Friday, April 18, 2014

The Nerf that Isn’t

I was chatting with several people about the industrial changes coming this summer on Twitter yesterday, and mentioned that removing the slots in industry also means removing some upgrades in FW.

Right now, upgrade a FW system doesn’t just count toward warzone control –it also means additional industrial slots, among a few other system upgrades.

However, I’m a practical sort of person. CSM9 candidate Sugar Kyle introduced me to the term ‘paper mechanics’ –ie: mechanics that sound good on paper but are much different in reality.

The FW industrial nerf is what I would call a paper problem. It sounds like something we can get all worked up about, but it is far from being an actual major problem in real militia gameplay.

The reality is that the upgrades, perhaps with the exception of the research slots, were more or less worthless to begin with. Empty manufacturing slots are almost always available in most places in low-sec, so giving players additional slots means nothing. And taking them away will mean nothing.

Now, CCP has an opportunity when it comes to FW upgrades under the new industrial system. Instead of giving more slots, the upgrades could simply affect the cost of setting up orders –countering some of the new cost structure being implemented.

This wouldn’t just ‘readjust’ the system to ‘work’ with the new stuff. I think that in many ways such a change would be a buff. Especially if the upgrades give a significant decrease to the price of manufacturing and etc. 

What was a worthless upgrade before could actually be somewhat beneficial for people to invest in.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Got Sov?

I have often heard it said that null sec is the ‘heart’ of the EVE Online sandbox. Primarily, because it is the place where everything is controlled and determined by players.But I have often wondered if the concept of sovereignty, as known and practiced in EVE, isn’t actually the least ‘sandboxy’ aspect of the game. After all, if you zoom out a bit from the finer details of territorial claim units, and system contestation (for FW sov) what you actually have is a predefined set of rules by which CCP informs you as to what you need to do to take ‘power.’ You have a path, and correctly following that path will lead you to the ‘end game’ of reaching the ‘prize’ of taking sovereignty.

I have often been concerned by low-sec pilots' recent tendencies to claim that low-sec needs more content. More tools. More…something. After living in null-sec for years, and then moving to live in low-sec for years, one of my favorite parts of this area of space is the fact that so little is defined by CCP, and so much is defined by players.

What it means to be a pirate? What it means to ‘own’ or have ‘control’ over a system. What it means to be a low-sec inhabitant?

I admit that this is something that I miss about ‘old school’ Faction War. I miss when the Amarr and Minmatar forced each other out of systems just by making it too hostile to live there. Not because some game mechanics literally locked you out of the station if you orbited X number of timers.

I miss when players defined what it meant to ‘win’ in FW, as opposed to a series of game mechanics that define what ‘warzone control’ is and what the reward will be for following the defined path to victory.

While Faction War improved greatly in many different ways, there were some really good things—good ways in which the old militia community interacted that have been subtly, and irretrievably lost. And while Low-sec definately need 'loving', I think we should all be careful as to what we wish and ask for.

As far as null-sec goes, the various discussions fascinate me. Force projection. Farm and Fields. Super capitals. Null-sec economics.

But the thing that fascinates me the most is that no one ever seems to question the idea of sovereignty itself, and whether or not it really works or is all that great. It’s more or less taken for granted that null-sec is about this defined set of things where you try to have your alliance’s name show up in the left hand corner of the screen in the end.

Perhaps I’m a crazy person but I occasionally wonder what null-sec would be like without sovereignty, but with all the other player-driven tools. In other words, there are no restrictions, rules, or definition for what it means to hold power or maintain control. Anyone can upgrade systems. Anyone can setup the equipment for building titans. Outposts could be built or overtaken in and of themselves without any prerequisites of owning the system.

What would power and control become? What factors would contribute toward how someone maintains control over a system? Or a region? What would it even mean to own a system? Would it mean the same thing, or be done the same way everywhere? How would different alliances ‘protect’ their space, or make their mark, or enforce their control?

