Category Archives: EVE Online

In Your Systems Taking Your Space

We are hellcamping enemy staging because that’s what it’s come to. One squad of jacket wearing roleplayers is now camping in an enemy alliance. Logon if you want to spread the good news about Max Singularity VI, the first of his name.

-Asher Elias

The war in the southwest of New Eden continues apace.  Once The Imperium gathers its forces into a mighty hammer and begins to pound on its foes, pieces eventually begin to fall.  At this point the change list for the Delve region over at DOTLAN shows N3 having lost 45 systems, or more that half the conquerable space.

Over the weekend the fights are mostly concentrated around 1-SMEB, where the hostiles were based… until they lost that system Sunday morning and, with it, the ability to dock up.  N3 had already given up fighting for the region, so the dominoes falling faster is natural enough.  But losing the system from which you are based, locking your alliance out of who know how many assets, is another story altogether.

And then there was the liberation of Mister Vee’s Cruor for the nth time, locked as it always is in NOL-M9, awaiting the next invasion of Delve.  He never actually rescues it.  It just sits there, having only two states of existence; sometimes it is free, and at other times it is trapped and waiting to be freed.  But it is never actually removed from harm’s way and brought back to Imperium space.

So the forces of the true Emperor of Amarr, Maximilian Singularity VI, spread his word… whatever that word happens to be.

I joined for the spiffy outerwear quite frankly, so why not?

And the most spiffy in that regard in His army are those of the Reavers, as more and more of our squad dons the jacket and takes up the official pose.  We have a infographic about it around here somewhere.

Anyway, the Reavers have been out and about in their flashy new uniforms and actually taking sovereignty in Querious.

Our corner of Querious

Our corner of Querious

Yes, we already broke sovereignty for our foes, first in ED-L9T and then more recently in C-7SBM.  We interrupted their hold on the systems, requiring them to start back ad level 0.  But in both of those cases the enemy formed up to take the system back from us.

But that is the point of the Reavers.  We are there to shoot things and set timers until we become annoying enough that the enemy has to pull pilots from the main fight in order to take care of us.  At that point we win, having done our job.  We can fade back into the bush and wait for the enemy to leave before starting again.  And if we shoot the same structures in the same system over and over… well, so long as it works.  But actually taking and holding sovereignty, that is a new thing.

And it isn’t just because N3 has given up on Querious.  We have been facing a group of pilots from Darkness, drawn from the front lines in Delve, who have been forming up to fight us now and again.  But they haven’t taken back VT-G2P or 9-HM04 from us yet.

In fact, in a new turn, we have been taking the fight to them.  We spent a good portion of Sunday in their local staging system, 9CG6-H, shooting their defensive SBUs, laying down our own, and then camping their station with them inside, all during their prime time hours. (They seemed to be mostly pilots from the French corporations Teutate Raiders and League 42.)

Again, this isn’t really our normal operating procedure.  We don’t generally go in with big numbers, 30 being a good size fleet for us most days of the week.  We get some assistance now and again.  We have had Harpy fleets from the main force sweep through the area when hostiles have formed in significant numbers and we have agreements with a few of the local groups that like to prey in the region.  But we’re not dropping multiple battleship fleets on a system to cover capitals doing a shoot.  We go in with some Ishtars and a little logi and a few scouts to set up shop and shoot things for an extended period of time.  If things are good, we drop in a couple of big guns to help us out, but most days it is just us and our sentry drones.

So it was something of a change of pace to sit on a hostile station again in order to protect our SBUs while they went online.  The enemy came out to fight a couple of times.  They bombed us during the SBU shoots and then formed up a kitchen sink cruiser fleet to challenge us on the undock.  We force the issue by shooting up the station services, removing their ability to repair or set clones amongst other things.

The fights were small, with a few losses on each side.  There were enough bombs flying that I managed to lose all my drones over the course of things.  Probably the most strenuous part of the whole thing for me was when I ended up being the logi anchor and had to actually pay attention to where I was flying.  I have managed to avoid that sort of thing up until now, preferring to just stare out the window and take pictures.  Instead I had to keep our station relative to the main group while trying to stay within range of a group of blues that dropped in to help for a bit but who didn’t bring their own logi, all of which I took more seriously than I probably needed to.  I did end up using the WASD keys to fly around for a bit, a feature that came in with the Rhea expansion back in December.

