, which falls in the window.  So how do I get around this problem?  On Sunday, instead of setting 23 hour extraction periods, I started running 5 hour cycles.  I could do this on Sunday because all I really did was watch football, and doing planetary interaction every so often wasn't very hard.  Once 10 o'clock rolled around, I started up the 23 hour extraction cycle again.
 
Besides setting the time to when I get home from work, I got a lot more minerals just in case something goes wrong with the patch.  I calculated I have enough to last for over a complete day of downtime at each of my colonies.  But I'll be glad when the downtime is over and I can get back to my morning routine again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Shopping Spree

While Kirith went on a shopping spree in Jita on Black Friday, I engaged in an equally perilous spree in real life at the local Wal-Mart.  I admit as shopping sprees go, mine might not actually qualify as one.  But the one item I purchased was an iPad.  So instead of shooting Angels this past weekend, I was searching YouTube for videos and downloading my favorites.  Currently I'm in search of videos that show the history of Eve, whether it is lore like Day of Darkness and Day of Darkness II or player history like Tortuga or The Dronelands War.  I also found both the current intro movie and the original one (which I'll find the links to when I get home from work).

For those wondering how I download the videos and then convert them to the Apple iPad friendly format, I use RealPlayer Plus.  I used RealPlayer as my default player for years and a couple of months ago upgraded to the Plus version.  Perhaps something free is out there, but I'm used to RealPlayer and I think I will get my monies worth out of it now.

If anyone has any recommendations on videos to download, I'd be interested to hear them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Look at Eve's Incursion 1.0 Patch Notes

CCP followed up yesterday's announcement of the elimination of learning skills with the release of the patch notes for Incursion 1.0.  Below are the items of the patch that most interest me.

The new ORE Industrial skill book, required to pilot the Noctis [the new salvaging ship], can now be purchased from school stations everywhere. - This is a big change, since the original Noctis dev blog indicated that the ORE Industrial skill book would only be available in ORE stations in Outer Ring.

Fighter Bombers used by Super Carriers have been changed: they do much less damage to sub-capital class ships now and will also contribute much less lag to future fleet fights. They were previously making the servers cry. - Server tears, worst tears.

Need for speed
  • In order to facilitate fleet fights, network timeout values have been increased substantially from eight minutes. This will allow users to successfully jump and/or log into extremely loaded solar systems where the client will need to wait a very long time to complete. The players will also receive more informative messages under these extreme circumstances.
  • Repeating modules will no longer get into a “stuck” state, where they cannot be switched off.
  • Improvements to module activation and reload responsiveness have been made.
  • Decisions about who should receive damage notifications were optimized.
  • Jumping through a stargate will now create less server load.
  • Compile-time constant handling was improved to give better runtime performance: As a result of replacing certain data look-ups with fixed constants, both client and server should be able to run slightly faster.
  • Fixed an issue in which a client receiving out of order packets would fail to load grid when jumping into a system.
  • A large amount of damage and effects states were being recalculated for every observer during fleet warps and mass jumps. This process is now much more efficient.
Okay, I'm a tech geek who just finished similar testing and tweaking at work.  I just find what CCP is doing fascinating.

The Ships section of the market has been reorganized and is now primarily sorted by hull class. In addition, all faction and special release ships have been added to the market so you can now trade them there in addition to contracts. - Less scamming, but more importantly, more convenience. I'm sure someone is going to complain that this dumbs the game down.  Actually, it just means that scammers have to be smarter.

Graphics
  • The EVE client is now resizable in Windowed mode, allowing the players to stretch their client over several monitors. Now EVE Online is much more beautiful in ultra-widescreen resolutions.
  • There is a new version of Windowed Mode called Fixed Window. It is similar to the regular Windowed Mode but lacks any title bars, frames or borders.
  • A new option, “Horizontal offset” has been added to the settings menu. It allows the player to have all menus on one monitor and focus on his ship in another monitor.
  • EVE now supports anti-aliasing. The beauty of virtual space has never been more… beautiful.
I can't wait to try this out with my laptop hooked up to my big screen TV.  One of the problems I had was that I couldn't resize the window in Windowed Mode and when I used Full Screen the window appeared on my laptop, not my TV.

A “Volume” column has been added to the hangar view by default; “Category”, “Meta Level” and “Tech Level” have been added as optional columns. Individual columns now can be toggled on and off through the right click menu. - I have wanted a Meta Level column for some time now.  And a tech level column is nice also.

