Actual Play Time!

I got some actual play time this weekend. Still no Internet at home but I did get to play at my parents house while they were playing with the grandkids.

Got a lot of ships moved to a new staging system near the Gallente/Caldari war zone. I’ve officially moved over to the Kadavr Crimson Guard and I’m looking forward to trying out FW.

I’ve also been mapping out a skill plan for an industry alt. Industry is one area of the game I’ve never tried, so I’m going to dip my toe in and see if I can make some ISK. I’m training market skills and I’ve picked out one tech II ship to produce and I’m only picking up industry skills to build that one item. This is just a rough plan for now so obviously I’ll need to do a little more research to make sure I can turn a profit. I plan on building all of the components myself but I’ll have to buy all of the moon goo products they require. If I can’t make a profit producing this single tech II ship I’ll probably fall back to market trading to make ISK until I can identify a profitable product.

I won’t be training my industry character until I’m back online at home, those early skills take too much switching.

Fly fast, die often, leave a frozen corpse!

Meta Human

Are you required to get involved with Eve’s metagame in order to play the game?

First of all let me state that if you’re reading this blog you have crossed over, however slightly, into the metagame community. I also want to say that this is not a rip on Jason from Notalotofnews; I love the show and think he and his partners do a fantastic job.

In Eve we use the term metagame to not only mean using out of game factors to influence in game behavior, but to also describe the blogging and podcasting aspects of the community.

I was listening to the Notalotofnews newshour podcast episode #99, I’m a little behind on my podcasts, and two of the hosts Jason and Frfrmpukin got into a discussion about Eve’s metagame. Jason was bemoaning the fact that a player MUST take some part in the metagame in order to play Eve. He used the example of the uninformed miner during Hulkageddon and the uninformed freighter pilot during Burn Jita. Jason contends that if those two pilots never take part in the metagame then they won’t understand why their ship died and possibly quit the game. Jason doesn’t like being forced to read blogs and listen to podcasts so he can play the game.

In my view no one is forcing you to do anything.

It is completely possible to play Eve and be totally oblivious to the larger metagame and indeed there are quite a few people who play this way. They’re not interested in what’s going on in any other part of the game. No one is forcing that miner or that trader to stretch their awareness of player driven events. They should remember that when you stick your head in the sand you shouldn’t cry about being blindsided. I understand that we have players that don’t do any research before they create their first character, I was one of them. In essence those people start out with their heads buried in the sand. Once that clueless player is made aware of the metagame he is not required to do anything with that knowledge. He is totally free to stick his head back in the sand if he wishes.

Jason seems to think it’s not fair to force people to into the metagame just so they can enjoy Eve. But Eve isn’t fair. Eve is all about other players affecting your game whether you like it or not. If you choose to ignore the Meta community, after becoming aware of its existence, that’s just fine. But expect some surprises.

Jason also asked about the guy who only has an hour a week to play, it’s not fair that the guy has to waste some of his precious play time reading up on all the in game news. He doesn’t have to give up playtime if he doesn’t want to, but the chances of some event taking him by surprise are higher. He has to make a choice about whether to gather information or not. If someone has severely limited playtime I understand, but that person should realize that he could be blindsided by a major event at any time. Even if you don’t have time to read blogs and such you can still talk to people. You can’t throw a lump of Veldspar without hitting someone who is plugged into the metagame. If you’re playing Eve and not talking to the people around you, you’re doing it wrong.

I’m going to use the tired old “kids playing in the sandbox” metaphor here so be ready.

CCP doesn’t give us much to work with content wise, we mainly do that ourselves. CCP built the sandbox, handed us the toys, and said, “Have fun kids.” Occasionally they step in like an adult would to keep things from getting totally out of control (Yes, I know what kind of track record they have there but just go with me.) I’m not required to know what’s happening on the other side of the box to enjoy myself, but that lack of information still might affect me. If, however, I take the time to poke my head out of my corner periodically and listen to what the other kids are doing, I’ll be better prepared if their game spills over into my area. Who knows, I may like their game better and want to join in. If I don’t want to join at least I’ll be prepared to minimize their impact on my sandcastle. If I ignore the other kids then, just like the uninformed miner, my first warning will be a foot stomping down on my castle. I’d have no one to blame but myself. Sure, I could blame the owner of the foot for the destruction but if I took time to gather some information my castle might still be standing.

You’re not always get a warning though. You could read every blog, listen to every podcast, and watch Twitter like a hawk and still be taken unawares. However, the odds of being surprised will definitely be lower.