And that was my weekend in space.  We shot structures, stood up on the enemy’s door step for a while, then headed back home when all the shooting was done.  But there are always more timers waiting for us.

Complaining About Small Things in WoW… Yet Again

The time has come to once again gripe about a few small issues that are bugging me in World of Warcraft and see if people commiserate or call me crazy.

Tabbing Out

At some point when I wasn’t paying attention, Blizzard decided that if you are playing full screen and you tab out of the game, well, fuck you.  Auctioneer stops getting data from the auction house, pet battles patiently wait for my return, and redraws stop happening so I have to go through a loading screen when I tab back in.

It wasn’t always this way, was it?  I mean, I remember, at one time, being able to tab out of WoW and not having my auction house scan just sit on the same page the whole time.  Tabbing out is so ingrained in me that I am sure it must have worked fine at some point.

And I get the whole not using system resources when you don’t have focus thing, but this seems like it has gone too far.  My of my processor cycles to go the idle task anyway, feel free to waste some.  They aren’t roll-over cycles.  I can never get them back.

Losing That Highlighted Feeling

All your bags open up when you access a vendor.  They all close again when you close the vendor window.  Big deal, right?  Been that way for half of forever.

And it was fine… until Warlords of Draenor.  And then Blizz introduced that thing where it highlights new items in your bag.  Cool feature.

So now you hit the vendor, bags open, you buy something, it is there highlighted in your bags, but you can’t click on it or anything lest you sell it back, so you close the vendor window, and your bags close.  Then you open them up again to find your new thing and… the highlight is gone, because it only lasts though one bag open cycle.  After that, it is old business and hidden in amongst all your junk.  And since Blizzard is still using the same 27 icons from 2004 for everything, sometimes finding you new purchase can be a chore.

There is a work-around.  If you open your bags before you hit the vendor, they don’t close, so you don’t lose the highlight.  But I forget to do that about half the time.  So I feel like that first pass with the vendor shouldn’t count for the purpose of turning off the highlight.

Carnie Dialog in Darkmoon Faire

When running through Darkmoon Faire… and I run through it with a dozen characters every month… I am done seeing this.

Yeah, yeah, get back to work already

Yeah, yeah, get back to work already

When does every carnie have to put up a dialog?  At what point did somebody say, “Hey, I know what people wanr!  More windows to close while playing!”  I play with sound on, if they have something to say to me they can mumble it out like the other NPCs.

I know there is a sweet spot for doing the carnie quest, a distance from them that is far enough not to trigger the dialog box yet still close enough to bandage them.  But I get too close at least half the time still, so I’d rather Blizz just turn this off so I don’t have to see it come up a couple dozen times a month.

Parental Controls on the iPad

I have complained specifically about aspects of Blizzard’s parental controls before.  But even with my gripes, their parental controls are the best I have seen in any online game.  In fact, in my experience, such controls are almost non-existent in online games, especially in kids games.  I remember LEGO Universe touting their parental controls, which were pretty much useless, while Club Penguin parental controls were a joke last time I looked.

So Blizzard’s parent controls work out pretty well for me… as long as I am at the computer.

But there I am, sitting on the couch, watching a movie and my daughter asks for a little more WoW time.  I reach over for my trusty brain extension… erm… iPad, always close to hand so as to be able to look up actors or whatever, and then stop.

That won’t work.

You cannot (or at least I cannot) use the Blizzard parental controls UI with a touchy-feely tablet interface.  I have to get up off the couch and wander back to my office, log into Battle.net, and change the time there if I wish to grant my daughter this boon.

Blizzard, stop making me get up and move about!

Also, setup parental controls for your other games already.  You have a decent template.

EVE Online Problems

So, a while back, WoW got update 6.1 and EVE Online got the Scylla expansion, and now they do not play well together.

This is important to me because EVE Online is often a game where it is good to have another game to play in the background.  For all you fans of the old days of EQ, downtime and waiting and all that are still very much alive in space.  So for quite a stretch I was doing pet battles in WoW while waiting for things to happen in EVE.

But when I do that, tabbing in and out, WoW is horribly choppy, to the point of being nearly unplayable.  Pet battles are manageable, but if I have to actually travel to get to one, things become painful.

I suspect that CCP is the main culprit here.  EVE certainly doesn’t stop using resources when you tab out!  But WoW is doing something odd as well.  Having either game running seems to kill performance with Paint.net.  And I have had my own odd problems with WoW in the past, like that stretch of time where the game would crash whenever I was in Dalaran.

Of course, it could be that I need a video card upgrade as well.  Having had to go back to my five year old nVidia GTS450, a modest card back when I bought it, after the big power supply blow up last November, I am certainly nowhere near the leading edge on the GPU front.  At some point I am going to have to find some money and buy an upgrade.  Maybe if I can find a GTX 960 on sale.

Anyway, those are my current top five annoyances with WoW at the moment.  What is bugging you?  Are you feeling any of these?

 

Hail The Imperium! Amarr Victor!

Goonswarm 2015: We are not here to ruin your game, but to ~enhance your immersion~

The Mittani, CEO Update: The Imperial March

And here I thought a few jackets might be pushing things.

The CFC has been declared dead, a clusterfuck no longer.  In its place rises the Imperium.

And the first act of the Imperium was to formally declare its loyalty to the True Emperor of Amarr, Maximilian Singularity VI.  Any residual loyalty to the irredeemably tainted Empress Jamyl Sarum will be rooted out and destroyed and our ideological purity will be assured as guardians of The Sixth Empire.

The Mittani kisses the ring and swears his allegiance

The Mittani kisses the ring and swears his allegiance

I am not sure exactly when The Mittani fell under the sway of Maximilian Singularity VI, though he did mention his admiration for him publicly a couple of times before Fanfest (where Maximilian blessed other known figures), but now our coalition is wed to his crusade, with The Mittani names as “The Sword of Redemption.”  His cause is now our cause.

Jamyl Sarum has stolen our Golden Empire and is no longer True Amarr…  I am True
Amarr as Tash-Murkon and Kador family lines and I shall see in my time all four Empires in battle while a gathering storm of the fifth empire comes. We Capsuleers of all races are the rising Sixth Empire… and we shall follow a storm!

All four empires are tainted. War is coming to them, my words will be true. The fifth empire is in turmoil. WE ARE THE SIXTH EMPIRE to rule the galaxy. The old ways are no more. Vitoc is an abomination we ALL SHALL BE FREE and no longer dogs of war to the poisoned State, Republic, Federation and Empire. I preach LOVE (and by love I mean lasers).

-Emperor Maximilian Singularity VI, to his Imperium forces before blessing his followers

Maximilian Singularity VI and his claims to the Amarr throne face issues, including a pro-Jamyl faction in Providence.   But with the usual squabbling between the five houses, Jamyl’s weak position after violating the doctrine of sacred flesh, and the ever present pressure from the Blood Raiders and Sansha’s Nation, a claim to the Amarr throne backed by Imperium titans cannot be dismissed lightly.

Within the Imperium itself, a new order is being forged.  Change is coming.  Uniforms are being discussed and appropriate propaganda being prepared.

Meanwhile, out in the farms and fields of sovereign null sec, the N3 appears to be falling apart under pressure from all sides.

Reavers leaving the roost for another night mission over Querious

Reavers leaving the roost for another night mission over Querious

Delve continues to be overrun and, in a surprise move, Imperium forces declined to deploy to the obvious choice of ZXB-VC in Delve and moved instead to a base designed to block Darkness and The Kadeshi (themselves working out of 1-SMEB) from having easy access to their route out to low sec Aridia.  Sahkt it to me?

NCDot has decided to abandon Querious and has reset its renters in the region.  The Germans may be stepping in however, as Ev0ke has already said they are headed that way.

