Friday, November 28, 2014

What Newbies Need to Know About Eve

After reading a lot of the comments on Reddit and seeing a lot of new players come into the game, I wanted to share a few insights that will help set new players’ expectations and set them on a path to success very quickly.

I’ll give full-disclosure here.  I want you to stay long-term.  I want you to love this game as much as I do.  That’s my only agenda here.  It’s a pretty mild agenda, in fact.  Ultimately, your experience with the game will determine if you stay.  But starting the game with a compatible frame of mind will definitely help.

So I aim to provide.

#1: You Will Lose Ships

You’ll lose ships in high-sec (ganks, as we call them, when you had no interest in PvPing and were in the safest area of space).  You’ll lose ships in PvP.  You’ll do your best and you’ll lose ships.  Sometimes, you’ll go up against people who have a half-dozen implants and fleet boosts, all of which make them very, very hard to kill.  Any player can be killed in any ship anywhere, provided that his attackers are willing to sacrifice enough ships and want to kill him badly enough.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eve 101: This Is Eve

This post is coming out a long while after the release of the This Is Eve trailer.  Sure, I posted my initial reaction, but I wanted to see how things develop a bit before moving beyond the, “Fuck, yeah!” moment we all experience when that pipebomb succeeds, and again when the bombing run hits its target perfectly.

I also wanted to see how it resonated with viewers a bit before deciding which direction to take this post.  Namely, whether the discussion would extend beyond, “That’s awesome,” into “Where do I sign up?”

But, we’ve been seeing a lot of new account creation.  First off, welcome.  This blog is about getting new players into PvP by making it a little less nebulous and making them a little more familiar with the concepts.  There are a lot of things new players need to learn for themselves (manual piloting, how important that extra 50 m/s of speed really is for the way you fly, the specific way you have to fly to maintain transversal to survive against multiple targets or larger targets), the types of things for which “seeing it done” just isn’t good enough.  For that, you need to be in space.

But there are a lot of other things about the game that you can learn right away.  A lot of those are about framing your expectations and understanding the reality of a game, not just the marketing hype or ideal parts.

A few bloggers have been writing about how the “This Is Eve” trailer isn’t Eve… it’s just the best parts.  Yes, it’s the best parts, but it’s also an absolutely accurate depiction of Eve.  The passion, the thrill, the exhilaration, that’s all 100% true.  And there is a whole lot of preparation that builds up to those thrilling moments.  For every one of those battles, those scenarios, there were hours of buying ship modules, fitting those ships to suit your taste, flying around to find the fight, and setting up the battle itself – not to mention all of the experience and training that teaches all the pilots involved to know what to do.

But it’s this very preparation that makes it all worthwhile.  I used to play multiplayer Counterstrike, a game with absolutely zero preparation required.  The death matches were, individually, meaningless, since I knew I could just wait until the next match to fight again.  I didn’t have to do anything special, just sit there and wait.  I wasn’t invested in Counterstrike.  It was bubblegum I could chew or spit out at leisure.

Eve is Thanksgiving dinner back in 1621.  You have to hunt your own food and cook it (fitting ships, moving them to your alliance’s staging system), you need to message your neighbors to attend (fleet form-up and sorting, travel), you need to carefully orchestrate the dishes in sequence (the tactical maneuvers during operation itself, including scouting), and you need to eat politely so as not to offend the natives (the battle itself).  And that’s all after sailing half-way around the world with like-minded people (joining a corp, deploying).  It’s complicated.

And that’s what makes it so intensely satisfying.  Eve players feel genuine dopamine rushes during battles.  My heart still beats fast when I’m in a 1v1… and it’s the same whether I’m in a 6-mil-isk Incursus or an 800-mil-isk battle Tengu.  That feeling doesn’t scale; it starts with a rush and doesn’t let up.

But it doesn’t happen with me for other games.  The slow-build is a direct cause of that rush, the sense that everything you planned for or waited for is coming to fruition.  That’s what causes the Bomber’s Bar to cheer deafeningly on comms when they hit their target, or what causes Rooks and Kings to be so delighted at their pipebomb.

And pipebombing and bombing runs, along with BLOPS gangs, are the LEAST engaging of PvP, in my opinion!  It only gets better.

So don’t let anyone discourage you by saying, “That’s not Eve…”  It is.  It absolutely is.  Losing ships HURTS, and it’s exactly this pain that makes your success so much sweeter.  You can’t have a game with no lows, and only highs; if you don’t have the risk of painful, frustrating losses, you also deny yourself the delights of abject success.

Eve is a game that enables both.  And that is praiseworthy.  Don’t quit the game because of a loss.  The more it hurts, the more you should recognize how rare it is for a game to instill that sort of investment among its players.  Eve players are passionate maniacs.  You can’t have passion without something to be passionate ABOUT.

Eve isn’t WoW.  Eve MATTERS in a very real sense to its players.  We take Internet Spaceships very seriously.  We cherish them because they represent time, effort, sometimes money, and always a lot of love.  And to care about a game that much is a truly rare thing.

