Goodbye 2017

It is customary to recap the year past before the ball drops allowing a little bit of reflection what was good and what can be improved in the next year.  I won’t disappoint my last remaining reader but before I start, a fair word of warning: 2017 was not my “EVE year”.  In fact, it was the year I came closest to walking away from this game since 2009. Continue reading

[MAGA] Make Anoikis Great Again

I recently opinioned on the Wormhole Townhall meeting set up by notable CSM member and Hard Knocks leader Noobman.  My concern was that the meeting itself had gone a very predictable path where individuals from Wormhole PvP alliances desperately tried to out-chest-beat each other while leaving many topics that really affect us all entirely unsaid.  So far, so predictable but my comments and post spawned a ping from a HK line member effectively telling me to speak up or shut up.  Either I make my concerns heard to Noobman / CSM or CCP or I am just another one of those /r/eve whiners.

That man had a point.  While I ran this blog since 2009, I rarely go into the specifics what CCP should do to make the game a better place.  I have no professional game development experience and also can only see a sliver of the game itself.  EVE’s strength and weakness are the same, its massive, differentiated and highly integrated structure where one small tweak here causes a massive effect elsewhere.  However its true that some areas in the game are in a pitiful state and maybe CCP doesn’t see it. Continue reading

WH Townhall – I am content

CSM delegate Noobman and member of the most powerful wormhole alliance in the game kindly organized a townhall to update the wormhole community and ask a few questions.  For my remaining two readers I provide a heavily biased summary below.

The full recording is here, at 2h, its manageable, there is so much repetition and group hugs (circle*** for some) that one can easily fast forward. Actual content maybe 10 minutes.

tl/dr  Townhall meeting (real life or game) give the floor to those who take it and in general those are the ones with the most aggressive agenda.  Extremism will always win in a debate as categorical statements are easier to digest and remember.  There is no fighting it and hence I rarely, if ever participate in these events.  Basically, the townhall confirmed what we all expected, Noobman and his friends in C5/C6 space have nothing to do with the wormhole space that I experience.  Large-fleet, capital supported evictions, dozens of farming holes to make money, PvE as the necessary evil are literally a different game from mine.  My purpose in their world is to be “content”, i.e. I serve the role as dumb prey.  To that end, they want me to live in Wormhole space and throw me a few bones so that it becomes worth it.  And when I get too visible, it should be easy to evict me.  Actually, this is fine by me.  I like gnawing on bones.

Here are some cliffnotes.  Sorry if I missed anything, I tuned out a few times when the echo chamber reverberated too much.  My comments in italics.

  • Apparently, CCP has not forgotten about wormholes and fact many (shitloads) of CCP devs reside in low class wormhole space.  Guess even CCP devs need PI.
  • Noobman asked how the T3C changes had affected wormholers and the audience collectively went into EFT/Pyfa mode, started extolling the virtues of one ship over the other.  Consensus emerged after a few minutes:
    • Proteus, Tengu and Legion are useless.  Loki is the only T3C worth flying.
    • The halving of their tank and an increase in signature and DPS means that their role has changed from heavy tackle with staying power to tackle that needs a serious fleet to bail them out.
    • The whole point that T3Cs are more flexible is irrelevant.  Anyone basing out of a citadel has the ability to re-fit or take a specialized ship.
    • I had always flown a Proteus in “bulldog” mode, holding on to the target and tried to kill it with my other character.  I think these days are over.  I have an active-tank fit with good DPS but it is very sensitive to neuting (and has no cap injector).  I expect to move to Stratios soon. At least I won’t lose SP when it dies.  
  • Scanning changes
    • We like it.  A few glitches but overall its an improvement.  Took CCP 3 (?) fixes but its workable now.
  • Big discussion on spawn times of anomalies and signatures.
    • I was surprised about how much HK and the rest of audience cared about PvE sites but its obvious, each chest-beating PvP player has a private farming hole where they run sites to make money.  
    • The spawn rates of anomalies apparently is “class wide”, i.e. a site only spawns if another dies in a same class Wormhole.  With many, many holes being abandoned and accumulating sites (see my discussion about our C2 when we moved in), active holes are empty.  The audience wanted a timer on each site that a newly spawned site despawns after a few days with a chance to conveniently respawn within the safety of their farming hole. Basically, they want Nullsec mechanics
  • Suggestion that sleeper should scram more so that Player battleships can’t use their microjump drive to escape from PvP.
    • The consensus was its too hard to find idiots like myself to kill.  We are called “content” and we are tolerated in WH space for this purpose only.  It should not be so hard to find, tackle and kill us.    
    • CCP is considering that change to add more scrams into sleeper sites.
  • Drone aggro
    • Apparently there is a bug that sleepers attack Drones more than they should.
    • I have not seen it but if I had seen it I would have assumed that it was a new mechanic.  For C2, I stopped using Gallente drone ships and went back to Caldari since drone micromanagement was just too tedious.  If this had been intentional, I would have not cared.  Sleepers are smarter NPC, so why wouldn’t they shoot at drones?
    • I assume this mechanic eats into the AFK money making of their farming holes so it has to get fixed.
  • Drifters.  They are the Battleship-sized sleepers that infest C5 and C6 space when you kill a structure.  They are hard to kill, persist and attack citadels.  (and can be killed with a citadel).
    • Consensus seemed to be that they should spawn if you have a Capital ship on grid or shooting the structure.  This of course removes them as a game mechanic to teams like ours coming with Battleships from a C4 and kill them because (gasp!) its a fun game mechanic but this is obviously of no importance.  ISK/hour is the only thing that counts
    • The idea behind it is of course that the hardcore PvP-ers want more capital ships flown by incompetent fools in sites where they can be tackled.
  • Industry and moons mining.
    • CCP is thinking about it.  Come back in 2018 maybe.
  • Smaller temporary structures to help evictions.
    • Without POS, eviction teams don’t have a safe space to log off.  This makes evictions too hard and the suggestion was to develop a new structure that has a docking ring or something
    • I personally wanted a smaller structure for temporary wormhole camping trips and if it is making evictions easier, so be it.  If anyone wants to evict me, they can do it anyway so what do I care what they need to bring?  
  • Some conversation on using capital ships, cap chargers, dreads etc.  I lost track what the discussion was about.