Meanwhile, Nulli Secunda, unironically based for the moment in the system 3-BADZ in Feythabolis (and thus inspiring a new nickname for the N3 coalition, The Three Bads), facing the threat of Pandemic Legion dropping on them, is reported to now be headed for the exits as well, giving line members very short notice to pack their stuff.

So with all of that plus Brave already leaving null sec (or maybe headed to 1DH-SX in Delve, I don’t know, what with coup and counter-coup) and the Russians reportedly interested in exploiting N3’s weakness, the Imperium set to set to return to its new, Fozzie-sov-sized domain (consisting of the regions Deklein, Fade, Pure Blind, Tribute, Tenal, Branch, and Vale of the Silent) while dropping sov on its other conquests and holdings (Delve, Fountain, Cloud Ring, and anything else we might take along the way), and I don’t know what going on in Wicked Creek, the declining weeks of the Dominion sovereignty system look to be interesting times. The map will change before the updates hit.  I need to put that sov war updates blog in my reader.

And then we will have Fozzie-sov where, we hope, the real fun and chaos will begin.

While that is all going on, the troops of the Imperium are still out in the field and still taking sovereignty from its foes the old-fashioned, Dominion-style way.  Last night Reavers shot an infrastructure hub and reinforced a station while I was on, while dodging neutral or disenfranchised renter.

Sometimes we bring out the big guns, like this Drake XL

Sometimes we bring out big guns, like this Drake XL, to shoot ihubs

Tonight there will be another station.  Tomorrow there will probably be another ihub.  Or a POS.  Or another station.  Or some SBUs.  The war goes on.  Sovereignty will be overturned and infrastructure smashed.

Somebody put up a Gallente tower

Somebody put up a Gallente tower, let’s shoot it

And so it goes, until there is no more enemy and Emperor Maximilian Singularity VI sits on his throne without dispute.  Amarr Victor!

Back and Forth Across Fountain and Delve as Dominion Fades

The repulse of the attack on Fountain and the subsequent punitive invasion of Delve have been going well for the CFC.  I joke about Goons invading Delve out of sheer habit at this point, but the joke has its basis in fact; this is my fourth year in the CFC and at least my fourth time into Delve.

In the near corner of Delve, N3 continues to lose systems, with 15 now having been taken from them, a jump of 8 since Thursday.

The conquest continues

The conquest continues

As that was going on I missed what might have been one of the most glorious moments so far in Reaver history.  Sure, we’ve caught and killed some supers in the past, but this was even better.  The Reavers managed to break NCdots hold on one of their systems in Querious, so that they lost sovereignty for a short stretch of time.

In ED-L9T the Reavers, with some help for the final fight, managed to temporarily wrest sovereignty away from NCdot.

ED-L9T slips away for a few hours

ED-L9T slips away for a few hours

N3 lost more in that fight than we did, including a big fat Moros dreadnought, and had to pull allies back who should have been defending Delve (in addition to offering ship replacement coverage to their renters) in order to retake and hold the system while their TCU came online.  The system now has to go through the slow process of regaining “levels,” something that just happens over time as you hold a system, in order to restore full capabilities to the system and station.

This is exactly what the Reavers are supposed to do, keep prodding behind enemy lines until the hostiles have to respond in force, at which point we fade away.  Asher gave us a day off from operations to celebrate this coup so we could satisfy any need we might feel to join the main fleet and help burn a bit of Delve.

All of which is a lot of fun, but which also ignores the longer term question as to what the CFC plans to do when the sovereignty changes come this June.  We gave up Delve, Querious, and Period Basis, selling them to N3, before the Phoebe changes back in November, and nothing has changed to make me think that we will suddenly be able to hang on to Delve in the longer term.

Then, over the weekend, the other metaphorical shoe dropped and it was announced that the CFC will be pulling out of Fountain before the June Fozzie-Sov hits.  This came as a statement directly from The Mittani and via the LAWN state of the alliance update.