Eve is the passion that the players feel amid their greatest achievements and dismal failures.  It inspires people to alarm-clock early morning ops.  It inspires people like Rixx Javix to create beautiful art.  It inspires bloggers like me to spend our time thinking and writing about Eve in the spare time when we can’t play.

This is Eve.

Come play with us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Have To Agree

In case you don't follow him, Rixx Javix shared his opinion about the new Eve trailer.

I have to agree, mate.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Wife's Opinion About Our Move Op...

In the world of jump fatigue, moving RP's assets from Tenal to Deklein isn't just a matter of catching a couple cynos anymore.  No, moving assets even two regions away is now a harrowing, white-knuckled excursion where your ship is slower than the rotation of the planets around the suns of New Eden.

Plus - and here's a tip for you - when your capital fleet lands on a gate, chances are very good that you'll bounce off of at least one of your fleetmates.  I ended up 15 km off a gate after I was a bit late jumping.  So that's an added bit of fun.  Always "jump" instead of "warp" when warping in a capital fleet.  Doing the alternative causes a hilarious* mistake.

* Not really hilarious at all.

But more importantly, moving a single capital on your own is a colossally stupid move.  So stupid, in fact, that all capital pilots are now beholden to move ops, else they take a tremendous set of risks going gate-to-gate.  Such a high risk, in fact, that it simply isn't done anymore.  I sure as heck wasn't going to.

At least, that's my opinion on the new Eve.  You simply have to make the move op, or you're SOL.  My wife, however, has another opinion, which she considerately shares below:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Repercussus Says Goodbye

So it didn’t take long for that story to break… Yeah, that’s my corp, Repercussus.  One of our CEOs also happened to be one of the Razor Troika.  Another high-ranking member happened to be one of the two Military Directors.

There’s a lot of speculation about what this all means.  The article itself says it’s “confirmed” that “The reason for the move is unhappiness over the current state of affairs in RZR and dissatisfaction with the organizational structure as a whole.”  This is patently untrue.  The author of the article has stated before that he’s a friend of Dograzor, a member of Razor leadership, and it’s possible he conflated RP with Razor.  No one from RP was approached by the author.

Fortunately, I was already planning a post about our move.  I try to be very honest about how I view the game, who my character is, and what my biases might be.  In that interest, my readers deserve to know if/when my affiliation changes.

So, let me put the matter to rest.  I’m not leadership, but I was one of the most vocal members of the “Leave Razor” camp within RP (I know… me, vocal?).  And this is why.

Monday, November 10, 2014

200K and Counting

Another brief one (Yes, I’m going to get to the big news of the week for Repercussus, I swear…)…

This weekend, I surpassed 200,000 visits.  That represents an accelerating increase from how long it took me to hit 100,000, and I owe it all to my readers.  Thank you very much.  I don’t ask that you agree with me all the time, but come at me honestly and I’ll treasure you forever.

As a reminder, please know that I don’t make any money off of this blog.  I won’t ask for donations, I won’t include ads (when I’m able to control it; blogger may add them without my knowledge).  I do this blog because I love the game.

Between 100k and 200k, I started being syndicated on EveNews24.  Bobmon approached me and asked if I’d be interested.  It’s worth noting that I was in the CFC, and he still chose to include me.  I really appreciate that, as EveNews24 lets me reach an audience I’d otherwise not be able to.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Here a Clone, There a Clone…

This will be a short post.  On the o7 show, CCP announced the end of medical clone upgrade costs.  And, apparently, some people lost their minds.  Reddit has a few posts about it, and has a feature article explaining why this change is a good thing.

I have to laugh at the very idea that someone, somewhere, is upset about removing the costs to upgraded medical clones.  It’s a stupid cost added into the game that serves no purpose but to discourage older players from PvPing in as many situations.  Who wants to risk their 150-million SP clone while trying to solo a Sabre, for instance?  Answer?  Not as many as I’d like to see.  Killing that ship just isn’t worth the cost of losing implants, your ship, and the cost to re-up your clone.

This change serves to remove an annoying PvP tax, and it should have died a traitor’s death five years ago.  Good job to CCP to remove this brake from the PvP vehicle.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Great Mission Statement Challenge

On my post about culture and tempo, one of my readers asked what I’d write if I was tasked with writing Razor’s mission statement.  Challenge accepted!

A mission statement is nothing more than a summary of an organization’s vision.  What are they trying to do?  How do they go about it?  What do they value?  Since it’s written by the organization itself, it’s heavily idealized and subject to propaganda.  Sometimes, the organization falls short of that mission statement, but that’s okay, so long as it’s clear that they operate according to it most of the time.

I’m not a part of Razor leadership, so I have no control over policy or direction.  But I’ve been in Razor, through three different corporations, for nearly three years.  In that time, I’ve heard a lot about what Razor “is” and what Razor values from both leadership and its members.  Based on that experience, here’s what I’d write if tasked with distilling those opinions down to a simple statement: