Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Only Constant in the Verse… is Change

~or “I Been Busy…"

You may have picked up a tad from somewhere that I may have been a wee bit busy lately… You’d be right.

Now the problem gentle reader is that I have not been busy in EVE… nope, it’s RL that’s takin’ up all my time. Hence I have not posted lately because of this and the ‘reasons’ I have been busy… well, they have naught to do with EVE and are not exactly what one would call… fun. Or even really much fun to talk about. As serious as Spaceships are… there are things that are more serious.

As I have been going through these last weeks, and months I have kept thinking about Rixx Javix’s take on blogging about EVE which is really just blogging about Rixx the same way my blog is really just all about Tur and his adventures in EVE… but I have, upon occasion as Rixx and we (bloggers) all tend to do, talked not just about our toons and EVE… but about our real life selves. And Rixx, AKA Brian Ward, has from time to time shared quite a lot about himself and his life with us all.

I have, I will admit, occasionally felt he was doing a wee bit too much of that as, well, people don’t read EVE blogs for stories of divorce and court and RL money troubles. But we are all real people here, those of us who take up pen and paper (ok, metaphorically…) and try to put our thoughts down in words… and for some strange reason think anyone would want to share any of our thoughts and feelings.

And yet… dear reader, you do. So we write and think and write some more.

So. Here it is… I am getting divorced. Again.

Yeah… sucks. But then again it has been a long time coming as these things almost always are. We have been through the gauntlet of breaking up and making up and therapy and and getting along and… well really not getting along. Anyone who has been through it knows, anyone who hasn’t… you don’t want to.

But here we are at the end of all that now in what I call, the acceptance and paperwork phase. We are no longer fighting or angry or any of that because we have both let it go. We are still parents and will be for life, and we were once really good friends… and we both want that back because, kids. Kids who love us both and whom we love more than anything. We are in agreement on almost everything, and the financial split will be fairly easy as we already did part of that when I moved into the spare room more than a year ago.

She gets the house, I get my lands on the bay, I get the sailboat she bought me for my 50th… the Jeeps are not jointly owned and all the rest is little stuff.

We are not getting lawyers, we are filing jointly, we are… in a word, copacetic. This has helped the kids (teens now) who have, of course, seen it coming. They both are relieved that we are getting along and all in all, as so many say, it’s for the best. Which of course it isn’t… the “best” being a mother and father who are together into grandparenthood for the rest of their lives… so this is, IMHO, just the least worst of the possible bad outcomes. But I’ll take the least worst… not much choice at this point.

I do want to say, that I really feel for Rixx and the miles of sewage he has crawled face first though with his divorce, but I am glad mine is not adversarial. It is a blessing and a relief to not face that. I do wish he didn’t have to.

So now you know where I have been. My life has taken a turn I was hoping it wouldn’t but is, at least, one I can roll with. I am moving out soon and will not be leaving EVE as I see a bright future… or at least a light at the end of the tunnel there up ahead…

Hope it’s not another godsdamned train.  =]


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tis Saturnalia Yet Once Again...

or ~ Why is there a Tree in the POS? <- warned ya it might be on every Christmas Post back in ‘ought 12…  =]


It is that time of year once again. A time of reflection, a time to look back on the year past, and forward to the year to come… a time to, well, to reacquaint once self with those strange people in your house who seem to be always hanging around, eating your food and asking for money… and botherin’ you about things that you and I know are simply not as interesting, or important as anything you do when they leave you alone.

But that’s what these dead of the winter days of gatherings & gift giving, family & friends and dining & drinking… (til you puke up multicolored fruit cake… which BTW, IS real) are for, right?

As for Flyin the Deadly Skies of EVE… (or Elite Dangerous or even Star Citizen) Well, there have been a lot of changes since I last posted a Saturnalia update. HBHI has been mothballed for a few years now, an alt of mine holds sway there, all on her lonesome…

We had all joined HELPeR a corp we have been close friends with for as long as I have been in EVE. Then my son, AI, went on sabat… sold off a goodly portion of his stuff (gave me some major ISKies) and mothballed AI.

We had a rollicking good time for a number of months… old friends, new members, moved to a C4, ran C5 sites, made some mad ISK and roamed lowsec for PVP… then the usual summer malaise seemed to take hold, however at this time it still remains basically unbroken. I log in alone, run gas and Frostlines and log off… alone.

Tsra is keeping the POSes fueled and will until the corp either starts loggin’ back in or decide to unanchor and move out to Empire for a spell.