That means that at some point in the near future, the CFC is going to hold, the relinquish, possession of Fountain and Delve (circled in red below) before moving back to the north, outlined in blue. (Map from the usual source.)

April 12 map, marked up in MS Paint

April 12 map, marked up in MS Paint

The CFC will back at the top of the map, alliances packed into closer proximity so as to better defend our space during the chaos of change.  Because there is still a question as to what Fozzie Sov will bring.

I doubt it will bring down any of the established null sec organizations.  That would require a system where the best organized groups were put at a disadvantage, which would seem like a pretty counter-productive long-term goal for CCP.  Punishing the people who are likely the most invested in your game would be a bad plan.  But the goals laid out in early March made it clear that CCP wants to make sovereignty easier to take, which should still favor the organized.  And, as a counter to that ease of conquest idea, there is the plan that sovereign space that gets used for things like mining or ratting should receive a defense bonus.

What I have yet to hear… and I haven’t dredged through the 200 page long threadnought regarding the Fozzie Sov changes, so maybe it has been fully addressed… is whether or not null sec space is going to get any sort of boost to make it worth keeping.  Because, right now, there are systems in null sec, in the space I live in, that are held merely because they are adjacent.  They don’t spawn anomalies worth doing (and spawn very few at that) nor do they have belts worth mining.  Add in systems on heavily traveled paths through null sec, so nobody wants to rat or mine there as potential hostiles are always passing through, and you will find a not insignificant number of systems in null that nobody will want to invest time in.  I will be interested to see if there is a plan for those, or if they will simply become the weak parts in any sov holding entity’s armor by design.

Meanwhile, it looks like a good time to get into null sec if you are a new player.

Back when I started, getting into null meant establishing a reputation and knowing somebody already in an alliance to vouch for you.  Recruitment of newbies wasn’t all that common aside from certain groups that could pull from their external source, like the Goons from Something Awful or TEST from Reddit.  I got into null because I knew Gaff, and he got in because he knew somebody through another game, and how he got into null I am not sure, but it was probably through yet another recommendation.  There was something of a wall between new players and null, enough to cause some rage to be directed at me when I highlighted one day old character tackling in a fleet op because those results were not typical or available to everybody all the time.  How dare I pretend null sec entities want new players by telling an anecdote about a fleet op!

And then Brave Newbies, a group that specializing taking on new players, got into null sec, and the flood gates were open. (Not that it was tough to get into TEST, but it required a little effort.  BNI removed even that minor effort.)

The success of Brave Newbies and their ability to field large numbers apparently had some impact.  Goonswarm opened up Karma Fleet, which allowed just about anybody to join up and get into the fight in null sec.

Seriously, anybody was getting in for a while... though not everybody was allowed to stay...

Seriously, anybody was getting in for a while… though not everybody was allowed to stay…

Since then, Pandemic Legion has announced their own new player friendly enterprise, the Pandemic Horde, which already has more than 600 pilots, not all of which can be spies.

I would suspect that other null sec entities would want to get in on that influx of new players in order to bolster their own numbers, lest they find themselves at an even greater disadvantage, and to provide a pool of potential candidates to promote into their core organizations… if they can get over their elite PvP bias.  I suppose you could view renting as an ingress, but it really isn’t the same thing.  There is a distance between the renters and the landlords.

So Fozzie Sov, when it arrives, will at least start with the CFC in a smaller space and probably with a scramble for the soon-to-be-abandoned Delve and Fountain sovereignty.  I wonder who our new neighbors will be?

Addendum: And judging from how Jabber is humming today, there should be an epic GSF Alliance Update out in the next day that will be full of smug.

The Fall of ZXB-VC and the End of Dominion

Today was what will likely be the last gigantic battle of Dominion. We killed 170b and lost 15b~ of shit, our enemies sacrificed upwards of 60 caps and TCUs are onlining within the next two hours in ZXB-VC, the Entrance to Delve. We have our foothold, we’ve kicked down the door, and we’re in.