CCP and CSM – How to restore trust

The recent spate of conflict between the EVE Player council CSM and the company that makes our game, CCP has reached a new low (or, if you are the gaming press and live off click-through-ads, high) with Sion Kumitomo’s manifest.  Whether I agree with it or not is not of concern here, my concern is how to help CSM to regain its trust and usefulness so that we – the players – can continue to have insight and input into the design of our hobby.

As eluded to, I want to emphasize trust.  Read Sion’s post carefully and you realize that the lack of trust is at the center of the issue.  Players don’t trust CCP to design a good game which is of course the reason of having a CSM in the first place.  CSM members don’t trust players’ ability to rationally vote and hide behind bombastic, Trump-style campaigns designed to gather votes no matter truth.  CCP doesn’t trust CSM (never fully have) and shuts down communication, releases features without discussion and shuns specific members in public.  And of course, in a system where nobody trusts anyone, the progression from working relationship to hidden conflict to open conflict to apathy is a well trodden path – we all experienced this in real life corporate situations.

Speaking about real life corporations and trust – did you notice the odd little effect that telecommuting and the ubiquity of conference calls had on body language and facial expressions?  Its much harder to read the mood of your colleague on calls and certainly where I can’t read someone’s emotions, I can’t develop trust.

Given that virtually all CSM / CCP / Player interaction is either written or by telecommunication but rarely in person, the absence of trust is an anticipated side effect and shouldn’t surprise us at all.  But instead of sitting on our hands, lets do something about it.


A Modest Proposal

Over the last few years, consumer electronics companies have developed a dizzying array of wearable devices promising to measure physiological parameters such as heart rate, galvanic skin response (GSR, i.e. the amount of “sweat” following a stressful stimulus), blood pressure, skin temperature and motion.  There are many more, recently, the well-known company Philips launched an App that ascertains heart rate through interpretation of a webcam image! Together, these data offer an incredible insight into the emotional state of the participant and – through the magic of Bluetooth and the internet – make it available for all to see.  So, it is logical to use this technology developed for the improvement of sports performance and “wellness” to enhance trust among ourselves.

I thereby propose that each CSM member throughout his or her term shall wear above mentioned monitoring devices on his or her body and stream their emotional responses live and unfiltered into the internet.  Given the asynchronous nature of communication, these devices need to be worn 24/7 to assure unlimited coverage.  What better way to create transparency and avert accusations of lying if the scientifically acquired data clearly shows that one was speaking the truth?  How better to prove one’s innocence of making backroom deals (“proven” by fake screen captures) if one can demonstrate sound sleep, even which phase of the sleep one was in?

Of course, the concept of using devices as such in the detection of the truth is not new.  The most commonly cited device is the Voight-Kampff Machine that is reported to detect lies within 20-30 cross-referenced questions.  A little clumsy device by today’s state of electronics but the principle remains sound.

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Fanfest 2015 – Remote Recap

As dumb luck would have it, RL prevented me from “working from home” last week which in turn meant that I could only catch fanfest in short bursts when:

  • On the john.  “Yes.  I have digestive issues, thats why it takes me 30 min to take a dump. Got a problem with that, want to discriminate?  I’ll call HR”
  • Driving.  This is actually pretty good, the video portion is overrated of the stream.  Why would I stare at pale and sickly looking male neckbeards standing on a stage for hours.  Most of the information is voice.
  • At work on cell phone (work blocks all game-related websites).  We have a lot of conference calls at work and nobody bats an eye when I am on yet another one. That doesn’t work all the time. I have colleagues who can see my calendar.  I have not invented meetings yet to cover up – my plan for next year.

So, with this disjointed viewing, I don’t get much detail but I do get a decent cross section of the program.  I get Fozzy talking about Sov, I get someone talking about new structures and I get the art panel talking about, well, Art.  I missed the keynote and the trailer (both, Valkyrie and the other one) but neither was rated really highly anyway.  So, those clips and the sporadic tweets gave me a pretty good picture what was going on in Iceland.

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My Apology to CSM

Just a quick post, I had promised myself to stay out of the most recent CCP debacle but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do that.

Just as background, CCP laid off more employees in Iceland, that in itself is not note-worthy. They do this after shutting down World of Darkness, and announcing that they will be removing DUST as we know it and replacing it with a brand new game. Oh, and they will be adding an Occulus Rift game.

Some details can be found in a Guardian article, more can be found on EVE’s own Fox news.

Ok, so what?  A game company that takes risks, explores opportunities and gambles for greatness should be applauded, not harangued.  Too many tech companies rest on their laurels and get blown away by the next competitor that comes along with a better product.   CCP is taking massive risks and I envy them for the patience of their shareholders.

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