Tag Archives: CCP

Home From EVE Vegas 2017

That went fast.  Very fast.

EVE Vegas 2017 – SOLD OUT

I was sitting there in the big auditorium with Nosy Gamer and Dire Necessity and Mynxee and Johnny Splunk as CCP Guard and CCP Falcon said from the stage that EVE Vegas 2017 was over and I think the reaction among several of us was, “Wait, it’s done? That’s it?”

It seemed like too short of a weekend.  Still, a lot happened.

CCP Presentations

CCP expanded on some of the things they were talking for the upcoming Life Blood expansion.  We already knew the Guristas were going to get a shipyard in north null sec, a mirror of the Blood Raiders in the south.  We learned that there would/could be up to three Guristas shipyards up at once as well as the capital ship blue prints they would drop; they include a faction version of the Phoenix dreadnought and Leviathan titan, which both can launch fighters in keeping with the usual Guristas theme.

There was also some updates on the new moon mining structures, how they will work, and some video of them in action.

But I think High Sec got a lot more attention than in past presentations.  There were, of course, the Guristas and Blood Raiders outposts, mini versions of the shipyards to find in empire space.

Then there was the announcement that moon mining would be coming to high sec with the new structures.  It will only be available in 0.5 sec status systems, and only deliver ore and not moon goo, but you can still get supercharged rocks out of it that boost yield for your mining op.

There was also the update to The Agency, which is slated to be the all-in-one place for finding PvE content.  It won’t just be for events any more.

But I think the big thing for high sec will be Resource Wars.  That is a new, co-op PvE system where you can join in, but don’t have to fleet up, to either mine or kill pirates to help your empire gather resources for rewards.  Semi-sorta public quest-like in nature, it touches on the three things I was going on about with EVE Online PvE.  They will provide progression of a sort with some meaning (akin to missions), have predictable return on investment, and are somewhat on demand through The Agency interface.  I want to try them out when they go live.

In the grand tradition of the game, I am sure somebody will be complaining about all of this.  CCP can’t add anything to the game without some people saying it isn’t enough while others bitch that it is too much focus on somebody else.  I just see new stuff and am happy.

Then there was the expansion of Alpha clones, which created what might be called an “Alpha Plus” or “Alpha Prime” class of players.  That will need its own post, but there is an article about it up at PC Gamer. (Also, I briefly met Steve Messner, the author, and got to thank him for linking to one of my posts last month.)

And, in addition we got updates on Project Nova and heard about the new Project Aurora (which some people got to play), both of which represent CCP figuring out that maybe they should team up with other developers when they make something in an arena they have not mastered.

Anyway, there are many other articles on the presentations and I will probably do posts about individual things later.  Suffice to say, much was learned about upcoming releases and plans going forward.

Player Presentations

EVE Vegas always features some player presentations, and the ones I saw this time around were all excellent. These are the ones I managed to sit in on.

Mike Azariah of A Missioneer in EVE spoke about finding your own path to “win” in EVE Online.

Eveline Vos and Keskora Yaari talked about the nature of life and conflict in wormhole space which, as an outsider to that corner of New Eden, was very interesting.

Emmaline Fera, a friend from Twitter, gave a simply awesome presentation on EVE Online leadership skills and how they transfer back and forth to real life.  I would love to see this again or at least get the presentation.

Matterall gave an hour long presentation that followed the experiences of a single NCDot player from the OTEC era through to today.  This was especially interesting as my own time in null sec started just before OTEC (I came in during the war against White Noise) and closely paralleled the story, only on the other side of every conflict. Addendum: Somebody recorded it off of the Twitch stream.

Debes Sparre (who used to comment here now and again) and Elise Randolph gave a presentation about building fleet doctrines that was very good.  I liked that they framed as a parallel to ship fitting.  As you pick modules for your ship, so you pick ships to fill out your doctrine.  They also promised to put their presentation and final fittings up on the web.

And then there was the usual Max Singularity presentation.  This time around his New Eden Physics Class 101 developed a consistent tech lore as to why ships in New Eden behave the way they do.  This was, in part, covered by his submission to the Frigates of EVE book, but he gave us the expanded, one-hour presentation as to why our ships work they way they do.  I can only hope that this all ends up some place where we can reference it at some point.  Anyway, now I have to buy that book as well.

Demos & the EVE Store

CCP had the usual array of demo stations and such setup in another room.

