Tuesday, July 4, 2017

All Quiet...

Last post, Dec 16... 8 months ago. What's up? The same, and not.
The divorce is, well, it's what it is... don't ask. Did not go as planned... go figure.

Me? Working full time, creating a totally new life out of the ashes of the old... you know, simple easy stuff. So, as you may have gleaned I'm still pretty busy.

Not much to say other than that, what's worth it (or legally neutral enough) to commit to recycled electrons...

Kids are well, at least as far as it goes given the circumstances. My dottir graduated on the honor roll, with awards for Latin and Strings (she's a 3rd year cellist). My son... he too graduated but, well not quite the same shine, but he's still mine. Work goes well. Still just the IT Support standard of puttin' out fires... some old, some new. The rest is either boring or is covered under lawyer, client privilege.

So, I'm still here just not in EVE. I do hope to make the time once things settle a bit. Keep a beacon burning for me and wish me some luck... =]

Fly however you damn well please! and hopefully see you in the sky... =/|)=

Monday, December 19, 2016

Still here, and yet… not

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been away for a while. Last post was in August actually, 4 months ago. I have not been logging on except like once or twice and obviously haven’t blogged at all.

Back in January of this year I posted about some RL issues, namely my pending divorce from my wife of 15 years… I moved out and then in April we reconciled and decided to give it one last try…

Well, last try was what it was. As of this October we are again separated and I am again looking for a place and going through the paperwork to divorce.

We are still basically copacetic, we are not lawyering up, we have basic agreements in place re the kids, house, property and finances. No one who knows us can ever say we did not really try to make it work, but it just doesn’t anymore and this is the least worst of a host of bad outcomes. So it goes.

As for EVE… my time has been simply eaten with the needs of RL. And this is as it should be. EVE is, first and last just a game. Granted it is the most amazing and engaging game (hobby, pastime, electronic virtual addiction) ever invented by the mind of man… but in the end it is a game and real life, my kids, career, health and wellbeing are always greater than any game… no matter how good it is.

As for Tur… he’s in Amarr and I am still paying to keep the skill Q full, as I do not “intend” on bagging it all in quite yet. I do want to come back and fly the deadly skies with friends and frenimies both old and new one day… but only time will tell, I know not what my future will bring.

Wish me luck... and raise a glass with me to all those who have made a home, for however long, in the skies of New Eden.

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Whar’s My Black Pearl?

~or “Remember CCP, Black Goes with Everything…”

I want a Black Ship. I want ALL my ships to be Black. I wan Glossy Black and dull non-reflective, light and radar and ladar and shmadar absorbing BLACK SHIPS!

Why do we not have ANY All Black SKINS??? As you can see above I finally caved and bought a PermaSKIN… the Sanctuary SKIN for the Astero. Cost me 386m ISK it did. Worth it? Not really… but as CCP has for whatever reason decided Black is not a “color” so the Sanctuary Navy Blue SKIN is a close as I am getting today so what the hell…

I do like it… I mean it’s the first SKIN I felt was anywhere near worth spending the ISK on. And being a wormholer and living by the cloak and scan, I have lived in one of my ‘stero’s except for combat and sites Ops since they were introduced.

Ya gotta admit… the details are very cool. But just imagine if she was as black as space…

Oh and one last thing. How incredibly cool would it be if they did offer a set of Black SKINS… One set shiney and purty… one set dull, no reflective and all ‘hidey’… and one set, the really expensive one, that is dull black, can turn off your exterior lights AND is radar/ladar/et.,/etc. absorbent?

IE a SKIN that makes you invisible to DScan. The trade off being you can’t use the Cov Ops cloak…  Hmmmmmmm… interesting possibilities huh?

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Adrenaline Junkies Online…

~or “A Case Against Trammelization…”

I have doubts this post will be taken or understood the way I mean it… it’s a complex thing I want to try and say, but I am going to try anyway cause I think it needs to be said.

There has been a lot of talk-talk of late about how EVE is Dying and how EVE PVE sucks midget donkey balls…

One, I disagree that EVE is dying. It is aging and changing as all things do, but I personally do not believe it is going to or will go dark in the foreseeable future and,

Two I also strongly disagree that PVE is being neglected and that and the general “horrid state” of EVE’s PVE is causative in this much vaunted mythical deathspiral EVE is supposed to be in.

