Monday, November 17, 2014

Corporations and Keeping People in EVE

A corporate experience can make or break your enjoyment of EVE. After seven or so ears of playing, I’ve witnessed this many times. Being in an inactive group, or being in a group with people you don’t really ‘click’ with can negatively impact your view of the game in general, in a big way.

And, I believe that it’s mostly common knowledge now that pilots who are involved in a corporation are a lot more likely to stick around and continue playing EVE.

I’ve heard of lots of ‘solutions’ and ways to get people to get more involved in corporations, for this reason. Most of these seem to be centered around making pilots (especially newer pilots) more safe in joining a corporation—from reducing risk of wardecs to removing the ability for corp members to shoot each other freely.

Right now, corporations server two primary functions in EVE:

The first ‘function’ is the sort of game-play stuff you can do as a corporate entity. You can setup structures, declare war, share assets. You have corporate wallets, and corporate market orders, and corporate contracts setup for the purpose of doing business and functioning as a corporation.

The second ‘function’ is as a way to organize a social group. It allows people easy ways to communicate with each other. It makes it easier to fly together, and socialize. And, it gives people an identity as part of ‘a group.’

It is my opinion that the inability to separate, or differentiate the two is an underlying problem in a lot of corp/high-sec stuff in EVE: 

The former ‘type’ of corporation is something that is (and should be) subject to various risks and responsibilities. You operate as a corporate entity, and therefore you run the risk of being wardecced, of being competed against, and all manner of other things.

However, the latter should not have the same strings attached. People who have no interest in actual corporate gameplay should not be discouraged from joining social groups because of the risks involved. In fact, it is my opinion that joining a ‘group’ for purely social reasons should have no risks involved at all…outside of social risks. (Annoying people,

Until CCP divides the two ideas, they will always have problems. They will make changes to make the social aspect of Corporations better to encourage people to join corporations and improve player retention. However, they do so at the risk of negatively impacting other corporate functions and disturbing the balance of risk and reward to operating as a corporate entity.

And, on the flip side they will have their hands tied, afraid to make changes to things like wardecs that could negatively impact the social aspect of corporations and drive down player retention.

So why not simply create a new non-corporate group that is primarily directed toward helping people create more social interaction in EVE? This would fall below a corporation and would have four primary functionalities:

-A group chat channel

-A group mailing list

-The ability to set standings to other groups, corporations, and alliances

-The ability to setup fleet adverts open to a group.

Players would be allowed to join more than one group, and the groups they are a member of would show on their character information similar to employment history, decorations, and etc.

You could have groups created for special ‘topics’ in EVE—perhaps a group where Traders do things and share information.

You could have political groups such as a player-made faction or coalitions –using a group as a way to manage standings, fleet adverts, and other things.

And you could have groups for people who just want to hang out, fly together occasionally, and chat –without all the stuff that is involved in committing to a corporation.

CCP would be free to do a lot of stuff to corporate game mechanics without running the risk of hurting player retention or impacting the 'social' aspect of corporations in the process. They could add new risks, new benefits, new gameplay, new tools.

And yet, the ‘social’ aspect of EVE would be allowed to thrive as well, hopefully giving newer players more opportunities to making friends and enjoy the game a little more.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Here and Now

I'm an evil pirate. I guess I have technically been one for several years now, but I was really feeling it a couple nights ago as we exploded some poor soul's Badger full of all of his worldy possessions from civilian modules to skillbooks.

"You probably just destroyed someone's EVE career." Someone said later. And, I tried to feel bad. But, it's hard to feel bad for someone who decided it was a good idea to load all their belongings into a paper-thin ship and jump it into some of the most pirate-infested low-sec in EVE, unscouted.

Lately, I've been playing EVE. The real kind of playing, not the kind where you're logged in but mostly checked out, if you know what I mean. We've been going at full throttle, moving ships, roaming, learning the area, and occasionally just chilling with new-alliance mates and camping a gate.

And if I can say one thing about people in Gallente space, it is that they sure do know how to camp a gate proper-like. You have your proper pirate camps where not much but interceptors and shuttles get through. And then you have your battleships going disco --turning pods into goo. 

We camped gates a bit and occasionally ran into them back in the Bleak Lands, but not like what you see here.

In addition to my piracy, and trading, I've taken up a wormhole-probing hobby. I don't really run sites, or do anything except satisfy my own curiosity in seeing what sorts of places I can connect our new home to. I've romped through all sorts of regions of low-sec, various wormhole places, and even a null-sec system or two. 

I'm not sure entirely what I plan to do with this new hobby, if anything. I admit, as a trader I occasionally dream of finding a wormhole to Jita. As a pirate, I hope for a direct line to some far off null-sec system where lazy ratters will let me steal from their ESS, will come protect it, and will die in glorious explosions of PVE scrap metal.

For now, I'm content with poking my nose into here and there. Perhaps I'll start bringing mobile structures and anchor them named "Susan Black was here!"

