Saturday, June 28, 2014

Horizontal Expansion

Stealing a nugget of a post from one of my comments over on Sugar's blog.

(If you can't plagiarize yourself, then who can you steal from?)
The stability in Content that EVE has enjoyed is based on horizontal expansion. We basically enjoy endgame content at all times and new content rarely goes obsolete. Contrast that with a game that does Vertical Expansion (WoW being the juggernaut here), where every expansion you get a kick in the teeth and a "gratz, the last 2 years were a waste, now level up again and re-earn all your gear. Go on ... get moving."
 This is the stability that's allowed me to leave the game and come back a few times.

There is certainly inflation in EVE's economy.  Rare items, loot-only officer mods, those sorts of things cost a gazzillion isk.  But consider this:  The Phoenix that I bought in 2007 is worth about what I paid for it.  The hanger full of capship bpos that I used to run through my POS for selling bpcs are worth about what I paid for them.  I login after a lengthy absence, and the fit on my Golem still works (it might need tweaked, but it still works).

In no other game I can think of do players change contexts between expansion content over and over and over again so seamlessly.

EVE allows you to go run a lvl4 (2003 content) and then catch an Incursion fleet (2010 content), go sniff out a wormhole to explore (2009 content), or tend to your research agent (2003) or PI empire (2010), clone jump (2007?) to null and hop in a Carrier (2006 ship addition) to participate in a hot drop.

Vertical expansion games usually have a "new area" (new continent, new story act, whatever) where all the action takes place with new dungeons and new tokens/currency/whatever to farm.  The old content is abandoned in place; the accolades you earned become meaningless the moment the patcher finishes installing the new expac.

EVE has needed very little vertical expansion over the years.  What verticality there has been (to make up a word), has been vertical headroom to a particular system.  Capships were vertical expansions to null/sov.  I'd count Wormholes as vertical (maybe tangential) expansion to the exploration system.  Incursions gave some headroom to PVE, but didn't fundamentally change how people saw EVE's overall endgame.

And I think this situation is a good thing.  EVE is the sum collection of many moving parts.  Improving the individual parts (even if it includes a little bit of vertical expansion in a localized area) benefits the whole, as long as it doesn't upset the balance of the system.

I also think that pushing the boundaries of the entire sandbox incrementally is a far better path to take than announcing (for example) the release of Tech4 ships that will replace our entire hangars.  Some other game studios would be tempted to take this approach; in fact, many see no other path to take.  (If Blizzard had done EVE, we'd be on tech52 by now).

I'm glad EVE is the way it is.  EVE needs to maintain its roots.  EVE needs the stability.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Incremental Improvements to Agents, MK1

Editor's note (hey, that's me!):  Been dealing with real life family stuff out of town. Things are looking up, but not been around much.

First in a Series, maybe. Probably.

CCP has dabbled in "quests" a few times.  Very early on, there were COSMOS agent missions.  They were kind of 'meh' (poor payout, as I recall) and quickly ignored by the masses.

Today we have the SOE mission arcs.  They seem better received, and the one time I've gone through them I found them enjoyable.  They did bring back some memories and make me wish COSMOS had gotten a refinement pass a lot sooner; many of the ideas and mechanics of the the SOE arc are found in the earlier/abandoned COSMOS.  (Said another way:  SOE arc is COSMOS done right).

But, I can only imagine that story arcs are a huge time sink for the devs, and as static content they really don't fit the game very well.

I'll sidestep the whole "eve isn't a themepark" landmine for now and say this:  as a designer, you want to invest in things that will get a lot of player use compared to your investment (call this the play-time to dev-time ratio).  Other game systems get constant replay and have a very high play/dev ratio.  Static content ... not so much.  Folks kind of run it once and then most never return.  So, fun ... yes.  Efficient use of dev time, no.

I do still believe that there needs to be some headroom in PVE content for some more advance gameplay; lvl4's as a game system are beyond stale and could use a good stiff shot of attention.

