Farewell

I’m quitting Eve. I suppose I should have done this a long time ago when I first realized that my Eve burnout was not going to end anytime soon. One of the biggest reasons I still remained subbed was because I was afraid that if I came back, everyone would have far more SP than me and I would be “behind the curve” in PvP. But now I realize how silly that is, because I doubt I will return unless CCP somehow manages to drastically increase its player count by attracting new players. And nearly 50 million SP is still quite a lot.

What will I do now that I’ve quit? Well, I have just started college, so I do not have very much time for gaming. But when I do, I mainly play League of Legends. It has the advantage of being far briefer than Eve (60-minute max for a game vs. 3 hours roaming). Plus a lot of my college friends play it (while almost no one has heard of Eve Online). Also, when Star Wars: The Old Republic goes live, I will give that a try with other ex-Pythons.

This blog will go inactive; I do want to blog about other games but do not want to mix content on this blog. I will also stop maintaining the #tweetfleet list. Due to Twitter’s 500-person size restriction on Twitter lists and a lack of any good list management tools, pruning inactive accounts from the #tweetfleet is a fairly time-consuming task. And I feel that my work on the #tweetfleet is done. Just like CrazyKinux’s Blog Pack and blog lists helped promote Eve blogging, the #tweetfleet list helped organize and unify the Eve twitter community (from 15 Twitter accounts in 2009 to over 500 in 2011!). But now that the #tweetfleet has grown, the list has become less practical and less necessary. If someone else wishes to maintain a list, feel free to do so.

It’s been a great two and a half years in Eve. So long, and thanks for all the fish. o/

Farewell Python

After 1 year, 4 months, and 2 days, I have left the Python Cartel.

Make no mistake, I did not leave because my love for Python has diminished in any way. I left because Python has died.

Let me explain. Members of the Python Cartel always joked, “PYTHON IS DYING!!!1!!1!” whenever someone left the corp. We laughed at Spectre’s frequent claims to be quitting. We even laughed when as the most active members of Python such as Andrea Skye and Golden Helmet quit playing because we thought the joke was still a joke. But as time passed and Python grew less and less active, the joke became less funny and more true.

Interestingly enough, CCP dealt the final blow to Python. Like many other players, Python members were upset by CCP’s handling of Incarna and microtransactions. But then CCP permabanned Helicity Boson for his role as a leader in the player mobs. Why was this significant for Python? Helicity was not a mere forum poster and founder of Hulkageddon. Helicity was the current Python CEO, and he was doing what Pythons do best: troll. That was the final straw for most of the remaining Python members, who promptly quit Eve.

So after a year and a half in one of Eve’s most venerable pirate corps, it is time to move on. Python activity is nonexistent and lowsec is dead. As a result, I will be joining a couple other Pythons in Invicta, a former pirate corp that is now part of Rooks and Kings. The change is long overdue. Living as a lowsec pirate was killing my desire to play Eve. One thing I am looking forward to is medium gang warfare, as I love flying logistics and Rooks and Kings has some of the best medium gangs in Eve.

Farewell, Python.

Hello Invicta.

CCP is Killing Eve

It is easy to write off the dissatisfied players and bittervets as anomalies. But are they really only anomalies? Why has nearly every recent devblog produced a threadnaught? Why is subscription plateauing? Is it because the players are becoming less thankful toward CCP?

No.

It is not the players who are at fault. It is CCP, for CCP has forgotten what Eve is.

Eve is not remarkable because of its spaceships. It is remarkable because of its players. The players who run the market, engage in huge fleet fights, and create resources in and out of game are unlike those in any other game. The players are not numerous – only a hundred thousand or so – but they are active and passionate.

CCP, like other MMO creators, wants to expand. But that desire has consumed CCP and blinded it to the players’ wishes. CCP no longer cares about the players. It only cares about the revenue.

CCP’s latest actions have been complete fiascos because of their changed mindset and priorities.

Why does CCP want to implement microtransactions and Aurum? Microtransactions in a free-to-play model are understandable. But Eve is a pay-to-play game.

