Sunday, March 29, 2015

Praise to My Peers

This is a quick one, but genuine praise should be given clearly and without flourish.

My recent post has generated a lot of blowback, particularly from fellow bloggers and prolific readers.  I moderate my blog comments to catch link-baiting comments bots plug into my articles from time to time.  I very rarely delete a comment by an actual reader.  Even when - especially when! - they're critical of me, I post them provided that they don't contain a string of curses.

Every single person whose comments appear on that page made great points and arguments, bound by logic.  Some of them don't agree with me, and some of them were furious at me.  I posted them all, because they made arguments founded in logic and reason.  Every one of those comments' authors is an awesome member of our community.

And I'm thankful for each one of you.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for commenting.  Thank you for being true to your perspective and your view of things.  That's exactly why I write this blog... to generate discussion and reasoned argumentation about PvP.  We're all richer for you folks having taken the time to write.

Keep it up!  Keep me honest!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reasoning With Unreason

A couple days ago, I chimed into a conversation on Reddit in which a player asked about whether Fanfest featured a PvE panel discussion.  This led to the inevitable PvE vs. PvP poo-sling.  I’ll share a couple comments in particular.  The first is mine:
“Without PvE, CCP can seed the market to enable PvP. Without PvP, Eve is a sh*tty game without a distinguishing feature. Which do you think is more important? You [PvE] can be replaced with a machine.”
This met with the response of:
“Hahaha, you're adorable. Typical f***ing Goon. Without PVE, CCP would lose a half of the game's playerbase, there'd be no reason for it to ever be called a persistent universe, there'd be no industry, there'd be no reason to play the market if CCP just "seeded the market" with all the shinies you want.  If that's the game you want, go play on SiSi where everything costs 100 ISK. Get the fuck out of my game, though. There's no place for you here.”
Wow.  I didn’t expect such hostility.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CCP's Structure Plan: The Unification of Deployables

During Fanfest, CCP released a new devblog talking about their plans for the future of castle-building throughout all space, but particularly in null-sec.

Digesting all of this was a daunting prospect, and I admit I wasn’t eager to dive into it.  It’s dense.  There are a lot of consequences I see.  And I knew I’d need time to sift through it all.

CCP's goals fit into the categories, “Be engaging”, “Be valuable”, “Be simple”, and “Look Awesome”.  These all make sense, but honestly, if something was missing from a list of goals as large as this, it’d signify serious problems.  Which of these is a priority over all the others?  I suspect “enhancing existing gameplay” will be the key element that wins out, but it will do so in a way that ties in nicely with the new sov mechanics.

While a lot of folks will likely focus on the new fitting function of these structures, to me that’s a needed by not particularly interesting element.  Every pilot in Eve is familiar with ship fitting after their first week, and it seems quite reasonable to utilize that same system for deployable structures.  It creates options without forcing players to learn yet another interface setup, and it should reduce the player-knowledge barrier to entry for deployable mechanics.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Who Is Your Main?

During my FozzieSov analysis post, an reader named DireNecessity and I started discussing my claim that null-sec sovereignty was the quintessential Eve gameplay feature.  By that, I meant it was the iconic “big idea” behind Eve, the mechanic that best represented the sandbox elements that make Eve unique.

Dire brought up the disproportionately large number of characters in high-sec, which led me to make the “long-term HS are alts of low/wh/null players” point.  And that raised a very interesting set of questions.

What defines a player’s “main” character and top playstyle?  At what point does earning isk in HS, for instance, change from being a necessary evil to the way you most often play the game?  What criteria should you use when trying to identify whether players are high-sec players, or null-sec or low-sec players who also have operations they perform in high-sec?

Monday, March 9, 2015

No Fancy Titles: FozzieSov Analysis

The wait is finally over.  The discussion has begun.  On Tuesday, Fozzie released CCP’s Sovereignty Revamp Phase II.  I’ve been very interested in this topic ever since Fanfest last year, and am very eager to see how the discussion plays out.  I reference “discussion” so early in this post because I firmly believe Fozzie when he says that this version of the plan is an opening position, and not the final iteration.  They want our feedback, and we should all intend on giving it.

I’m a null-sec player, but I passionately hate blob warfare and wanted to see a system that encourages smaller operations – just a lot of them.  That’s my bias… I want to see small-gang tactics in null-sec have a home.

Way back when, I proposed my own solution to null-sec stagnation.  I suggested that any changes to null-sec should have the following objectives:
  • Encouragement of many small alliances carving out an area of space.
  • The full range of content from solo roaming to large fleet PvP.
  • Regular and frequent involvement of player-to-player content (ie. high engagement).
  • Inclusion of PvE as an integral aspect of holding and maintaining sov.
  • Increased density in null-sec systems.
  • Capture and defense mechanics that require a range of ship types.
  • Proper justification for alliances, but especially players, to come into null-sec.

To get there, I recommended the following significant changes:
  • Escalating Sovereignty Costs
  • Introduce Culture Levels (Occupancy-Based Sov)
  • Create Incentives to Repel Roaming Gangs
  • Tug-of-War Sov Capture/Defense with Ship Restrictions
  • Require Physical Presence to Modify PI Installations
  • Reduce Predictability of Moon Mining
  • Introduce Alliance Tax Rates

Friday, March 6, 2015

Read This Right Now

This is a very brief article.  Rarely do I find an article I find so compelling that I simply want to catalog it.  So rare is this, in fact, that I've never done it.  But I have to give credit where it's due.

So stop whatever you're doing and read this excellent article by the always-frosty Rixx Javix at Evoganda.  His advice on "counter-fitting" your ship is excellent, and he gives just one example.  Read it.  Learn it.  Do it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monday Night at CCP Headquarters

As a null-sec player who enjoys small gang PvP, I’m naturally writing a longer post about the Phase II changes, but I wanted to take a moment out to talk about the untold story about the release of these details, which I think is a fascinating topic.  Basically, I can’t help but think about how the past few days have been for CCP.

Sure, for the past few weeks, the timeline for releasing the dev blogs detailing their new null sovereignty framework started to firm up, but I suspect the final release date didn’t settle in as “Tuesday” until late last week or early this week.  Until that point, the people who are most affected by the reveal – Marketing and Communications, the developers who put so much time running scenarios and crunching numbers, and Fozzie himself – probably didn’t feel too nervous or concerned about how well it would go over. 

Having worked for the past ten years on communications and marketing, I certainly can relate to the way they must have felt.  Plans are one thing, but “plans” can always be changed.  You have a deliverable due on a date, but until you sit down and bring all the pieces together, everything is fluid.  Anything can change.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pay No Attention to the Other Statistics

Today, CCP released a pair of dev blogs about the changes to null-sec sovereignty. While I’m certainly going to review the changes proposed for Phase II, I first wanted to take a moment to talk a little about the “Phase I in Review…” post CCP Fozzie, entitled Where We Stand.  Take a minute (or ten) to review.

While that post gave a lot of information, what I found most interesting was what Fozzie did not mention.

Null-Sec Population

Fozzie starts by talking about the total Eve null-sec population.  When you look at the scope of that change, we aren’t talking about significant numbers.  We see an uptick, sure, but if you exclude the returning Russians, the difference is minimal.

And if you look closely at that chart, you’ll notice two things.  First, check out that brief up-tick before Phoebe’s launch?  Yep, that’d be the shift of assets and characters that happened in the week prior to Phoebe.  I suspect cyno characters moving into various areas of null may played a part in this small little peak, which disappeared immediately afterwards.