-Blawrf McTaggart to all at 2015-04-08 23:59:11.908198 EVE

As I sat at the office yesterday working on an issue from a customer, the war in Delve reached a crescendo as the final time for the system ZXB-VC counted down.  Our foes had already lost several systems in Delve up to this point.  But those losses, while indicative of the way the war was going, were not all that important; those were tolerable losses.

But ZXB was different.

ZXB has a station in it, a place the CFC could turn into a forward staging system within Delve, making the commute to conquest all that much shorter.  And it was also the staging system of our foe, so their forces were already on hand, ready to defend.  Capital ships battled and subcap fleets clashed as I sat at my desk at work.  I pulled up a Twitch stream at one point and saw a mass of titans engaging the station.

ZXB Station Besieged

ZXB Station Besieged

The CFC won even with Brave and a drifter battleship assisting N3.  According to the narrative over at TMC (EN24 apparently declined to cover the battle at this time) the total combined losses for both sides added up to at least 153 billion ISK (or just ove 4.1 million WoW gold at today’s exchange rate) with losses tilted heavily against N3.

Seven systems have now changed hands in Delve, up from the three earlier this week. (Not sure who the EON Alliance is, but they now have sovereignty in Delve.)

South East corner of Delve

South East corner of Delve

The war could be far from over.  There are 78 more conquerable systems in Delve held by N3, with 44 stations, along with twelve NPC systems, each of which has an “open to all” station from which the enemy could stage to prolong the fight.

On the CFC side we are, of course, hearing the usual “hostiles are evac’ing to low sec” rumors.  And while the latest alliance updates from Darkness and The Kadeshi say that the fight will go on, N3 does appear to be under considerable pressure with the hammer of the CFC capital fleet hitting them in Delve, the Reavers burning fields in Querious, and now Pandemic Legion, having been hired by the CFC, going after N3 holdings in Esoteria and Feythabolis.  There might be more fights or it might be time for N3 to pull back into a tighter defense, if peace is out of the question.

So CFC Sky Marshall Blawrf McTaggart (who was getting some attention over at Polygon during the fight) might end up being correct in calling this the last gigantic battle during the era of Dominion sovereignty, because, come June, CCP says it will be rolling out a new set of sovereignty mechanics.  Gone will be the SBUs and myriad of timers and what not, and in its place we will have the Entosis links and an attempt to meet some goals laid out in early March.

The Dominion expansion changes will be thrown down.

Dominion - December 2009

Dominion – December 2009

At this late date I think it is safe to say that the Dominion sovereignty changes, if not universally reviled, are at least not viewed as an ideal way to run the whole conquerable space aspect of EVE Online.  There are voices from all parts of the game asking for change.

So, as we approach the June changes, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at Dominion and what CCP was trying to do back in late 2009.

Fortunately Sugar Kyle already has a post up, as part of her review of EVE Online expansions, that goes over the Dominion expansion.

I was there and playing the game when this dropped, but barely remember a bit of what came out.  But I wasn’t in null sec at the time and I was probably paying more attention to the Siege of Mirkwood expansion that was landing in LOTRO at about the same time.

So sitting here in 2015 reading the Breaking the Chains Dev Blog that speaks to the planned changes for Dominion brings about an eerie sense of… well… not exactly déjà vu, but certainly a feeling of familiar ground.

You can pull some quotes out of CCP Abathur’s 2009 post that would fit right into the current discussions of null sec sovereignty.  At one point I was flipping between that dev blog and the March 2015 sov dev blog and I lost track of which one I was reading.

Perhaps my favorite quote in the whole 2009 document is this one:

…there is no one thing that causes more consternation amongst players than the seemingly endless task of shooting towers.

Okay, I know that in the pre-Dominion scheme of things, towers were how sovereignty was held, so the reasons to attack them have changed, but I’ll be damned if the seemingly endless task of shooting towers has abated one bit.  In Reavers we shoot towers night and day.  There are people who have become connoisseurs of tower configuration, and I hear each tower we hit critiqued on coms as we reinforce it.  (Sometimes module locations even contain a message.)