For me I went to my first EVE Meet, then another… started my first real alt. We had Seekers in Hisec and the advent of the Drifters. I started playing Elite Dangerous and even bumbled around Star Citizen a bit… that added to this and that IRL and I have not been logging in nor blogging as much as I used to.

For EVE we have had a HUGE number of changes… lots of new ships, really massive changes to nullsec Sov and Force Projection, some scandals and lots of drama both in the game and in the meta. We have gone from Major Expansions with point patches to no Expansions but a steady 6 week roll out schedule, and now we are back to Major Expansions with point patches again… Proteus, Tiamat, Scylla, Mosaic, Carnyx, Aegis, Galatea, Vanguard, Parallax to… well, whatever you call the Dec 8th patchspansion.

2015 has been a strange year for EVE as I am sure most will agree…Here’s hoping 2016 brings as much excitement, change and possibility as 2015 did… as the Chinese saying goes,

“May you live in Interesting Times.”

So grab a Grolsh from the Beer Tree out on the ramp, pull up a seat and let's talk spaceships... =]


Fly Safe and see you in the Sky and Merry Christmas everyone! =/|)=

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Parallax View...

~or “My Notes on the Patch Notes…”


Browsed through the Frosty December (whatever) Patch Notes and dug out just those things of interest to me…

FEATURES & CHANGES:

Audio:
EVE has sound...? (sorry, I had to...)

Module Balancing:
* Module Tiericide on Remote Repair Modules. More details can be found here.

This is of interest to me obviously… but I am not a number guy so I usually wait for the changes to land then test ‘em out and see what I will see. However I am interested in how all this, “…remote armor, shield and hull reps all now have falloff (this falloff reduces effectiveness as you get further from your target)” will affect us in site running… and PVP.

Exploration:
* The presence of Drifter wormholes around New Eden has been increased.
Lots of changes to exploration, but I don’t do a lot of that so…

Graphics:
* Visual Damage System - Your ship will now display a shield when taking damage, if your attacker gets through your shields you will see localized armor damage.

Have seen the shields vids and prayed for something like it for YEARS!! Am very pleased to read that we will also see armor damage after shields drop… Yeah CCP!

* The battle between light and dark is over, the brightness slider has been implemented into the settings menu!

As long as this means I can adjust the brightness of those godsawful gas clouds in sites… then just Oh Hellz YES!!

* The following visual effects have been renovated:
    Ship & Drone engine boosters
    Warp Entry
    Wormhole Jump
    ECCM
    ECM Burst
    Sensor Booster
    Stasis Web
    Survey Scanner
    Tracking Booster
    Smart Bombs (EMP, Graviton, Photon, Plasma)

* Your ship will now accumulate dirt and grime over time. (Note: You can clean your ship’s hull through the fitting window.)

All the above just simply good stuff, ‘nough said. And I know, I know… Kill Marks… Look, I’m usually a Logibro or Hero Tackle so when WE get Kill Marks for assists then I’ll care.

Modules:
* Three new ice Mining Lasers usable only on Expedition frigates are now available.
* The Micro Jump Field generator is now available. More details can be found here.
* Missile Disruption modules are now available. More details can be found here.

Good, mmmmmm... good…

Missions & NPCs:
Science & Industry:

EVE has Missions & NPCs and Science and...? (you know...)

Ships:
* The brand new Expedition Frigate known as the Endurance has been released. More details regarding the Endurance can be found here.
* Four brand new Command Destroyers, which can utilize the new Micro Jump Field generators have been released. More details regarding the Command Destroyers can be found here.
* Four brand new Tech II Logistics Frigates have been released. More details on these ships can be found here.

All of these just make we wet.

Skills:

Books for teh new ships of course…

SKINs:

Some care, me not so much.

Technical:
* Grid boxes have been increased in size from 250km to 7800km.

This is huge… I mean HUGE… and not just 7800km huge either. HOLEE SHEET! Logged on, setup an all-fast-nothing-else interceptor and burned hard north... new off grid safe at the POS?? 13,395km... Yup... we do shit BIGGER in holes!

User Interface:
* Visual update to probes and d-scan cone.
* Added an icon to the Watch List for when you are targeting and have targeted a member.
* Interbus Ship Identification System has been renamed. (interesting… LOL)
* Broadcast section of the fleet window is expanded by default.

All good worthwhile changes.


FIXES:

Audio:
* Expanded the advanced audio Atmosphere slider to include Incursion system entry sounds.

Oh thank the gods…

Gameplay:
* Attacking Mobile Scan Inhibitors and Mobile Micro Jump Units no longer causes a significant security status penalty and kill right.