Keeping in line with the idea of Randomly Dynamic content, and as content that can coexist with Expert Missions, I'd advocate injecting some random escalations into the existing mission roster.  I guess they'd constitute "new" missions, which may be a nonstarter (dev time needed elsewhere).

The idea is basically this:

- You complete your mission and get the timebonus.  Let's say it's the Damsel in Distress.
- Similar to current Storyline missions, you get an evemail from the Damsel ; she'd like to thank you (queue porno music).
- During your dialog with her, she insists that you go back for her dog Fifi, and she offers a reward.
- This turns into a mini-SOE arc - travel to another system, do a mission or three, talk to an agent in space, etc.
- Add a carrot at the end for completion (maybe a faction rat or two to shoot at for a chance at a ship bpc or something); else some folks will see the travel time and simply abandon them.

Key ideas:
1. The escalation should be tied to some measure of your performance. In this case, timebonus (there could be other triggers).  We want the player to feel like he's got to play well in order to get a shot at the bonus.
2. The escalation should ideally get you out of your agent's station and force you to move around a bit; otherwise this is "just another lvl4."  Want to break up the grindy grind of lvl4s.
3. The escalation should be a good thing when it happens; i.e. rare enough that it's not viewed as being a hassle.

What's playing:  The Black Keys, Attack and Release, Psychotic Girl

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Free Warp

Purely a thought experiment....

What if we had a Free Warp button.  Instead of needing to align to some celestial object or a beacon or a Fleet member, we could just punch a button and dash off into space in that direction?  Then click again to drop from warp at your destination?

Earth and Beyond had this mechanic - you could warp freely, but at much increased capacitor use.  You warped until you stopped again or your cap ran dry.

In EVE, this would change how safe spots were made.  In some ways, it would make safes obsolete, since you could always warp in any direction to escape or lurk; a pre-prepared list of safe spots wouldn't be mandatory.

I think the biggest difference it would make is a sense of "driving" the ship.  Right now, I have no concept of the 3-D map of any system I play in.  I undock, warp to gate, warp to Fleet, warp to moon, warp to belt, all from the UI.  At no point do I need to have a concept of whether the station is ahead of me or behind me, or if the rest of my Fleet is to my left or to my right.

I click, I arrive, I shoot things, I click again, I depart.

I'm not proposing any sort of change here, just a question:  What would EVE be like if you had to remember which direction you had to fly to "get back to town."  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Generation Ship

I'm a big fan of xkcd and the What If? blog over there.  So along those lines, here's this scenario.

Once upon a time while young and naive, I pondered the creation of deep safes using ingame gimmicks, like mwds and superfast ships.  Then the reality check: space is B-I-G.

So, here's the question:  Using only sublight engines (no warping), how far would you have flown by now if you started at launch?

Here's the maths and stuff:  Distance = Rate * Time.

Let's start with Time first:
EVE launched on May 6 2003.  Today is June 20 2014.  That's 4063 days.

Assuming a 23 hour day (most downtimes are shorter, but there have been a few outages over the years, maybe our intrepid player slept in a few times a year), that's 93,449 hours or 5,606,940 minutes or 336,416,400 seconds.

Now for Rate.

Let's say you took this literally and rolled a character, undocked for the first time, double clicked, and walked away until the next day's downtime.  Then you logged in and did it again, picking exactly the same axis of travel.  And the day after.  And the day after.  And the day after....

Let's say your rookieship, in whatever fitting, flew at 150 m/s, every day for 23 hours a day.  From Launch until now, you'd have traveled 50,462,460 km.  That's a big number, but it's only about 0.34 au.  If you started at our (real life) Sun, you'd now be in the neighborhood of Mercury.

But rookieships are slow.  Let's say you somehow managed to get in a cruiser with an afterburner and could sustain 500 m/s.  That's 168,208,200 km or about 1.12 au ... almost back to Earth and just a bit farther.

Somehow, if you managed to get born with a mwd frigate that did 3500 m/s, you'd now be at 7.8 au from the Sun, or past Jupiter and almost to Saturn.

