Tag Archives: CCP

BB74 – Bump and Grind

This month’s blog banter , 74th in the series, asks the following:

So when this Blog Banter goes live Fanfest will be over. Hungover geeks from around the world will be departing Reykjavik after a five-day binge of important internet spaceships and partying. Whether you were there in person, watched the streams or read the dev blogs on your mobile hidden under your work desk there was probably something in there that gave you a “nerd-boner”. What for you personally was the most important thing to come out of Fanfest 2016?

The most important item for me, personally?  That is a tough question.

First of all, there was a lot of stuff brought up at Fanfest.  CCP has a summary page of topics posted for each day (day one, day two, and day three) which gives you a nice list to choose from.  And from those posts I could probably justify at least half a dozen as important or interesting or just plain fun.

I particularly liked CCP Quant noting in his presentation during the keynote that the ratio of player assets in the game, 3,070 trillion ISK worth, to liquid ISK in the game, 978 trillion ISK, comes out to just about 3.14, or pi.  (Also, CCP Quant is NOT having your PLEX market manipulation theories, which might be the most amusing post-Fanfest read.)

And there were plenty of things that were important to the game, not the least of which was the new producer, CCP Ghost, giving us a vision of a better new player experience that might actually engage players rather than drive them away. (Also during the keynote, official video of which is now up.)

But given all those choices, I am going to pluck a small item off the list, one that showed up on day two of Fanfest and which did not take up much time.  It was, however, big enough to make it to the day two summary page.

  • Ship bumping – at maximum for 3 minutes
    A small, but important change is coming. A ship will get into warp no later than 3 minutes after the warp was initiated, regardless of any bumping, as long as the warp engines aren’t disabled (warp scrambled, bubble etc.).

When this has been implemented, a ship will enter warp after three minutes even if it is being bumped out of alignment.   Right now a ship, especially a big ship like a freighter that takes some time to align, can be bumped off its alignment indefinitely and without consequence, holding it in place until it can be blown up.

Clearly this is a swipe at suicide ganking in high sec, where somebody bumping a freighter on a gate in Niarja, a prime ganking system between Jita and Amarr, isn’t any sort of news.  Happens every day.

But why pick this particular item?

Yes, I have been on both sides of the coin.  I have lost a ship to gankers, back before I knew that was even a thing, when I blithely auto-piloted my way through Niarja with a valuable cargo.  And, during Burn Amarr, I tried my hand at the ganker side, joining the catalyst swarm to kill three freighters.

A Dead Obelisk

A Dead Obelisk with a bumping Machariel flying past…

Fair to say that suicide ganking isn’t really my thing in New Eden, so what brought me to this upcoming change?

For me, this change illustrates the intersection of a few threads that permeate the game.

First, there is the desire for CCP to not restrict how players play the game.  They want a wild west sandbox where we can create the content rather than trying to force us into some standard roles.  There is no playing EVE Online wrong, though you can still play it badly.

From that point of view, suicide ganking is completely legitimate and CCP is on record as such.  It is emergent game play and they will not do anything that will kill it off completely.   There will be no “safe” high sec.

Second, there is the desire by CCP to keep things in some state of balance.  If something is too easy, if some ship is too strong, if some aspect of the game seems to be killing off others, CCP is motivated to tinker with the game to try and fix that.  They have to, because while there is no “wrong” way to play EVE Online, people will flock to anything that presents itself as an optimal choice.  As Edward Catronova, something of a fan of EVE, once said,

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

Or, in this case, being an immortal space pilot from the future doesn’t turn that off.  When drone assist was the was to win battles, fleets of carriers and Dominixes and Ishtars ruled the space lanes.  When heavy missile spewing battlecruisers were over powered, Drakes were everywhere.  When insta-locking Svipuls are totally too good, guess what is a feature of every half decent gate camp?

So CCP steps in… or, in the case of Svipuls, will hopefully step in soon… and changes things up, nerfs one thing or boosts another.

And, thus, when suicide ganking seems too easy, CCP feels compelled to ratchet up the difficulty, as they have done on a number of occasions over the years.  They don’t want to kill it, they just want to make it more of a challenge.