Why licensing fees for anything and everything related to Eve? CCP is trying to stick their hands into the pockets of players who create killboards, apps, and resources for free. Those players create things and share it because of their love for the community, not because they want to make money off of Eve.

Why only new content? CCP releases new features late and broken, promises updates in the future, and never touches them again. Large chunks of Eve are nearly a decade old and feel like abandonware.

This complete disregard for those who made Eve what it is is incredibly saddening, and I cannot help but wonder what Eve will be in a few years if that continues.

State of the TweetFleet 2011

The TweetFleet, a group of Eve Online players on Twitter, is more active than ever, with hundreds of tweets posted per day by its members. The TweetFleet has grown tremendously since its creation in October 2009: In a year and a half, 40 members has increased to 282. Additionally, some of its members have also created TweetFleet merchandise; links to them can be found on the TweetFleet information page.

While new members are joining the TweetFleet all the time, some older members stop tweeting for various reasons, usually because they no longer play Eve or have forgotten about their Twitter accounts. Until now, I simply left those inactive members in the TweetFleet list, as they might return someday. Unfortunately, Twitter has capped list size at 500 members, a limit that the #TweetFleet list reached last week. Unable to add any new members, I asked the TweetFleet whether I should form a second list or remove inactive accounts from the TweetFleet. There was unanimous support for cleaning the list up, so I moved all members that had not posted a tweet in the past two months to the TweetFleet-Inactive list. The list now contains 282 highly active tweeters (I often have trouble reading all of the TweetFleet’s tweets) and has room to expand once again.

Blog Banter 24: In Real Life

This month’s Banter topic comes to us from the ever helpful Eelis Kiy, capsuleer behind the “Where the frack is my ship“ blog. She asks: How does your real life personality compare to who you are as a character in EVE? Does a good leader of people in the real world make a good leader of pilots in game? Or vice-versa? Do your real-life skills help you with the roles you fulfill in your corporation or alliance? Or do you behave completely differently? Does the anonymity of the Internet allow you to thrive on the tears of others in New Eden whilst you work as a Good Samaritan away from your keyboard? Or are you as mean outside of your pod as you are inside it? Have experiences in EVE Online affected your behavior, skills or attitudes outside of the game?

The blog banter essentially echoes the lyrics of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in asking, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” However, there are a lot of questions being asked so I will answer them individually.

How does your real life personality compare to who you are as a character in EVE?

As would be expected, there are quite a few similarities between my real life persona and my in game persona.

Analytical – In game, I pore over ship fittings, game mechanics, and battles. I spend far more time reading and theorizing about Eve than I actually play it.

Frugal – I dislike wasting ISK. I always pinch pennies, buying the cheapest modules for my ship (most of my ships are not even rigged) and flying inexpensive ships (the only faction ship I fly is the Slicer, which costs 20 million). I also hate seeing wrecks go unsalvaged, a trait that my corp mates often tease me about.

Quiet – I do not talk much unless I have a good reason to. One of the byproducts of this is that sometimes my corp mates will constantly say “Hi Sage” on Vent until I say something.

Competitive – I do not play to lose. If I am poor at flying a particular ship, I will switch to something I am better at. If I lose a fight due to my own mistakes, I will berate myself and resolve to do better.

Loyal – I value loyalty and trust as much in game as out of game. That is the reason why, during my two years in Eve, I have only switched corporations twice (once because the CEO was abusing his power and once because my corp did not PvP much).

Despite the similarities, there are also some differences.

Pen Fifteen Club – Being a member of the Python Cartel and a valiant Defender of Pen isLand, I sing of the virtues of certain male parts. In real life, this is not the case.

Smack talk – It is well know that smack talk is an art perfected by the Python Cartel (what other corporation comes back from roams with half its members gagged by GMs?). I often smack talk opponents in local, often accusing them of having small genitalia and equally small brains and courage. In real life, most of my friends consider me to be a nice, caring guy (which I really am, honest!).

Does a good leader of people in the real world make a good leader of pilots in game?

Although I do not have a leadership position in game (aside from managing the Tweetfleet) due to not playing frequently enough and having poor internet, I believe that a good leader is effective both in and out of Eve.

Does the anonymity of the Internet allow you to thrive on the tears of others in New Eden whilst a Good Samaritan away from your keyboard?

I commented earlier in this post about how I smack in game but am nicer out of game, so initially it would appear that I indeed “thrive on the tears of others in New Eden whilst a Good Samaritan away from the keyboard.” But I do not believe this is the case. Schadenfreude is not one of my traits. I smack for fun, not tears. And I PvP for fun, not tears. Things like can baiting, ninja salvaging, and neutral RR do not appeal to me. Many times after killing a new player I will convo them to teach them about Eve, lowsec, and PvP and give them ISK to buy a better ship.

Additionally, the anonymity of the Internet is not something I take advantage of. As stated earlier, I value loyalty and trust. I have never ‘Pythoned’ anyone (invite a newb to fleet, warp to them, and kill them). I have never used aggression mechanics to kill people in highsec. I have never scammed or stolen. Of course, I am not judging people who engage in such activities; I merely do not do them myself.

Have experiences in EVE Online affected your behavior, skills or attitudes outside of the game?

To the best of my knowledge, no. All the similarities I listed were already present out of game, and the differences obviously are not present out of game (otherwise they would be similarities, not differences).

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Other Blog Banters Articles:

    1. EVE Blog Banter #24: Be, all that you can be, and so much more!
    2. BB24:RL + EVE = | A Mule In EvE
    3. Freebooted: BB 24: You Talking to Me?
    4. where the frack is my ship?: Blog Banter 24: Behind the keyboard
    5. (OOC) CK’s Blog Banter #24: I Am Prano. « Prano’s Journey
    6. mikeazariah » Blog Archive » BB24 Who are you, who hoo woo hoo
    7. Drifting: The 24th EVE Blog Banter (January 2011 Edition) – Topic: EVE and Real Life
    8. Victoria Aut Mors » Blog Archive » Eve Blog Banter #24 – Where Eve Meets Real Life
    9. Who is more real?? « The Durzo Chronicles
    10. Captain Serenity: blog banter #24 – Personalities
    11. Confessions of a Closet Carebear: EVE and Real Life (EVE Blog Banter #24)
    12. The 24th EVE Blog Banter – EVE and Real Life – The Phoenix Diaries
    13. » EvE Blog Banter #24: EVE and Real Life EvE Blasphemy
    14. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Alt « the hydrostatic capsule
    15. Blog Banter #24 – Me « Roc’s Ramblings
    16. Blog Banter: Personalities in game and out of game
    17. Fiddler’s Edge: Game Face – Eve Blog Banter #24
    18. Progression’s Horizon: Blog Banter 24- Synonymous or Anonymous?
    19. More to come….

      On Learning Skills

      A recent devblog announcing the removal of learning skills has once again polarized the Eve community. While a majority of players hail the removal as a step forward for Eve (and for new players in particular), a significant minority disagree with the change. This post is for those critics. Let me try to explain why the change is beneficial.

      So, why remove learning? I could respond by arguing that it makes the system unnecessarily complex or that it consumes two months of training time during which players cannot do anything new. But I will not, because the wrong question is being asked. A better question than “Why remove learning?” is “Why keep learning?” Do the learning skills provide any positives?

      Proponents of learning skills argue that there is a choice, that new players do not have to train learning skills. But that is a patently false claim, as everyone does train learning. Does anyone tell players not to train those skills? Why is it that all the supporters of preserving learning skills have them trained? The reality is that fundamentally there is no choice. Sooner or later, you will train them. And the sooner, ideally while the 100% training bonus is active, the better. If the learning skill supporters sincerely believed that training learning was not necessary, they would not have trained it.