With no more timers and towers and structures to kill or anchor in specific orders and at specific times, what strategies would be used to ‘take’ or 'control' the system or area? Would people barricade ‘entrance’ systems? Would there be secret jump bridge networks, and surprise attacks on outposts for resources?

Would things become more blue as people band together, or would major groups have to contend with dozens of small groups henpecking at their outposts and setting up shop all over the place? Or would people simply become passive about it altogether?

It would be a fascinating thing to observe.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose

I’ve perused the various election materials from platform break downs to podcasts, and have finally settled (mostly) on who I will be voting for this year.

Now, if you’re anything like me, the ‘who to vote for’ posts are all starting to blur together. You probably don’t need me to tell you that Sugar is a good low-sec candidate, or that Funky is in Faction War.

So I’m going to cut the crap and tell you why I’m really voting for them, even if the answer is a little silly.

1. Sugar Kyle

To be entirely honest, my first impression of Sugar as a CSM candidate was not positive. I had this notion that she thought Faction War was ‘of the devil’ as so many low-sec pirates do, and that she would not take the FW community seriously.

I was very, very wrong. I ended up asking her point blank in the comments of one of her election posts what she thought of Faction War. I liked her answer –not because she said the right things or shared any of my own views, but because I felt it was a genuine answer and not some ‘pat’ response she was conjuring up to get militia votes.

She has also shared that she has been dabbling in FW on an alt in order to better understand the mechanics, which tells me she understands that low-sec is not just about the pirates…and is serious about offering CCP good feedback on everything related to low-sec.

She will have my top slot for CSM 9.

2. Mike Azariah

Over the last couple years, I’ve gone from ‘college student’ status to ‘busy girl with a software engineering career.’ Mike’s platform of giving a voice to people who can’t spend 12 hours a day in EVE greatly resonated with me.  It’s a good perspective, and I think it will be invaluable for someone to be looking at mechanics and responding to CCP with the casual gameplay style in mind.

3. DJ FunkyBacon

Funky has been around Faction War a long time, and understands what it means to be a part of the militia community.

I think the main thing that secured him my vote was the blog post he wrote about the E1 situation, of all things. Whether I agree with everything he said or not, I respect the fact that he can clearly, and thoughtfully articulate a response to a  major ‘drama bomb’ regardless of whether his opinion is popular or not.

4. Mangala Solaris

I like him because he let me shoot his carrier a few months ago…
lol. But seriously, in-game content creators are really important in EVE, and get exposed to a lot of game mechanics. I’ve always felt it important to get people on the CSM who spend a lot of ‘face’ time with EVE, as opposed to just the ‘outside’ stuff of blogging, forum posting and discussion. Mangala always seems up to his neck in fleets and events.

5. Mynnna

I guess I could say, like everyone else, “because of economics.”
In total honesty, there’s a certain amount of straight forwardness I like about mynnna, and his occasional snarkines makes me smile….a lot.

I think he is way smarter than people think he is. I think he is smarter than people who think he is smart think he is. He’s like Google….where you wonder if there’s anything he doesn’t know or doesn’t have his fingers in somehow, and you secretly suspect that he’s ruling the universe behind the scenes…

6. Everyone Else

There are a couple people I’m on the fence about, including Xander, Ali, and Psychotic Monk. I’m not sure I can really explain my hesitation entirely, to be honest. I suspect I will vote for them as opposed to leaving the rest of my slots blank…although that could change between now and when I actually go vote.

And of course, there’s always room for people not mentioned to spark a second impression and make me change my mind. Or, in some cases, a first impression. =p

Good luck, all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is the CSM Effective?

I’ve started a post regarding the CSM about a dozen times now, not really sure entirely where to go after the first sentence. It is that time of year, where everyone is giving endorsements and suggested ballots. And I admit I’ve started down that path a couple times, as a list of saved documents on my hard drive will attest to.

But I think I will scrap them and talk about something else entirely. You can go read endorsements and excerpts about candidates elsewhere today.