If there is any chance for me to be understood some background is in order.

For them as don’t know it the core group of guys, many if not all, who created CCP in order to create EVE, were Ultima Online players back in the day. EVE was created to be similar to Ultima Online in some very important ways, while learning some lessons from some of the mistakes made in UO.

For them as don’t know Ultima Online was one of the early MMORPGs and as a matter of fact Lord British (Richard Garriott) the creator of UO was the guy who coined the term MMORPG. UO was an open world, unrestricted PVP, persistent virtual world. You could go anywhere, you could take part in and do anything in PVE that was available in the game mechanics… and you could attack and kill, or be killed by, anyone… anytime, anywhere… unrestricted and unforgiving Player versus Player interaction, both working together and in aggression.

Now as these things go, the vast majority of gamers then as today, prefer to play safer games. Games where they are always the winner, where they can’t lose their stuff or be griefed and scammed or basically, as they see it, bullied. Yet… there is a segment of the gaming population, a particular demographic if you will, of players who run the gamut from dyed in the wool carebears to complete asshole spawn camping griefers… all of whom prefer an unsafe game. This is a group of Adrenaline Junky Gamers who find safe PVE only themeparks too bland and boring to really enjoy… and we are not the majority.

Now, here’s the thing. Games like these, really unsafe dangerous risky games, can also be simply terribad or simply amazing neither of which is dependent on their unsafe nature but on the Dev’s and their vision and how the games is crafted and developed. In UO that vision was very good for its day and it captured not just the above mentioned Adrenaline Junkie Gamers but it also, of course, caught the attention of a lot of other gamers who were simply attracted to the game and its new PVE and gameplay mechanics.

Now a lot of these other gamers are not Adrenaline Junkies… and many of these players hated the Open Unrestricted PVP aspects of UO. Many, a LOT, left immediately or shortly after they ran into it. Some of those who stayed were actively targeted by that segment of players who are the Bully Griefers, who’s main enjoyment in the game was seeking out noobs and PVE only players and attacking them mercilessly, sometimes as if Mittens himself had given the drunken order.

Over time the hue and cry against Unrestricted PVP in UO made all the :words: ever posted against unrestricted PVP in EVE pale in comparison. So much so that Gordon Walton, former VP of Online at Origin Systems and Executive Producer of UO, made the decision to split the game space into PvP and PvE worlds. The original open world server it started with, now called Felucca and another mirror server with highly restricted PVP rules, basically a PVE only server called… Trammel.

Now… here’s the part where the PVE Only crowd will howl with glee…

The unrestricted PVP that made UO such an intense game was “…clearly driving away approx. 70+% of all the new players that tried the game within 60 days.

The following is quoted directly from this Reddit post by Gordon Walton;

“The good: After the change which broke the game space into PvP and PvE worlds, the player base and income nearly doubled (we went from 125k to 245k subs). So from a fiscal responsibility standpoint it was a totally winning move.

The bad: Without the "sheep to shear" the hard core PvP'ers were disenfranchised. They didn't like preying on each other (hard targets versus soft targets), and they became a smaller minority in the overall game. The real bad though, was that the intensity and "realness" of the game for all players was diminished. This was the major unintended consequence.”


Inherent in the UO brand was the fact it was a gritty, hard core world of danger. We were not successful in bringing back the (literally) 100's of thousands of players who had quit due to the unbridled PvP in the world (~5% of former customers came back to try the new UO, but very few of them stayed). We discovered that people didn't just quit UO, they divorced it in a very emotional way. But we did keep more of the new players that came in by a large margin, significantly more than than the PvP players we lost.

Now I am sure this will be an orgasmic "OH MY GOD! SEE!! SEE!!! CCP IS DOING IT ALL WRONG!!!!" moment for Angry and all who feel as he does. But I have read much over the years about the who and why of CCP and EVE and I firmly believe the people who run CCP, IE Hilmar Pétursson, Reynir Harðarson, Torfi Frans Ólafsson and company would all agree with this statement…

…the push for bigger audiences leads directly to more "accessible" experiences. (that's code for directed experiences, that are more forgiving, less intense games which cater a broader group of players). There are plenty of big companies out there making those types of games (and plenty of players who want them). WoW and every other themepark out there are the games that fill this need. WoW has 8 million players alone, the themepark model is being served.