I went and tried out Sparq for a bit.  It is interesting, but perhaps not as accessible as Wii Sports, to which it has been compared.  The VR aspect of it is cool and immersive, but I still had problems just getting my hands to go exactly where I wanted them.  I don’t know if I’m just clumsy (high probability) or if the PlayStation 4 VR just isn’t as precise as I expected it to be.  Also, I could never quite get how big the shield on my hand was for deflecting shots.  It looks tiny from your own perspective, but you can see your opponant’s shield and it looks much bigger.  The fact that you cannot have local matches is probably the biggest hindrance to the game. (Unless your friend brings over their PS4 and VR headset to play.)

EVE Valkyrie: Warzone was on display of course.  Oddly though… or perhaps not… there were no VR headsets with that demo.  They wanted people to play the non-VR version, with stations setup to use keyboard and mouse and others with the XBox controller.  I didn’t try that out, but I bought a copy on Steam, so I’ll have a post about that later.

And then in the same room was the EVE Store, which finally had some decent items available.  And I mean simple things, like a T-shirt that just said EVE Online, that should have been there by default last year.  Also a year late was a Warp to the Dance Floor T-shirt.

Of course, it isn’t the EVE Store without some sort of screw up.  They were supposed to have EVE Vegas 2017 pins, but they were delayed so didn’t make it to Vegas.  I was told I would have to order them through the online store.  But the online store was completely failing to work with my phone browser, so I figured I would just order one when I got home.  But they were apparently only for sale during the event, so I missed out.  Bleh.

I did buy my daughter a Permaband T-shirt.  Her response was very “meh.”

People

There were many.  Over a thousand.  I did not speak to nearly enough of them.

Nosy Gamer, Dire Necessity, and I went to Holstein’s over at the Cosmopolitan where, once again, Dire order the shake with the comically large addition.  Last year it was a whole slice of pumpkin pie.  This year it was pretty much a whole ice cream sandwich in his cookies and cream shake.

Gonna need a bigger shake…

I also had a great dinner with Debes Sparre where we did the usual thing that long timers in the tech industry do; exchanged work horror stories.

The Venue

The Linq hotel was a strange bird.  I couldn’t quite place my finger on it until somebody pointed out that it used to be the old Imperial Palace hotel, the one-time cheapest place to stay on the strip.  Caesar’s bought it and spiffed it up, but it was still a matter of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  So I had a room with very nice decor, but the hot water system isn’t of the recirculating type typical of nice hotels, so you have to wait for the water to warm up.

And nothing screams “high class” like soap dispensers attached to the wall in an otherwise very up scale shower.

They all dispensed similar clear liquids too

There were also not enough elevators.  The main set were slow, heavily used, and glitchy.  I got in one that insisted on going up on every other stop, which made getting to the lobby a 10 minute ride.  The elevator car of the dammed.  And this situation wasn’t help by signs like this.

This sign is a complete lie

There was an elevator four doors down from my room with this sign, so I didn’t use it on the first day.  Later I discovered that it would put me on the second floor about a dozen steps from some steps and a door that put me on the casino level, which is where you need to be to get anywhere.  Those elevators were never busy.  So, I guess technically there were enough elevators, but the hotel was scaring people away from some of them.

Also, I got lost at one point, as all three towers… or districts… connect on every floor so I ended up going to a room with almost the same number as mine.

So it wasn’t the Bellagio, but I have to admit that the room prices were pretty good for what you got.  Of course, it probably helped that CCP didn’t book the event during Halloween again.

The Party

The party venue was like the Chateau of previous years on steroids.  Bigger, better, and many more bars to serve up free drinks.

Club Drai

CCP Guard and a few other got up and sang some of the Permaband numbers, though Killing is Just Another Means was left off the play list due to recent events in Las Vegas.

Not being the party person I was 30 years ago, I went back to my room and went to bed after that.  But there were many after parties and some people looked the worse for wear the next day.

Goodies

Of course there were things to pick up, both from CCP and players, as part of the event.

CCP had a goody bag that came pre-loaded with some items, including three SKINs.

EVE Vegas SKINs

I redeemed them and immediately activated the Megathron SKIN on my main.  I left the other two unredeemed wondering if I should send them to my Gallente Alpha alt, since he actually has the other two ships.

I have to send a special shout out to Dirk MacGirk who gave me one of this year’s Open Comms show T-shirt featuring the show advisory on the back.