Of course, how well they have manage that leads me to the third thread, which is are unexpected consequences.  CCP is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to making changes to the game.  There are a couple hundred people at CCP at most looking at game mechanics, and many less on any given change, while there are tens of thousands of players looking for the optimum fit or tactic or whatever.

The mental processing power alone favors the players who will optimize after any change… something that isn’t improved when CCP won’t listen when players, or the CSM, point out the obvious flaws.

So we have, once again, CCP attempting to tweak things against suicide ganking, hoping to tamp it down some.  But we have yet to see how players will respond.  Will this make things more difficult for suicide gankers and cut back on kills, or will things simply settle down on a new optimum path?  Will it be as easy as just having a sacrificial warp scrambler hit the target every two minutes and fifty seconds to keep it in place?

And what else will come from this?  How many capital ships in low or null sec will escape now because somebody is holding them down on a gate by bumping, but the three minute timer lets them go?  What other ripples will come from this particular pebble being tossed into the pond that is New Eden?

I always find this sort of thing interesting or amusing or important because it is, in its way, the essence of the interaction between CCP and its players, the give and take, the friction, the way things develop and progress.  It isn’t anything unique to EVE Online, but these little items feel like they have more impact in New Eden than in places like Azeroth or Norrath.

Anyway, it was is a small thing, but one that jumped out at me.  And the question didn’t demand the biggest reveal or most dramatic new feature, just what was important to me.

That is my response to BB74.  Here are some of the other submissions:

 

Citadels Arrive in New Eden

The long awaited, anticipated, feared, speculated over, and otherwise examined Citadel expansion arrives on the Tranquility server today.  Seriously, we’ve been all over this since EVE Vegas last year.

Coming Spring 2016

Now Available

Citadels, the new structures in New Eden are here and will likely change the game in unexpected ways.  There are four citadel types:

  • Astrahus (Medium)
  • Fortizar (Large)
  • Keepstar (Extra Large)
  • Upwell Palatine Keepstar (Extra Large, Extra Special, one per New Eden)

And there are all sorts of details that players will need to sort out as time goes along.

For me, one of the more interesting items is how players will attack citadels.  In what I can only see as something of a rebuke of Fozzie Sov, players will actually shoot things rather than fly around them in circles running an entosis link module.  To my mind, shooting something is always the best option.  CCP has tried to give us a feel for shooting them in its cinematic trailer.

So a huge change there, with CCP relenting somewhat at the last minute on the whole tax thing meant to drive people to use citadels.  I expect the unexpected and for comedy to ensue.

And, if that were not enough, there are a range of capital ship changes going in today as well.  Starting off there is the introduction of the Force Auxiliary capitals, already commonly called “Fax Machines.”

Fax Machines

Fax Machines are all Vertical

They come in four flavors, one for each major NPC faction, and replace the triage role that carriers used to perform.  They are:

  • Apostle (Amarr)
  • Minokawa (Caldari)
  • Lif (Minmatar)
  • Ninazu (Gallente)

Carriers and super carriers will no longer use drones, but will restricted to fighters.  Fighters themselves will have new functionality and controls.  A lot of things will transform with the expansion drop, triage carriers into fax machines, old fighters into new, and drones into some location you may not have considered.  The transition is covered in a forum post.

I have a carrier that will still be a carrier after the update and which will be pretty empty since all the drones will get dumped out and I never bought any fighters for it.  But, then, I have only ever used it to haul around subcaps.

In addition, dreadnoughts are getting rebalanced in order to turn them into the gun platforms they ought to be.  Titans are getting a rebalance and new doomsday weapons.  Carriers are getting a rebalance too, and so are supercarriers.  There are also pirate faction capital ships and capital level escalations for anomalies and new anti-sub cap weapons for capitals and the removal of ewar immunity for supers.

And then there is the usual round of fixes and updates and changes to various aspects of the game, most of which (but never all) are summed in the patch notes and on the updates page.

There are enough things going on with this expansion that if it were the old days I would have started training a long skill.  Even CCP is running long on just the deployment.

But, since my skill queue already goes out past 500 days right now, I am not so worried about that.  Still, I suspect there will be issues and some patches coming pretty quickly given the scale of things.