Is the CSM effective? This is a question that has been asked before, perhaps not always with the greatest response. Those who question the effectiveness of the CSM are often scoffed at, mocked with sarcasm, or simply dismissed out of hand. I have often gotten the feeling that to some,(especially people in the CSM!) questioning the CSM’s worth is considered a ‘ridiculous’ thing to do. They point to a list of things that the CSM has influenced and ask, “how can you possibly question our effectiveness?”

I guess that when I think about whether or not the CSM is effective, I don’t necessarily think about their influence with CCP. It would be hard to argue that they are not influential on that side, given the things that I know and have observed.

I think about their representation of the EVE Online community, and how we only ever really hear a very small percentage of voices and opinions within the entire playerbase.

One thing that I have learned since I started blogging is that there is a sort of invisible line through the community. There are those people who actively engage in ‘outside’ things—they blog, they write on the forums, they run pod casts. And there is a huge number of people whose sphere of activity resides entirely embedded in game play, and game play only.

I know this, because I play with a great number of people who are not particularly fond or interested in the ‘outside’ parts of EVE. They might go glance at something on the forums if someone links something interesting, but they are there to play the game, not write or read about it.

It’s kind of a fascinating thing to think about. So often you see the idea expressed that EVE is more interesting to write about then to play. The irony being that the people saying this are the people who write about EVE, and that the number of people who engage in this way are a relatively small percentage of the playerbase.

I think that a huge number of the playerbase would actually disagree with us. Though I suppose that saying that is kind of like saying that trees make noise when they fall in the forest.

Xander Phoena recently wrote a post giving some statistics about how much of the playerbase actually votes in the elections. Last CSM, it was only 12%.

While I have nothing to backup this claim, I would argue that a huge number of that 12% are part of the ‘outside’ community. Bloggers, forums posters, and others who have make it a habit to engage outside of the game itself.

So, I guess when I question the effectiveness of the CSM, I’m not necessarily questioning the effectiveness of the CSM representatives, but rather how the institution works as a whole.

The CSM, by its very nature, seems to cater only to a specific kind of EVE Online player. And believe it or not, we are the minority. I have occasionally ‘poked’ people in-game regarding certain issues and been surprised at their responses. I think that the ‘outside’ community influences each other quite a bit, not just in our opinions and views but also in the things we decide are important.

I have often wondered how different things would be –how different the advice and suggestions given to CCP—if the rest of EVE somehow found a voice.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What's in Your Hangar?

A month or so ago, I officially closed down my alliance shop. It got to the point where I was spending most of my EVE time fitting ships in bulk and updating spreadsheets, and with my gaming time slowly being more and more limited due to real life, I was quickly becoming burned out.

One thing that I have found after quitting 'the business' is that I've been spending a lot more time fitting my own ships. In funny how that works. When you fit en-mass for others, your own hanger starts to look pretty depressing---the last thing you want to do after fitting up 200 thrashers is to fit even more ships!

I've hopefully been fixing that lately, spending more and more time fitting ships and playing around in EFT.

So, what does a piratey faction war girl keep in her hangar these days? Well, I'll tell you...

 "Tea Bag" - RR Vengeance.  (If you've never don an RR assault frig gang, you're missing out!)
I have several ships in my hanger named something with a 'Tea' in it. These are specifically to denote a few ships I keep for flying with a specific Late Night FC named TeaEarlGrayHOT. He's doesn't FC often, but when he does, he usually has some pretty specific comps in mind.

MWD Scram wolf. For catching kitey crap.

2 Arty Nados named "Sharknado" and "Sharknado II" Sometimes I shoot people with these, sometimes I shoot structures.

I really hate shooting structures.

2 Hellcat Baddons. I have very good skills for using Amarr BSes, but only recently started fitting and flying them. Abaddons are awesomely big space potatoes. I wish we had more reason to fly BSes in FW.

Standard Apoc, Neuting Geddon, DPS Megathron I've literally had since I was in Amarr militia 3 or so years ago, Tempest, and a Fleet Tempest.

Yeah, for a militia girl I have way too many battleships gathering dust.

