Slowing down

A few years ago, I wrote a quick post about EVE Addiction reflecting a little on my – then – pretty intense online time.  I realized that while I am not addicted per se, I spent too much online seeking success in game where I did not find it in my – then – employment.  I totally understand how a game can give that feeling of accomplishment but also how the threshold between “real” and “game” can soften and disappear. This is of course always a bad thing.

Or is it?

A couple of days ago, this post appeared on Reddit.  It was written by someone who used EVE to get himself out of drug addiction and I strongly recommend you read this.  I do believe giving purpose in a game can turn someone’s life around but it can of course only be the first step on the road to recovery or the cycle just continues.  But yes, sure, why not think differently about games in general and see them as a therapeutic means where people can experience collaborating on goals, overcoming adversity and experiencing the thrill of being relied on and delivering.  EVE lends itself very for the social aspect of this form of therapy since there is virtually nothing that can be achieved in New Eden as a solo player.  Unless, of course, one is Gevlon.

So, while the interwebs are full of horror tales and the established medical community preach that video games represent the downfall of civilization, I would be very interesting if some therapist had used games to do the exact opposite, to bring someone into a social and caring environment based on an anonymous and generally safe platform like EVE Online.  Medicine moves extremely slowly in the adoption of new techniques and older research articles are of very limited use today.  A 5 minute literature research seems to show an uptick in studies and applications which is  an encouraging thing to see. Maybe in a few years, this becomes actual practice?

Back to EVE, I did not log onto my main character for nearly 2 weeks and missed much of the fun that my mercenary friends have.  With the goons crushed, they are free to do “other things”, much of which look like a lot of fun and – to be honest – more rewarding that being in a 3000 man fight.  But between work giving me a massive headache at the moment, much outdoors activities and a nasty chest infection that lingers and makes me wheezy, I just dont have the energy to play “serious” EVE.  At best, I log a couple of alts in to run a few anomalies in high sec or even do high-sec PI – arguably the activities with the lowest possible ROI in EVE.  At any point I can save up and do something else – not possible when engaged in a fleet of course. Oh, I learned that you can not leave an escalation and come back later. It despawns. Thats actually rather annoying CCP.

I miss my spacebros though and I’d love to undock and fly with them again.  Hopefully after my vacation when my head is clear.

 

See you then

Oscillations

My time in EVE is directly linked to a few factors:

Weather.  If the weather is good, I much prefer to be outside and exercise my “chainsaw therapy“.  There never is a shortage of projects and if I ever ran out, I have full confidence that my wife would find more.  Yesterday’s project was to build a fenced-in vegetable patch.  If I factor in the money spent for fencing material, we will have $50 tomatoes by the end of the season.  Unlike smarter people in my geographic region, I started too late with seeding and preparation which likely will result in a weak outcome at best. But its a lot of fun.

Work.  If work gets too intense but overall is fun, I just throw stuff over board and make time.  First eating, then personal hygiene, then gym, then EVE.  I was there a few times in 2015 and had to pause flying spaceships for a bit, especially when I am on the road a lot, I gave up trying to do EVE on a laptop.  Everything beyond PI is just not possible.

Other games or projects. For a while, I tried to get into Elder Scrolls Online (and couldn’t, really tried, joined a guild etc), Elite:Dangerous and Space Engineers.  I was looking for a game I can pick up, have half an hour worth of fun and Alt-F4 when done.  In the end, I am stuck with Planet Side 2 which allows me to do just that but it is far from perfect.  For this alone, I want Project Nova to succeed.

Notice that none of these reasons have to do with EVE as a game.  Citadels, cap ships and other recent changes have not affected me all that much other than that my fleet and alliance mates are filling the chat channels with new strategies and fits and that every day someone resurrects himself from the dead, resubs their characters and flies into the war.  While I can’t fly any capital ship (nor have plans to) or have need for a citadel, I don’t see the need to occupy anything or lament that there is no new content.  EVE is not like WoW where your enjoyment is related to the new content in a patch.  Can’t find anything where you are?  Pack your bags and move, do something else.  No, I have no sympathy for the recent call to Occupy New Eden” or “I am the 85%“.  While I agree with Drackarn that high sec and especially industry need an overhaul, I don’t think the situation is game-braking bad.  CCP decided to fix Sov and “player housing” which mostly affect null and to some extent WH space.  I commend their effort to focus and not try to patch up everything at once.

Lastly, Alekeseyev Karrde – famed founder of Noir.  and host of the best podcast in New Eden stepped down as CEO.  I have nothing to say about this other than to thank him for his trust to bring me into the corp and his relentless passion for the game.  I wish him well in his new endeavors, may ponies accompany him everywhere he goes.  And if you want to read more about the background that left to his departure, read Psianh Auvyander’s narrative on his blog or on Crossing Zebras.

To see him off in style, Aleks led a fleet of Talos’ with Rook support, a dicey, ballsy fleet comp that really was successful. We got a lot of kills and scared the crud out of the locals (even got people get angry at us in /local which is never boring).  I was in the thick of it until I encountered RL aggro, had to step away from the game for 5 min and lost track where my fleet was.  When I got back to the PC, the fleet was engaged and I guess where they were, guessed wrong, crossed a gate and died an honerable death.  I think I was the only loss that entire night, so OP success I guess. I am just short 130mil….

Oh.  PS.  I mentioned before that I am running low on ISK.  I started a little mini project in high sec, something easy, relaxed that I can do while on conference calls.  I run 4/10 with a shield-fit Gnosis (yes, yes I know, its not ideal.  But my goal was to invest the least amount as possible and fit something from modules I had lying around).  And occasionally, something shiny drops:

ISK in High sec

(yes, Orea, its my Salvaging Catalyst, the same one that lived with me in WH space for years and years)

Does that make me one of the 85% now?

 

 

 

Fanfest 2016

In the past, when a Fanfest closed and new things were revealed, the blogosphere asks itself what the effect of the announced changes could be.  Case in point was EVE Vegas 2015 where the capital ship changes were announced (officially) for the first time and the atmosphere in the room turned from a hangover stupor into a buzzing hornet’s nest within minutes – and staid that way for weeks.

Not so for EVE Fanfest.  Sure, Capital ship changes were discussed in detail but they were already on SiSi and most people had a pretty good idea what would be coming. Same for Citadels. With the exception of industrial arrays, there wasn’t anything really new there, at least not that I can remember.  And when was the last time people got excited about a new compression array?

Even Google noticed:

EVE Fanfest 2016 Keynote

 

The actual keynote of 2016 was an odd beast and indicative of the content to come over the next 3 days.  A rotating cast of the excellent CCP_Seagull, CCP_Fozzie, CCP_Quant and a new guy whose name I can’t remember but apparently his task is to renew the new player experience.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t told that, so he spent his time on stage thinking it was a Ted Talk where he can spew pseudo-intellectual nonsense about his abnormal brain.  He even has the dumb beard and hair to go with it and if I was a betting man, I’d put money on his departure within this year.  But in the meantime, he will lead yet another futile round of pretending that new players can be attracted into the game by making things more easy to learn. I wonder when CCP realize that this strategy doesn’t work.  EVE isn’t easy to learn and thats why people stay.  Personally, I agree with Stabs that the most exciting thing was CCP_Quant’s presentation.  Read Stab’s blog post.  Its good.  It reminds us that the economy in EVE is truly gigantic and while I struggle to find ISK for my next Stealthbomber, others finance entire super capital fleets without hesitation.

But aside from this, we learned more about DUST 514 Legion Project Nova, CCP’s third attempt to build a “me-too” shooter.  This time its built on the Unreal engine and hence should be easier to build and maintain but I am still not quiet clear why CCP as a company wants to do that.  As a product, FPS is now “commodity” and even technically solid games like PS2 suffer from the burn out of the community.  Doom was released December 10 1993 and the genre has improved in style but not in principle.  Why would Project Nova be different (*)?  Sure, it will be played inside a spaceship for “resources”.  Ok….

Now, “Project Arena” is a totally different game (pun intended).  Shown as a tech demo at Fanfest, for me it was the very first time I saw a glimpse of what Virtual Reality can be to gaming. See, Valkyrie is a space shooter like many other of the class but with a different display.  Cute but whats the point?  Project Arena is a true 3D simulation that – rudimentary today – allows full-body immersion into a simulated environment.  Now we are talking.  Give that another 5 years to simmer on medium heat and I will buy it.

Fanfest had an excellent alliance Panel with our fearless mercenary leader Seleene competently presenting our Alliance.  He did so with style and the slight arrogance that the Mercenary Coalition is known for – Arrogance that is well founded on achievement.

Enjoy:

 

So, if 2015 was the year of Sovereignty changes, 2016 will be the year of Captial ships, Titans and Citadels – all elements that fit the narrative of massive corporations and alliances well.  Smaller outfits, high-sec players, or low sec pirates may see some table scraps of new boats or new features but all things together, CCP is buffing Nullsec.   This goes to a point where good bloggers comment on it and I do believe that CCP needs to be a little careful here.  Focus on big battles and Nullsec is good and well but most of us old folks have at least one, maybe accounts in high sec for market and “relaxing game play” purposes.  All pressure all the time doesn’t make a good game.

I know this is more rambling than a structured overview and for that I apoligize.  But to summarize, I am enthusiastic about EVE and its future but a little disappointed by Fanfest and its lack of roadmap.  I wanted to see new stargates (in concept), new industrial arrays (with delivery dates – I think we did get that, so its all good), I wanted to see an overhaul of mining as an active game play (blow up rock, collected compressed ore shards), I wanted to see a tight connection between Valkyrie and our new Capital Fighters (come one guys, its too obvious thats what you are trying to do, so dont be coy).

 

But maybe, they save a few announcements for EVE Vegas.  I wouldn’t be surprised if CCP sees EVE Vegas maturing into a bigger marketing event that Fanfest itself.  Its closer to their customers, its a lot more fun and far less expensive to visit. I’ll try my best to be there….

 


*  By the way, if you think naming something “Nova” is a bad idea “no va = it doesn’t go” you just outed yourself as someone who went to a marketing class in B-school and forgot to check his facts.

 

Looking for a new project

A good friend of mine has the knack to come up with one-liners that pack more truth than a library of management books.  One his lines recently was “there are process oriented people and outcome oriented people“.  Its not a judgement, its just a statement.  And more than any Meyers Briggs test, it can serve very quickly to understand people and their motivations. I personally am an outcome-oriented person, I do stuff “in order to get it done”, not necessarily because they are fun.  In that, I tend to be efficient to the point of cutting corners.

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Culture

 

Me:   Hi, my name is Splatus and I read Reddit.

Support Group:  Hi Splatus

 

Reddit has become a little guilty pleasure, the anarchy and memes have become amusing, maybe its a sign of my mental degradation but the other news outlets have been either tremendously biased, just plain bad or too analytical for their own good.  And thus in my reading habit, Reddit has entered as a 10min-over-coffee-before-work (ok and at work on cell phone) where I get a quick update on the meme of the day, a nice propaganda picture and possibly some interesting news about the ongoing war.  Reddit happens to be more aligned with the Moneybadger Coaltion rather than the Imperium and the comments are generally pretty biased but the MBC also happen to be on the winning side and therefore the contributions of smug are generally true.

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Trainspotting

I am not even going to try to narrate the changes that occur in New Eden, the massive changes in alliances, coalitions, sovereignty and attitudes.  Suffice to say that Empires are shaking from the hooves of the onrushing hordes. (so to speak).

And my Alliance is right smack in the middle of things, even became “relevant” by taking Sovereignty.  And while I am not privy to alliance strategy, I do hope this is temporary and that I am not stuck in nullsec.  Mercenary life is designed to be mobile, hard hitting and not encumbered by “homes”.  I am pretty sure that this is the general attitude and we are holding it as part of the contract until the war is over and we go out merry ways to shoot former blues.

And with all that happening, I feel a little like a Trainspotter – one of those guys who stands next to the rail, watches trains go to exotic locations and gets a kick out of the imagination of being on it.  I unfortunately had a rough 2 weeks and literally could not log in more than 30 min at a time.  Which is a darn shame because I can watch the pings for fleets go out every hour.  I have never once in EVE had so many opportunities as I have now but real life just not comply.

But watching Slack, reading the meta makes me proud to be part of this team. By the way, both Noir. and Noir. Academy are recruiting.  Never a better time to saddle up and get into the fight. Whats to lose?

 

Right smack in the middle

 

 

 

 

 

A Chess Game with Fleets

This week saw an amazing amount of content in and around New Eden, proving all those mouthbreathers wrong who called EVE dead years ago.  Vast navies clashed in tightly choreographed fights, supply chain and logistics operations burned through the night and restocked the armories while the propaganda teams flooded the metaverse with incendiary posters.   It was all out “war” as much as it can be done in a computer game in 2016 and I truly hope that I will retain my memories of this day so I may compare it to an equivalent fight in 2036.  (lets hope TiDi is fixed by then)

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