The new alliance with Snuff Box is going well, as far as I can tell. The contents of my new hangar in Gallente space makes me happy. Not just because it's full of shiny, pretty things. Though I really do like shiny, pretty things.

In militia, my hanger was full of thrashers, tech 1 frigates, and all manner of plex-ready ships. I'm not anti-tech 1 or turning into some sort of elite snob now. But, I've noticed a growing change in how I perceive spaceships in general.

In militia, spaceships were disposable things you fit cheaply in bulk. We leroyed them and trashed them and exploded them. Which can be fun...some of the time.

Now, many of the ships in my hanger serve specific purposes, or are specific toys I wanted. They aren't disposable, and I didn't slap any 'ol mediocre fit on them that would pass for serviceable. I invested in them, and each one is a tool. A fun, shiny, pretty tool.

It's kind of like going from a diet of frozen dinners, to homemade, bubbling lasagna with garlic bread. Not that I don't occasionally crave a frozen pizza now and again.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Beginnings

Change is hard. We're ingrained with the idea that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. And, I think it becomes easier to deal with the things you don't like that are known to you, rather than risk the unknown.

But, change can also be very good. Since the announcement that we were moving out of the warzone and leaving Faction War, our corp has been buzzing with activity. Many left their one and two-man corporations to merge into the single corporation, so it has felt a little like people have been seeping out of the woodwork of what used to be Late Night Alliance.

Furthermore, people who I haven't seen logged on in months have resubbed to see what is going on. I think that many never believed we'd actually leave Faction War --and had to log on just to see for themselves that it was true.

The first days surrounding the move were not easy, to say the least. Primarily, because we started moving after Phoebe--probably the worst possible time to decide to move. A feat that would have been over in a few hours and a few round trips in our carriers and jump freighters now became a nightmarish beast of a project. One-way trips were made with capitals just to move the capitals themselves, and rigs were destroyed as people found alternative ways to move their sub caps half way across the universe.

I handed over both my capitals --an Archon and a Moros --to my CEO, Bahamut,  and he moved them for me,  having better Jump Drive Calibration skills than me. The next day, I logged on to find out he had lost two archons, and in looking at the lossmails...noticed one looked very familiar, complete with Spirits in the cargohold.


Uh oh.

"I kind of got your Archon blown up."


And so, my first ship loss in our new alliance was a ship I wasn't even piloting at the time. However, the Nyx kill that accompanied our losses that day made up for it. Even though few of us USTZ were on that early, I think that killing a super capital within the first 48 hours of an alliance being born is a good omen, indeed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Farewell to Faction War

I’ve been puzzling for several days now on how to write this post. And decided that simplicity was probably the best way to go.

I’ve been in Faction War for over four year now. As much as I have enjoyed it, I have long since been due for a change. The one thing that always held me back was my extreme reluctance to leave everyone in Late Night Alliance –people I’ve flown with so long they practically feel like family.

Some of our Late Night members are veteran militia who have been around since Faction War was implemented into the game. So, it has long been assumed that the possibility of leaving militia would never be on the table.

However, over the last week, something changed. It turns out many of us in LNA have had similar feelings of boredom with Faction War. An opportunity arose, and the CEO of the alliance decided to make a bold decision. 

While the official ‘Late Night Alliance’ will remain behind in Faction War along with anyone who wishes to stay in militia, the large majority of Late Night pilots will be leaving militia –and the Minmatar warzone –as a group.

We will greatly miss our Minmatar friends, and the many memories we have shared. And, we will also miss our Amarrian frienemies who have provided us with many explosions over the years.

Thanks, and so long.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Phoebe: An Idea for Travel

Time to get caught up on looking over the features (and/or changes) coming in Phoebe. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with a rehash of things that have been rehashed to death the last few weeks.
But I do want to resurrect an old idea of mine. An idea that fits in really well, considering what they’re doing in Phoebe. An idea that the more I think of it, the more badly I want CCP to do it, considering the jump drive changes.

And that is the idea of ‘stable’ wormholes. That is, wormholes from known, to known space that are stable enough to last a few days, or even a few weeks, without getting destabilized or etc.

Basically, rare ‘temporary’ gates that are not permanent like regular stargates, but last a bit longer than current wormholes. We don’t even have to call them wormholes, if we don’t want to.

I think it would be interesting, that while CCP is nerfing the entire travel thing, to give us some interesting tools for travel as well. To not just nerf it, but also change how people think about it. Imagine the ability to find ‘secret’ trade routes out to deep null-sec? Imagine the pirates trying to ensnare people along these ‘routes’? Or, perhaps these ‘gates’ could be used as secret highways into hostile territory. Or, used as some sort of secret, backdoor escape route.

And they’d never get boring, or too ‘mapped’ or too camped because they’re still temporary. They’d still disappear after a time and crop up somewhere else, creating a completely new, and different kind of content by connecting people who previously would have never run across each other before.