Not mentioned: Alcohol Consumption

I wore the T-shirt from last year at the event, as it is one of my prized EVE Online possessions.

There were other nice items, including a Signal Cartel card and poker chip from Mynxee and an event T-shirt featuring one of the new moon mining structures.  I tried to sum that all up in one picture.

EVE Vegas Loot

That star on my badge is from Mike Azariah certifying that I have “won” in EVE Online.

Blade Runner 2049

I went to the charity showing of Blade Runner 2049 that CCP hosted.  No spoilers, but it helped to have seen the original… or the director’s cut I suppose, if you want to be technical…, it didn’t feel like 168 minutes sitting there, and you probably want to see it on the big screen.

Summary

A good time was had.  I would do it again.

I haven’t covered nearly enough of what I saw and heard, and I am nearly 2,000 words in.  More for further posts I guess.  I am sure I have forgotten something major I wanted to mention.

And, naturally, after a weekend of EVE Vegas I feel like I need another weekend right away just to get back in my day-to-day stride.  This no longer being young stuff sucks.

Headed to EVE Vegas 2017

As this post goes live I am probably standing in line at the airport hoping that Southwest has their act together when it comes to my flight to Las Vegas.  That flight is taking me to my third year at EVE Vegas.

EVE Vegas 2017 – SOLD OUT

Once there I will likely be hobnobbing with the usual crowd of bloggers, podcasters, and other EVE Online media types who are, honestly, about the only people who know me there.  To my knowledge I will be the only one from my corp to attend and last year there was only one other pilot from my alliance in attendance, so prospects there are low.  Not that they would know me.  I am horrible at actually doing things with my own corp or alliance.

Pilots of the Imperium will be out in force though, and I hope to spot a few fellow Reavers.

Events at EVE Vegas include the usual company presentations… I expect we’ll get some new details about the Life Blood expansion coming later this month…, promotions for other CCP products, player presentations, the Saturday night party, and a special screening of Blade Runner 2049 with proceeds going to the Able Gamers charity.

There is a dev post up about the event with further details.

Those attending the event are also eligible for some discounts, which is probably a good thing as Vegas is not a cheap date.  It was $13 for a Jack and Coke at the Heart Bar last year.

For those not attending CCP will be streaming presentations on their Twitch channel and has a schedule up.

Streaming Schedule for EVE Vegas 2017

Anyway, I am off to Vegas to see what I shall see.

Warzone and EVE Valkyrie sans VR

The free Warzone expansion to EVE: Valkyrie adapts the high-immersion experience of virtual reality to computer and TV screens. Valkyrie pilots can now fly and fight together with or without a VR headset.

EVE: Valkyrie site

Today is the day that CCP launches their Warzone expansion for EVE Valkyrie.  Owners of CCP’s VR title get some new content for free, expanding the options of a game that has been criticized for being limited in depth.

The point of the Warzone Extraction event in EVE Online has ostensible been to draw attention to this new addition to EVE Valkyrie, though I am not sure it has done much in that regard.

Launching Today

And while I am sure that more content good news for people who already have the game, the big news here is the expansion of the target audience beyond those who have ponied up a few hundred dollars for a VR headset.  This is why CCP wants to make EVE players aware of this update.

Warzone, now without the VR requirement

I suppose it is easy enough to explain why CCP went this route; removing the VR requirement increases their potential audience manifold, starting with a few hundred thousand current and former EVE Online players they can market to directly… if they can figure that out.

I am not sure what the system requirements are yet.  The entry over at Steam still matches the Oculus Rift system requirements, of which my rig is just shy.  I have the processor indicated but need a video card upgrade.  I suspect that the requirements for running without VR should be less, but I do not know for sure. [Update: INN has the non-VR requirements and they are reduced.]

But is there also a message about the current state of VR in this move to support a non-VR option?  I see lots of rosy predictions for the future growth of VR and if you Google you can find numbers that show that over 100 million VR headsets had shipped by the end of 2016.  But if you dig in you find out that almost all of those were Google Cardboard and it seems much less impressive.  And there is no “killer app” yet to move the more expensive headsets more quickly.

Anyway, EVE Valkyrie is now VR optional.

I will be interested to hear how it plays without VR.  I should still have a special item waiting for me in the game courtesy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition I got back in 2013.

Templar Fighter could be mine… is that even a thing in the game?

