Archive for March, 2010

Where ever you go – there you are.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 by cailais

Quite a few bloggers are putting down their ‘systems Ive visited. So here’s mine ūüôā

Any other business?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2010 by cailais

The latest CSM 4 meeting minutes are out, and announce a number of changes in how the CSM might be expected to function and interact with CCP in the future.  The minutes are a fairly lengthy read, and as is the case with minutes, are pretty general and non-specific. You can find them in full here.

One of the more interesting suggestions was that the CSM panel term would last for a full year (as opposed to the 6 months currently in place). ¬†There are pros and cons to this of course; on the plus side it means the CSM can gain in experience and align their recommendations to a longer period of the development cycle. ¬† It might also allow the voting process to become a ‘bigger’ and better supported even in the EVE Online Calender – rather than the 6 month roll around which can inflict more ‘voter apathy’.

From the Blog a more concerning comment was –

“Tim, aka Sokratesz commented that ”I was very skeptical initially, but the trip has convinced me that CCP has an active interest in the playerbase and is willing to listen. One of the best moments for me was when Noah [CCP Hammer] grabbed a pen to take notes during a heated debate between council members.

Really? I mean is the act of a Dev taking notes so uncommon at these meetings that it becomes one of those ‘best moments’?! Anyway moving on…

“The debate is whether to encourage or enforce smaller fights through game design or whether we have to focus on supporting even bigger fights or distribute the lag more evenly between the fleet jumping in and the fleet that already is already there and already has the grid loaded”.

My personal view here is that CCP should aim to encourage (not enforce) smaller fights through game design. The idea of distributing lag more evenly strikes me as something of a cop out and pretty illogical: lag isnt good and it remains ‘not good’ no matter how evenly you dish it out. ¬†Having posted this question to the CSM did they come back to ask our opinion? Erm no…

“The CSM would not like to see very large fleet fights discouraged through game design but feels there is a need for a fair distribution of lag caused by grids not loading”.


I can only hope that this was a of the minutes being taken down incorrectly. ¬†I don’t to see large fleet flights discouraged either; but I do feel that they are becoming increasingly endemic through a lack of any other option.

For the most part I would imagine you enjoy flying with a select group of friends. Perhaps up to a dozen really good buddies. And that’s the essence of a small gang and the area that a huge number of players say they enjoy the most. ¬†But what, in strategic terms, can such a small group do to effect the course of a war? What static (or otherwise) objective exist outside of the FW mechanics that support gangs of this size – and more importantly have an advantage over a bigger fleet? ¬†Unfortunately the CSM has spoken and CCP now have a good excuse not to put much needed effort into developing EVE towards supporting small gang warfare. ¬†Perhaps you disagree, if so I would love to hear your thoughts.

There’s not too much comment out there on the blogo’sphere about CSM IV which is slightly disappointing as it runs the risk of the CSM becoming a slightly dusty old meeting where Nozh doodles furiously onto a piece of paper to avoid falling asleep whilst our¬†erstwhile¬†representatives drone on and on about how Railguns just dont do the same amount of damage as they did in the good ol days. ¬†However Bryan Ward over at EVOGANDA does have an alternative perspective – check it out!

C.

Useful Stuffs

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2010 by cailais

EVE Online is a vast vast Universe and endless fascinating. ¬†But the depth of EVE can be daunting and sometimes finding the information you want or just a new perspective isn’t all that easy.

However, there is a tremendous range of useful websites, apps, blogs and podcasts out there so I thought I’d drop down just a few with a brief summary of each. ¬†Im sure you’ll be familiar with most but you just never know!

(edit: there are other sites and alternatives available – this is just a few! Dont pod me if your favourites not here!!)

SKILLS: Capsuleer – if you’re an iphone user you cant do badly wrong by using this handy skill tracking app. ¬†Links in to trawl Crazy Kinux’s ‘Blog Pack’ as well as EVE Online Dev Blogs, free to install find it here: ¬†http://capsuleer.evesuite.com/ or on itunes app store.

Time is money. ¬†Well it is when you’re training up to fly a TITAN: EVE Mon is the industry standard for crushing your spirit at how long becoming uber will take. Dead useful though: http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1038916

KNOWLEDGE: The official EVE Wiki has a good range of information, corp backgrounds and guides.  Not the most transparent site to navigate around but pretty useful nonetheless Рhave a look here: http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Main_Page

Stuck out in null sec, no alt and want to know how much that named Railgun is worth? Take a look at EVE Metrics, which compiles player submitted data on everything market: http://www.eve-metrics.com/

Information is power and knowing what’s what in that system next door could be a pod saver:¬†http://evemaps.dotlan.net/ has a monstrous amount of information available, and some might argue even better than the in game map for recon at a distance.