Probes can now be added to the overview. - Knowledgeable players knew how to do this already.  Now everyone can see them, providing players take the time how to use their overviews.

You can now rename ships in your hangar without making them active. - A nice quality of life change.

I looked through the forums and didn't see any complaints about these patch notes, since all the complaints are still focused on the removal of the learning skills.  The official response thread on the Eve Online forums is here

The last impression I have is that those who prey on the less skilled, whether it be in PvP or scams, will need to evolve and become more skilled, smarter and faster or they will become the prey.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Learning Skills Going Away in Eve

Today is Thanksgiving here in the States and today CCP gave us something to be thankful for: the end of learning skills.  Tentatively scheduled to apply in time for Christmas, here is the current plan as outlined by CCP Greyscale in his latest dev blog:
Ok, so about a fortnight ago (that's two weeks for those of you who don't speak Proper English), CCP Zulu (our august and esteemed Senior Producer) decided he was totally and completely fed up of being asked when we were going to get rid of learning skills, and told us (Team Yggdrasill at your service, m'lud) that he wanted them gone. And there was much cheering. And then someone asked "when shall we do this?", and verily did he reply unto us "by Christmas, or I'm going to give you lot a right proper bollocking and no mistake". And then we went away and dug through the big stack of plans we've made to deal with this in the past - "just as soon as we find time to do it" - and found the best one, and then figured out how to implement it in the time available.

THEREFORE, let it be understood that we have now the following plan:
  • As of downtime today, all NPC sell orders for the eleven skills in the Learning group (hereafter referred to as "learning skills") have been CANCELLED. They're really not much use in the long run, we don't want to complicate later steps with unusual inflows of skillbooks, and it might go some way towards limiting the amount of scams that we know you're going to be running. Please, think of the children newbies.

FURTHERMORE, as of a patch which should arrive on (or about) the 14th of December:
  •  ALL LEARNING SKILLS WILL DISAPPEAR
    • We're not kidding. In your head, in your hangar or in your anything else, they're gone. Vamoosh. Deleted. Sent to the big recycle bin in the sky. Etc etc.
  • All skillpoints invested in learning skills will be reimbursed, including all the fiddly corner cases. If you have 2,012,692 SP in learning, you will find yourself down those skills, but with 2,012,692 skillpoints to redistribute.
  • All skillbooks not currently injected into people's heads will be reimbursed at the old NPC sell price. The money will go to whichever character or corporation owns the container that the skillbooks are in. For example, things in cans you've anchored for yourself will be reimbursed to you, things in corporate hangar arrays or the "deliveries" bin will be reimbursed to the owning corporation.
  • This will also involve cancelling any and all market orders containing these skills. Contracts containing learning skills will have those skillbooks substituted for copies of the Pax Amarria.
  • All new and existing characters will have an extra 12 base points (ie, non-remappable) in each attribute.
  • The 100% training speed bonus up to 1.6m SP will no longer be available. People partway through this bonus will lose the remaining bonus amount. They will of course gain a huge attribute bonus to make up for it.
  • Miscellaneous other cleanup tasks will be performed that are not very interesting, details available on request.

This, as it stands, represents THE PLAN. We've talked to the CSM about it a bit, and taken their concerns onboard, but the point we're at right now is that there's very minimal room for alterations if we're going to deliver our Christmas presents on time. We will of course be monitoring feedback here for any serious concerns, but please be aware that we've considered pretty much all the options, and we're of the opinion the plan as outlined here represents the best balance between being nice and being sensible. While reading this you may find yourself thinking "wouldn't it be better if you..."; it's very likely that we've already thought of this and dismissed it because it increases the technical workload and therefore (by proxy) the deployment risk, and we don't have time for that sort of thing.
I have just posted the general plan.  CCP Greyscale gets into more specifics in his dev blog.  I can just say I'm happy about this, especially since I did not start up a third account during the last Power of 2 promotion.  I have two people who have expressed an interest in Eve at work and I'm really glad I won't have to try to explain learning skills to them if they do jump into the game.

The reinbursement of the skill points is nice too.  While Wandering Rose only has 500,000 skill points invested in learning skills, Rosewalker has 1.6 million.  That is going to help speed up my training plan a lot.

One additional point to make.  Remember when some players were outraged (well, at least concerned) about CCP making the mechanics to award players skill points?  Well, that system is coming in handy now.

(NOTE: Props to Illwill Bill for calling this use of the ability to grant skill points 5 months ago.)

The response thread is here.  Looks like the CSM was tipped off, since they dominate the early posters.  And they approve.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Operation Smile: Curzon Dax

I had heard of Curzon Dax and his Eve parodies, but I didn't know they were on YouTube.  Since running around WoW last night was so disappointing, I figured I needed something to cheer me up.  Curzon did the trick.















Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Shattering And More World of Warcraft Stuff

I'll have to admit that my second time playing World of Warcraft has not left me very excited.  I think the main reason is that, unlike EverQuest 2, I have to level up my crafting alts adventure levels.  And since I made the mistake of making all 4 of my characters blood elves, that can get boring.

But today comes "The Shattering", in which all the level 1-60 zones get revamped.  Since I could really only be bothered to get a character to level 20 and hadn't left the blood elf starting zone, I'm not going to know too much of a difference in the Horde zones.  I might have to start up a human character just to see how the world changed.

Now, because I only purchased the basic game and The Burning Crusade, I wasn't even thinking about purchasing Cataclysm because I didn't want to also have to pay $40 for The Wrath of the Lich King.  But I just read a post by Tobold that WotLK is on sale until the 29th for $10.  Maybe I'll have to pick that up, even though I may never reach level 60 again, much less 70.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Did Someone Else Lose A Large Amount Of Plex?

I see a lot of traffic coming into the blog from people searching for plex losses in Eve.  Did someone else just lose PLEX in a ship?  I can't research now because I have to go to work.

UPDATE:  The reason for the traffic is that someone linked to my post on the poor guy who lost 74 PLEX in Jita over on MMORPG.com.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Liveblogging the CSM Roundtable

The CSM is holding a roundtable discussion to answer questions in-game (now closed).  The channels are CSM_ROUNDTABLE_QUESTIONS and CSM_ROUNDTABLE_QUESTIONS.  I've missed the first question because of work, but the transcripts are supposed to be posted later.  Given that, here we go...

Question 2 - [19:13:55] Dierdra Vaal > What is the CSM's read on how much input they/we will have on Incarna game play given how it's been revealed to be more or less a blank space?

Mynxee believes that input will be pretty good, but TeaDaze is skeptical about the level of input in the initial release.

And the CSM is live posting the transcripts here.

Question 3 [19:22:25] Dierdra Vaal > Are there any examples that the CSM has had a positive effect on the game thus far? If so what are they?

CCP Xhagen is in the house and gives the CSM credit for issues like "The War on Lag", the skill queue and changes to the Black Ops ships.

Mynxee states that communications between CSM and CCP are influencing the attitudes at CCP.

Korvin states that insurance changes and mineral drop rates in Tyrannis were influenced by CSM.  I'm pretty sure that is BS.  I think CCP was going to make the changes anyway.

CCP Xhagen states that having the CSM to go to first when communicating volatile issues (like the moon goo exploit) is valuable.

Question 4 [19:34:26] Dierdra Vaal> When is the clickfest-removal fix to PI going to be deployed? Nov, dec, or january/feb/whenever?

PI updates will happen in January.  I'm sad.  I was hoping 30 November.

Question 5 [19:36:52] Dierdra Vaal > Why doesn't ccp comment on items passed by CSM vote?

I'm glad this is in-game so I can copy and paste.  This answer is interesting.

[19:38:38] CCP Xhagen > This question is actually an excellent chance to detail the change that the CSM has gone through. That has now changed to where the CSM is more involved in high-level stuff while having the option to bring up the issues they would like to discuss further. The rest of the issues have been dealt with via email during this year.

Question 6 [19:41:38] Dierdra Vaal >Does CSM does anything in order to help CCP locate and fix exploits? 

The short answer is yes.  Although the answer appears to just bring up exploits if they are noticed.  Considering the large corporations/alliances some of the CSM members are in, that could conceivably be a huge set of eyes.

Question 7 [19:47:02] Dierdra Vaal > Does the csm feel that it would be a worthy goal to favor game mechanics which would lower the amount of time in eve it takes to find good fight?

Okay, this is a question that is a bit impossible for CCP to accomplish, I think.  So I'll take this opportunity to state Dierdra isn't doing too bad a job moderating this.  Probably coming from his Eve University background.  Also, the chat channel has not gone above 45 so far.

Mynxee also leaves as RL > EVE.