CCP wanted to do something different. I quote from an old pcgamer article, The Making of EVE Online from Jan 24, 2011: ”Reynir explains how, at launch, mining – seen as overly passive – was designed that way: “There's nothing to it, there's no minigame to play. But when you're in dangerous sectors, you feel like you're trespassing, even if nothing happens. Hilmar leans in again with another take on it. “Because it's so passive, people have so much time to socialize and communicate. They're naturally filling the vacuum.” The mining mechanic is the perfect confluence of developer-led decision making and community-led chaos.”

Obviously, a PVE themepark was not the game CCP set out to make… and it is not the game they have made.  I believe totally that the following from Mr. Walton says it quite well here…

“We are specifically making our game for players who will like the kind of experience we will create, not trying to cast a wide net to get a mass market audience. We want the folks who will appreciate an intense gaming experience with real risk, winning and losing. While we want as many players who are engaged in our game as possible, we won't need millions of players to make our game work.”

“So our game won't be for everyone, and we certainly don't want people playing who aren't enjoying the experience. This is supposed to be an activity we experience as fun after all!

The guys who created CCP in order to create EVE Online were and still are just such gamers. They wanted to create a SciFi version of Ultima Online… UO had very simple security… In Felucca, you can be attacked, killed and looted by anyone anywhere outside of a town. Inside a town you can be protected by guards… if someone calls them... This is why EVE has multiple layers of security.

Highsec = High to Medium CONCORD response, Security Status penalties = Sec Status loss, Faction Police and Sentry gun response, restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Lowsec = Medium to Low CONCORD response, Security Status penalties = Sec Status loss, Faction Police and Sentry gun response, restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Nullsec  = NO CONCORD response; NO Security Status penalties = NO Sec Status loss, NO Faction Police or Sentry guns; NO restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles;

Negsec  (Anoikis)= NO CONCORD response, NO Security Status penalties = NO Sec Status loss, NO Faction Police or Sentry guns, NO restrictions on Bombs and Bubbles, NO local, NO gates, NO NPC Stations, NO Player Outposts.

Other than that PVP in all its forms… Simple roams, ganks, 1v1s, scams, market PVP, wars, War Decs, Fac War, miner bumping, et al. … is not only allowed but encouraged… strongly encouraged. It’s the point of the game.

Is PVE important to EVE? Damn straight it is. It needs to be interesting, engaging, fun and lucrative. It is how we all make money and how even Diehard PVP players (at least those who can’t throw a credit card at the game every time they need ISK) and all the rest of us make the ISK we need to pursue PVP or whatever it is we want to do in EVE.

Is PVE important to EVE? Yes, it needs to be interesting, engaging, fun and lucrative in order to hold the attention of all those players who are not themselves interested in PVP but also find they are bored and just not as engaged in “safe” themepark games… players who want the kind of experience CCP is working to create, not trying to cast a wide net to get a mass market audience. CCP wants those players who will appreciate an intense gaming experience with real risk, winning and losing.

Angry and all who feel as he does are welcome to play EVE or not that is up to them, as for me… I will login and play until one of 3 things happens… I die, CCP shuts down Tranquility or they Trammel it.

If I die, well, I hope one of my son’s will post something appropriate and keep my blog up until the counter winds down to “0” hits. If CCP shuts Tranquility down… I will post appropriately and probably log onto Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen (if it’s out of beta by then…) If, however, CCP ever Trammels EVE…

Then on that day I’ll probably sound a helluva lot like Angry Onions and Vince Snetterton do right now… for a while at least.

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Lack of Imagination…

~or “It’s a Sandbox, Not a Theme Park…”

There has been a lot of talk-talk over my years in EVE about “Malaise”, that sense of boredom with and in the game brought on by the lack of Things To Do in EVE Online. It’s even the topic of the recent Blog Banter, BB:77. “Malaise”  And a helluvalot of the ‘why’ and ‘who’s-to-blame’ and especially the ‘how-to-fix-this-sorry-state-of-affairs’ is almost universally centered around (1) CCP’s massive failure as a game company and (B) how EVE needs New, Improved and Amazing ™ PVE.