SOCIAL:¬†http://www.crazykinux.com/ Looking for¬†humorous, topical,¬†knowledgeable ramblings from your fellow pod pilots? Crazy Kinux’s blog and associated ‘blog pack’ has all this and more for the blog hungry pilot.

If your not inclined, or just don’t have the time, to read a blog or ten then consider 00sage00’s tweetfleet list:¬†http://twitter.com/00sage00/tweetfleet a varied collection of eve twits chirping away. A great source of news, rumour and gossip in handy 140 character chunks.

CHRIBBA POWER: If there’s ¬†a ghost in the machine he’s almost certainly in Chribba’s servers. ¬†A vault of unbeaten data from EVE films to screen shots and forum sigs ¬†http://www.eve-files.com/. Also as useful http://eve-offline.net/ to check if CCPs server hamsters have expired or in fact its your router that’s making that burning smell. ¬†Cant find that forum post you read, trolled or ignored 3 months ago but¬†absolutely have to read right now? Well good luck if you’re using the EVE Online guess engine: try Chribba’s¬†¬†http://www.eve-search.com/ instead!

FITTING & UNFITTING: Ships – they need fitting, but to avoid splashing out on that faction Micro Warp Drive only to find you’re 1cpu short use EVE Fitting Tool!¬†http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=548883

Ships Рthey need blowing up.  Find out whose blowing up whom in what at http://www.battleclinic.com/(for the more experimentally minded perhaps an alternative is on the horizon? : Eve Arena Killboard)

RANTS & RAVES:¬†http://www.scrapheap-challenge.com/ EVE Onlines forums are all very well, but they’re patrolled by the forum mods and might be …oooh i dunno..a bit biased? Scrapheap Challenge is where the bad boys (& girls) of EVE hang out.

Pod casts Рthere are a few but one which seems to be currently pretty reliable and frequent is the Podded Podcast.  Catch up with Dillon and War Childe here: http://podded.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=585684#

Hope some of that is useful to some of you.

C.

Ten Ton Torfi Talks Tyrannis

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 by cailais

Ten Ton Hammer has a new interview up with CCP Dev & Senior Producer Torfi √ďlafsson – here.

Quite a lot of information to chew over within there.  There is a clear emphasis the Planetary Interaction (PI) will be accessible to everyone in EVE, across all Planets and in every system: even W Space.

There’s also a strong hint that PI will have some role to play in the production of NPC Market Items – i.e those items which are simply seeded on the market and require no Player input to manufacture:

One of our goals with planetary interaction is to phase out these NPC created commodities, because we want to put the power into the hands of the players and make EVE even more sandbox-y than it is“.

This overall I think is pretty good news, and I think most of EVE will welcome a market economy that is 99% Player driven although it will of course bring a certain amount of uncertainty with it. ¬†I think we can start to see how PI will be implemented and EVE’s current structure gives us some clues.

At best we can expect some form of 3D map interface, perhaps with a planet sphere or globe that can be rotated to indicate where across the planet surface we can expect to see an installation. ¬†While this would be ‘uber cool’ I think this is pretty unlikely. What we can be sure of is that we wont have such a view from space: ever noticed how you cant warp to the ‘other side’ of a planet from another player?

At worst we’ll have something along the lines of the current manufacturing interface – devoid of any juicy territory info, and just some bland stats of what’s coming off the production line in 10d34min15sec.

Also it seems we wont get to enslave the locals with crowd control measures, tear gas or mini nukes Рat least not initially:

“We’re not expecting to be able to go that much into population control, in this expansion. This iteration is more about scanning for great deposits, mining them, building up infrastructure to refine them, and manufacturing stuff out of them on the surface of the planets. Then launching it into space to be used by players”.

That’s sad news and seems at odds with Torfi’s first comment:

“Players will finally get access to and be capable of meddling in the affairs of entire planets. The pilots were unhappy with just roaming the skies and controlling the universe from above. So now they are interested in the trillions of people that live on these planets...”

Hmm. Well if we’re meddling what are we meddling with exactly? Its possible that Chribba has advanced skills in Veldspar meddling but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to ‘meddle’ with a pile of mineral type resources. ¬†I can see that CCP have a wider plan (DUST 514) that hopefully will involve or at least impact upon a planets population but there seems little to suggest and emphasise the Immortal power of the capsuleer here. ¬†I cant really lord it over a pile of resources, even if they are cattle.

Even more worrying is the revelation that DUST 514 will be focused on the conquest of Low and Null Sec planets РHigh Sec planets look like they could become a really very cosy source of AFK income? Perhaps.  But we might just see the Empire War Dec starting to have real relevance if you could blockade a planet or sufficiently hamper a players ability to harvest and maintain it within Empire.

