The Fog of Trade

Coming back to Eve I’ve looked at the Fanfest videos and been checking out the Reddit a bit as well as looking through this or that blog and the various news sites. I haven’t gotten back into checking out the podcasts yet, which seems to be more and more of a primary vehicle for knowing the lay of the land, so I wouldn’t really consider myself up on all that’s happening. Sometimes, however, the common sense impressions of just a moderately informed player can be valuable. It seems to me that the primary problem that Eve faces is still the N+1 problem. That, though, will have to be discussed elsewhere. I am just mentioning it because I am not all that concerned with what others seem to be concerned with as of late.

Right now there seems to be a current of sentiment that Eve lacks enough conflict drivers. However, Eve is a sandbox, and in my opinion, if there isn’t enough conflict, the players are to blame. A primary gripe seems to be that attacking structures is AIDS, and adjustments to the structure system are being called for. I have heard tell of a good idea or two to make some changes, and may talk about those in the future, but CCP’s agenda seems to be to spend the majority of the year doing cleanup and to end the year with the new moon mining. I personally had lamented the lack of module tiercide recently, and was delighted to see a commitment to finishing that off and implementing the meta module construction principle. It is going to be a lot of annoying work, but I think now really is the proper time and place to accomplish these things.

I also think that we really should hold on and see how moon mining affects conflict in Eve before we rush to start changing the structures. Again, I have heard and thought up some ideas on how structures could be changed, but part of the principle of making the new player-built destructible structures viable involves making destroying them enough of a task that the attacker has to really want the space to undertake the endeavor. Blowing up structures for lols, just to create fights, will suddenly make everyone quite vulnerable, and I don’t think that would be ultimately welcomed. We also need to see a nullsec without stations before we can get a real feel for how easily we want our destructible structures to pop. I’m certainly not ruling out modifying structures to increase conflict, but I really think we need to wait.

Now with the old player-made indestructible outposts going way, there will be some things to address. For instance, using one’s annual ability to set a medical clone to any corporate office currently only works for stations as far as I know. That little mechanic will have to be addressed. More significant, though, is the issue of APIs. If things are to stay the same, something will have to be done about APIs or DOTLAN will have to change considerably. It’s this issue that I want to ponder here.

For a long time in Eve’s history there have been those who think that Eve would be better off if there were just less intelligence available through APIs. Some have even kicked around a delayed local for nullsec. I am becoming one of those people. I’m not advocating for delayed local in nullsec, but I think less API information will change the game for the better, not only for combat, but for trade and industry. Now I may be out of sync with what is on everyone else’s minds with the lack of conflict thing. I am, however, thinking about fewer APIs and less market data available in order to promote local industry and create a career as a trader that is actually played by a player with one account who logs in and uses the UI, rather than one of many alts of a single veteran with everything provided to him on his smartphone.

Now certain API information will be going away this summer when the nullsec stations go away, but really with the refineries do we see the possibility of local industry being viable at the end of the year. With the new industrial complexes, pretty much anyone can make meta 0 items. When the meta 1 industry for subcapitals and modules comes out, we will have another huge area of industry that pretty much any player will be able to participate in using the industrial complexes. It is my hope that when the refineries come out, all the moon goo needed for all T2 industry will be available in any (somewhat extensive) area of space. If this happens, and it needs to, then only T3 industry will require materials from a specific location in Eve. Well, there are the drone regions materials and drugs, but that also, like T3, is a fairly small chunk of the overall pie. With meta 0, 1, and 5 available anywhere, allowing the overwhelming majority of Eve material to be constructed by anyone anywhere, relatively complete programs of local production will finally be available. No longer must one JF materials from Jita to build. That is a very significant milestone for the game.

I propose at that time that taxes and brokers fees at NPC stations in highsec and lowsec get a large bit higher, and we finally give Jita cancer. I further recommend that API information currently available in stations NOT be given to the new structure markets. Trade is currently far too much an alt’s game. People get all the info they need off their smartphones. I would prefer that actual players log in and get market information from the Eve UI. With three characters per account, a single player with a single account can get market information for a fairly good area. With less information, there will be more opportunity for greater price variation, making for more exciting trading. Since public markets will likely remain rare, operating a highsec-to-nullsec trading operation will require diplomatic ability as well.

