Friday, June 29, 2018

Comms Silent

Some time ago, I decided to take a step back from Eve and blogging about Eve to focus more on real life. At the time, I hoped to continue to play on occasion, but avoid the kinds of entanglements that required the commitment of more than an hour at a time.

After trying this approach for a few weeks, it became pretty clear that this really wasn't possible. For me, Eve was about PvP, an expensive endeavor in terms of time. From staging your ships to earning the isk to afford them to reaching your hunting ground, it could take an hour to find your targets, and and half an hour or so to return to your staging to reship. I just didn't have that kind of time anymore.

Put simply, Eve is not a game in which you can do serious solo or small-gang PvP part-time.

I held on for a year and a half, but have never really logged in. In fact, I uninstalled Eve completely during a computer clean-out several months ago. A couple weeks ago, I saw an advertisement for the new expansion, shrugged my shoulders, and decided to reinstall.

The Eve I found was almost unrecognizable. When I left, the new character sheet was just being unveiled, and I never really warmed to it. I found myself struggling to understand where everything was in the non-intuitive layout. All of my shortcuts, window positions, and overview settings were gone, and none of my key combinations worked anymore. I never used the new scanner window, opting for the old system as long as I was able, and I found the new one to be very different. it honestly didn't seem worth it to even try to learn it again. All in all, each of these little cuts combined into a big barrier to re-entry that, given my passing interest, was just too much.

But, in the end, after a year and a half off, what really sealed the deal for me was the time. Time to undock. time to warp to the next system, time to get to Jita, time for windows to open and populate the vanilla client (no settings changed and no rebinding of keys). Time, time, time. I wanted to get a character to Jita from 10 jumps away, and with the vanilla client, it took half an hour. I forgot about that part: the time it takes to do anything in Eve.

When I was playing regularly, I was willing to put in that time. In fact, I touted it as a feature. And, I suspect, each of you does as well. But now it's a massive barrier to re-entry for a returning player.

I came to see if it was worth returning to Eve. I left realizing that it absolutely was not. Not for as much time per week I was willing to put into it.

I mention this not to bad-mouth Eve, CCP, or the players. It's a great game if you have the time to devote to it. Rather, I point this out as the experience of a player who was a dedicated player familiar with large portions of the game, from the unspoken mechanics to the physical actions you take to accomplish them. As the experience of a player who hasn't touched the game in only a year and a half. In other words, as one of the best winback targets of CCP's efforts.

Use this qualitative experience for what it is, and no more. I make no claims about the experiences of everyone, but rather simply provide what I experienced.

In the end, I can say with confidence - and without doubt or hostility - that I'm done with Eve. It was a great ride, but it's moved on without me, and just like taking on a new job or a new relationship, we've drifted apart. I've sold Talvorian Dex and Valeria Bovinus, and will hold onto the isk just in case someone I know decides they want to start up the game, but frankly, I predict it'll just sit there forever.

I'm happy to leave the site running, including the PvE guides. Please feel free to use them for as long as they remain viable, but I won't be updating them any further.

Good luck to all of you. I've made good friends, had good arguments, sworn vengeance, exalted my triumphs, decried my failures, shared joy and misery, made suggestions, whined annoyingly, and been proud to participate in this great (if dwindling) blogging community for this stupid, little, glorious, complicated game.

The last target has been called. The fleet is over. And comms fall silent.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Playing in Small Increments

For the past six years, work and family have absorbed most of my time, and relaxation activities fell into the gaps. More often than not, I’d either have to drop them or cut into sleep to enjoy them. Physically, it’s amazing how much getting the proper amount of sleep can change you. I’m a lot more clear-headed, am yawning a lot less, and am generally a lot more pleasant to be around. It’s amazing how easy it is to miss gradual changes.

The past month has been a busy one, preparing for Christmas with two kids, finishing out the year at work, and enjoying some time gaming, albeit much less than before. Whereas previously I’d spend a little time before bed each night playing, for the past month and a half, I’ve only snatched an hour here and there.

That said, I’ve quite rarely been playing Eve. Oh, sure, I’ve been playing the heck out of Skyrim, and after the Steam sale, I’ve been enjoying Total War: Attila and Stellaris. The reasons for that shift really speak to some of the long-term challenges Eve has faced.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


It may have come to your attention that I haven’t posted anything since November 4, more than two weeks ago. Even for me, this is quite a gap.