      So there is no choice. What do the learning skills do then? Like any other part of Eve, they add complexity. Is that beneficial? Yes and no. Eve is intricate, and (in)famous for that. If you want to do PvE, you need to master ship fittings, cap stability, NPC triggers, agent standings, loyalty points, loot drops, salvage, and efficiency. If you want to do trade and industry, you need to master market manipulation, regional market differences, mineral pricing, production efficiency, location, and timing. If you want to do PvP, you need to master fittings, ship types, ship capabilities, maneuvering, tackling, tracking, ship radii, missile operation, cap management, fleet operation, and leadership.

      Those are just a few of the paths you can take in Eve. All are complex, daunting for both fledgling players and seasoned veterans. Yet despite all their differences, they have one thing in common: choice. You choose to PvE. You choose to trade. You choose to manufacture. You choose to PvP. That is what makes Eve a sandbox.

      But wait. The paths have another thing in common: the necessity of learning skills. Whichever path you take, you still must train learning. Let that idea sink in for a moment.

      When you have no choice but to train them, why are they present? Should all new players be forced to train skills like “Becoming a Capsuleer” and “Pod Operation” upon starting a character? Obviously not. Yet how are those any different from learning skills? You have no choice in training them and they simply raise the learning curve. And when everyone but week-old players trying to figure out what Eve is all about (and even in their trial period they are being instructed to train learning skills) has them, what is the benefit?

      It should be apparent by now that learning skills add nothing but artificial intricacy to Eve while forcing players to spend two months of their subscription in training them. But even the arguments presented may not convince some, as some critics of the removal of those skills seem to revel in the pain those cause. One person even stated, “I am more mad that the system goes from gradually-reaching-max rate to EVERYONE-at-max. There should be a little pain.” For those people, perhaps the desire to retain learning skills is due to schadenfreude. Or perhaps it is due to the “Back in my day…” superiority syndrome. Or perhaps a mix of both. Whatever it is, they must realize that Eve still requires time investment. Players still need to sweat for a month over Cruiser V before they can hop in a T2 cruiser. Players still need to train leadership to give bonuses to their fleet. That has not changed. What has changed is that unnecessary complexity has been removed, enabling players to concentrate on working toward their desired spot in the sandbox of Eve.

      The Decline of Lowsec

      Arrhidaeus recently wrote a post bemoaning the fact that quality PvP is noticeably disappearing from lowsec, and I completely agree. When I started PvPing, things were markedly different. I remember when Amamake was known as a good place to get good fights, not ganks. I remember when armor tanks were viable for solo work because you didn’t have to worry about running away from blobs all the time. I remember when you could put afterburners on frigates because speed wasn’t the only thing keeping you alive. I remember when blasters were used as much as Barrage. I remember when you could go solo roaming in a ship larger than a frigate without worrying about camps on every gate. I remember when you saw a ship on directional scan and immediately warped to it without trying to figure out if it was bait. I remember when there actually was stuff to shoot and going 50 jumps without a single encounter was unheard of.

      Why is this? Maybe people have moved to nullsec. Maybe the type of people playing Eve have changed. Maybe the good PvPers have moved on to other games. Maybe ship changes have slowly made small gang and solo PvP obsolete. Maybe it is something else. I do not know the reason why lowsec has changed. All I know is that I can sense it dying.

      You may have wondered why my posting has slackened lately. This is why. Nowadays I rarely get any joy from logging into Eve. I log in, cast a wistful glance over the ships in my hangar and wish I could fly that Rupture without getting ganked, undock in a MWD and disruptor fit frigate, roam around a little, see nothing in space (or run into a battleship gang), dock, and log. I tell myself that something will change and the glorious days of PvP will return but know that nothing in the upcoming expansions and patches supports that notion. So I log in less and less.

      Perhaps I have changed, not lowsec. Perhaps I have simply become a cranky old veteran who likes to talk about the good old days. Perhaps I just need to explore new things. Maybe. But for now, all I know is that spending hours on a fruitless roam has no appeal. All I know is that the adrenaline rushes during PvP have stopped. And all I know is that my enthusiasm is dying like lowsec.

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