Corps and Alliances:

Meh

Graphics:
* Expanded the 'Camera bobbing' option to enable the deactivation of bobbing in hangars.   

Mac-specific Graphics:

Someone cares? I jest, I jest… (no I don’t…)

Missions & NPCs:
* Minor balance tweaks have been made to Drifter Battleships.

PvE:
Factional Warfare:
Technical:
User Interface:

I am sure there are people who care... I am happy for them. Seriously. I am.   =\


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

117 Billion ISK... and Send Mittens my Regards.

~or “EVE Needs Bad Guys…”


I have been surfing and linking and reading the posts and reddit threads and pastebin dumps and notehub posts about the Imperium Viceroyalty Program… and I was concerned about what I was reading… initially.

I will admit to being of a somewhat ‘grr goons‘ turn of mind, though definitely a lower case version more like grr goons lite™, nothing like the full bore Gobblinish “GRR GOONS” mindset nor of the far moar tinfoil & trollish “GRR RMTing GOONS” of the Dimmy Snetterton set.

My personal take on Mittens, Goons and their antics is more based on the simple fact that I just don’t like liars and cheats and scammers on general principle and the new Viceroyalty Pogrom is nothing more than the same play that was made on my home corp wayyy back when we were just noobs. That was nothing moar than a straightforward EVE style Hisec WarDec Protection Racket. This Viceroyalty thing is just the same racket all dressed up and being played out on a much larger stage for moar ISK in Null & Lowsec.

While I am at best luke warm about Goons the majority of the time, and at worst case a little worried about their impact on our great game every so often based on specific cases I have always said that no matter what else you say about them, they do create content and as Bad Guys go, we could have far worse… and EVE needs good Bad Guys.

EVE needs ‘good’ Bad Guys?” “Are you fuked in the head?” I hear your frown and mumble… Yes, and No.

Think about it… in all other MMO’s (that I know of) the Bad Guys are normally fairly powerful, hard but not impossible to kill, NPC “Bosses” and their less powerful though usually numerous horde of mindless minions. And yes we do have Sansha Koveki, and Bloody Omar and all the somewhat LOLable thousands upon thousands of pirate and faction NPC’s we take contracts on to kill for their bounties, but none of them, not even the Sleepers or hell, not even the Drifters are “The Big Bad Guys” of EVE. NPCs are not and cannot be the Final Dungeon Boss in our game… no, in EVE it is all about the players, about Emergent Player Behavior, and so man must fulfill this role…

In New Eden, nihil inimicius quam sibi ipse is a cold hard truth. In EVE Man must be his own worst enemy, we have no one else. We have to provide our own Dungeon Bosses with their Horde of Minions to revile and strive against. And Mittens and his gang are just that, and they don’t even just accept the role… they play it with dedication, serious effort and, one must say, with gusto.

Why? Well… somebody has to.


As I understand it, Goons did not originally start off as Bad Guys in EVE. From what I have read and heard they started out as most of us do, players just playing the game. Not intending to be asshats or Bad Men much less THE Bad Guys of EVE. Yes they started out centered around a core of players from the Something Awful forums and that became a ’thing’ for them.

Being “Community Born”, as Mittens calls it has obviously contributed to their disassociation from the “EVE Born”, IE the rest of us. This has helped to foster a mindset of “us” against “them” with ‘them’ being everyone not a Goon. And that made it far far easier for the Mittani to take the steps into spying and subversion and for the line troops to follow he who became Darth Mittens and with him to embrace the Dark Side, and all that goes with it.

Their descent into evil was something that also grew out of the war against BoB and in general their desire and the fight to take and hold Sov in nullsec. And yes, once they decided to put on the Black Hat of the Bad Guys, they surely didn’t do it in half measures now did they? No, in for a penny, in for a pound as they say. And so, here we are… living and dying in a New Eden that has real life booygmen… and this is not, necessarily, a bad thing.

I had a discussion with a friend and co-worker who has been a long time WoW player and who joined us in EVE about 6 months ago because WoW had become, well, boring for him. He gave it a good try, had me and another co-worker who also joined us in EVE, pulling for him. I gave him the PLEX I got for him subbing, so ISK was not a major issue for him… But EVE is a niche game, a very niche game, and he is simply not a highly social or a PVP centric player. Now he is flying in Elite Dangerous and while he is enjoying it, he says he still struggles to find a reason to play… One of, if not the most important aspects for gamers about gaming is why do we play?

For most games it comes as Instant Gratification in the form of an adrenaline rush from the Dev created content. But EVE is not an Instant Gratification game, it is the Long Game… but interestingly because Risk and Loss are Real in EVE, the adrenaline rush in PVP and sometimes even in PVE combat can be far far better. We all know the main problem with Dev created content is that it takes veteran players just days or even hours to burn through content that can take years to create, and then, no matter how good it is, it’s over. Look at WoW’s last big expansion… My friend completed it in one week… just one godsdamned week!

In EVE we need the Devs to care for and maintain the sandbox, to keep the sand clean, to craft the NPC Lore, to keep making the toys we need and want to build and play with, and destroy. We also do need them to create the work we do… the mining, market, BPOs, missions, sites, belts and interactions with the NPCs that inhabit this great verse with us… We do all of this in order to make the ISK we need so we can afford to lose what we fly when we fight. ALL of the Dev created content in EVE is the background and sets and props we use in living out our stories, creating our history, creating the player’s Lore.

No group of Devs could ever begin to write or code the Lore and content we MAKE every single day. And say what you will… the Mittani, Goonswarm Federation and their Allies are creating Lore and Content in EVE… Lore and Content for all those who want to get involved and take part on either side, Lore and Content for those who will work to profit from it and Lore and Content for those who will change their plans and game play to avoid it…

After my friend completed the new WoW content in one week he asked himself, “Now what do I do?” “Run it again? but why? for what reason, to what purpose?” And that is the crux issue here. Why do we log on? what are we fighting for? what do we get out of it?

Grr Goons, Good Fights and a reason to undock… that’s what.
And our War Cry? 117 BILLION ISK!!!… LOL


Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Monday, November 23, 2015

BB69: It’s Not About Space Magic, it’s About Space Money...

~or “Immersion or PVP? Different Goals…”


Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Blog Banter 69 - Because of Space-Magic.
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. 

When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, it’s only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?


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First off, I hate that term, “Space Magic”, I really do. Wanna know why? Cause I am an aficionado of Science Fiction… not Fantasy. Oh don’t get me wrong, my dad gave me his original copies of the Hobbit and LotR set when I was young, I think around 9 or so and I fell deeply in love with all of it. And for them as dunt know it, J.R.R. wrote the Hobbit as a boys book, not as adult fare and as many do know he wrote all of it as a way to give life, a background, the Lore if you will, to the languages he created. My love for J.R.R.’s stories, their characters and events and places is unbounded, but…

I don’t want to BE an elf. Nor do I want to BE Frodo, or Gandalf or Bildo much less do I want to wander (OK go a Questing) in Middle Earth following some improbable female elf ass in a bikini all around… much less some manly elf guys ass, or any other ass for that matter. I tried and trialed many of the fantasy MMOs through the years and none held the slightest interest for me. This was why I came to EVE as basically an MMO noob in my 50th year. The SciFi MMO’s I tried were all planet based and I had become disenchanted and didn’t try very hard to find any that were space based either. MMO’s in general didn’t interest me, until EVE.

I have no other interest in fantasy except LOTR, outside of those stories alone I am a Science Fiction reader. To me, there is no Magic except in Middle Earth, everywhere else there is only Science. So much so that I firmly believe in Clark’s 3rd Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I mean take an iPhone back 200 years, take a few pix and vids of the locals and see if you don’t get burned at the stake as a Witch and a Stealer of Souls.… go ahead, try it.

The difference between us and them is we understand and accept that there are things in the world we do not understand yet… things that, to us, look like ‘magic’… but KNOW they aren’t... We know that they are a simply as yet undefined phenomenon, that’s all. Just like sunlight and lightning use to be yet to be defined phenomena, phenomena we control and make use of every second of every day today.

“Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation?”

Yes, at least in the Lore I want that detailed TLDR technical explanation of the seeming Magic Trick… not just “Hocus Pocus”+‘Wavy Hands’=VoilĂ !… I hate hate hate that we land on stations and are ‘magically’ transported inside them, and yet we have to manually undock by flying out of a docking port. If we have transporters capable of transporting a fully loaded Providence INTO a station, then they damn well can transport it OUT. No, just goddamn No.

There is no coding reason, other than the work involved in coding it, why we can’t land at a station, where the docks are aligned to the various Star Gates (or the Nav Beacons set in space so we can maneuver around those pesky planets and moons that we SHOULD NOT BE ABLE to WARP THROUGH…)… anyhoo, so we land facing a dock, burnin until we are INSIDE the dock and then I’ll accept “poof” and you’re in your Hangar Bay (and yes I would personally prefer to FLY into the station and FLY through the station to my Bay… but that’s for another post). Now the converse must also be true, If we set course before we undock, then we fly out of (the station ejects us from) the dock facing that Gate/Nav Beacon… if we don’t set a course, then the station chooses the least crowded dock to punt us out of… simple right?

Yeah… but never gonna happen in EVE. Wanna know why? Cause PVP.

Landing and being transported IN can provide some modicum of safety for those transporting goods around, and goods making it to the station where they will be sold is good for the economy… but, PVP… so undocking takes place at the same spot for every one and very rarely point towards the gate you need to go to, so you are at a far greater PVP risk when starting your journey. PVP balance. Not too much safety which the PVPers would scream bloody murder about and not too much Risk, which the PVEers would scream…. Ya-da ya-da…

This is the thing about “magic” in EVE. PVP. As Drak pointed out, the crux is Risk vs Reward. Much of the ‘magic’ in EVE was decided on not for good gameplay or Immersion in a virtual environment… if you want that, do as I do and fly in Elite Dangerous where immersion and physics take precedence over PVP considerations. But then ED is not a PVP game, it is a PVE game with some open world PVP. As such the Frontier Devs have devoted far more time to the physics of their verse than the CCP Devs have… they have different goals you see?

Drak asks (paraphrased), “How and Why should a citadel be different, or the same as, a Titan?”

What Drak is asking, in effect is, what do you think about “Asset Safety”. At EVE Vegas CCP Nullarbor did the Structures presentation where he discussed everything Structures but... we are talking specifically about Asset Safety. This is the when a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station thing that kicked off this particular BB. Nullsec players, it seems, are not willing to risk it all… not ‘really.’

Oh I know with a Sov Flip you can get locked out of a station you used to have access to and thereby, “lose” all your stuff that was in that station. That happened to me once. But the truth is, you don’t. All the stuff stays in your personal or corp hangar bays which the new owners have no access to… even though they took control of the station by force of arms or by subversive or traitorous action. But it’s OK… ‘cause you can still make contracts, valid legal contracts transferring ownership of any assets in a flipped Station to whoever you want. Which means you can sell your ‘lost’ goods’ to someone with access to that station, or whatever other arrangement you care to make.

No again, this makes no sense and is all about risk-adversity and stuff-retention and not about Immersion and Risk=Reward… it’s about “But I dunt wanna lose my stuffs!” Anyhoo… so now, with these destructible Outposts and Stations, IE Citadels, CCP needs a way to keep the players stuff safe or they risk losing players to ‘safer’ games. Who’da though you’d ever hear that about Nullseccers? Seems we’re all a bit Risk Adverse under the rhetoric.

So, Asset Safety goes into effect automatically on station destruction OR can be implemented manually whenever. Everything is ejected into space, all Personal and Corp hangars are safely recovered. You then choose where to recover your stuff. Stations in same system, is free and takes 5 days. Nearest NCP Station, cost 10-15% of the value and takes 20 days to be available to you.


Here is the break-down of what drops and what is saved.


But… for me specifically the answer to the BB question, “How and Why should a citadel be different, or the same as, a Titan?” First off, it aint different in Anoikis. This question is space biased… It applies only to Empire. In Anoikis, in wormhole space our POSes, our Citadels, if subjected to a Rapid Unplanned Disassembly, will drop a percentage of everything… just like ships. No Magic Safety Net for us oh no.

As far as I am concerned, if it is this way for us, it should be this way for everyone… we wormholers are being punished for living in holes and this will I fear reduce the number of players willing to live and die in Anoikis. Unfair CCP, unfair. Of course that is exactly why CCP is making this safety net for nullsec… to keep them from fearing to live and play in their space. But fuck Anoikis I guess. Here is the break-down of what drops… everything.


Asset Safety, this magic-save-yer-stuff-net, is not realistic in the game context and it is not in the spirit of EVE. It is however as I said, in the spirit of we-don’t-want-to-alienate-nullseccers… and that’ all it is. It is one more WoWish nerf of EVE’s ‘Loss is Real’ and ‘Risk=Reward’ basis. And the distance from here to where players can’t lose dey stuffs ever is not as long a leap as it used to be, now is it? And it is one I fear CCP will one day make in the interest of financial stability and profits.

And the worst part is, who's to say they are wrong?


Fly wreckless and see you in the Sky... =/|)=

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I'm just gonna set this, Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69), by Rhavas, right here for your consideration dear reader...
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