Winding down

Jun
1

icon08_12You might have noticed there has been a terrible lack of posts here. There has also been an absence on Twitter (I quit using it), forums (stopped reading them), and in the game, to go with that. So what happened? Well, despite all the nice things that CCP added to the game, they simply didn’t suffice to draw me back in. Or rather, to say it better, there are other things that draw me in more.

It’s been a busy time after Fanfest, both in the real world like in gaming. Right now Diablo III is, as expect, the big timesink. But there are two text games I also maintain a presence in, one which I currently am actively playing as I had to be selective, which also take up my time. And then there is the pile of single player games which suddenly grew very large because Steam went and put half my wishlist on 50% and bigger sales. I know, I could have just not bought them, but I want to broaden my gaming horizon.

Real life continues to ask my attention. Without going into detail, I’m going towards where I want to be in life, even though I don’t perfectly know yet where that is. But I can try and get the things that I do want, and have gotten some already. And if I liked EVE enough, I would probably be able to combine the two, but it’s a fact I don’t want to limit myself to EVE as a lifestyle any longer. Because being a CEO of two corps, having an alliance, maintaining a blog and having a social media presence is very much a virtual lifestyle. And with all that I also need to find time to make ISK and actually play the game.

Maybe I burned myself out. More likely though, my journey in EVE is either taking a different path, or coming to a close. I fought it very hard, much harder than I did with the last MMO I quit, but that was even at its peak not as much a lifestyle as EVE has been. There I just felt that I was suddenly repeating everything I had ever done and there were no new challenges in sight to keep me going. In EVE however, there are things I still have left to do and I do want to eventually do all those. But for now I am at peace with simply keeping my main account training, having the alt account inactive, and just log in to muck about with things a little and keep just enough ISK on hand for PLEX. Thank goodness that Incursions pre-nerf gave me some reserves so that even in my already casual approach towards them I still got a nice buffer. Suppose that says it all why they had to be nerfed, heh.

This hasn’t been an easy decision since EVE is responsible for some of my favourite social events in the year. I love Fanfest, it’s almost another world, all those players united in a common interest. Each year I meet some interesting new people, and have a total blast. What could replace that? I’m really not sure, so if anyone has thoughts on that I’d love to hear them. I plan at the very least to keep going to the London meets, and I do want to actually see more of Iceland someday. I’m also torn about the next Fanfest, it is a special aniversary, but can I warrant going if I no longer play? Those are actually things that are on my mind constantly and kept barring me from writing this post even though ingame I’ve handed over PRELI and told people that while the corp remains there in its casual state it’s really just over for me being a CEO.

And then there is the blog. What shall I do with that? I really enjoy writing, this blog was what made me realize that joy, and since then I’ve participated in other forms of writing, as close to home as Tech4 news, but it is also evident from playing text games I don’t dislike writing words. I’ve got my own outlets there, and they also are great for practicing speed reading, which is a useful skill to learn as I also got back into the habit of reading regularly (Kindle + Goodreads = my combo for success). But the thing with the blog is that it is not just about writing, it’s also my permanent presence on the blog pack since I was admitted to it, as well as being an official fansite and being part of the EON Magazine sponsorship. While I can live without my perks, and I’ll be the first to say I am surprised I am somehow still on the blog pack (thank you though, I too was hoping things my turn out differently) it does mean letting go. And that is never easy. Especially when you still enjoy doing something but you have other things you prefer doing more.

So, what is my decision for the blog? Well, if I am dropped from the blog pack, that is fine. I’m proud of how long I kept enough of a presence to be part of it even though I’ve never been a hardcore blogger. I’ll leave it up to CCP and EON Magazine respectively what to do, although if I will quit blogging entirely I will properly inform them. As for you, my readers, thank you for enjoying my ramblings. I feel better now I’ve gotten all this out, and we shall see how it plays out in future. Keep a bookmark or RSS subscription, I’m likely to give proper closure if I really quit and if not then I may write something about how my casual approach to EVE is going.

One last thing I didn’t mention yet is roleplay, oddly as that has always been a big thing for me. Whatever the future brings, I’ll always be an Angel. I’ll be damned if I am gone and suddenly the faction gets the attention it deserves, or they add pirate FW or all those nice things I have always been dreaming of. But I can’t stay around forever in the hopes they’ll be added. So I hope that if someday, somehow, this comes to be there will be others there to enjoy it and shape it. I am horribly biased but it is such a rich faction full of opportunities and I’ve only barely scratched the surface. Each unique Angel corp has added something to it and even together we’re only a shard of the whole. So I encourage roleplayers who have wanted to explore this faction to just go for it. You can hardly go wrong unless you outright deny prime fiction. Well unless that is part of your plan, somehow. And you have the sexiest ships in the game to associate with!