To all of this I say Bullshit.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I have recently discovered that I am… but I’m a new kind of Bittervet… I am not bitter over any perceived or actual issues with CCP, or any perceived or actual issues with the game…  I am not bitter that when I log on there is nothing all setup and laid out an all hand-holdy waiting for me to do… No, I’m getting daily more and more pissed off at the players who whine that they step into a sandbox and there’s nothing all laid out for them to do… it’s a godsdamned SANDBOX rich and FULL of toys and buckets and sand and shit... As Harrison Ford’s character Quinn in “Six Days Seven Nights” put it so oh well, “It's an island, babe. If you didn't bring it here, you won't find it here.

That resort island btw, like all resort islands, was FULL of things to do. Bikes and bars and scooters and boats and sailboats and surfboards etc., etc., etc. But, if you don’t make the decision to do something, if you don’t make the effort to go ride a bike, sail a boat, surf a wave, find friends, make some enemies… then yeah, you’ll probably get pretty bored too.

Do I mean EVE does not need any PVE? of course not. PVE is in EVE a way to make ISK. Itsa grind, itsa job and it aint the point of the game… And as I have pointed out before and as is extremely well known in the gaming community, no game company can create, code, test and deploy Content at anything approaching the rate at which players can burn though it… nowhere near. Hundreds, even thousands of Devs cannot begin to match the abilities of the hundreds of thousands, even millions of gamers working singly or in small to huge groups to figure out the puzzles crafted for them by those, in comparison, few Devs.

Created PVE is and always will be nothing more than a snack for really good gamers. CCP wanted to avoid that trap. They felt that content created by the players, the endless interaction and reaction between solo players and groups of players in a virtual environment where there was stuff worth fighting over was the way to go. And I for one believe there were spot on then and they are still spot on now.

So where is all this whinging and gnashing of teeth and these juvenile tantrums at and against CCP and their “shitty unfun lackluster boring game” coming from? From players who want to login and have all kinds of fun things all setup and ready for them to do… and I don’t get it. Some of the people involved in all this whining are older players who used to know better… and as a playerbase, we didn’t use to be that way. We used to have imagination… we use to understand that EVE was a bag full of toys… not a board game… EVE is a trampoline, not a chess game, EVE is a swingset, not a Poker match. EVE is a sandbox… full of things to play with. But YOU have to use your imagination, YOU, the player, has to make up the story.

When I was a child, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I used to love the Ben Franklin Five and Dime store in my hometown of Kilmarnock VA. Every summer when we got the farm house all spring cleaned and mom and us kids would be out there every weekend, some summers for months on end… my Dad would take us all into town and give us each $5… and we’d go to the Ben Franklin 5&Dime… There was one aisle, the toys aisle… oh Wonder of Wonders!! Oh Frabjous Day!!!  The toy aisle at the 5&Dime was sheer magic to a kid with a King’s Ransom of 5 WHOLE REAL DOLLARS burning in his pocket!!!

You would be amazed in 1968 how far $5 would go in a 5&Dime… And the one thing I always got, every year, was the Big Damn Bag of green plastic toy soldiers! I am not sure how many there were in actuality... I was a kid and it was a ’lot’ to me. But here’s the thing, years later my mother would tell of how I would go out in the morning, 9 or 10ish, and start playing with those toy soldiers around the big old complex root system of the old walnut tree out in front of the house, the one right outside the kitchen window. She would watch me play with them for hours and hours. I would run in for a PB&J and Quik and run back out sammich in and chocolate milk hand… and she had to call me in for dinner… from that tree and those soldiers.

The roots and sand and dirt around that tree and that slowly depleting magic bag of green plastic toy soldiers… and my imagination. I played out sweeping tales in my mind of evil empires and those who pitted themselves against them to fight for what’s right and good in this life with those soldiers. That was all it took back then.

I discovered something else about me… that’s all still takes now, almost. My old plastic toy soldiers have been traded in for shiney pixel spaceships, the old roots and sand and dirt around that tree, now replaced by our POS and the planets, moons, stations and the infinite black reaches of space... the evil empires and the good, replaced by all the players who share this virtual ‘verse with me. But now… now I find I don’t want to play alone anymore… I prefer to have a few friends with me who are willing to play along.

It’s not PVE you are missing… it’s the point of the game that you’re missing. It’s a sandbox. CCP has bags and bags of toys soldiers and cargo containers chock full of matchbox cars and STUFF… it’s not up to them to give you something to DO with all of that…

No, that part is up to you.

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=