Of course, I’m not sure how to collect it.  It is attached to the somewhat maligned CCP Mystery Code from the collector’s edition.  I am sure the card is somewhere in my office at home, but I couldn’t tell you where.  Until I find it I suppose I can watch the launch trailer.

 

Quests, Missions, and Return on Investment

One of the great compelling aspects of MMORPGs is progression, progression being defined as doing something… gain a skill, earn some gold, gain some experience, advance a story, open up new zones or dungeons… that advances you towards a larger goal.  I was all over that, along with what was meaningful and what might not be, last week.  Or, at least I strung together a bunch of words alleging to be all over that.  The rather subdued response could mean I sent everybody away to think… or that I just sent everybody away.

I am back for more.

Part and parcel of whatever variation of progression you choose, at least in PvE, is knowing that the time you spend gives you an expected return in the coin of the realm, be that gold, progression, faction, or whatever.  Knowing you can log in and do something in a given amount of time for a set reward can be a powerful thing.  But it can also be a limiting thing.

In a discussion in a comment thread a while back about PvE in EVE Online there was the usual gripe about the dull and repetitive nature of PvE in New Eden, accompanied by the call for CCP to make PvE more challenging, dynamic, exciting, or whatever.  Those words always play well, in part because they are just vague enough without solid context to mean just about anything.

However one person called bullshit on all of that in a comment.  His assertion was that what mission runners valued above all was the consistency of both knowing what they were going to get for their efforts and understanding what it was going to take to complete the task at hand.  It was the surety of the return on the time invested that kept people going after they learned enough of the game to move forward.

Great moments in PvE, two explosions at once… I clearly split my guns

And while I wasn’t on board with everything he had to say, I had to agree strongly that the almost guaranteed return on the time invested was likely the bedrock on which many a mission runner career ended up being based.  In the absence of broad scale progression like levels, the reward in ISK and LPs was about all one can hang their hat on when it comes to New Eden PvE.

There is a reason that bounties in null sec are the biggest ISK faucet in the game.  Anomalies are repetitive in the extreme, don’t really have much of a fig leaf of a story to cover your reasoning to warp there and shoot everything in sight, and the big excitement is that maybe you get an escalation at the end.  And even escalations, not all that common back in the day, have gotten much more rare as CCP attempts to put the reigns on the faction battleship supply.

Furthermore, as I noted on Talking in Stations a week or so back, the escalation option for many players is to sell the bookmarks to a group that will run them and split the rewards with you so you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone and have your payout expectations set in advance.

There was a skit with Bill Murray on Saturday Night Live way back in the day where he was on stage with another performer ( I forget who at this point) who would give him a treat every time he did something on stage.  Then, after one action, he didn’t get a treat, at which point he stopped to point out that he was expecting a treat.  He’d been given a treat for every action in rehearsal and during the warm up before the show and for every action up to that point, but now suddenly he didn’t get a treat when he clearly expected one and had to find out, mid skit, what happened.

This is sort of the dark side of MMORPGs, the conditioned behavior, in that we expect to get a treat… experience or gold or achievement or whatever… for every action.  We expect that our time invested ought to be rewarded and can get upset or demoralized when it does not.

I am reminded of spending a whole evening grinding mobs with a group back in early EverQuest and then having a bad spawn or a mob wander up or get trained onto us, getting killed, and essentially losing all of the progress I had made.  That was always a disheartening moment.  For all the arguments about having enjoyed yourself up until that moment, the loss of what you had played/worked for tends to cancel that out and then some.

MMORPGs have tended to mitigate that since the early days of EverQuest.  In World of Warcraft death’s sting is pretty light, no progress is lost, and you can run back and try your hand at things fairly quickly.

In New Eden however the destruction of one’s ship can still represent a setback in the only progress a lot of people use, ISK accumulation.  One of the hardest things to get used to in EVE Online is that losing a ship is something to be expected, a normal part of the game.  It took me a long time to get past that.  I have seen people argue that they would never play EVE because they equate a ship in New Eden with gear in WoW, and the idea that you could somehow lose all of your hard earned purple raid gear is anathema to some people.  The whole “only fly what you can afford to lose” is nonsense talk to people who come from worlds where you never lose anything.  That there is a whole complex economy happy to sell them replacement ships doesn’t matter, loss is bad.