Oh, TeaDaze brings up the "simulator" idea.  I agree with him.  NO!

Question 8 [19:57:10] Dierdra Vaal > Has there been any movment or news from CCP at all about a change to the jump-drive animation, which as once an awesome swirly vortex and is now a fairly uninspiring droplet effect?

CCP Xhagen has no information.  More pandas become sad in New Eden.

Question 9 [20:00:19] Dierdra Vaal - What are some of the issues the CSM plans to raise in the post Dominion 0.0 and Game Balance areas?

So far it looks like there is a big interest in changing SOV mechanics within the CSM.  But the thing may be to spend more development time on any changes CCP wishes to implement.

Question 10 [20:06:28] Dierdra Vaal - What CSM thinks about upcoming expansion, will it allow for small corps to participate? Or will it be instantly overrun by huge alliances? Will the new content be any more interesting than missioning / sleeper hunting?

A little dissention in the ranks as TeaDaze thinks the incursions are trying to be all things to all people and will fail at all.  I think everyone on CSM believes the big alliances will dominate killing the incursions at first.

Question 11 - [20:13:48] Dierdra Vaal - Are there any plans (in the long term or otherwise) from CCP to improve ship aesthetics? The ability for players to change the color scheme of their ships, more intuative/functional turret placement on the ship models, animated missile lanchers, etc?...

That would be cool, but the CSM doesn't know.

Question 12 - [20:15:42] Dierdra Vaal > How much of a factor was the CSM and the CCP: Commit to Excellence threadnaught on you decision to include several of the community requested improvements that are coming in Incursion?

CCP Xhagen says it was a large factor.  "The more complicated answer is: coupled with the June summit meeting minutes it became clear that CCP and the player community were not in sync.  It has been pretty amazing to be a part of having a whole company re-examine our relationship with our customers. This is what the CSM was created to do and I make sure they get the chance to continue doing it."

And I think I have my greater than symbol problem figured out.

Question 13  [20:21:09] Dierdra Vaal > has the csm got access to more test servers like was brought up in the summit notes.

There is only one called multiplicity.

Question 14 [20:22:37] Dierdra Vaal > Is there any ingame mailing list to follow up on CSM's actions and newest posts with info on progresses? if not, ever thought on planning one?

Reading Jita Park and Assembly Hall is best way to keep up to date.  There is a list called CSM-NEWS for major announcements.

Question 15 [20:27:16] Dierdra Vaal > are there any updates to ccp introducing microtransactions.

From CCP Xhagen, "The CSM brought up very valid points regarding micro transactions which we listened to very carefully. The whole thing is being re-examined by us as a result of that. I don't know when the results of that discussion (nor do I know the outcome as I'm not directly involved) but you can trust that the CSM has been applying pressure both in regards to a solution and communication."

Question 16 [20:32:40] Dierdra Vaal > if after 2 overhauls black ops have no real purpose and are one of the least used ships in eve, is there any plan to make them viable?

Dierdra is in his black-op ship?  I figured he would have lost that thing a long time ago.

TeaDaze doesn't thing the ship is too bad in its current role, hotdropping bombers and recons.

Question 17 [20:39:55] Dierdra Vaal > Given the.. less than favourable response to PI in the last expansion, is the CSM concerned about incursions in Incursion? CCP's reactions to their concerns?

Both Dierdra and TeaDaze are concerned about the impacts they may have.

Question 18 [20:45:04] Dierdra Vaal > Can CCP Xhagen be Icer Xx's pet?

A silly question based on the conversations in the questions chat channel.

Question 19 [20:46:46] Dierdra Vaal > With new evegate stuff and new forums on the horizon, do we know if there will be some better content management tools for the assembly hall, or will there be atleast the chance to vote no?

The answer is no, but CCP Xhagen is working on it for later on.

Question 20 [20:53:10] Dierdra Vaal > Does the CSM know how incarna will effect Empire wardecs? Seeing as it effectively removes the menace of a station camp?

I agree with Dierdra that Incarna will not change much to station camps.  I don't understand why anyone would think that it would, unless CCP is going to add a lot more content then they have announced.

TeaDaze did bring up the question about the interaction with incursions and wardecs:

[20:56:03] TeaDaze > Wardecs might discourage various corps from clearing the incursion sites. I'll leave you to decide if that is good or bad [end]


Question 21 [21:00:18] Dierdra Vaal > Does CCP have a fleshed out product roadmap guiding the company with where they want to take the game Eve Online and the IP it represents?
CCP Lemur stated that CCP is doing a 5 year plan and a 10 year plan for Eve.  Wow!