The distance between most gates is further than this, and we cross those distances in seconds while in warp without thinking, yet our imaginary player had logged in for 4063 days straight to accomplish the same.

I know there are faster ship fits out there, but here's my point:  The term Generation ship comes from the notion that it might take a generation or two for humans to travel between the stars.  Using the game mechanics of EVE, we've demonstrated that travelling for over a decade at sublight speeds doesn't get you past the gas giants.

The nearest star from Earth is about 4.22 light years, or 4x10^16 meters.  In your mwd frigate at 3500 m/s it would take just over 378,000 years (using 23h days) arrive in the new star system.

And that, my friends, is a lot of PLEX.

What's playing:  Soundgarden, Blackhole Sun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Meatwagon

Here's another good ol' days post.  No particular inspiration, just felt like sharing.

In the early days of our corp (mid-2003), we hung out a few jumps into Lonetrek.  In those days the corp was still pretty centrally located (later on we would be scattered all over high, low, and null).  Once a month or so, we'd have a fun/silly event.

The favorite of these was Ibis Fight Night.  It was probably better termed rookieship fights, but most of us were Caldari and the name stuck.  We'd pick a random moon, and Mrs. Durden would jettison two cans for markers about 40km apart.  We'd split roughly in half and then fight 1v1 in rookieships.  Eventually order would break down and there'd be a big brawl.  Or somebody would race back to station and return in a Blackbird (back when you could fit torps on a BB) and hammer away at 3 or 4 of us at a time.

At the start of each session though, it was serious business, with folks fussing over their fits and trying to get intel on what other guys were bringing this month.  This was in the days before tech2, so we were scrounging through hangers looking for named loot.

The best part of the fight was the start - we'd lunge at each other like jousters on horseback, racing for optimal and wondering if the other guy had fit blasters or rails.  The km would tick down and then the fur would fly.

My favorite Ibis was called Meatwagon, and it went undefeated.  I eventually retired it, the undisputed champ.  Guys got tired losing to it, so I brought more "fair" fits and died a lot more.  The guys asked, but I never gave up the secret sauce in that fit -- a little named autocannon shooting EMP ammo.

Just now I flew across the cluster to grab a screenie of the fit, hoping we'd all get a good chuckle at how horrible it was.  However, I found that while I still have the ship, apparently I gutted the fit at some point. Apparently I needed the autocannon for ... who knows what?  (I did find a Crow with cruise missiles still fitted, and a Blackbird with 3x10mn burners on but that's a story for another time...).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Painting Into Corners

This is an odd post to write because I could come at it from about 3 different angles.

Let's start here:  Once upon a time, I was a WoW player.  There, I said it.  Throw your rotten fruit if you must.  From 2005 through 2012, I traded time between EVE and Orgrimmar.  I co-lead a guild there. I ran a corp and alliance here.  I had great friends in both universes that would roll their eyes when I disappeared for a few months to catch a breather with the "other game."

My heyday in WoW was the Wrath era.  I'd played off and on since vanilla, but Wrath was /my/ expansion. I was at Blizzcon when it was announced; I was hooked instantly.  The grit, the lore, the cold, cold maps of Northrend. The expansion had its warts, but from top to bottom I wouldn't change much.

I dreaded the Cata era that followed, but I muddled through and found a niche I could play in, and spent more time elsewhere.  I liked MoP even less and found myself replaying Wrath content (solo'ing Naxx, yay).  I doubt I'll even buy WoD.

There's a particular post that I wrote on my guild forum that I go and reread from time to time.  The topic was why I disliked MoP.  In it, I said [paraphrasing], "I'm basically in a spot where the only way I'll be satisfied is if Blizzard fails and the game burns down."  

I reread the post because it' bothers me that I even wrote it.  It's too honest, too much of my inner demons there in black and white.  I also reread it because it stirs up all the emotion from the time.  The dumbed-down game design options that set my teeth on edge, the sillyness and watering down of the lore (sentient space goats riding go-karts, I kid you not), and the ever present gear treadmill - these are all things I'd spent hours debating and tearing apart.  If only Blizzard would listen to me, things would be better (hah).