Fly safe (and / or dangerous) everyone, it’s been a blast, and I do hope it may be again, but if not then I can say I did nearly all I wanted to do and hold absolutely no regrets. Feel free to drop me a line ingame or so if you like to stay in touch but don’t have OOG contact details for me. Myrhial out o7

Message from EON Magazine: Free shipping

May
5

EON Free Shipping

As a special 9th Birthday anniversary of EVE Online EON Magazine are giving free shipping away to any orders made on the EON Store. That is free shipping to anywhere in the world. The offer will last through Monday 7th.

Message from EON Magazine: EON Magazine #027‏

Apr
30
EON Magazine #027 Cover

EON Magazine #027 Cover

In Dust 514 We Trust

Chemical Brothers-inspired headlines abound as we at last get some shoot-in-face time with CCP’s first console game, DUST 514. With 12 pages devoted to the PS3 shooter, we first follow the adventures of Team Haggis, winner of the inaugural Dust tournament, before procrastinating over the game’s lengthy feature list and the implications the release will have for EVE Online, New Eden and the wider universe of games. The parallel journey into a familiar world starts here!

Assault Ship Testflight

Having repackaged the Tier-3 battlecruisers, EON’s chief test pilot Kirith Kodachi fits and flies out another batch of Crucible vessels – EVE’s venerable assault ships. Between them these heavy-hitting frigates have received, thanks to January’s 1.1 release, the most eagerly-approved upgrades since the word ‘iteration’ was invented. All eight ships are given the full Testflight treatment in one of the biggest round-ups in EON history.

CSM6 In Review

Seleene, the latest to head the Council of Stellar Management, looks back over the events of the last 12 months from the above-and-behind view reserved for the privileged members of EVE’s player-elected council. He takes us through the record-breaking vote a year ago, into meetings with CCP, past the so-called Summer of Rage and occupation of Jita and through the redemptive expansion known as Crucible. It’s been quite a journey.

Understanding Time Dilation

Just as there’s more to time travel than a DeLorean and 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, Time Dilation is more than just a slo-mo switch the developers casually throw when the hamsters get tired. To understand TiDi we must understand the nature of lag itself, which is actually best illustrated by visiting the bar and getting some beers in.

Plus

  • The Eve News 24 Story
  • The Ammatar Mandate
  • CCP Diagoras & Flying Scotsman
  • Machariel worship
  • The Fall & Rise of Ushra’Khan
  • Profiled: Odyssey Inc, DUST Uni and Lollipops for Rancors
  • Making the most of exploration
  • Postcards from the Edge
  • Teh Lighter Side of EVE

Blog banter 35: Public perception, or what the eyes see and the ears hear the mind believes

Apr
16

This month’s Blog Banter is an amalgamation of several suggestions made by CCP Nullarbor, Rundle Allnighter (Lost in EVE), Bagehi (EN24) and others.

“Now approaching its tenth year, the EVE Online player community has matured into an intricate and multi-faceted society viewed with envy by other game developers, but is frequently regarded with suspicion by the wider gaming community. Is this perception deserved? Should “The Nation of EVE” be concerned by its public identity and if so how might that be improved? What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future?”

Having played several MMOs, MUDs and other online games, of different styles and genres, I’ve been exposed to some very diverse communities. And while there is both merit and fault to be found in all, EVE’s community is one of those I really enjoy being part of in my own way.

More than with other communities, it is also one of the two — World of Warcraft being the other one — where I have further engaged in the form of player meetups, and the only one for which I have gone to its official convention. Not something I had thought would happen when I started out in EVE to have something to do aside from playing WoW.

What makes EVE’s community tick in my oppinion is that CCP cares for it, and overall has seen players as contributors to the experience rather than clients who pay a fee each month to enjoy a product. Our oppinion matters and is heard, which makes it people want to share theirs.

This is further enhanced by the fact that EVE is the kind of game where to get ahead, you need to take the risk of playing with others, and it can be a very rewarding experience even on small scale. Risk / reward isn’t just a way of balancing the game, it’s at the very core of what the game is all about.

