28 February 2011

It's the End of the Eve as We Know It

Welcome to the twenty-fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's topic comes to us from @Tetraetc - "Tetra's EVE Blog" - who asks:
"Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? Imagine a Null Sec where anyone could build outposts wherever. Would the reduction of the alliance game mechanic, and the removal of the sovereignty game mechanics (or the modifcation of it from Alliance level to Corp level for that matter) force more PVP into Null sec, or would giant power blocs like the NC still form themselves?"

 This blog banter asks way too many and way too confusing questions.
  1. Do alliances and sovereignty limit the PvP potential in null-sec?
  2. Do alliances and sovereignty limit the role-playing potential in null-sec?
  3. Would the reduction of the alliance mechanic force more PvP?
  4. Would the removal of sovereignty force more PvP?
  5. Would the move of sovereigny from alliances to corps force more PvP?
  6. If any of the above three changes occurred, would power blocs still exist?
I'm gonna deal with these systematically, because these questions doesn't flow particularly well.

First of all, do alliances and sovereignty limit the PvP potential of null-sec?  No.  Alliances do not limit the potential of PvP in null-sec.  I believe that this actually allows for more PvP, because groups of players are more organized.  I will point to my own M.Pire alliance as an example.  We have a number of different corporations within our alliance: M.Corp Academy, M.Corp, M.Corp Germany, M.Corp Engineering, and M.Corp Ascension.  If we had to perform all of our functions within one corporation, the situation would be rather confusing.  With the alliance mechanic, M.Pire can splinter its operations and thus have less confusion result.  M.Corp Academy trains the new players; M. Corp handles the PvP; M. Corp Germany allows our German players to speak German with each other; M.Corp Engineering mines and industries (I've now coined that as a verb); and M.Corp Ascension handles the administrative alliance duties such as sov structures and system upgrades.  Some could argue that removing the alliance mechanic would cause different corporations to fight one another, but in reality, this would just cause more headaches for diplomats who need to set even more people blue.

Next up, do alliances and sovereignty limit the role-playing potential in null-sec?  No.  Alliances allow for more organized groups of role-players to band together and fight for a common cause.  In fact, I'm sure they get a kick out of dramatized alliance politics when hardliner Amarr slavers and pro-slavery Minmatar have slight disagreements.  Also, as we saw with CVA, sov-holding can contribute greatly to the role-playing by allowing fiery supporters of each faction to "gain space" in 0.0 for their respective overlords.  The reason this model doesn't work is because there will always be fewer role-players than real-players, so role-playing alliances will constantly face superior numbers while competing for precious 0.0 space.

Moving right along, would the reduction of the alliance mechanic force more PvP?  Here, I'm not quite sure what the "reduction of the alliance mechanic" would imply.  For the sake of this argument, let us suppose that it means no more alliances.  Yes.  The elimination of alliances would result in much more PvP.  At first, former alliances would try to blue up, but as individual pilots began to identify more and more strongly with their corp rather than "alliance," combat would escalate until there was fighting everywhere.  Three cheers for pew!

Down the list more, would the removal of sovereignty force more PvP?  If anyone at all considers this a solution, shame on them.  Absolutely not.  Some would like to think that corporations, freed from having to hold space, would roam the galaxy in search of pew.  This is a terrible assumption.  Supposing that everyone didn't unsubscribe after this terrible change, PvP would definitely decline, because pilots would have nothing to fight for.  An endless stream of "goodfights" will never make up for the loss of motivation that would result from the inability to own space.

Coming up next, would the move of sovereignty from the alliance to the corp force more PvP?  An interesting proposition, and I think yes.  First of all, this would remove the need for alliances, except for organizational purposes.  Then, as I stated above, corporations would soon grow more nationalistic and fight amongst each other.  In addition, corporations would want to seek more lebensraum for themselves at the expense of ex-alliance mates.  I do not, however, support this mechanic change.

Finally, with any of these changes, would power blocs still form?  Yes.  In Eve Online, bigger is always better.  To gain an advantage of their opponents, corporations would grow larger and larger.  Eventually, it would be more convenient to team up with other corporations rather than to grow even larger.  As much as I hate to say it, until the Dominion sov mechanics are changed, power blocs are a way of life.  Eve is like the real world more so than any other game, and thus there is greater safety in numbers.

Fly safe!


