Tuesday, July 28, 2015

So You Wanna Start a Corp (Part III)

This is perhaps the most philosophical post of this series.  Please bear with me.


Let's start with the end:  What Kills a Corporation?

In my experience, one of the biggest Corp killers isn’t drama.  It’s burnout and apathy.

So here’s a scenario.  You find yourself running a Corp.  You have great officers, and you go off and recruit your first group of players.  You’re near your target login amount each night, some informal grouping is going on, and people are generally pretty happy.   Then a few weeks go by, and you notice that over several evenings your logins are down.  The next night a few people leave to be in a different Corp with their friends.  Within a week or three, it’s just you one other guy, and he’s AFK.

What happened?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sick Day

The best part about a sick day is watching the Price is Right.

Mom was a TPIR fan, so as a kid we'd watch it every day together while off school for the summer.  First there was morning chores (weeding the garden, or picking blueberries, yuck), then there was TPIR on in the kitchen while mom made us grilled cheese or a hamburger.

When I was in college, there was a group of us that would watch TPIR in the dorm commons; we'd schedule our classes around the show.  Bob Barker was the man.  These days, I rarely get to see it, and the nostalgia that washes over me always makes me feel that much better.

So here I sit, slurping on some chicken soup and watching TPIR and thinking about a blog post.

What does TPIR have to do with EVE?

It's the history of the show that brings me back.  The stupid antics that go on each day aren't compelling.  It's not the games (even Plinko, though Plinko rocks) ... it's the nostalgia.  The yearning for a simpler time, remembering walking across campus in the bitter cold to try to get back before the first call for contestants.

EVE has, to a large degree, become part of the constant background of my life.  Sometimes it's closer to front and center, sometimes it's on the proverbial shelf waiting its turn.

Right now, I'm going to take a nap on the couch and perhaps sleep through the showcase showdown, and then I may get EVE back off the shelf and shoot some Sanshas.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Inquiry: Missile Changes and Burner Missions

I haven't run a burner mission in a few weeks, and not since the missile modules and associated changes went live.  I haven't messed with anything on SISI either.

I went trolling around forums this morning looking for potential impact to my burner fits (many of which are rockets or LML) but saw no particular warnings about old fits not working anymore.

If you've got experience (positive or negative) with burner fits and the most recent release, please drop me a note ingame or leave a comment.  Thanks!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Guristas Incursions?

Well, this is kinda interesting....

Guristas Incursions, maybe?

Precursor to more megacorp involvement in FW?

Just a cool video?

What's Playing:  The Black Keys, Live at BBC1, Little Black Submarines

Sunday, July 19, 2015

So You Wanna Start a Corp (Part II)


In this installmant, I'll hit you with some ideas of what it means to be a "serious" corporation, and what things you should think about before pulling the trigger and starting up.

A. Serious corporations should have a Charter.  This is a short document and is intentionally brief and somewhat vague, but is intended to define in broad terms what the Corp is about, how their organized, and what their goals are.

I look at the Charter like the U.S. Constitution.  It’s the document that grants powers and rights to the officers and members (leaders and citizens), and allows the leaders to make rules (laws).  It also disallows certain activity to protect the integrity of the system and ensure the rights of its members (citizens).  It is also rather short – it’s an outline; a philosophy that everyone agrees to live by.

Continuing the analogy, all of the gritty detail is found elsewhere.  For example, the U.S. Tax code is hundreds of pages of impossible reading, and but the Tax Code is NOT contained within the Constitution itself.  The Constitution simply says, “Congress shall have power to lay and collect Taxes…” (thanks Wikipedia) and all the detail is elsewhere.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Roundup

With work and chores this week, and a bighuge meeting next Monday, not to mention the unexpected TQ downtime, I didn't spend a lot of time in EVE this week.  I still popped in every night and checked up on the gang, tended to a few market orders.

But, Guristas killing, there was not.

This weekend will be quieter than last weekend (we had 4 kids under 15 months in the house for the weekend... Uncle Abavus was tired on Sunday afternoon), and I hope to get back for some Angel smashing and Sansha blistering fun.  I also have Part 2 of the Corp Building series about ready to go.