I am aware that there was a riot when NPC station taxes and broker fees were increased. I am also aware that the player base is somewhat discontent because they think CCP should be required to force them to undock. Over my years I have complained that the player base is in many sectors too crusty to actually play this game. Change to suit the players is always demanded, but change that requires the players to change is always rejected. Too many times has CCP benefitted from some lucky marketing feature, whether alpha clones or WWB or BRB or whatever, only to have mass influxes of players leave. CCP has been killing itself over creating a better NPE in order to rectify this. With the new structure system, CCP is truly and finally opening the career field of manufacturer to all players of Eve, and I believe this sort of thing will affect player retention more than just a better tutorial. Currently, anyone can manufacture the basics, but they still have to watch the big boys with their jump freighters full of moon goo do the heavy work. That will soon be changing, if CCP handles the refineries correctly. Trading, however, is still in the hands of the old guard. Too much work is done by a certain type of player. This player has a combat main through whom he is known to Eve, and on whom he spends most of his time, but he also has a JF pilot, several cyno alts, several station traders, and a handful of smartphone apps into which he feeds API data in order to be able to generate huge quantities of ISK with minimal login time. Removing market data from CREST and APIs, and forcing a player to actually commit game time to trading in a way that can be accomplished with one account, will create an actual career path that will help player retention in the same way that the opening up the manufacturer’s career will. Yes, the old guard will riot, but I don’t think the riots will last long, and the players that Eve gains from this change will ultimately benefit the game more in the long run.

The Valley of Indecision

Just a quick personal update. I’m not leaving Eve. Upon my exodus from Pure Blind I was met with quite a bit of support for my predicament, and I was duly impressed by the Eve community’s commiseration with my plight and perspective. My lack of faith in the Eve community was thereby addressed, and I will not be leaving the game. Thanks for the support, fellas.

Also at that time I talked to some old friends about a way forward and was offered a fork in the road by some. I could go the route of old-style PvP alliance, with participation and fleet requirements, or I could go into a null bear kind of situation. Now I am waiting on my new computer before really getting back into PvP, but I didn’t want to do the null bear thing and join a corp knowing that I would be leaving it sometime in the near future. A bit paralyzed by my prospects, I toyed with the idea of doing some solo FW or just doing PvE a la Cosmos Missions, but mostly I just logged in occasionally on some alts moving stuff around and selling stuff and whatnot.

Frankly, that’s still where I am. However, I still have the mindset of someone just back at the game, newly intrigued by Eve and her current and future states of things. So, on that note, I will be reading all the things about Eve and blogging about them this summer. I’ll make a more permanent decision about what to actually do in the game in the fall like I originally intended. Right now I just wanted to announce that I’m not quitting or taking another long break, thank those who were quite cool to me, and state that I’ll be posting on my blog.

Fly safe o7.

Don’t Panic, and Always Carry a Towel

Well, more or less immediately after becoming comfortable with a goal and trajectory for a return to Eve as a long-term, if not permanent member of Pandemic Horde, I find that I am no longer a member of that alliance. Frankly, I am now in the mood to take another year off from the game. I think I am too old for it at this point. The story that follows will recount my exit from my alliance of 437 days. It will be a cautionary tale.

First, though, let me described be my time with the group in broad strokes. I joined the alliance at the outset of WW Bee. My primary contribution to the war was blogging, with a couple of posts at that time reaching 3,000 viewers as I participated in the propaganda war. I also ran some stealth bomber fleets and camps as a part of training many enthusiastic bomber newbeans, and went out a few times with ISBAD for my own personal enjoyment after the war drew down. In all that time I never said a single unkind word to anyone, argued with anyone, or had a problem with anyone. Since returning, I’ve been hanging out in the GME fleet providing about 4 hours a day of perfect perfect Rorqual boosts and helping the miners with their ISK-making. Again, not a conflict with anyone at all.