  1. Boom! Hull-Shot?: It's the End of the Eve as We Know It
  2. sered's lives: EVE Blog Banter #25 - Size does matter
  3. 25th EVE BB – Medieval Solutions to Spaceship Problems | Inventions of a New Eden Industrialist
  4. More to come...

23 February 2011

My Big Idea

Less than six months into the game, and I'm thinking about organizing a community-wide project.  Silly, I know.  But hear me out, because I think this event will help the community solidify its own vision for the game, which we can then communicate to CCP through the CSM.

What I propose is a week-long "New Eden Economic Forum."  My inspiration comes from the World Economic Forum, a gathering of world leaders to discuss world issues, and a TED conference, where you go to listen to people talk about a wide variety of topics.

In a perfect world, the NEEF (need a better acronym) would run for one week in June.  Scattered throughout the week, there would be numerous panels and discussions where Eve leaders would discuss solutions to the game's problems and a vision for its future.  Some discussions I have in mind are these:

  • Small-Fleet Combat: In this panel, our experts will discuss the problems surrounding small-fleet combat today.  Once an understanding of the topic is reached, the experts will float ideas about how best to end the blob and make small-fleet PvP a viable option for small pirate gangs and large alliances alike.
  • The New Sov: The current sov-holding situation encourages mega-alliances with numerous renters. What are some ways that CCP could make the entry into 0.0 a possibility for small corporations and alliances?
  • Factional Warfare 2.0: Critics of CCP often point to FW as a case study of CCP's inability to iterate.  Veterans of FW will offer their opinions on how the system can be made fun and workable again.
  • The Regional Trade Hub: As CCP openly admitted in a QEN, Jita has become the end-all and be-all of Eve's capitalist market.  Some have blamed the ease of logistics, others have blamed the low prices of production in Empire space.  The panel will examine the problems and propose fixes.
  • Super-Duper Capitals: As many a null-sec blog laments, supercaps are the "I Win" button of fleet combat.  What can be done to make supercapitals balanced with respect to regular capitals and sub capitals?
I had a bigger list when I was dreaming this up a few nights ago, but with sleep comes forgetfulness.  Using your feedback, however, we can think up a host of other topics, especially some that are less null-sec oriented.

So I have some example topics, what would I need to make this happen?

  • Forums: A gathering place is needed for the panel to hammer out discussion points as well as for the community to discuss the panels.
  • Chat Program: The event will require a TS/Vent/Mumble server.  We don't need a whole server to our selves, of course, so I am sure that a willing corporation or alliance would be more than willing to give us a chat room or two.
  • Website: The website should list the event's schedule and provide links to downloadable discussions for future listening.  While this could be done on a forum, I think a dedicated website would add a whole new layer of legitimacy and cleanliness to the conference.
  • Participation: To make this event a success, it will require participation from all parts of the Eve community.  We'll need industrialists, PvP'ers, pirates, alliance leaders, and WH dwellers.  Moreover, the panelists should come from beyond the blogoshpere and tweetfleet; we need to reach into the game and find participants who wouldn't normally look to the community for guidance.
Here is my fantastic vision.  Any comments, suggestions, or offers for help that you have would be greatly appreciated.

Fly safe!


20 February 2011

A Redo of Remaps

A few months ago, CCP proposed the idea of allowing players to purchase neural remaps for PLEX.  This would be their first implementation of micro-transactions.  The playerbase response was, not surprisingly, negative.  "I r pay $15 a munth for Eve! Why I pay more?"  Under attack from the CSM and the players, CCP was forced to back down.

Which made me a little mad.  I have the money to afford a neural remap every couple of months, why shouldn't I be allowed to have it?  Critics argued that it would give me, a "rich" player, an unfair advantage over the "poor" players.  This argument is flawed on multiple accounts.  First of all, anyone that has an internet connection and can afford a computer is not "poor."  Poor is when your house is made of salvaged scrap metal and your toilet is a hole in the ground.  Secondly, the "advantage" that would be given to me is rather small.  At most, I might cut a few weeks off of my training, but as all Eve players know, skillpoints aren't the end all and be all.

However, since CCP has been cowed and has now assured us that paid remaps are off the table, we need a new model.  Being forced to play the "long game" alienates new players and reduces the flexibility of current players, so in the interest of New Eden's continued growth, I propose a new model.  Instead of making remaps a yearly affair, they should be available 23/7.  I said it, capsuleers should be able to remap whenever they feel like it.