Question 22 [21:04:14] Dierdra Vaal > 2000 responses to crowdsourcing skiped any response to the community about the results so far?
Results to be posted after downtime on Thursday.

Question 23 [21:06:09] Dierdra Vaal > are there any proposissions/discussions within the csm/ccp for any sort of major UI overhaul? (think corporate interface and scanning tools)

CCP Lemur stated that "from a development point of view we get more bang for our buck when we redo the ui at the same time we touch a feature itself like we have done with the mail system, which I think went pretty good."

Question 24  [21:15:41] Dierdra Vaal > The "Flogging the Dead Horse" modular starbase concept is infamous for sticking around for so long and being endorsed by a large portion of the Eve Community for the past four years. However, each time it was raised by the CSM...
[21:16:16] Dierdra Vaal > ...it has been quietly dropped by both CCP and the CSM. Why is it so quickly discarded, and why hasn't the idea been looked at as a primary feature?

From Dierdra, who participated in CSM1, he would like to see it, but things there are a lot more important things to work on.

Question 25 [21:20:03] Dierdra Vaal > Has the CSM raised the continued issues with the mail system (partic formatting) with CCP and what are the odds it will finally get fixed

Apparently the bugs in the mail system were associated with the UI corification efforts and slowly being hammered out.

And the round table is now closed.  The transcripts are available here.

My final thought is that this was interesting, especially since CCP devs participanted.  I probably won't live blog another one, but I'll definitely be interested in reading the transcripts.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Few Clicks Can't Fix This

I spent my game time today overhauling my colonies.  Yes, I did some more research on planetary interaction and discovered better ways to set up my colonies.  I also decided to focus my PI activity to producing P2 goods.  So today I redid two of my colonies, abandoned my third which was producing P1 products, and then created a new colony using what I learned.  Let's just say the new colony is a lot more efficient.  So much so that I will spend time tomorrow implementing additional changes to my other colonies.

I had a very expensive day today and plan on spending more tomorrow.  But I'm having a blast experimenting and learning new things and when all is said and done, don't we play these games to have fun?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Explaining The Retraction of a Wardec

A CCP GM stirred up a hornets' nest when he retracted the mercenary alliance Violent Intent's wardec against Fatal Ascension.  The wardec occurred when the target of the original wardec, Militant Industries, joined Fatal Ascension.  After much anger, CCP responded publicly on the forums.

Hello all,

I'm the GM tasked with investigating what happened surrounding this war's cancellation. After reading this thread in full, I wanted to offer the explanation you requested.

First, I'd like to present a time-line of the events which took place to give everyone a clearer picture of what happened.

2010.11.02 01:08 – The Violent Intent alliance declares war on the Militant Industries corporation.
2010.11.07 20:30 - Militant Industries joins the Fatal Ascension alliance, thus the war with Violent Intent is instantly moved over to the alliance level.
2010.11.08 00:07 - A petition is filed by a member Fatal Ascension expressing confusion as to why the war notification stated that the war would begin immediately but was not preceded by the standard 24 hour grace period. He suspected that an exploit had been at play.
2010.11.12 11:55 - A senior GM investigates and the war is canceled as a result of this investigation. (Read more on this below.)
2010.11.14 05:26 - A representative of Violent Intent files a petition asking why the war was canceled.
2010.11.15 22:03 - We reopen the investigation and respond to Violent Intent's petition.

When wars between two alliances are viewed in our current logging system, the start date for the war will be listed as the date and time when the war originally started. In this case the start time for the war between Violent Intent and Fatal Ascension was listed as being 2010.11.02 01:08, which is when the war between Violent Intent and Militant Industries started. As can be seen in the above timeline, the war did not involve the Fatal Ascension alliance until 2010.11.07 20:30 when Militant Industries joined the alliance.

Therefore, the initial petition was originally investigated by a game master from the angle that the war notification had not been sent out on time. This decision was based on what he could see from the notification quoted in the petition and had also seen on our end in our server logs, that the notification had been sent out five days after the purposed start date of the war. An internal note was placed on the petition and it was escalated to more experienced GMs for review.