Of course, EVE has its history of dark tales, stories of betrayal and theft. If you really do not like the fact that this could happen to you then this isn’t the game for you, there are other games who cater to that and neither can they be expected to change their ways because an EVE player would want them to be just like EVE. You might be able to get by in highsec, but even then you have to accept that you need to take a certain set of precautions or sooner or later the inevitable may happen. But heh, space is supposed to be cold and harsh, and the realness of this adds to the charm of the game. It’s not some simulated or storyline stuff. It’s done by real people, who can be a ‘space villain’ if that’s what they want to be.

The EVE community is also very diverse, meaning that if you don’t like certain parts of it, it is both ok and possible to ignore those. You don’t want to play in the ‘endgame’ that is sov space? You don’t have to. Because it’s neither the only nor the real ‘endgame’. And you change your mind tomorrow? That’s fine, you can, without having to restart from scratch.

I’ve heard complaints in the past that the EVE community is a bunch of elitist jerks, and there is a certain truth in that. I no longer follow the official forums closely, but when I started out I felt that even in the newbie forums beginning players were looked down upon. Luckily that has changed, and I think groups such as EVE University, OUCH and Agony Unleashed have contributed to that in addition to the efforts of CCP to lower the curve by doing away with frustrations. My personal belief is that a game should be hard because it provides a challenge, not because it’s tedious, cumbersome, and the interface seems designed to work against you. I’m glad that is something CCP seems to also agree upon. Much love for all the developers who have contributed to the efforts done in this field.

As for Dust 514, its community will be a mixed bag of new players but also of EVE veterans looking for a new or additional way to play the game. Some people fear the unflux of ‘console kiddies’, but I doubt those will be the kind that sticks around. And even if not, I do not believe we should bar the door for these kinds of players, we can certainly learn from them, not to mention teach them a thing or two. If we’re not careful, they might become so damn good at it and beat us at our own game. So a little humbleness and retaining an open mind is certainly in order. After all, for things unavoidable, the best way to deal with it is to accept and make the best of it.

Lastly, this banter came with a rather amusing bonus question: “What single button would you recommend be included on an EVE-specific keyboard?”. In honour of CCP Soundwave, I believe there should be an orbital bombardment button. On a less comical note, probably buttons for functions that are commonly used, things like opening your skill sheet or fitting window. While these all have ctrl or alt + something keybinding, sometimes there is additional convenience in just pressing one button.

Fanfest 2012 review – Part two

Apr
2

EVE Fanfest 2012

Friday: Fanfest day 2

While I really like trading and creating stuff, and in any game I play I usually at some point get rich by playing the economy one way or another, I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed to attend the State of the Economy presentation. However, Ship Balancing was not to be missed, because EVE is about the spaceships! Sadly this isn’t on Youtube either (yet?), but there has been a dev blog which mostly covers what it was about. As I saw it but didn’t fully process it before I set off to Iceland, it was nice to hear what is in store here. Making all the ships useful, as they should be! It’ll be a great deal easier to understand and makes way for a lot more variety without adding ships that nobody will ever use. Currently only half the ships in the game really gets used, that’s just such a total waste, especially since some have really nice designs. What more delighted me is that the lore got some attention here and that T2 ships will fit in with manufacturers that suit their roles. It’s some shuffling here and there but it is little details like that which make my roleplayer heart beat faster.

Lag is nobody’s friend and CCP Veritas had lots of graphs to show again how it, or at least the server kind, is being dealt with. While that fight is not totally over with, focus seems to be shifting towards the client now. Actually being able to use brackets without slowdowns? Being able to run multiple clients without having to give up all the eye candy? Faster dealing with crashes? Yes please, make it so.

Then it was time for Factional Warfare. While not something I have ever participated in other than shooting the fuck out of the Militias back with Operation Bold Harvest, it’s been something that I’ve always kept an eye on. Especially because way back when CCP actually mentioned pirate faction warfare, and that is something I hope to see before I retire from the game. While last year was still an outright denial for it ever happening, this year it was said that it could be implemented as the system does account for more than a two-way fight, the issue just seems to be they first off want to fix up the current issues, and secondly they’re not quite sure how to make it all work. I may elaborate on my thoughts in a future post, but basically since the pirate factions form 2 blocs, you could have a 3-3 split just like Amarr + Caldari are opposing Gallente + Minmatar. And then make it so that all pirates are open targets to the Empires and reverse.