I took a break, a break became a vacation, a vacation became an unsub.  I realized the absurdity of the situation and the negativity that I was oozing.  In order for me to /win/ this absurd argument, to feel satisfied that I was right all along, a game company literally has to fall on their face.

I'd painted myself into a corner.

I've dabbled in EVE for a long, long time.  What made me kick my subscr over for a full year was the EVE: Source book that made me remember the foundation of the game.  The grit, lore, dark, reality that CCP has assembled for us is like no other.  That story/depth has always been there, but we've forgotten it and gotten wrapped up in our own stories and memes.

CCP doesn't always inspire confidence.  From beginning until now, it's clear they're making this up as they go.  I can't control that.  What I can control is my own attitude about the game; keep my expectations reasonable, stay constructive, and latch onto the signs of hope that I see in CSM9.

And try not to paint myself into too many corners.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fun Fit #2 - Lvl2/3 Heretic

Along the lines of "how small of a ship could I do a lvl3 in" ... here's this.

The obvious way to play this might be in an Assault Frig.  Honestly, I've struggled with them over the years.  And I'd trained Interdictors awhile back but never got to use one in anger.

I came up with this fit out of what I had sitting in the hanger, and I am not a fitting guru.  It could probably be min/max'd a little bit more, but it works as is it sits.  So with a little bit of fiddling, here's this:

[Heretic, Silly Lvl3 Boat]
Ballistic Control System II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Small Armor Repairer II

Experimental 1mn Afterburner I
Cap Recharger II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron

7x Light Missile Launcher II
[empty high slot]

Small Bay Loading Accelerator I
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

I don't claim to be able to do any lvl3 in this ship.  I don't claim it to be the most fastest isk or lp/hr.  That's not the point.  But it is pretty fun, and the Heretic is a pretty good looking little hull.

So if you're bored ... go play.  It's your sandbox, have fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Difficulty vs. Satisfaction

Let's talk about PVE difficulty today.

Just for context: I'm basing much of what I'm about to say on Lvl4s and Incursions, since they're the bread and butter of highsec PVE.

Many (myself included) tend to say things like "PVE should be more challenging."

There's a counter-argument that floats up from time to time that goes something like this:  "CCP shouldn't waste their time making PVE harder.  Any scripted content is ultimately farmable; people will just adapt and in 2-3 months they'll be back to farming risk-free again."  The argument is then (most likely) used as a crutch to prop up why dev time should be spent on pvp aspects of the game.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Playing Favorites

This is in no particular order, and just for fun:

1. Favorite Playable Faction - Caldari.  Hyper-militant greed machines.  What's not to like?  :)

2. Favorite NPC Faction - The Jove.  I guess that's a trendy answer, since they're the mysterious off-stage power block.  I wouldn't have given them as this answer (instead, I might have said Guristas; have always liked the story of Fatal and the Rabbit) until I read EVE: Source.  It reminded me of all kinds of cool things about the Jove that I'd read about at/around launch and then forgotten.

3. Favorite T1 Frigate Model - Kestrel. One of the truly great ship models that was around at launch that hasn't changed much with time.

4. Favorite T2 Frigate Model - Malediction. If Ferrari is still in business 15,000 years from now, they'd build this.

5. Favorite T1/T2 Cruiser Model - Maller/Sacrilege.  Have spent a lot of time in these durable hulls.  I somewhat liked them better before the model got overhauled, but they still look great today.

6. Favorite Faction/Pirate Ship Model - The Nestor is too young to make a list like this, but I like it.  Of the ships in my hanger, the Navy Mega gets the nod.

7. NPC Ship I wish We Could Fly - Khanid Apoc, ship model as seen in EoM Gone Berserk (lvl4).

8. Favorite Weapon Platform - Missiles for flexibility/utility.  I run blasters in Fleets (esp Incursions), though.

9. Shield or Armor Tanking? - Typically run shield fits, somewhat prefer armor.  Grass is always greener, I guess.

10. Favorite Ship Model - Runner up is the Apoc. Nothing like seeing a big fleet of Apocs and Armags dropping from warp, ready to melt some faces for Honor of the Empire.  But overall, my favorite big ship model is the Rokh.  Hands down.  It's the friggin' Sulaco from Aliens, all business, plenty of menace; a big chunk of blue steel that you mount guns, more guns, and then extra guns to.

Now that I mention it, I wish there were a Faction Rokh that I could add to the collection.  Maybe the Guristas need to steal the plans or something.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Randomly Dynamic Content

Dynamic Content is one of those buzzwords that gets nerds all worked up.  Somebody says "EVE should have Dynamic Content" and there's a big pile on clamoring for CCP to implement it now, now now.

When people talk about Dynamic Content, they often imply that they want the game to react to them - their specific character, or their particular gang to deliver some content straight into their lap.  A common example is:  "if my Fleet camps a gate long enough, bad guys should spawn to fight us."

I think this is potentially a very bad idea, because ... well ... farming.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fun Ship Fit #1 - Lvl3/4 Sacri

I talk quite a bit about using smaller ships for bigger jobs.  In particular, I mentioned that I run a Sacri for SOE lvl3s.  I have used this same ship fit for limited use in lvl4s (easier missions only).  The dps isn't really high enough to be considered a true lvl4 mission grinder, but with the dual reps it's pretty tough, and it does things that my (poorly fit) Drake and Nighthawk won't.

I actually sold my Tengu last night because I feel like between this, the Golem, and a Drake, I can do just about anything I need in lvl4-land.

Here's the fit:
[Sacrilege, Fun Mission Boat]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II

10mn Afterburner II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Parallel Weapon Navigation Transmitter

Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Small Tractor Beam I

Medium Loading Bay Accelerator I
Medium Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

5x Medium Drones, pilots' choice

I am not a fitting guru and I don't consider this anything special - it's a copy/paste from the internet, t2 fit, tweaked slightly for missions. It could be more shiny, but it works fine as is.  Fairly high resists with just the single EANM.  It's cap stable and will take a beating with both armor reps running (cycle them out of sync).

I don't use the tractor much as the ship pulls 627m/s with the t2 burner lit before boosts.  With 650 m3 of cargo, it can carry several flavors of ammo and still loot a little bit if I feel like it.

But it's fun.  Said another way: it's satisfying.  Armor tanking missile boat, with that sexy black Khanid flavor.  Nimble and quick into warp.  And although I see Tengus and Drakes and Golems and Domis aplenty around the station, I don't see any other Sacri's.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Proposal: Expert Missions


This is an idea that I've been kicking around for some time.  It originated in comments to a post on Sugar's Blog a long while ago.  Awhile back, I decided to stop daydreaming and nerd out and actually write up a proposal. Intent is to convey an idea and work out some of the kinks, but not to give a final implementation.

I had worked this up awhile back, but am reposting a) to get it on the blog and b) to answer CCP's call for "little things" that could be done for PVE improvement.

This is not a "design document." Just an idea.

Fundamental questions:  What is the smallest ship you could do a lvl4 mission in?  What would it take to complete, say World's Collide in a group of frigate class ships?  Would a system that promoted small gangs in PVE be any fun?


With the news that Jester's Trek is shutting down, I guess I have the topic for my first "content" post.  Wish I had a different source of inspiration; have been a reader of Jester for the past several years and no updates from him will leave a hole in my daily routine.

Compounding that, of course, is the news of CCP's layoffs, the Guardian article talking about WoD shenanigans, and a renewal of the cries of "EVE is dying."

My viewpoint is a little different.  I've been floating around MMOs for the better part of 14 years, and played text-based RPGs (MUSHes) for the 10 years before that.

In 2008, I left the game out of anger and frustration.  I did the whole ragequit thing - ranty post on the Alliance forum, stomping around, and making a fuss.  I did the whole checklist except giving away my stuff  and biomassing my main.  I was maybe ahead of the bow wave of bittervets, before that was even a term.  I was burnt out, frustrated with the devs' direction, and found better things to do with my time and capture my imagination.

In mid-2014, I can say that EVE is the only game on my radar and will be for quite some time.  What happened?  I got over it. I got over myself.  I accepted EVE for what it is and not what should have been.

I call myself a post-bittervet because it's taken me a long while to go through the stages of loss.  For those of you who don't work in the world of corporate buzzwords, here they are:
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance
I wouldn't call myself optimistic, and I think CCP flirts with disaster far too regularly.  But the game, in it's current nonperfect state, is still home, warts and all.  Part of me writing this blog is a desire to give back to the community, to continue to build, to foster the conversation that will maybe help CCP find their way.

I just pushed my main account over for a 12mo subscription.  I intend to be here awhile; this is the first time since launch I could make such a commitment.  I'm at #5.  Some of you aren't; that's okay.  Some of you will never be; that's okay too.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Trade Runs

Sugar has been hosting a series of posts on the old old patch notes. We always tend to look at the past through rose colored glasses, but I’ve often said that the period from EVE launch in 2003 through late 2004 was my personal golden era of gaming.

EVE felt big, mysterious, and limitless. We had built a great Corp full of motivated (and funny!) individuals and were dabbling in alliances, building things, and enjoying the game. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the foundations that we built then are things I rely on today in nearly every session.

This week, I saw a link (indirectly via Sugar) to EVE-Uni’s guide on trading/hauling. A quick scan brought back a huge wave of nostalgia and the thought of “oh wow, people still DO that?” (I realize that freighter pilots make a living somehow, but I always assumed it was all through contracts, not market hauling).

I might screw this up through flawed memory or my own misunderstanding at the time, but here’s the jist on trading, circa 2003:

In the beginning, the market wasn’t entirely player driven. There were trade goods that were seeded at npc stations, and npc demand appeared elsewhere on market to consume the goods. (Most ore we mined got sold to npcs at the original “power of two” default prices of 1, 4, 16, 64,etc isk/unit. The original market didn’t allow decimals in prices [integer values only], so if you wanted to sell trit at 1.25 each you had to conduct it as a station trade with the player outside the market. Also consider that at launch, few had invested in BPOs in the opening weeks, so allllll modules/ships/whatever were provided to the public by npc seeding for the first several months. But I digress…)

Anyway, items like Robotics, Antibiotics, Tobacco, and such were in the game entirely to be trade commodities; their current uses in PI were still almost a decade away. They were intended only for folks like me to buy from an npc, move from point A to point B, and sell again to an npc.

I earned the isk for my first battleship from running Robotics across the Forge and Genesis in my trusty Bestower. In those early days, prior to isk faucets like Incursions, lvl4 Missions, and billion isk drops from faction rats, the ~110M isk for an Apoc was a huge sum of money representing weeks of time investment. Each trade run was 10-20 jumps. There was no warp to zero, so each gate had to be approached slowboat style. But on the plus side, you could cycle ABs and MWDs in warp and exit warp at your top speed.

I wasn’t the only player that had figured trading out; my competition would often beat me to the punch. The npc seedings were reset at each downtime, so EU TZ had an advantage. Tools like EVE-Central were still a pipe dream, but we made do with an alt or two scattered around the map to get market status in other regions.

In time, more folks entered the trade profession and it became harder and harder to find decent runs. Once my Apoc was bought, I moved on to other things in game, eventually landing in null for awhile.

Being a space trucker wasn't an exciting life, but it was satisfying and the returns (for that era) were excellent. As the corp CEO, it did leave me plenty of time between jumps to manage a growing corporation, chat up potential allies in other corps, plot, and scheme.

While I don’t think I’ll be dusting off the Bestower any time soon, I’m glad to see that some things don’t change in EVE.