The general direction of PI looks interesting, even promising, from this perspective but I just have this niggling feeling that as more details emerge we will find that PI is actually rather limited in scope – and I for one am preparing myself for a diverting ‘mini game’ rather than a full blown feature of political intrigue and military conquest. ¬†Perhaps thats because CCP are wary of getting too many accusations of trying to re make Civilisation in space: but I cant really see that as a bad thing per se. ¬†A grand ‘chess board’ of strategy would be a tremendous element to add onto the EVEscape and I feel we may well be getting something all together different.

Doom & gloom? Well not entirely, as those who already enjoy the industrial and trading aspects of EVE as they exist now will no doubt rejoice at having some more stuff to mine and a new branch of skills to learn to improve said mining.  And of course the every present pirates will be licking their collective lips at the chance to gank a hapless hauler or two.  Quite how excited they will be to find a cargo hold full of Dairy Products or Amarrian Wheat however is yet to be seen.

Assuming though you are in the market to grab yourself a continent or two what planet might suit you? ¬†Well with 65,000 planets such a search could be exhaustive right? Well lucky if you’re a bit of a couch¬†potato fear not as Katiasae of blog To Boldy Go has set up the task of exploring every single planet in EVE…and you can see some of Katiasae’s results so far on his blog page. ¬†¬†And if that’s not enough for you why not drop by ‘A Mule In Eve‘ and check out this insane web of social interactions apparently dug up from the Kugutsman forum. ¬†Interesting stuff – but erm…I think it just shows that folks in EVE know er…other folks in EVE? Amusing at any rate!

C.

Stealth’em up!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2010 by cailais

Trawling through the F&I forums can lead to compact little gold nuggets of truly great ideas. ¬†Buuuut more often than not you’ll just see a re hash of old ideas – or more precisely old moans.

Today’s one of those days, but seeing as there is an umpteenth post on the slippery subject of ‘cloaking’ I think I should at least come clean and offer up my own view on the subject.

Firstly I should “fess up” and admit it….I use cloaks. ¬†There I’ve said it. ¬†In fact I love cloaking ships for a number of reasons, not least that I have always held a soft spot for anything even remotely ‘sneaky’ in pretty much any game I have played. ¬†I am, in that D&D parlance the classic ‘Rogue’ character type. ¬†Cloaks also enable me to do what I equally enjoy which is exploration. ¬†Exploring, wandering – however you want to call it – means that from time to time you’re going to put yourself in areas that are pretty dangerous and you’re going to be pretty much alone doing it.

Cloaks have a few troubling characteristic of course, they’re a binary mechanic (either ‘on’ or ‘off’) so you can either be located – or you can’t – and I can see why that probably grates on some peoples fragile nerves. ¬†They’re also infinite, in the sense they never run out of gas or wear off. ¬†All of which means that its childs play to sit, AFK, in a star system for hours, even days, completely invulnerable. ¬†Just like sitting in a station then.

Local also has it’s part to play – because whilst a cloak hides your physical ship from being seen or targeted it doesn’t conceal you from the local chat channel. ¬†So you’re “sorta sneaky but not”. ¬†In fact its probably fair to say you are only stealthy against those who are too lazy to stay alert and watch for trouble.

There has been some talk from CCP about changing the intel interface within EVE Рbut when Ive considered this problem I always end up drawing to a few fundamental conclusions.  What would a scanning system need to do?

1. Allow you to have a fair indication of potential targets at a glance.

2. Allow you to have a fair degree of warning of potential hostile threats at a glance.

3. Not reveal to much ‘fine detail’ about point 1 or 2 without extra effort.

When you consider local channel it actually does all of that already.  Even the current cloaking system does not detract from these fundamentals Рalthough it resolutely clamps out point 3; whilst sacrificing the ability to do anything but cloak.

All in all I tend to view the topic of local and cloaks as something that is pretty much fine as it is.  Remove local and you give too much power to the cloaked vessel, allow cloaks to be probed down and you defeat much of their purpose.  I often think that commentators in this subject area actually want far less risk in EVE for their particular perspective and either way you swing the pendulum you will end up disadvantaging the other party.

C.

Incarna ‘Lite’

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 by cailais

EVE Online’s expanding, but not by the number of star systems but in it’s medium.

We know a scarce amount about the fiddly details of this ‘future EVE’ but will do know that it will consist of a number of different (but related) elements:

EVE Online – Spaceships, on the interwebs!

DUST 514 ¬†– Console based shoot’em up

EVE Gate – “Facebook” ¬†for EVE

Incarna – Avatars and walking about in stations

Which brings me to a curio on the F&I forum this week by ‘Silken mouth‘. ¬†Silken describes Incarna as a means by which players could interact with EVE Online, albeit at a reduce level of functionality and at a lower (perhaps even free) subscription cost. ¬†Its a fascinating idea – could we have a series of ‘tiers’ of players within the EVE Online Universe?

Mortals (non subscribers) could access some elements of WiS, walking around, selling some goods on a market, accepting in station missions and so forth whilst unable to access the higher level structures which are exclusively the domain of the Immortal Capsuleer? Could we, as capsuleers have fawning devotees responding to our whims and directions?

The degree and depth to which someone interacts with the EVE Universe could therefore be quite variable from the ultra casual player who simply exists within a station, and perhaps as a presence in EVE GATE to the hard corp pod pilot gunning his star ship through the Ether!

But, by shifting our focus away from the origins of EVE (interwebs spaceships) do we risk detracting from it? Could what we recognise now as EVE become actually something of a side show to the bigger world of ‘guns & clothing’ for Incarna / DUST 514? ¬†It seems unlikely but it does place CCP in something of a¬†quandary: if Incarna is too good will anyone un-dock to play the original elements of the game? If its not good enough is there any value in adding it?

My personal view is that if Incarna encourages a deeper and wider universe of players then we should be encouraged by that – even if we cant shoot them in the face (in game).

C.

Maybe tomorrow…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 by cailais

One of the more interesting topics that has emerged on the Feature and Ideas forum has been Hive Ships.  Daedalus II writes;

It’s really hard to live a self supporting nomadic lifestyle in EVE in my opinion, and that is sad as it’s a very cool way of life that is missing from EVE. The game more or less force a group of people to stay in one place because to move in a safe manner you all have to be online at once (a real problem when you start coming up to 100 people). There is also the issue of industry. A nomadic fleet would have to bring a crapload of POSes to be able to produce what they need and that’s just not very user friendly“.

He goes on to propose the Hive Ship – a gargantuan ‘TITAN’ESQ” ship that would act rather like a mobile station. ¬†The idea, on the surface, sounds pretty appealing offering a chance for those corps with itchy feet to roam the star lanes at their leisure.

But it did get me thinking – do we actually need such a ship, and do we not have almost all the elements in place for a nomadic lifestyle to be a reality?

For a short time I was lucky enough to fly with¬†Galactic Geographic, a corporation who are exclusively nomadic. ¬†They take pride in their rejection of ‘station life’ and for the majority of their pilots their existence is one of prolonged periods floating in space and they never see the inside of a station for weeks on end.

We certainly have a number of tools at our disposal to make such a concept a reality. ¬†In terms of ship storage and maintenance we can look to both the Orca and its big brother the Rorqual as our ‘base ships’ of choice. ¬†Their¬†maintenance bays allow pilots to swap out and change modules, and the corp hangars offer a moderate storage capacity for ships and supplies.

Of course, logistics will be a primary concern for the nomadic fleet but again CCP have made available the solutions Рboth the Jump Freighter and the Blockade Runner give us options in terms of ferrying out replacement ships and equipment.  Combined with Covert Ops ships and Black Ops jump portals and even the usual barriers of null / low sec gate camps become much reduced.

EVE’s a harsh and often unforgiving mistress – not least for our squishy pilots – whom from time to time are going to loose a POD or two. ¬†Again the Rorq provides at least the cloning facilities to provide medical aid – although there are clearly some restraints here.

To all intents and purposes then we have, more or less, everything an aspiring nomad could want.  However there are exceptions.  Most glaringly is the lack of any form of industry: we have no production ships in EVE where we can manufacture modules, ammunition, drones or new ships.

A fantastic addition to the¬†panoply¬†of ships then in my view would be a manufacturing ship (in fact considering how EVE so often looks like an RTS writ large its surprising we don’t have one already) that could churn out those ‘need to haves’ but in the depths of space. ¬†Either the Orca or the Rorq with a suitable module could equally do the same type of job.

Which leaves us with Daedalus II’s other problem “to move in a safe manner you all have to be online at once (a real problem when you start coming up to 100 people)”. Im slightly less sympathetic here – for one I think the nomadic lifestyle aught to have its challenges, and coordinating your tribes move across space is surely a part of that?

Whilst a ‘move everyone too..’ button would be nice it seems to me to rather defeat the purpose of being nomadic and taking away a good part of the challenge of sweeping up stragglers and planning ahead.

Perhaps the forthcoming EVE Gate addition to EVE Online will provide CEOs and Directors of nomadic corps with better tools in this regard, allowing them to plan and communicate the corps move through space.  However, we should note that the nomadic lifestyle does tend to lend itself better to smaller groups (as we see in reality) and once we start looking at numbers in the hundreds we might be better off talking about migration rather than the truly nomadic lifestyle.

‘There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again’

C.