Wait, there it is, the announcement… the expansion is live and the server is up… for now.

The official launch announcement, complete with links for feedback, is up on the CCP site.

But even if the server goes down we will at least have a new theme song to listen to.

CSM 11 Announced – Xenuria Wins at Last

This morning as part of the EVE Online keynote at Fanfest, CCP Seagull announced the members of the 11th Council of Stellar Management.

CSM11_logo

Turnout was reported as low for the elections, which clearly benefited organized groups.

CSM 11 looks like this:

The 11th Council of Stellar Management

The 11th Council of Stellar Management

The winners, ordered as presented, save for two exceptions:

  1. Mr Hyde113 – Pandemic Legion (Perm attendance seat)
  2. Aryth – Goonswarm Federation (Perm attendance seat)
  3. Steve Ronuken – Fuzzworks Enterprises
  4. Sullen Decimus – The Bastion
  5. The Judge – Circle-of-Two
  6. Fafer – Northern Coalition.
  7. NoobMan – Hard Knocks Citizens
  8. Jin’Taan – Curatores Veritatis Alliance
  9. Kyle Aparthos – TheDivision
  10. Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  11. Bobmon – Pandemic Legion
  12. Nashh Kadavr – Pandemic Legion
  13. Xenuria – Goonswarm Federation
  14. Gorski Car – Pandemic Legion

So there are your new representatives… provided you’re in a null sec bloc in most cases.  As I said, a low voter turnout meant organized blocs won big.

For those of you keeping track, that GSF suggested ballot I mentioned back when the elections started ended up picking six winners, though clearly The Judge is a bitter victory on that front.

BB73 – New Eden Diplomacy

This month’s blog banter, #73 in the series, asks:

So soon(tm) we will have Eve Online, Valkyrie, Gunjack and the as yet untitled FPS to replace DUST514/Project Legion. Are we missing anything else? Are then any other games CCP should be looking into? Colony building simulators in the style of Sim City or Rimworld. Should it be on a grander scale link Civilisation or Stronghold Kingdoms. How about RTS games ala Command and Conquer. Survival games such as Rust? Planet based combat like World of Tanks? Would you like to see other game types expanding the Eve Universe or should CCP stick to what it knows?

Well, given the popularity of the past week’s events, I am going to have to go with a strategic title, something of a New Eden version of Diplomacy.

Who gets stuck with Feythabolis... I mean Turkey?

Who gets stuck with Feythabolis… I mean Turkey?

(Diplomacy board and screen shot likely the property of somebody somewhere.)

I wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t condone a direct knock-off of the game, but there are clearly aspects that one could borrow, especially the simultaneous movement and the diplomacy phase.

The game should be focused on the strategic aspect of the game, which necessarily means a top down strategic map.  Maybe they could get Rixx to put together a nice strategic map for the game.

New Eden done Rixx Javix style

New Eden done Rixx Javix style

New Eden is broken up into its various spheres, and the game should try to somehow incorporate all of them, including high sec, low sec, null sec, wormhole space, and that bit where the Jovians live… because Jovians!

Hat tip to Rhavas...

Hat tip to Rhavas…

In my vision a multiplayer game… with maybe six players total… would start with each of them getting a null sec region worth some amount of resources.  I would try to keep resources simple, with maybe some way to improve yield via infrastructure, but nothing more complicated than in, say, Civilization II.  Jump bridges for roads, other enhancements for improving mining yield or keeping down the local pirate factions.

From there players can expand their null sec holdings… I might actually chop things down into constellations within regions as the level of play… until they come in contact with low sec space.  From there they can influence low sec to their will, something of a reverse on faction warfare, to be able to use that space as a connection to high sec.

Connecting to high sec grants an economic boon that allows greater expansion.  But, in a twist, your foes connecting to high sec also boost high sec output overall.  So you want your foes to have access, but you want more access through more and more secure low sec avenues.

Wormholes should have a technology threshold, after which you can exploit them for resources or use them as temporary access to other regions, including high sec.

And then there is high sec space, the NPC empires.  I don’t think they should be conquerable, so maybe just a level of influence over them that affects your economic relationship.