What I'm Training: HACs 5. Thought I had it already, found that I didn't.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Good ol' Days

As I continue to post, you are probably going to see a lot of references to life as it used to be in EVE, or comparisons of today's mechanics with what we had at launch.

That's not because I want to return to 2003, or I have some desire to roll back the patches and dev time that's been invested.  With only a few exceptions, I think that the EVE of 2014, as a product, is miles and miles better than it was in 2003.

But I do think that some of the fundamentals that got myself and hundreds of other bittervets hooked have perhaps begun to fade, and I think it would be good of CCP to squint a little and ask themselves how to capitalize on those initial feelings.  It's a tough balance - the game needs to grow to meet our expectations, without changing so much that it loses its magic.

The good news, I think, is that because EVE's mechanics and economy have been relatively stable (at least compared to many other MMOs in the 'verse), many of those first hooks are still a part of the fabric of EVE.  Sometimes, we the players just need to look.  Sometimes CCP is going to have to point us back to them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mining That Doesn't Suck

 I have a confession to make.  I actually like mining.  <dramatic pause>.  But not mining as we know it today, with barges and orcas, implants, stripminers, and gankers.  I liked mining as it existed in 2003; before all that was added.

So no, I don’t really /get/ mining as it exists today.  I don’t like barges.  I don’t like sitting in the same belt licking rocks for hours and hours.  It yields a predictable return (barring a surprise ganking) but isn’t all that compelling over the long run.

There have been dozens/hundreds/thousands of ideas spewed on the internet about how EVE could do mining that doesn't suck - I'll add this to the pile.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Let's kick this off with some sweeping generalizations.  I'll use the word Manifesto.  It sounds all fancy, with an undercurrent of supervillian mustache twisting.  I mean, I could have said "mission statement" and given you an entirely different mental picture, right?

The great Dr. Google defines the term thusly:
a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.

My platform for EVE really boils down to a few simple rules (aka sweeping generalizations):

  1. PVE isn't a dirty word.
  2. Highsec needs love too.
  3. Small Ships are underutilized for PVE.
  4. Sometimes, we need a different measure of progress than isk/hr.
  5. Doing something unexpected outside of the "approved" way to play the game through skill or risk taking is fun.
  6. KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid.

Obligatory Foundational First Post


No, wait. That doesn't have the same impact here as a forum thread.

Who Am I?
Abavus Durden -- I'm a former CEO, former alliance lead, beta player that's been in and around EVE since late 2002.  Although I don't claim to be a master of all EVE mechanics, I've touched about all the content in the game at one point or another.

In 2008, before being a bittervet was a thing, I left in a huff, upset with CCP's handling of the game's direction.  I didn't intend to come back.  I guess I was ahead of the bittervet curve.  At that point, I'd invested 5+ years into the game, and I felt like CCP owed me something personally for hanging with them.  I felt frustrated that they didn't see the obviousness of their mistakes, and I voted with my wallet when I saw them pushing the game down a narrow field of view.

I dabbled in other games.  (Okay, more than dabbled.)  I gained some perspective.  It took me a couple of years, but I've limped back.  My free time for gaming is now more limited than ever, and that has also changed my perspective on what EVE could and should be.

Dog's Breath?
Pukin' Dogs is my corp.  This is where the Dogs speak.  Hence, you're getting doggie breath on you, right now.  Don't make a face, it's good for you.

What's This Blog About?
I'm here on this blog because I have a few things to say about EVE.  The forums are the wrong place; you all know why.

There are a series of posts running around in my head that I want to get out in text and share.  After that, we'll see where this goes or if it becomes another abandoned wreck on Blogger.

But I see trends on other blogs and comment sections, and I see a voice beginning to gain traction that I want to help amplify. I call it post-bittervetism.

If you say it like that, it sounds like a fancy political movement, which I think it could be.

Alpha State

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."  That's one of my favorite quotes from the Matrix 2.  It has to do with the ...