For the past six years, I’ve played Eve pretty regularly, logging in usually a little bit every day. In that time, nearly everything has changed in my life. I have a lot more real-life concerns that need my attention, and put bluntly, I was mortgaging myself my giving up sleep to maintain the same level of engagement with the game. Most nights, I’d be looking at 6.5 hours of sleep if I was lucky. That was a choice.

But, I can’t really justify that choice anymore. While a component relates to the game itself, the bigger part is the realization that this pace doesn’t really suit what I want and what really matters.

Friday, November 4, 2016

FC Lessons: Jumping the Gun

Friday night, I noticed that no one had pinged for a fleet yet, so I imported some Comets and Merlins right in the middle of Black Rise and sent out a ping. 7 people showed up – honestly not bad considering no one could plan their schedules around it and NC. had fleets earlier in the day that saw a lot of people clone jump to alliance staging.

I’m sure the ship selection probably raised a few eyebrows. My initial plan was to fly only the armor Comets, but I had space in my Occator’s hold and decided to fill it with some ships I might use solo or on another fleet. The Comets were MWD fit and the Merlins were AB fit, but in most cases we were fighting on the button of FW plexes anyways, right in scram range.

This was one of those pre-planning mistakes you can make that dramatically affects the success of a fleet. I didn’t expect to go through as many ships as we did during the night, but I should have planned better for the possibility by sticking to one – either MWD or AB – in case we got into a mixed fleet situation.

Suffice to say, it wasn’t the only mistake that happened that night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Regional Local

This week during Eve Vegas, CCP expressed their long-held displeasure with local as an intel tool, but that they weren’t ready to launch a comprehensive change to the mechanics.

At the core of the problem is a need to communicate with people in the same system that doesn’t also announce the presence of new pilots entering that system. Some players simply advocate wormhole local, in which players don’t show up until they speak, but CCP has been resistant to this in the past for all areas of space, and I tend to think this would take something special away from wormhole space.

At the same time, CCP expressed a general dissatisfaction with the ease of null ratting isk generation and the speed of level 5 mission blitzing. In both cases, a new pilot entering local is a cause for concern, albeit much more so for null ratting. I don’t think the payouts are the problem as much as the early warning detection local provides; when you feel incredibly safe, it’s very easy to earn isk in null, perhaps too easy.

So, let’s kill two birds with one stone: Regional Local.

Monday, October 31, 2016

FC Lessons: My First Roam, Gallente-Strong

A few weeks ago, I ran my first full, pre-planned corp fleet with a defined doctrine. Compared to my first roam, this was a wholly different kettle of fish. In the first place, we had about three times the number of pilots, but beyond that, we weren’t doing a kitchen sink fleet.

Instead, we were flying armor Comets with Navitas logi. It took me a long time to come up with exactly the right doctrine to use. I knew I wanted to keep our options open, and a lot of our Friday night roams involved novice FW complexes. It wouldn’t due to fly anything but T1 frigates; a mixed fleet would work for nullsec, but we’d more often than not find ourselves unable to field our full strength and be easily prone to being split up.

But, my ships needed some survivability. A Comet is ideally suited to hull-tanking, but one of my corpmates shared a nice armor fit that benefited from logi. So, I quickly added a logi to the doctrine. The Navitas could field a decent tank for a T1 frigate logi. Gotta love those Gallente for survivability.

At first, I considered bringing a tackler ship as well, but quickly discarded the idea. Any T1 tackle ship I considered performed less effectively at the task than the Comets. Why overcomplicate things?

It ended up being a good decision, and a good night.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ascension Delayed

The Ascension expansion – there’s so much in this update that it certainly deserves the title, compared to “update” – as been delayed by a week to November 15. From those who have been testing out some of the new features on Sisi, it sounds like there are still plenty of bugs to work out, but I’m not certain which yet.

So, alpha clones won’t hit for an extra week. An extra week for corporations to prepare, PLEX prices to rise, the injector market to get ready for a sudden increase in demand, and CCP marketing to fret over the level of success they can expect.

Will alpha clones cause an influx of players? Even two weeks before launch, I still can’t say. To read Reddit, a lot of players are intrigued by the possibilities. Will that translate into an actual increase of players in game? And if so, how many?