"But wait!" says the bittervet, "We might as well get rid of remaps entirely, and that would make Eve less hardcore.  Heresy!"  To a certain extent, the bittervet has a point.  If each and every skill is trained at the maximum SP/hr, then there is no reason to even have attributes.  But what if by 23/7, I didn't mean 23/7?  Cryptic, I know.  Before you start spouting flames, here is my idea:
  • Capsuleers can remap whenever they wish.
  • Each remap, however, results in a 3-5 day "cool-down" period, during which no skills can be trained.
  • Capsuleers are thus encouraged to remap only when the time saved is greater than the cool-down period.
  • From a role-playing perspective, capsuleers need to rest their minds after the dangerous neural remapping surgery and can thus not train skills.
Sounds good, right?  This approach has many benefits to the players.  First and foremost, players have increased flexibility.  Turn your attention to this hypothetical example:
Stevie really wanted to start his own mega-corp.  To do that faster, he remapped to favor Charisma.  Two months into the corp's lifetime, however, there was a heist, in which his 300 Titan BPO's were stolen.  Furious, Stevie vowed to become an elite PVPer and hunt down the thief.  But wait!  With no extra attributes in Perception, to progress to Caldari Battleship V, it will take 178 days!  If only he could remap and lower the training time to 148 days.  Now, he is stuck with ten more months low SP/hr for Spaceship Command.  Poor Stevie.
With remaps coming only once a year, players are discouraged from changing professions or even focusing in different areas, such as training ECM when you've remapped for Spaceship Command.  By allowing players to remap whenever, CCP would increase the scope of the sandbox, as players could quickly switch between careers to find the one they truly enjoy.  This strategy would also have the benefit of helping new players surmount the learning curve cliff.  They would still be encouraged to plan long-term to make up for the cool-down time, but the newbies would not have to worry about locking themselves into a particular play style for the duration of the year.

Moreover, unlimited remaps would help current players, who have achieved their goals in one skill area and now wish to move on.  What's so wrong about that?

The one thing I have not been able to decide myself is the length of the cool-down period.  It should be long enough that remapping warrants some thought, but it should not take a whole year to make up the difference.  In the example of Stevie, I planned the following skills to Level V (Spaceship Command, Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battlecruiser, Battleship, Missile Launcher Operation, Standard Missiles, Heavy Missiles).  From base stats, the remapping made a month's difference.  I'm in favor of a shorter cool-down to facilitate skill training, but I understand a longer one make these decisions more serious.

Do you have thoughts on my system?  Drop me a line in the comments section, and your feedback will be taken into consideration before I post this in the Assembly Hall.

Fly safe!


14 February 2011

CSM6: The Race So Far

The CSM6 election process has just gotten underway, and already many candidates have stepped up.  Inspired by Mynxee, I will tell you about my favorite candidates.  Consider this an early endorsement, though I don't think I am a famous enough blogger to actually endorse candidates...  We shall see.  Anyway, candidates:
  • Trebor Daehdoow.  The informed among you know that Trebor was a hard-working delegate on CSM5.  For those of you who are uninformed, you have been informed.  Trebor has made huge strides in giving us, the capsuleers, a voice in what the CSM asks for from CCP.  I feel that his actions on the behalf of the community, as well as his experience,  show that he is perfectly cut out for the job.  Also, Trebor conducted what I thought to be an exceedingly thoughtful and informative interview on the latest (or second latest?) Lost in Eve podcast.  The man knows his stuff, and if you know yours, you will vote for him.
  • Seleene.  Seleene is the CEO of the infamous Mercenary Coalition.  He has also worked as a developer at CCP.  I feel that the skill set Seleene brings to the table, along with his experience maneuvering around CCP, lends itself perfectly to a seat on CSM6.  Seleene's main priority is the iteration and balancing of current features, which we can all agree is desperately needed.  He also thinks that this will bring new content, though I am more skeptical about that.
  • Roc Wieler.  Wiz Khalifa comes to mind here, because with Roc, "You know who it is..."  Roc is famous for his excellent blogging and his Capsuleer app (soon to be updated, according to #tweetfleet).  What gets me the most excited about Roc, however, is his excellent kick-off blog post. He promises to be all about the community, and based on his track record, I believe him.  Also important is the fact that he promises not to "overpromise."  We all know CCP can be tough to work with, and Roc knows that, too.  He will shout down CCP with the community's voice, and where pertinent, he will bring up some of his own great ideas, detailed in the above-linked post.
So, I urge you all to gear up for election season and strongly consider these three candidates that I present to you.  Now, for that endorsement deal...

Fly safe!


Update: It seems that I lied about Roc's updated app...  I could have sworn I saw pictures of some EVE iPod app on tweetfleet, but my eyes do deceive me occasionally.

11 February 2011

New Corp

I'd like to start off by apologizing for not posting during the week.  It's something I feel that I always tell myself to do, but fail to follow up on.  Oh well, the best I can do is try.

Anyway, this post has two purposes.  The first is to let you all know that I have been accepted into M.Corp Academy.  I've begun my Eve University title-droppin' period, and by tomorrow night, I'll hopefully be headed to null-sec.  I am excited by the new opportunities offered by M.Corp and the M.Pire alliance, but I am also a little worried.  My biggest concern is making money.  As you may or may not know, I started out my EVE career by buying two PLEX: one for game time, the other for ISK.  I've lived off of that rather well, and I'm not even halfway depleted.  If I start losing 20mil ships (like my Taranis is fitted), though, I'll need new income, fast.  My long-term goal is to get a second account, which will be my industrial side, mining and hauling and all that good stuff.  But before I do that, I'd like to at least achieve positive cash flow ratting or something.

Before I get to point two, I'd just like to say that I really enjoyed my time in Eve University.  I think everyone there provides a great service to the community, and I am especially thankful for my first fleet experiences.  Hopefully, I'll be able to give back to New Eden someday, too.

Now, onto point two.  I'm sure that you've all heard about the revival of Fiddler's Edge.  All I have to say is that FE is an incredible blog and that you better be readin' it.  The success of Mord has led me to another conclusion, though: For one's blog to be successful, it has to focus on issues, not just fun roam stories or updates.

I have run into a couple "bad" blogs like the ones mentioned above.  First and foremost are WHore blogs.  While I do enjoy reading some of them, stay too long and you start to notice patterns: "I scanned my system, saw an enemy, switched ships, he was gone, I jumped through a hole, etc..."  The only excitement occurs when, "The hole I jumped through broke down!  Now I have 28 jumps to get back to my system.  Luckily it's hi-sec."

The second type of blog is full of "roamin' tales."  It's pretty much a pirate/small-gang PvP'er telling you that they gatecamped, killed a few ships, and--oh would you look at that!--lost one.  This is embodied by the recent posts on Rifter Drifter.  If you recall Wensley's Catch-22 series, that is the kind of writing that generates traffic, not details on one's small-scale fleet ops.

The third and final type, in my opinion, is rare.  It is the industrialist blog.  These writers detail planetary interaction, market orders, and the status of BPC's.  I used to get this stuff from Letrange all the time, but his writing has gotten much more exciting recently.

So there you have, the three types of boring blogs.  What do you need to be successful?  Perspective on 0.0 politics or game-wide issues.  Hopefully, I'll be getting both to you soon.

Fly safe!


PS- I don't want to diss Wensley or Letrange.  Although they sometimes fall in the category of blog I don't like, I still read them, because they have a great writing style.  Keep up the good work, everyone!

06 February 2011

Tin Can Radio

As I've mentioned before, finding news about null-sec is hard to do.  To learn anything, I have to synthesize a bunch of sources (a task usually reserved for English class) or hunt down the one blog that has everything in order.

This is especially the case with the fall of IT.  Yeah, some news websites are reporting it, but I'm still thoroughly confused as to what's actually happening.  Okay, corps are leaving, IT is screwed, but why hasn't the sov map changed much?  Questions like these continue to haunt my waking moments.  However, just because the literature is incomprehensible doesn't mean it's not good.  For example, check out Easley Thames's excellent post about the drama that is bringing down IT.  In addition, the comments section is filled with juicy discussion surrounding Sir Molle.  I don't know much about the guy, but hopefully he won't be taking the reigns at Raiden., an alliance that puts a silly period at the end.

In Stevie news, I am in the process of applying to M.Corp Academy.  Things seem to be going better than they did at Agony.

So, everyone have a good week; I'll be posting sometime soon once I get word on my application or have time to play EVE.

Fly safe!