-- GW 2 --

I did want to type a bit about Guild Wars 2.  I've bitten off small bites of the game over the past week and find myself really missing the game.  Which is weird because when I look back, I don't consider GW2 to be a "major" time investment (compared to WoW or EVE).  But hitting some of the zones brought back all sorts of nostalgia, similar to the kind of feeling I get when I get into certain areas of Lonetrek.

The problems I have with GW2 reside squarely in the endgame.  To be fair, I haven't played any of my level-capped characters since sneaking back in, so it could be totally fixed now (though I doubt it, heh).

The best part of the game is the early zones, which are full of players and interesting structures and lots and lots of things going on.  Into the middle zones, you start seeing that a lot of the content is retreaded, reused, and rehashed.  The same bad-guy models.  The same terrain, And a whole lot of the same Dynamic Events and Heart quests.

At the same time, the players are spread out, and the game design is pushing you into more "wild" zones with "more danger" that has fewer cities and towns and such dotting the landscape.  To me, the cities are some of the best parts of GW2; without the backdrop of npcs going about their lives, the game loses some immersion value.  And trudging through dense jungle inch by inch gets tiresome.

Somewhere in there, you hit Orr, which is initially pretty interesting as a zone and has some of the most interconnected Dynamic Events ... and then you realize that people are just farming the content in a big zerg for karma and loot drops.

Between the rehashed content and the less interesting surroundings, the game loses its luster and becomes a grind.

So this is me, griping about a game that I'm currently enjoying the heck out of.  Which is kind of weird.  Maybe it's just me not wanting the magic of the low zones to be over.

But there's a tie-in to EVE.  Many games have an awkward phase where people tend to burn out.  With GW2 it's the level grind if not the early endgame.  There is plenty to do if you have the right group, but the leveling process is usually solo affair, and it's hard to make the social transition.

Sound familiar?  EVE doesn't offer great grouping bonuses for most PVE and typical noob content, so many guys do stuff solo.  EVE encourages multi-account shenanigans for subscription income, which allows you to be even more self sufficient.  Then it's hard to make the transition to life in a group, and you walk away bored.

Anyway, it's time to put some burgers on the grill, so that's it for now.

Monday, July 13, 2015

So You Wanna Start a Corp (Part I)

(alternately: Who does this guy think he is and why is he bothering us with this crap?)

I'm Abavus Durden, CEO, Mission Grinder, and BPO Slum Lord.  I've now been in/around “leadership” positions in online social games (MMOs in particular) for a little over 20 years.

No, I have never been internet-famous; I've never led a large null alliance, have never troll posted at Failheap or Reddit.  My biggest claim to fame was a short interview in the early episodes of EVE-tv (circa 2008), which many of you won't even remember existed.

I also write a blog, which is apparently how you found this.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Over the weekend (last weekend, this post has been in the edit bin awhile), I cashed out my latest round of SOE loyalty points and put a total of 10 Stratios in the cooker.  It was the single largest LP buyout I'd done at 1.2M points.

Somehow, I managed to get all 10 bpcs across the cluster to my factory station, only then to get my Badger II ganked at a 0.5 gate carrying some trit and other base materials.  I wasn't mad, but it caused me to sigh ... a 25M isk loss a few minutes after I'd moved ~2.5B isk of bpcs was somewhat ironic.

That, combined with a few other negative things caused me to write the very tired sounding post a few days ago.  This week has been busy at home, but in my off-hours I've been pulled into non-eve things.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Public service announcement:  Aegis patch has hit us today.

The patch notes are linked here.  There are changes to Drone Damage Amplifiers and Missiles.

There are therefore implications (perhaps bad ones) to your favorite burner fits, especially the Battlecruiser/Cruiser sized (Gila, I'm looking at you).

Fly safe, more to follow.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Despite the Wind

I was out on the bike this morning for a good long ride and as the miles ticked by, my mind turned to EVE.  Around mile 27, I had a fully fleshed out post that just sort of erupted into my brain faster than I could remember it.

The words I'll write here will in no way be as elegant or as insightful as the words in my head during that Gatorade fueled haze, but I'll try to reconstruct them.