Now Horde has developed a bit from what it was over a year ago. One of the new developments is a new corporation, Horde Vanguard. I first heard of the corp by someone in some standing fleet saying that they get their own ratting areas. The corp’s description says, “Horde Vanguard. is a vouch only corporation within Pandemic Horde which asks its members to challenge themselves.” This signified a couple of things to me that I was not excited about. I understood the description to mean that the corp is for 4chan basement-dweller locker room culture in the alliance, in which narcissistic members hide all mistakes at all costs and haze everyone they see making a mistake, and who pretend that they are perfect by taking no risk and sucking off authority figures. That was my assumption anyway, given what I know about Eve culture and history. That particular culture was not in the noobie alliance model pioneered by Brave and improved on by Horde. I had no intention of joining, and was content to wait for time to tell me if my assumption was true or not.

Now one might guess that Horde’s toxic vets might wind up there, to include a large number of Horde’s higher skill point players, such as those who might be in the capital group. Now I was in the capital group a year ago. It was initially neglected, and then taken over by some PL guy who had no idea about the capital ship changes that had just come out and who would never drop caps. Remember, there is that community of players that just won’t take any risk, no matter how fun it might be. So I left the group. However, after my Rorqual got tackled and was saved by a carrier drop, I decided to put my capital pilot back in it.

Well, on June 7 a Rorqual got tackled in GME. The pilot said in fleet that he had a PANIC, he had not yet activated it, and his tank was holding. No one had pinged the capital group. So I loaded up discord, and by the time it was loaded I saw a ping about a Rorqual tackled in GME, which had a PANIC, and whose tank was holding. The ping did not specify any ship type. I only had a dread, and did not think that one would be welcome for a drop, but I thought I would make sure for good measure. No ship type was specified at all, actually. Armor carriers, shield carriers, FAX, nothing. So I asked in capital pings if a dread would be welcome to drop. The response was an idiotic play around with the emoji reactions at the bottom of the ping saying “12 hours”. Now this was my first ever interaction with the cap group since Horde moved to discord. Confused for a moment, I then noticed that there was ANOTHER channel for cap group members to talk in. I clicked it and there was a whole encyclopedia of stupid hostile snarky comments about not typing in the ping channel, the ping being old, etc. calling me a “mango” and other hostile names. Now just as I read all that nonsense, the Rorq pilot in GME mumble said his attackers left. I guess they have people in our cap group comms even though the elites demand freaking APIs for every single account a player has. (I’ve long told you guys API checks don’t catch spies – they are just means for your group to spy on you.)

Nevertheless, I comment that a ping should include a ship type (so I would not have had to ask anything, much less in the wrong discord channel). I then get more berating about talking in the wrong channel, old ping, etc., at which time someone else comments that there was a Rorq just now tackled in GME under identical circumstances as the ping. Completely frustrated with these retards, I comment that we shouldn’t be C-words. (Rule #1: don’t be a dick, right?) I then get more berating and get kicked off discord altogether.

But that’s not all. When I log on to my main about 1/2-hour later, I have an eve mail from Storm Delay saying I am being kicked from Horde in 24 hours. I think to myself that this has to be a joke. So I contact Storm Delay. No response. I contact Travis Uchonela, the only director showing up green at the time (I had reapplied for discord). No response, and his dot turns orange a few minutes later. Way to step up and handle things. So, in shock, I start moving my Rorq and caps and 50-billion in assets out of Horde space. Still in shock, I decide to contact the Man Himself. Gobbins does indeed respond. (Like a leader should – 5,000 players in the alliance, and every one of them matters.) He says though that it’s 4 AM and he’s dead tired, but he will put a note in for Storm to contact me.

Storm doesn’t contact me until the next day. I had spent all night moving crap the night before and would not have been happy to hear, “just a joke”. So he starts in on me about my attitude, claiming my c-word comment was the first insult he saw. I pointed out all the berating and snark and the mango comments and all. Later in the conversation he would tell me to join Blades of Grass, where the people are mature. But not yet. Since my attitude was just a reaction to the insults of others, he switched tactics to my not owning up to talking in capital pings. I pointed out that I did mention it. I did not feel the need to burst into tears and buy everyone in the cap group flowers because it was an utterly insignificant mistake made by someone newly joined on their first time on discord. I told him I left the cap group, and no such issue could possibly happen again. (I really don’t like being around those types of players.)