2 Drakes. One is a HAM, one is a nano HML drake. Well, as much as you can do a nano HML drake these days. I don't fly these often, but my favorite is the HAM drake. I love HAMs and have near perfect missile skills for mid and small sized platforms. (I was originally a Caldari girl.)

An unfit Gnosis. No clue what to do with this hull yet...

4 Standard armor hurricanes, 2 Fleet hurricanes. I fit these with pretty standard armor fits.

A brick prophecy. It might have a cyno on it so watch out! (It also hasn't undocked in probably a year..)

17 Augoror Navies. I know, I know! 17?!?!? I've been stocking up on them from lazy Amarrians cashing out their LPs. They're not going to be this cheap forever!

I use a couple of fits for the Navy Augs, but recently have been trying out a fit a corpy --Punchbug--gave me. I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

An anti-guardian blackbird. Nuff said.

Two "Little Weed" caracals. Nano, rapid light caracals can be super fun.

A caracal navy. I hate this ship. I tried selling it cheep to alliance mates but no one wanted it.

Faction Fit Cynabal. Because cynabals deserve factiony things on them. I love this ship, but I need to be braver about using it....

A bait maller. With a cyno. Also hasn't been undocked in a while. I don't make very good bait these days. Our 'damsel in distress' strategy only works so many times...

6 gank moas. We used these in a mini tech 1 cruiser 'tournament' with some ppl in nullsec a few months ago. Yeah, we won. They all died.

An Osprey Navy Issue. This is not a popular ship to fly but I really like it for some reason, and I like trolling Late Night FCs. "Everyone x up with what you're are bringing..."   X Osprey Navy Issue. BAHAHAHAHA their reactions are priceless.

5 Standard armor ruptures. Mostly for your typical medium plex militia business.

A scythe. For repping shields on structures that have been attacked. But, only when begged on bended knee.

A scythe fleet. This is supposed to be a good ship but I haven't gotten the hang of it yet.

1 Regular nano shield stabber, just cause

15 Stabber Fleet Issues. Mostly dual prop armor fit, but an occasional shield fit in there. These used to be my favorite ship, but now they're just 'meh.'

One stratios. Not sure what I'm gonna do with this yet.

1 Vexor, 1 Navy Vexor. These are mostly fit up for some comps one of our other FCs, Punchbug, does.

A large assortment of destroyers. Long rang cormorants, standard armor thrashers, algos, long range talwars...a whole bunch of them. I always keep tons on hand for small plexes.

A faction fit moros. Gallente Dreadnaught V baby. Now, if only a dread was at all useful in Faction War.

A Hyena. Huh? I didn't know I had this ship...I wonder how it's fit....

A  Falcon. Shhhhh.

A Rapier named "Trebuchet". It even has faction webs. I used to use this to web my freighter until I got a jump freighter on my alt. I will have to sit down and repurpose the fit a bit one of these days so I can use it for general stuff.

An Astero named "Tea Bird" for yet another Tea fleet.

A large assortment of Caldari frigates. Condors, merlins, and bantams. 20-30 or so.
2 Slicers.

2 Dramiels....need to bug someone for a good fit for these? Haven't tried flying one yet. I know, that's terrible...

5 Shield firetails. I've tried tons of different firetail fits and settled on this afterburner shield fit with a nos that TeaEarlGrayHOT gave me. These things are quite fun!

 Several stacks of ships I have yet to fit--tormentors, slashers, tristans. I think these hulls are left over from my alliance shop so I might just sell them on the market.

An Ishtar, and a Muninn.  I love HACs, even though we don't use them much.

A Sacrilege. I love this ship because I can put HAMs on it! Also, I always keep one of these around for flying with our Europeans who do a lot of armor hac stuff.

2 Guardians. I hate flying logi, and rarely volunteer to fly these. (I'll probably let others borrow them.)

And, a rather embarrassingly large stack of shuttles.

Well, there you have it. My collection is starting to grow slowly but surely. I have plans for some tech 3 cruisers I can now fly, as well as an Archon as soon as Amarr Carrier V is completed next month.

Anyone have any other favorite ships/fits they think I should try out?