And even when you have accepted that ships are temporary, there is still that ISK setback and the inconvenience of getting a replacement.  So PvE in New Eden tends to be the pursuit of the optimized ISK gathering experience, and null sec anomalies win on that front.  Missions are arguably at least mildly more interesting, but a boring anomaly is very consistent in reward and difficulty and you don’t have to travel to find one.  With no real progression outside of ISK accumulation, people tend towards the easiest path.

But that is setting up for failure if your primary focus in PvE.  Anomalies are deadly dull.  I will never be really space rich or own a super capital ship because I cannot bring myself to run more than one or two on any given day.  Instead I use them to fill in the gap between alliance ship replacement payouts (you never quite get what you paid, or for peacetime ops you only get a small payout), to buy new ships when doctrines change, and to cover my own losses when I am off doing dumb things just to see if I can. (I was told I was very dumb for flying my Typhoon back from the deployment, fun and/or challenge not being a mitigating factor in the minds of some.)

In a sandbox game like EVE Online which lacks what I would consider long term, meaningful progression, how do you build “better” PvE for players?  What does “better” even look like given that, for many people, additional complexity or difficulty is often viewed as a negative and the accumulation of ISK or LPs are the only real long-term incentives?

Even people who choose more difficult content like burner missions optimize for them, so that when CCP changes something without mentioning it in the patch notes it can cause some heartburn?

And where does that leave CCP’s ambition to convert new players from PvE to PvP?  Because the return on investment… measured in fun, excitement, or kill mails… for PvP in New Eden can be even worse than PvE.  Much worse.

EVE Online Curse

Sitting in a bubble during a gate camp and waiting…

The problem with sandbox PvP is that it depends on other people, and we’re all notoriously unreliable.  And all the more so in New Eden where you can’t just pop up again at the nearest respawn point fully equipped and ready to have another go.

Yet another on the list of reasons I fly in null sec is that not only do I see some of the more large scale PvP battles, but for the most part somebody else does the work of figuring out where to be and when, then just calls on people like myself to come and help make it happen.  People like Asher Elias and Jay Amazingness and a host of other people put in a lot of effort to find fights that will keep us all happy to hang around and respond to pings.

Even then I would say that maybe, possibly, very optimistically one in four operations end us up with us shooting at hostiles, leaving aside structures and the occasional passing target of opportunity… which usually gets scooped up by the guy not running the doctrine fit because he has two scripted sebos in his mids for just such an occasion.

And even then, actually getting the much worshiped “gud fight” is a rare bird indeed.  Most roams or gate camps or whatever tend to end up as ganks of singletons who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and can’t quite get away.  It is no wonder that final timer structure shoots tend to get a good turnout.  At least we all get to fire our guns and a kill mail is almost guaranteed.

So I ask, in the context of the progression the game offers, the tendency for players to optimize for the desired outcome, and CCP’s fantasy about turning PvE players into PvP players, what does better PvE look like in New Eden?

CCP Launches Sparc Today

Sparc is a virtual sport, or vSport – a unique physical sport only possible in virtual reality, in which players compete in full-body VR gameplay and connect in an online community.

-What is Sparc, from the Sparc FAQ

CCP launched their latest title today, a VR game called Sparc.

Sparc – Virtual Sports

The press release from CCP says that it is available for the PlayStation 4 with PlayStation VR from the PlayStation Store for $29.99.  There is also a launch trailer.

There is a mention of a version for PC in the FAQ, but no firm date as yet.

The game itself has been compared to Wii Sports, the extremely popular game that was bundled with the Wii in many countries.  Wii Sports was an excellent demonstration of the potential of the Wii motion controllers, a potential that the controllers never really achieved.  Wii Sports was a selling point for the Wii.

That is a pretty high bar for Sparc, which is not bundled with anything and requires potential players to have invested in the PlayStation VR hardware.  Add in the fact that you cannot play locally against another player, having to connect to opponents over the internet, thus any match requires two PlayStation 4s and two PlayStation VR sets.

Still, a simple, fun, and not-too-expensive VR sports game might do well within the VR niche, even if it isn’t the killer app that Wii Sports was for the Wii.

The game has been controversial with a few EVE Online players since it was announced back in February of this year.

There is, of course, the usual outrage at EVE Online funding other games.  For all of the recurring “EVE is dying!” sentiment, it still pays the bills for CCP.  However, any business funds new projects from the profits of current projects.  That is just the way things work.  EVE Online itself was funded, in part, by profits from the board game Hættuspil.  What goes around comes around.  The problem is that, being an MMORPG, EVE Online never feels “done,” so taking money from a game that clearly still needs work (and will forever need work) does not sit well.

And then there is the fact that Sparc, unlike Valkyrie, Gunjack, or the late DUST 514, does not glorify the universe of New Eden.  A VR spaceship game might at least bring some attention to our internet spaceship game.  A cartoony virtual sports game doesn’t even do that.

My own view is a bit mixed.  I’ve worked on projects that basically paid all the bills in the past, and have been irked by resources being siphoned off to build new things.  And as an EVE Online player I always want CCP to pay more attention to the game.  But I also know that in business not expanding is often equated with dying, and the days of growth for EVE Online seem to be in the past.  The game has too much baggage and is far too niche to expect to reach new heights now.

So the best hope for EVE Online going forward is a healthy and prosperous CCP, and we get that by CCP doing well with other products, or so it seems to me.  We shall see.

Anyway, I have neither a PlayStation 4 nor any VR hardware, so Sparc clearly isn’t for me.  But if it does do well I suspect we will hear about it from CCP.

The August 2017 EVE Online Update brings the Lucky Clash Event

We are getting an August update this year, which I found a bit surprising.   And they even kept the naming consistent for three months running.  If they hit four that might be a record.   Anyway, lots of people at CCP are generally on vacation during July and August, so the month has been skipped at times for lack of content to deliver.

Not this August though, this August we’re getting some… stuff… I think… even if it was delayed a day.

We got a new event.  As a follow on to The Agency event, we got the Lucky Clash event starting today.

I want to say Lucky Cash… or LSMFT

This event pits the Independent Gaming Commission against some pirates known as the Redtail Sharks, and the IGC needs your help fighting them off.  So from now through August 23rd you can join help defend the various IGC gambling dens around New Eden from the Redtail Sharks.

So now we’re defending casinos again?  I wonder if that was accidental or deliberate irony.

Anyway, check your overview… and then go fix the settings… to find a site to defend near you.

After that, well, CCP giveth, and CCP taketh away.  The other big item in the August update, as CCP announced last month, is the removal of the Captain’s Quarters from stations in New Eden.

Me in the Captain’s Quarters back in 2011… the last time I used them

The source of much of the Incarna drama, the captain’s quarters were too much or not enough of something, depending upon whom was speaking.  In the end, walking in stations ended with the rejection of the Incarna release and the Captain’s Quarters have been mostly lingering ever since.

No, six years later, they are being removed from the game.  CCP posted a dev blog as to why they were doing this, but the upshot is that the code takes dev time to maintain and it is standing in the way of a 64-bit client.

As somebody who went through three Fortizar fights in the last week or so, each of which would have been made better by having a 64-bit client… unless you turn down graphics the current client is likely to access all the memory it can and then crash… I applaud this decision.  We’ve had 64-bit processors and 64-bit operating systems for a decade now, time to move the client forward.

I know, somewhere, somebody is really mourning the passing of the Captain’s Quarters.  One of my iron laws of MMORPGs is that any feature, no matter how bad, tangential, or useless, is somebody’s absolute favorite feature, and you’ll find out who the moment you remove it.  Sorry you have to take one for the team, but dealing with what tends to be called the “technical debt” of old features is painful, and sometimes you have to drop a feature to move forward.

And so it goes.

After that the August release is just fixes and adjustments to things already in the game.

There were some tweaks to how citadel launched void bombs work:

  • Reduce the rate of fire of the Structure Guided Bomb Launcher from 20 seconds to 40 seconds
  • Reduce the area of effect of Guided Void Bombs from 40km to 20km
  • Reduce the neut amount per second of the Guided Void Bomb by 25% (6000GJ every 40 seconds as opposed to the previous 4000Gj every 20s)
  • Reduce the velocity of the Guided Void Bomb by 20% (increasing flight time to keep the range the same)

That, however, is not going to be enough to change the structure shooting meta.  You will still have to attack them with a fleet doctrine that can shoot when neuted out, so armor tanked Typhoons or Machariels or Hurricanes supported by cap-chaining Guardians will still likely be the only options against slower shooting, but harder hitting, void bombs.

Meanwhile, deploying Upwell Structures has been made a bit easier, and using them has been made more attractive as some of the bonuses for the soon-to-be-removed player-owned starbases have been removed.  Industry and reprocessing bonuses are gone.