More on point, there is this quote:

No matter what happens, there will always be important things to shoot.  The key is finding a balance between allowing smaller gangs of raiders to disrupt the day to day operations of your space against requiring massive battleship and capital fleets to actually remove you from the same space.  Conquest of space in Dominion will differ greatly from what exists currently, as will the ability of roaming gangs to cause an ‘AFK Empire’ no end of frustration.

Just as raiders will be presented new opportunities to create havoc, aggressors intent on all out conquest will have to carefully weigh their plans and make decisions on what and where to attack first.  Strategies that work in one system may completely fail in the next.  Defenders of space in Dominion will have new ways of defending their space as well.  These tools will not replace a proper defense force but they will provide new and exciting options which ensure that not every fight is the same and will reward investment in military infrastructure.

You could almost pull that directly forward into the 2015 dev blog and have it make sense in the context of the current discussion.  I am looking forward to the June changes myself… a little bit of chaos can be fun… but a little voice in the back of my brain is saying, “This time for sure!” in a mocking tone.  We shall see.

Anyway, the war in Delve is still on for now, Reavers are still roaming Querious, Pandemic Legion has its contract for the other side of N3 space, and CCP’s sovereignty changes are still a ways out.  There is plenty of time left for another big battle or two if both sides want it.

Reavers Represent

As a group, the Reavers are already dangerously close to role play.

We are a small team that goes behind enemy lines to attack their infrastructure.  We exist to reinforce structures, blow up defensive SBUs, kill the scattered locals, and then fade away when the enemy forms to fight us.  When they form for us, we win, because that means they are not forming for the main front of the war.

We have our own fleet doctrines within the CFC and our ops are always considered strategic for purposes of ship reimbursement programs within the CFC. (And woe to any alliance accountant who tells Sky Marshal Blawrf otherwise.)  And Reaver ops run pretty much around the clock.  It is a perfect place for somebody who wants to drop in and do something (and click on a participation link!) for a couple of hours every day, because there is always something to shoot.

And we have our traditions.  There was a big push when the group was launched to forge an identity.  We have our forum sigs and our own forum Bee in the GSF forums.

Reavers forum bee

Reavers forum bee

In the field we don’t chat in local unless directed.  We often work out of a single POS deep in hostile territory for weeks at a stretch.  We burn out a fleet commander or two every deployment because they thrown themselves into the role and try to keep ops running around the clock.  As a group, we go to great lengths to get people back from deployments.  I have seen pings to help get a single pilot home two weeks after a deployment has ended.

However, in this ongoing effort to forge an identity, I think we might have crossed a line.  We have moved from operational traditions into the field of dress up.

This week Asher Elias, our leader, announced that there was now an official Reavers jacket for our avatars.  I am not sure where this idea came from, but it got a chuckle initially.  However, Asher and the other leaders kept repeating it.  And then people started buying the jackets and updating their avatars.

The jacket was 750 Aurum (Aurum is that odd ball other currency in EVE Online, specifically for the New Eden Store cash shop), but it turned out that a lot of us still had that initial 1,000 Aurum that CCP gave us when the whole thing came online back before the Incarna expansion.  We had the money already, so why not?  As we landed back at the station in our staging system, more and more people bought into the idea.  I was in, though fortunately I had already figured out how to change my clothes in space, so it was a quick swap for me.  Some had to figure things out scratch.

Then there was talk of an official pose for avatars.  And, judging from how things have developed, I gather we were given an official background for our avatars as well.  I wasn’t on last night, but I was putting together a composite of some of our avatars and noticed that, even as I was doing that, they were getting updated with that background.

Initially I had trouble putting together an array of twenty avatars to demonstrate the phenomena.  Later I decided to stop at forty avatars, thinking that perhaps I had made the point already.  Here is what I ended up with:

Reavers Represent

Reavers Represent

That picture expands out to 1280×2048.  I am at the top left and I stand out for not having the correct background yet.  (My method for finding the portraits was to scan recent Reaver kill mails over at zKillboard to see avatars, then go to EVE Who to look up specific names to grab 256×256 portraits, which I then pasted willy nilly into an ever expanding page in Paint.net.)