The proposed changes in the FW presentation are a bit of a shocker, and some things like cyno jamming or datacores being moved over to militia LP stores to me seem unrealistic to be implemented as they are presented here. I do however like the idea of a sov-lite kind of playstyle, the only downside being that only the Empire factions get to enjoy it. I suppose us pirate roleplayers will have to be content with playing mercs or infiltration for now, or simply opt for other non-FW styles of play. However, it is good to see that this is being iterated on, because it means people in lowsec, and that is relevant to my interests.

The Brave New Module presentation was a bit spoiled by not being led by the most engaging speaker, but I never realized modules had been intended to be like cards and the addition of new decks in Magic The Gathering. This is quite interesting however, not only because I have been making my ISK as of late by producing the (new) Tech 2 modules, but also because of how it affects tactics in both PVP and PVE. Finally drone damage modules! And webber drones of all sizes. And salvage drones make a return! And so much other interesting things. The plans for using alternative methods of seeding them into the game made me frown a bit though, I can see it work for those that are totally new like tactical warp, but drone damage should in my oppinion be the same as weapon damage modules and thus be a standard blueprint. However, as at the end there is talk of phasing modules in and out of the game, maybe buying blueprints and growing a large researched library is going to become a thing of the past? I can think of some unhappy industrialists though as some spent years growing a perfect catalogue which is invaluable due to the many years of research applied on them.

And then, of course, the EVE keynote. With the painfulness of the ‘failure’ of Incarna, and the 20% layoffs still fresh in mind, this was bound to be interesting, and the right approach was taken. Generally speaking, this entire Fanfest has been one of restoring faith and celebrating that EVE did not fall over and die. Loads of things that came up at the start here were basically fast repetitions of presentations already attended. But then, what is this? No, not the new stealth bombers, although those are mighty pretty as well. I’m talking about the missile launchers visibly on ships. Squeeh! Happy Caldari pilot at last. I recall talking about that with CCP Masterplan last year and he said with the old system it was just not possible, and it may or may not be with the new. So, I am quite happy to see that the new system does allow for this, and I hope eventually we will see all the high slot modules visible.

Being given a free Fanfest ticket, as a perk for being a fansite, I decided to end the day by making my way over to the Fansites & Apps roundtable. Unfortunately, it was the App developers that took over the conversation and I felt pretty lonely and awkward as a blogger amongst them. Gladly, I have a background as a programmer so I could at least follow the conversation, but I’ll be mailing CCP Alice some things as I just didn’t get around saying what I wanted to say. A bit meh, as there were several other roundtables I understand were more suited for this tech talk that happened, but then again with so many apps and so many new possibilities for apps, I can’t hold it against those developing them to be all fired up about it.

Being a little tired by now and having lost track of most people, I missed out on the quiz show, but caught up with Verone who was assisting CCP during Fanfest and really deserves props for all the effort he is putting in. We managed to get everyone together and went out for dinner and then secured ourselves a few tables at Islenski Barinn before the pub crawlers poured in.

Saturday: Fanfest Day 3

Ugh, even 11:00 is too early at this time of the week, so I got in at the end of Growing EVE’s infrastructure and the first proper presentation of the day for me was War Declarations. Wars are going to get a lot of love, and seem to be moving from a griefing tool into a proper thing. I really like that mercenaries will get a proper way to offer assistance. The war statistics are also very nice, and I hope in future this can be expanded upon for all corporate killmails, as it would make an ingame killboard possible which would let a corporation see how well it is doing.

The game design panel wasn’t much interesting other than Diedra Vaal shaking things up with the first question, though I believe somewhere in there someone asked about pirate faction warfare again. Not sure, and can’t immediately find it. As the next thing was the art panel, which I assumed wouldn’t bring much new (skimming over it, I feel I was right), I wandered over to the EVE vs the Real World presentation. This had caught my attention because it was an actual player presentation, and it was about security theories (political sociology). While normally I’d have been able to keep up with this easily, I struggled to keep up, but was none the less intrigued by this subject which I knew a little about and how it applies in EVE Online.