A senior GM reviewed the case based on the previous GM's investigation and came to the conclusion that a bug had indeed caused the war notification to be delayed by five days. The detail that the war originated with the Militant Intent corporation was missed, likely as a result of the preconceived notion that a bug of some sort was involved. An internal defect about the "bug" was submitted into our issue tracking system to have the bug investigated and fixed for good. The war was canceled and a refund for the war bill was issued. An offer was made to Fatal Ascension in the petition that all losses incurred as a result of the "bugged" war would be reimbursed should players who incurred such losses file a petition. Compounding the issue, the cancellation of the war was not communicated to the leadership of the Violent Intent alliance as it should have been. Our policies dictate that this should be done when actions are taken which affect more than one player entity, a war being canceled would under such certainly fall a situation.

There are no indications that the petition filed by Fatal Ascension was created with malicious intent. A series of mistakes and assumptions led to the war being canceled. These mistakes were ours and we accept full responsibility and humbly apologize for them.


We have taken measures internally to ensure that all current and future GMs are familiar with in-game war mechanics as well as the policy listed above and we hope that these mistakes will not repeat themselves.

I'd like to address the matter of the reimbursement offer which was made to both sides which has been discussed quite a bit within this thread. As was mentioned above, Fatal Ascension was offered reimbursement for any ships which had been lost as a result of the war on the basis that the war notification had indeed been bugged. During our investigation into the whole ordeal on the 15th of November when Violent Intent's petition was being handled, an offer to reimburse the losses they had incurred was extended on the basis that Fatal Ascension had already received such an offer in the past and that their reimbursement claims had most likely already been granted at that point in time.

Removing ships which have already been reimbursed is something we wish to avoid as much as possible. This offer was made with the intention of compensating everyone involved and it was made before we had taken an in-depth look into the actual losses that were incurred throughout the duration of the war. After further consideration we decided instead that it would be best to redact the reimbursement offers that had been made to both sides on the grounds that it was the most reasonable way to be fair to everyone involved. All petitions submitted by members of corporations within Fatal Ascension after the war had been canceled were reviewed and no reimbursement had been granted.

I'd like to extend my most sincere apologies on behalf of the whole GM team for these mistakes on our part and I hope that the measures we've taken and are planning to take in response to this will prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.

Best regards,
Senior GM Lelouch
EVE Online Customer Support

I am going to guess this is one GM mistake that will never happen again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fixing Stuff Is A Clickfest

I've begun the practice of doing my planetary interaction work when I wake up in the morning.  However, since I'm still experimenting, making corrections to my colonies can require lots of clicking of the mouse.  I came up with a brilliant idea that might integrate my planetary interaction and hauling activities, but that requires making changes to my three experimental colonies.  I only had time to make changes to one, and I didn't even get the full changes in place yet.

I plan on writing about it soon, once I actually have everything figured out.  But for now, I may have to work on PI when I get home in order to get everything straightened out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Next?

Eve Online is a game that works best when a player has at least one goal.  Now that I've met my goals of perfect refining skills for my industrial pilot and the ability to purchase jump clones for my corporation, what's next?

For Rosewalker, the next step is battleships.  I figure I'll have the skills to adequately fly either a Tempest or a Maelstrom in about a month.  In the meantime, I'll do the occasional level 4 combat mission and continue running 5 research agents to gain the money to actually buy the ships.

Why a Tempest instead of a Maelstrom?  While some people want to fly a blockade runner and be Han Solo, I'd rather fly a Tempest and be John Rourke.

For Wandering Rose, the future holds the Orca.  She is training for her Core Competency Standard certificate as a basis for solid skills to fly the expensive ship.  She will also train a few combat skills, especially those involving drones, just in case combat happens.

In the economic sphere, Wandering Rose will start investigating planetary interaction and hauling.  Well, I shouldn't say start.  I'm experimenting with a couple of colonies and have already made plenty of mistakes.  All I can say is, math is hard.  I've also fulfilled 5 courier contracts and I don't think I'll ever get rich doing them.  However, if I take up hauling full-time, it will be because I enjoy doing it, not to get rich.

How about the future of Khumaak Flying Circus?  If I decide I like hauling, then I think the corporation will take on a vertical integration model.  I'll start making tech 1 industrials and the equipment to fit them properly.  If I find that interesting, then I can start thinking about tech 2 production.

When I first started playing Eve Online, I wondered how I could do in an economic environment that was much more advanced than the one in EverQuest 2.  I think I am ready to start finding out.  I just hope I really like hauling.