And, even as this was kicking off, other groups in the CFC started jumping on the idea.  I understand that there is talk in capswarm about an official uniform, leading people to argue over which uniform you should wear.  Asher’s view was that the first group to declare a uniform has precedence, so all Reavers should be wearing our jacket… and in our pose… with our background.  I wonder if our effort… and how it seems poised to spread through some of the CFC… will cause a spike in Aurum usage and character updates?

And just think what would happen if we had hats.

Addendum:  I now have the correct background.

Wilhelm Arcturus

Wilhelm Arcturus

CCP Copies Blizzard’s WoW Token Idea

I suspect that the headline above is how some World of Warcraft players will react to PLEX, should they ever hear about it or the existence of a game called EVE Online, now that Blizzard’s WoW Tokens are going live in North America.  That is the way these things tend to go.

But $20 will apparently get you 30,000 gold in WoW a some point today.  (There is even a video to show you how it all works.)

The WoW Token highway has no exit

The WoW Token highway has no exit

You and I though, we know better.  We know that EVE Online has had PLEX for over five years at this point.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

And we know that, after CCP introduced PLEX into New Eden other MMOs adopted similar currencies to allow their players to exchange real world money for in-game currency.  So we have:

  • KronoEverQuest & EverQuest II and maybe other titles.
  • CREDDWildStar
  • GRACEAnarchy Online
  • DUELDarkfall
  • REXRift
  • APEX – ArcheAge

Interesting experiments, with a mix of subscription-only and free to play titles to observe.  But those are all small time compared to WoW, with populations totaled all together barely matching a small percentage of the 10 million players last reported in Azeroth.

With WoW Tokens, the PLEX idea is hitting the big time and, going forward it will like be the benchmark system against which all others are compared.  PLEX may have come first, but WoW Tokens will likely be the biggest such item for a long time to come.

Of course, Blizzard is taking steps to cover itself on the WoW Tokens front.  The WoW Token market is setup region-wide, so they have populations larger than EVE Online to keep the prices stable.  And should stability be an issue, they have setup a system where they can control prices.

I will be interested to see where the prices go over time.  30,000 gold for $20 seems like a reasonable price, enough to steer people away from illicit RMT.  We will have to see if, over the longer term, 30,000 gold is worth 30 days of game time to the richer players in game.  That joke about CREDD might come true for some in WoW.  And I do find it interesting that, while the starting price for WoW Tokens is 30,000 gold, the intro video I linked above shows a payout of nearly half that.

15,864? Where is my 30K Gold?

15,864? Where is my 30K Gold?

I am waiting for somebody to setup a site to track the pricing and compare it across regions.  It will be interesting to see what sort of split, if any, ends up being necessary to support pricing sufficient to fight illicit RMT.  How much gold will Blizzard have to inject into the WoW economy in its own version of quantitative easing?

Will WoW Tokens have the same effect that PLEX did in EVE Online, where suddenly everything can now be converted to a real world value, where we know how much a titan is worth in dollars and euros and yen?  The mainstream press obsesses over that conversion when it comes to EVE Online because dollar amounts make for better headlines.  I am waiting for the WoW addon that converts all gold values to real world currencies.

Also, now that WoW gold will effectively that have a real world monetary value, we can examine the exchange rates between currencies in various games.  Right now it looks like about 27,000 ISK in EVE Online will buy you 1 gold coin in WoW, which feels about right I guess.  That would give me about 200,000 WoW gold worth of currency in EVE Online.  More than I have in WoW, but ISK is probably more important to me in New Eden than gold is to me in Azeroth.  Necessities versus luxuries.

And, finally, I am now waiting for some site (like maybe The EVE Onion) to start valuing the cost of battles in EVE Online in terms of WoW gold.  So that 75 billion ISK brawl in Pure Blind the other day, that was worth nearly 2.8 million gold!

Hrmm, I might need to put together a conversion spreadsheet to track that exchange rate.

Anyway, others writing about WoW Tokens on their launch day:

And, from the comments, a site to track the price of WoW Tokens.