The metagame is one of the things that makes Eve great. Hearing about the antics of my fellow players helps to maximize my enjoyment of the game, even while I’m trapped offline. If you’re not taking part in the metagame you’re really missing out on an important aspect of the Eve universe.

It’s our job as members of the metagame community to at least make people aware that the metagame exists. If they still want to ignore it then that’s their choice. Even if your playtime is limited you can still talk to the people who do read the blogs and listen to the podcasts. You don’t have any excuse to bury your head in the sand except, “I wanted to.”

Rise up and listen to the world around you. Remember, all that moves is easily heard in the void. Are you listening?

ISP Update

I paid the installation fee on Monday. I have been assured that I will have service at home within a maximum of 10 working days. Obviously based on my experience of the last 6 months I’m not exactly holding my breath here. 10 days or not at least the installation process has begun. Here’s hoping.

What Does it Take to Get on The Goon Hitlist?

I have an extensive list of Eve related blogs I follow using a RSS app on my iPod, 107 at last count. Obviously they don’t all post every day, otherwise I would never have time to read them all. Reading all of those blogs does give a pretty broad perspective on the Eve community. One aspect that has me thinking today is the Ministry of Love division of Goonswarm. For those who don’t know the Ministry Of Love is a Goon death squad whose stated purpose is to grief bloggers, to the point that they quit playing, who write critical or negative posts about the Lord High Goon, The Mittani.

This got me thinking about what kind of posts will get your name added to the death list and how far will the Goons go to get at you?

This post from Mabrick’s Mumblings was enough to get his 3 man corp a war dec.

Mord Fiddle is deliberately trying to provoke the ministry into attacking his one man corp with this post.

The White Rose Conventicle, with 16 members according to Evewho, has been targeted and they are selling the right to become their ally and hunt Goons.

One wonders if The Nosey Gamer will draw the ministry’s attention with his latest post.

There may be even more targets that my small amount of research didn’t turn up. I wonder if the Goons will be publicly posting their death list anywhere?

All of this has got me wondering about what you have to say for Mittens to put your name on the list. Do you need a lot of readers or will even blogs by total nobodies make it into the club if they say the wrong thing? How far are the Goons willing to go to try to silence you? So far as I know The White Rose Conventicle, with 16 members, is the largest corp to get on the list. If a blogger is part of a large alliance will Goonswarm declare war on the entire alliance, which I’ve heard can get very expensive with the new Inferno changes, just to get at one person? If they do go after a large alliance how long will they pursue their vendetta? Even Goonswarm, with their mountain of ISK can’t sustain a multi-billion ISK war bill forever. Will it take deliberate provocation like Mord’s to get you marked for death or will an offhand remark do the trick?

It will be very interesting to see just how far The Mittani will go to silence his critics and if any of his targets will break under the pressure. Whether this effort turns out to be a giant troll of the blogosphere or the birth of the Goonstapo remains to be seen. Either way it will make for some fun reading.

Bear in mind I still don’t have Internet service at home so I won’t be able to respond to comments right away.

Blog Banter 36

Welcome to the thirty-sixth edition of the EVE Blog Banter, the community discussion that brings the collective minds of the EVE blogosphere together to chew the cud, exchange opinions or troll the world.

“With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the best and the worst for EVE Online?”

As the blogosphere warm themselves by the blazing Inferno, they stare wistfully into the flames and conjure memories of expansions past…

This is the first Blog Banter that I have participated in because it got me thinking about how Eve was when I started and how it’s grown over the years.

If you listen to popular opinion Apocrypha is the best expansion ever and Incarna is the worst. Like everything else in life I don’t like to take such a black and white view of the world. Every Eve expansion, even Incarna, has had good parts and bad parts. I never really talk about this expansion or that expansion it’s more of “Hey, remember when they changed this?” That’s what I tend to remember, not the whole expansion, just the bits that affected me or the bits everyone was talking about.

I started playing Eve in August of ’06; the login screen was for Red Moon Rising. Don’t let the date fool you. I haven’t played non-stop from then. I’ve taken 4 breaks away from Eve of 5 months or longer, so I’ve missed a few expansions here and there. Even though I’ve dropped my sub in the past, just like that girl you know is no good for you; I kept coming back for another round.

So instead of naming expansions and discussing what was popular or what flopped I’m going to list some of the cool features and changes that stood out to me. I apologize if I put something in the wrong expansion I tried to be as accurate as I could.

Warp to Zero – I couldn’t find exactly when this little gem hit Tranquility but boy was it a game changer. Before this when you warped to a gate you would stop at about 10k away from the gate and have to burn the rest of the way. There were people at the time that made a ton of ISK making and selling insta-jump bookmarks. People would go about 10k past a gate in line from a station or other gate and create a bookmark. So, instead of warping to the gate itself, you would warp to the bookmark and land right on top of the gate.