Next up was the World of Darkness presentation, which I was happy to see getting some attention still. While I’ve only lightly dabbled in the WoD setting, or more specifically I have played Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, it is a setting that captured my imagination long after. The game itself wasn’t that spectacular, and I didn’t know back then it was part of a greater setting, but it left a lasting impression. I do plan to look more into it in the future, as the Grand Masquerade seems like an event I’d like to attend at least once just because it seems so very cool. What mostly intrigued me about the presentation was the talk of a player politics system, with elected positions and city leaders. While they drew the connection to EVE Online, in my mind I immediately linked it to the text games Lusternia and Aetolia, both by Iron Realms Entertainment, which I have enjoyed dabbling in during the last few years. I do wonder if the WoD team is at all aware of the existance of these games and how studying their political system could be useful to develop an even better player politics system.

Bittersweet as usual, the last presentation of the day was CCP Presents, where we got to see a glimpse of what the future may hold. Got a bit scary when that fire alarm went off, but the new launcher and further work on EVE voice is something that bodes well, even though I currently skip the damn thing to get the Steam overlay on the main client. Tessellation looks pretty sexy, and nice to see what more is coming for Dust 514 — eSports and PVE and MTACs and non-temperate planets, oh my — but of course it is the EVE stuff that intrigued me the most. Ring mining sounds like it could be a lot of fun, not to mention finally allow the  ‘common player’ to take part in the moon mineral game. And modular POSes, ooh, I like building stuff, even though at times I bitterly hate taking care of my ‘space tamagochi’, as the POS gets so lovingly called. The new UI seems like it could work out really well, especially loving the camera close-up view and prettier explosions. What nearly had me jump out of my chair though was using avatar gameplay and combine that with exploring the insides of abandoned installations. If they put that in, and it will be as awesome as it sounds, I am so going to be all over that. I’ve always wanted the exploration system of EVE to be more interesting, but this just totally blew me away. And then, it could not have ended better, the story of Templar One turned into a new game trailer. Around the one minute mark it dawned on me what I was looking at. That’s just so cleverly done!

Gathering everyone up again, we went for dinner and then to prepare for the party. It was alright at first, but after HAM had performed and we retreated to the Fanfest lounge, it quickly grew terribly boring. We sat there quite a while until eventually enough people were bored enough that we packed up and left for the hotel. Settling down there was a lot better and we had a lovely evening, sitting around and talking. Keith Neilson, CCP Masterplan and some other folks dropped by as well.

Sunday: Brunch and Blue Lagoon

As per tradition, there was the Brunch on Sunday, this year at the Vox Restaurant at the Reykjavik Hilton. So many delicious foods!

With our tummies filled, we went over to the Blue Lagoon, which was a first for me. Quite nervous about this, I admit, I’m not a good swimmer and the etiquette at these kind of places always kinda worries me, I don’t want to shock people but neither do I want to come off as too prude. However, it turns out that for the women at least, it’s really quite relaxed, everyone just stripped down, headed for the showers wrapped in their towels, put swimming gear on after, and went outside. Ah, it was so nice to just soak for a few hours in the hot water, even though I had to make a bit of a detour through the shallower ends of the water to keep up with people. For once, being small really wasn’t handy! But later on taking up a little corner of the sauna, I was quite happy with my small frame again. What I really liked was that you could just use your bracelet to buy drinks, so I had a slushy. Kind of handy, this hot water, when it didn’t melt fast enough to keep drinking I just dipped the bottom in the water for a while.

After the Blue Lagoon, it was quite late already when we finally got home. Some people got pizza, but I was still quite full from the brunch, so I started to pack my things up and watched another movie, before we all headed downstairs and sat together the final few hours, joined by the excellent folks from Rote Kapelle. As my flight was late, and we had Damir Delon to take us back, I stayed up into the wee hours with the people who had early morning flights.

Monday: Travel again

It’s never fun to say goodbye, but good things have to end someday. This whole week felt like it just blazed past. Adrian Schultze, Lacrimae, Stranger (who had flown in just for the party and the events on Sunday!), that guy from Rote Kapelle who I never asked for his character name and me all were on the same plane, together with Diedra Vaal and his girlfriend. Once landed in Copenhagen, our party soon started to break up as everyone headed on to their final flights.

What a week it had been. Props to the Veto guys for letting me hang out with them again, so nice to meet some new people again, and see many old faces once more. While I was really fearful this fanfest would be marred by the layoffs and the negative events this summer, I must say I am feeling very optimistic again now. It wasn’t quite the same as the previous years, and I fear it may never be again, but it was very nice in a different sort of way. Big thanks also to CCP for providing the fansites with free tickets again this year, it does help in me being there and writing about all of this now.