As a biker, there are two constants in life:  hills and wind.  Hills you can predict and plan for (or plan around).  But wind is everywhere, on every route, and can't be avoided.  Wind is an ever present adversary that changes direction, gets stronger when you don't want it to, lulls you with false compassion and then grinds you into dust.  You'd can try to minimize it's impact on your ride, or ride with the wind and take advantage of the extra boost ... but it will eventually turn on you and make you pay for being clever.

Wind is greatly affected by the local geography.  The way it licks around a stand of trees, or the way it howls through a river valley, or pushes across a flat corn field are nuances few people truly understand.

Wind is relentless, always present, and inescapable in a suffocating sort of way.  It can be maddening if you let it get to you; otherwise it's best just to accept wind as a tax that must be paid on every ride.

The parallel to EVE is that our 'community' can be a lot like the wind on a long bike ride.  There are pockets of civility, but after years of slogging through it, eventually you'll hit your limit.  Being dispassionate enough about your gaming time to maintain a positive disposition through the onslaught of gankers, scammers, and other chuckleheads wears at me like the wind.  I can hear the howl of the wind in the constant chaos surrounding the ongoing patches - fozziesov, missile changes, WH spawn rate, people hating on Incursions, people hating on missioners.  Relentless, inescapable, and suffocating.

It makes me weary to my core.

There's no singular event that is causing me to write this.  And this isn't a hatemail aimed at the gankers and scammers, or CCP's desire to set up the game mechanics the way they have.  I'm no stranger to burnout, and this isn't that either.  But the tax I pay dealing with the negative experiences ingame and the background droning of complaining and conjecture adds up over time.  I just feel tired.

And so, yesterday, I had almost the entire day to waste on the PC.  I hovered over the EVE icon, hesitated, and then did something else.  I was logged in just now, finished what I needed, and bolted for the logout.  I'll do something different today too.

I enjoy biking and expect to continue, despite the wind.
I enjoy EVE and expect to continue, despite the whine.

What's Playing:  The Black Keys, Attack & Release, I Got Mine

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Real Life Post (and Fun With Footnotes)

Non-EVE content lurks ahead, with big nasty pointy teeth(1).  You've been warned.

It's been an interesting few weeks around here, and by "interesting" I mean things keep colliding with me in a way that keeps me away from EVE.(2)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why I Like Burners

I was asked recently why I liked Burners.  Simple question, and I think I gave a reasonably elegant answer, but I've been chewing on it during quiet moments since.

First things first, Burners were not what I originally thought of when I wanted "advanced" lvl4s.  But they are darn close.  This post goes through my concept of what small ship mission content could look like; at the time I had no idea that Burners were on the table with CCP.

I point this out because the content isn't what I'd secretly been longing for; CCP didn't fulfill all my hopes and dreams with this content, and I don't think of myself as a Burner Fanboy.  

Anyway - Why do I like Burners?  

1. The Mechanics.  I like to dissect the mechanics of the content and understand the encounter thoroughly.  I take a good bit of pride in not only knowing what to expect, but also vigilant enough to react properly when the game throws you a wrinkle.  I like to know the content well enough to come up with my own twist on the ship fits and not just use what's "accepted."  

While "the mechanics" are true for all lvl4 content, the time is long gone when vanilla lvl4s required much thinking about how to approach a specific encounter.  Most of us fly omni-tanked ships capable of doing any and all vanilla lvl4s that are offered, with full pocket aggro, and (at most) an ammo change between missions.  The margin of success with Burners are such that the Mechanics still matter.

2. The Rush.  The first several Burners I completed resulted in me sitting at the desk with shaking hands and a sweaty brow.  The new mechanics, new ships, and challenging content really got me.  With dozens and dozens of Burners now under my belt, this is no longer the case (tho I am FAR from complacent about Burners).  I still take a deep breath and cry TALLYHO when I drop into the pocket.

3. The Familiarity.  This is a more recent phenomenon.  There are now so many Burners that I don't see some of the variants all that often.  At this point, it's like seeing an old friend when some of them pop into queue.  I get to dust off a ship I haven't flown in weeks/months and knock the cobwebs off my knowledge about the encounter ... and hope that nothing drastic has been changed in the patches since I last ran it.

What's Playing:  Static-X, Wisconsin Death Trip, December

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 ...