There were also updated for the standings, scanning, and beta map as covered by a recent dev blog.

The beta map is another one of those features that makes my head hurt.  One of my long standing gripes about EVE Online has been that the in-game map isn’t very useful.

It is pretty, and hella impressive to show your non-playing friends, but it just isn’t very practical as an in-game tool.  And I say that even today, with the current map, which is a vast improvement over the state of the map back when I started playing EVE.

Seriously, I went to DOTLAN yesterday and got a database error when I tried to look up a system and my heart about stopped.  The idea of not having that out-of-game map resource, and being stuck with the in-game map, was painful to even consider.

And then came the beta map, the plan for which seemed to me to be “let’s make something prettier and more impressive to look at, but even less practical to actually use.”  And so the new map has lingered as the beta map for a few years now, because it was clearly a step back from the already impractical in-game map in terms of usefulness.

But CCP seems to have decided to get back to work on the long neglected beta map.  The list of changes is long and impressive.  Somebody spent some time on the project recently.  But is that enough to make the beta map useful?

There are a pile of other small fixes that have gone into the August update.  Details are available via the Patch Notes and the Updates page.

The update has been reported as successfully deployed, so it is all there waiting for us.

Still no music though.  I guess the days of a new song with every update are over.

 

Captain’s Quarters Soon to be Gone

First off we have Incarna, an amazing technological and artistic achievement. A vision from years ago realized to a point that no one could have imaged but a few months ago. It rolls out without a hitch, is in some cases faster than what we had before, this is the pinnacle of professional achievement. For all the noise in the channel we should all stand proud, years from now this is what people will remember.

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson on the launch of Incara

CCP has announced that the Captain’s Quarters will be removed from EVE Online with the August release. (Also, we’ll be getting an August release this year.)  The Captain’s Quarters underwhelmed when launched with the Incarna expansion (my tour from back then) and has remained stagnant since then.

Captain’s Quarters

The letdown of the Captain’s Quarters was greatly aggravated by removal of the hangar view that was long the staple of being in a station.  Instead, if you didn’t want the resource hogging new quarters you got a static door.

The Immobile Hanger Door

Then Hilmar’s derisive comment about “ship spinning” poured gasoline on that fire.  Spinning had nothing to do with it, being able to see your active ship was the point.

CCP eventually relented and put the hangar view back with the Cruicible expansion, an update that saw the company begin to focus on long neglected features already in the game.  A lot of features in the game have improved greatly since then… though CCP still seems lost when it comes to creating a useful in-game map.

Usage of this minimalist pseudo-housing, the one place in the game where you could walk around with your avatar, was never huge once the hangar view returned.  And with the advent of citadels, which do not have that as an option (and docking in a citadel changes your default view to hangar), usage plummeted even further.  CCP even has a chart.

Game time spent in Captain’s Quarters

So the Captain’s Quarters has lingered for six years, the “amazing technology” stopped in time. (Well, we got “themed” quarters, but that was about it.)

However, the code is in the game and needs to be maintained and updated as things change.  Furthermore, the middleware developed to be used with that code is out of date and is standing in the way of getting a real 64-bit game client.  Per CCP:

One of the first things that we want to investigate is to release a 64-bit EVE client to better utilize your available system memory when playing. Compiling a 64-bit client has been held back by the outdated middleware that was needed by captain’s quarters.

And so it goes.

I won’t be sorry to see the departure of the Captain’s Quarters come August.  I have long maintained that avatar play and the idea of “walking in stations” was a distraction from the core of EVE Online.  With limited resources, if a feature doesn’t somehow involve spaceships, it should be avoided.

Of course, as I have also noted on past occasions, any given feature in an MMO, no matter how bad, awkward, or simply useless, is somebody’s absolute favorite aspect of the game.  The fans of the Captain’s Quarters will no doubt stand up to be counted.  But they will be hard pressed to argue that this lingering feature is more important than a 64-bit client.

In a reality where CCP is spending more time and effort on their VR projects, leaving fewer resources to work on EVE, simplifying by removing the superfluous makes sense.

Along with the Captain’s Quarters the integrated Twitch option is also slated to be removed come August due to low utilization.  There are other options for using Twitch with the game, and it seems like streamers are already using them.

Addendum: Reddit seems to be mostly on board with this change.

Others on the topic: