New Year’s EVE (see what I did there?) is upon us and with it the inevitable reflections one the year past and the New Year’s Resolutions for the next year.
Well, lets start – personally, it was a challenging year. The company I work was bought out and my team and I had our hands full to keep the wheels running. Glad to say that nobody lost their job but its been a rocky ride. This of course impacted on my game time and most of the spring and summer, I have been flat out too busy for EVE and I spent most of October / November on the road – again without access to games.
The year started with Blog Banter 52 – again discussing the apparent death of EVE because of lacking subscriber numbers. This was still before the switch of the faster release cycle and there was not much going on at CCP between updates. My thoughts were cautiously optimistic:
The resilience stems from CCP’s unwavering support of the hard-ass community, EVE is the last refuge of the politically incorrect, the desperadoes of the gaming world, the mature, the adults, the hardened veterans of many games. As the market increases and caters to the soft middle, the tails grow longer. So, I can see a future for CCP doesn’t screw up again and again and limits itself to put pathetic little tweaks out as “expansions” but boldly goes where nobody has been before.
Well, I am very happy that CCP turned the corner in 2014 and made substantial and deep changes in their core game. Power projection, Sov Changes, D-scan, nothing is holy anymore and anything goes. The year started with a whimper and ended with a bang.
2014 also featured a guest appearance of TXG Synch on my blog. TXG is a great pilot, fantastic communicator and all around top guy to be around with. He joined our alliance and found our C5 crew to be his home and his after action reports on our internal forum were too informational and too entertaining to be limited to our alliance. He agreed to write on my blog as guest writer and his solo C3 guides have been by far the most successful posts on this site. His write-up of their fights with Quantum Explosions (Part 1, Part 2) caused a lot of waves. One does not simply shame QE in public and, predictably, our Alliance C5 was burned to the ground. TXG now writes his own blog – go check it out.
Talking about evictions. I have the dubious honor to have found “Sochi” in January, a C2 that was filled to the gills with expensive but unpiloted ships. Over the course of a month, we infiltrated and after a couple of false starts burned the place to a crisp. We made literally no money but had a solid team-building exercise and a great insight – burning down a well-defended POS without capital ships is not hard with the right team and leadership. It was a wake up call for all of us WH dwellers that we can’t feel safe in our little bubbles and many of us thinned out our hangars afterward.
I wrote quite a few posts on the EVE meta. My support for Sugar Kyle and Mike Azariah for CSM 9 was in hindsight entirely correct. Both are powerhouses in their interaction with CCP and the EVE community. I met Sugar at 2 meetups as well and she is an amazing spokesperson for us. She will run again for CSM 10 and I shall write my endorsement in a different post. Mike too is a great guy and deserves nothing but support. But in my CSM 9 endorsement I missed Corbexx. Partly he represented WH space and nobody sane expected CCP to do anything about Anoikis – “if it works, don’t fix it” in Turamarth’s words. But man, were we all wrong, CCP massively changed wormholes and Corbexx did a stellar job on managing and communicating these changes. His relentless focus on the “lower holes” certainly brought them back to attention and forced quite a number of changes without them they would be deserted. Congrats, mate hope you run for CSM 10.
In March and April, RL simply took over and I cut down on everything superfluous. First came showers, sleep and eating, then I cut my game time nearly to zero. I didn’t know if I would come back, EVE is just “too much” sometimes and there are very few ways to dial back. I played a little Planet Side 2 and Space Engineers and generally took it easy for a while. I did managed to watch some of the Fanfest presentations and did not walk away with much confidence. CCP still seemed to be on the wrong track of dismissing players who “level their Raven”. At that time, I wanted nothing but light entertainment and CCP publicly said that my play style wasn’t wanted.
In the aftermath of the CSM election, I posted a slightly tongue in cheek article about CSM voter apathy that was linked on Reddit and subsequently had by far the most hits in one day of any posts I ever wrote.
In June, I spent some time in nullsec and I actually had quite a bit of fun doing it. I chose an area that was quite devoid of people and farmed the hacking sites. My goal was also to run some combat sites but it turns out that those are very carefully harvested by the locals. It was entertaining to evade a bunch of Russian Renters and out smart them for a while. And this was before the Hyperion hit in August. This was the expansion that brought huge numbers of additional holes and I am keen to repeat my little experiment now – with better routes, buffed hacking sites and the reduced ability of the nullsec teams to bring in a PvP fleet, this may still be a cool adventure for 2015.
Late summer and autumn brought a massive mood swing in the EVE community. @ccpseagull rejuvenated the game with faster releases, far more content than was expected and unprecedented openness to her players. By Bob, she changed the tone of the conversation. EVE was back in the game.
Personally, the rest of the year went quiet. I traveled a lot for work and didn’t get a chance to play much. CCP did release its very best trailer that I still watch frequently as it encapsulates all that makes this game so good.
I recently re-activated my WoW account and I think I have 3 free days left to fly around Cataclysm and beyond.
Outlook for 2015
Personally, I don’t even want to guess how my real life will work out next year. Its been extremely volatile in 2014, swinging from elation to despair and back. I kind of expect 2015 to be similar and I am not sure I would have it any other way.
Game-wise, EVE Online will stay my game, I will probably branch out a little and really try new game play modes. Maybe some nullsec, back to Faction War or even some industry – all things I read about but have not really experienced fully.
Well, here is to CCP, CSM and all the space nuts and neckbeards that make our community so amazing.