I think that got him mad, as he continued to find fault with me, and it was clear to me that there was no standard of reparations to meet. He just wanted groveling and some fellatio, as is normally the case in 4chan basement-dweller locker room culture. By this point I really didn’t want to be in Horde, and I told him as much. He gave me an extra day to get a dread out of build. As I publish this, I will be leaving Horde.

The cautionary tale is this: Pandemic Horde is a good group. Storm Delay is a piece of garbage and should be fired, but the group overall is good. However, Eve elitism is actually egotistical idiocy. Storm did not like how I handled my conversation with him. However, there never should have been a conversation. A player that has been in the group for a year and a half without ever once having any sort of spat with a single one of the alliance’s thousands of members, who has 50 billion ISK in alliance structures including scores of fitted ships, capitals, and an entire cap ship construction program, when he experiences his first ever negative encounter in the group, even if he is totally out of line and utterly wrong, should get a warning for goodness sake. Any idiot knows that. Kicking such a player as a first reaction is an unconscionable failure.

However, Horde is a big group. I had been a way for a while. Most of the people I knew are gone. So some retard like Storm can just utterly fail to think and kick me like I am some kind of alpha clone Goon spy alt and then go AFK for a day. This is the sort of thing that happens when the 4chan basement-dweller locker room culture that passes for Eve “elite” is allowed in via institutions like Vanguard, and directors turn into Walruses ramming everyone on the beach. My parting words are that Horde should not go the way of Waffles or PL, but keep it’s own identity based on the newbean culture. Now, as things are, the alliance is a good group, but the league of extraordinary morons has taken its first steps in. So if you’re a Hordling that is injector mad and/or been around a while, and are looking to join the cap group, you know what you have to look forward to. As for veteran players who may be interested in a noob group because of the low stress, low narcissism lack of 4chan basement-dwelling toxic vets, I would try Brave. In any event, I would not say that Horde is a good place to actually invest oneself unless one is prepared to circle-jerk with the elite. It’s a big place. Nobody is going to know you or give a damn about you. Stepping away from the game can be dangerous.

As for me, I might do some looking around for some other groups in Eve, but groups where people act like adults are few and far between. I may just be too old for this game. It could be time for another year away.

How About That Rorqual!

So, I’ve been back in Eve for about a month now, and I guess it’s time to write a blog post. This one might be short, as I’m writing it on my phone. My daughter has her permit, so I am in for an afternoon of being a passenger in my car. I’m sure Eve has forgotten about me over the last year plus, so I’ll just put out a little note about my current state, as this site was originally intended to be a means of introduction to those whom I run across.

I’ve actually logged in a few times since WWB, first for the Test eviction and then to move my Rorqual up north for the update to the ship. Sadly, I didn’t actually get to mining until after the second nerf, and the third is soon upon us. Nevertheless, the new Rorqual is, and will be, my favorite ship, and it looks like my goal is now to mine up a supercarrier. To that end, it looks like Pandemic Horde is going to be a long-term home for me. A long time ago they blue’d my alt corp, something I’ve never been able to get a unposed alliance to do for me since I’ve played Eve. Also, I’m quite happy, as basically the inventor of the PANIC module, that I have already had the pleasure of using the thing, and Horde’s response in saving my 9 billion ISK ship was fantastic, and I was successfully rescued. Now during WWB I was disappointed that we couldn’t get cloaky operations going in a really robust way, but I am thinking that the current political situation might be more conducive to having fun BLOPSING stuff in the future, once my mining bug is cured. Right now my computer is so old I am not really up for all kind of multiboxing PvP action anyway. I’m getting a new rig in a few months, so might as well just mine and build until then anyway.

As for blogging, I’m not sure how often I will blog, but I do have a few posts in mind, so I imagine I am returning to Eve writing, although I don’t plan on any real consistency with it until the next big thing pops up and there is a need for some propaganda and trash talk.

But yeah, in a nutshell, I’ve returned to Eve. Fly safe!