Stealth Bombers finally got bombs – Revelations II Expansion – I remember wondering for a long time why they were called Stealth Bombers when there were no bombs. At the time an SB was just a cloaky frigate that could fit big missile launchers. When Revelations II introduced the bomb launchers the name finally fit the ship.

Upgraded Browser – Dominion Expansion – I’ve always liked the idea of having an in game browser but the old one was terrible.

Invention – Revelations I – I didn’t really mess with it when it came out but I remember all the talk about the end of the Tech II lotto system.

The End of the AOE Doomsday – Dominion – Again, not a change that really affected me a bunch but the days of a single Titan wiping out a whole fleet of sub cap ships was over.

0.0 Sov Change – Dominion – Hooray! No more POS bashing to take sov! Oh wait… now we have to bash these other structures to get sov.

Overheating – Revelations II – Yet another aspect of the great risk/reward equation. You can push your modules to get better performance but you run the risk of burning them out and leaving yourself helpless.

The Skill Queue – Apocrypha – This addition is without a doubt one of the major contributors to Apocrypha’s rep as the best expansion, besides the introduction of W-space. No more alarm clock skill changes let a lot of pilots get some uninterrupted sleep.

Faction War – Empyrean Age – Faction War was a big deal when it came out but it didn’t take long for the shiny to wear off and the flaws to become apparent. I went on one of my breaks only a month after Empyrean Age so I don’t remember much more than this.

The Loot All Button – Tyrannis – This made looting a PvP kill a lot quicker thus reducing the time where you had to stay motionless and vulnerable.

The Current System Scanner – Apocrypha – Another feature that added to the success of Apocrypha. Scanning down another ship with the old system was so clunky and complex I never bothered to learn how to use it.

Salvaging – Revelations I – Wrecks became more that loot cans.

That’s mostly what I remember, the changes themselves rather than where they came from. I like to think that just about anything that expands the game in some way is a good thing. I have to admit though that some expansions have been duds as far as what we were promised, (I’m looking at you Dominion and Incarna), but we’ve only truly lost when the game stops expanding at all. I hope that day never comes.

On a side note this just happens to be my 50th post. Who would have thought I’d have this much to say?

Fly fast, die often, leave a frozen corpse!

[For more information on how Blog Banters work, read this post or read previous Blog Banter summaries here.]

Inferno Campers (happy or otherwise):

If Eve Had Its Own Comic Book, Would You Buy It?

I’ve been a big comic book fan since I was just a kid. I collected pretty heavily when I was in high school in the early 90’s, and I managed to keep my mom from throwing them out. I still buy comics to this day, although I tend to buy more TPB (trade paperbacks) and collected editions instead of individual issues. I take my 8 year old son out to see all of the superhero movies (Avengers is awesome!), and I even sit down with him and use them to help him improve his reading skills.

As I’ve matured I’ve come to think of comics as not just cool art and slam-bang action scenes but as a medium for storytelling on par with any novel or movie. Some of the best stories I’ve read haven’t even been from the big name titles. Spider-man, Avengers, X-Men, Superman, Batman and so on are all classics but they tend to be somewhat restrained in what they do by the mythos and history that they have built up over the years. Lately I’ve been branching out and reading things that I never heard of and probably wouldn’t have even glanced at in my youth, especially original works written by Warren Ellis. If you’ve never read Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Global Frequency, Doktor Sleepless, Black Summer, or FreakAngels you should do yourself a favor and check them out.

If Eve had its own comic I would, with a few conditions, buy it. My conditions would be that the art style of the book would have to mirror the art assets of the game, of course. Also I wouldn’t want to just read stories about the machinations of the four empires and the various pirate groups. True, those groups provide a vital element that makes the New Eden cluster what it is but the real story of Eve comes from the actions of its players. I would want to see stories about the shadowy spymaster and Lord High Goon, The Mittani. I want stories about Colonel Roc Wieler and the sultry bad girl of the space lanes Minxee. Who wouldn’t want to read about the Great War between BOB and the Goons, or the rise and fall of mighty empires like the Northern Coalition or the DRF? For the ambitious writer there is more storytelling material in the nine years that Eve has been active than in any other video game universe I can think of. The best part is that over 90% of those stories have come, not from the games setting, but from its participants.

If an Eve comic book existed that told the great stories the players have created alongside the sagas of the four empires and the various pirate factions I would be at the check out counter every month with cash in hand.

Fly fast, die often, leave a frozen corpse!