Finally, there is the victory condition.  I wouldn’t want to make outright conquest a requirement, or even possible.  You might be able to eliminate a couple players along the way, but over-extending yourself ought to come with consequences or infrastructure costs.

And I like the Civilization V idea of having multiple victory conditions.  So maybe a conquest based one where a player wins if they control a given number of resource generation points in null sec, as in Diplomacy.  Then an economic influence victory where you end up with one of the NPC empires aligning with you.  A surrender option where you get/force your player foes to support your reign.  And perhaps some sort of technological possibility that brings in the Jovians on your side.  Can’t forget about the Jovians after I used that picture.

So that is my general, broad strokes idea for a strategic/diplomatic game based in New Eden.   I’m not sure if the starting empires ought to have fixed names with special attributes or not.  What would you do to distinguish Band of Brothers, Ascendant Frontiers, Goonswarm, Pandemic Legion, Solar Fleet, -A-, CVA, or whatever current or historic groups you might want to represent?  Plus, you should be able to roll your own alliance.

Finally, the whole things should be multiplayer, obviously, with a chat interface that lets you have individual, group, and game-wide conversations. Seems that CCP might be able to manage that by taking chat straight from EVE Online.  It also should have some sort of AI player support and allow 4-10 players.  Then it should be on Steam and cost $29.99 at launch, $17.50 at the first Steam Summer Sale, and $19.99 there after.

And, if I really want to ask for the world, it ought to have an in-game client so you can play it while in a fleet in EVE Online for a truly meta experience.

That is what I’ve got.  The details are left as an exercise for the reader… like a title.  What should the game be called?

Others have answered the question as well.  You can find them at the Blog Banter 73 page or linked below as I see their posts.

Will EVE Online Get a Bounce from M-OEE8?

In the history of EVE Online, when there is a giant battle in the game subscriptions go up as sure as one thing follows another.  The first Burn Jita, Asakai, 6VDT-H, and B-R5RB all got headlines in the gaming press and, in many cases, the general media.  Articles at the BBC have not been uncommon.

The fact that these giant battles happen on their own and aren’t staged by CCP (unlike certain record setting events) is part of the magic of the game, the draw that attracts news players and reinvigorates old ones.  It is one of those special aspects of New Eden.

CCP certainly got into the spirit of things as the big battle kicked off.

Old news, but The Scope reporters are hacks...

Old news, but The Scope reporters are hacks…

They had people on scene to watch the battle and the EVE:ISDIC Twitter account posted great pictures of the fight as it went on. (You should go look at them.)

And after the fight, CCP was at it again with the battle stats.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

Granted, they might have jumped the gun on that last item.  B-R5RB.  According to CCPs post battle figures for that fight, there were 7,548 unique characters involved in the great titan massacre.  Though, to give credit, they did cop to that error when it was pointed out.

(Also, Easter War?  This war has been going on since January.  I know that CCP doesn’t want to use “Casino War” because that will inevitably shine a light on the shady RMT and gambling aspects allowed in the game, but Easter just seems wrong.  New Years War maybe?)

And they want you to have talking points ready, just in case somebody asks you about EVE Online.

So CCP is prepped.

And there are certainly rumblings within the community as old players who left for various reasons (Fozzie Sov and Jump Fatigue get mentioned a lot) consider coming back for a big war.  Having nearly every non-Russian null sec entity jumping on the “shoot Goons” bandwagon at last is certainly a draw.

But what about new players?  Will the M-OEE8 battle have the same halo effect as the other great battles before it?  I am starting to wonder.

CCP keeps linking to and quoting from a rather tepid article over at PC Gamer that pre-dates the battle.  During the battle the Polygon Twitter feed posted an EVE Online link, though it turned out to be to a 2014 story.  They wanted to ride on the EVE Online gravy train, not the other way around.

And… that has been about it.  Even Massively, which covers MMORPGs, only has their own tepid post, which amounts to “Somebody on Reddit said there was a war.”  And they haven’t even gotten around to something about the actual battle that happened.

In fact, nobody outside of the core EVE Online focused media and bloggers seems to have bothered.

If you Google “B-R5RB” you get results from PC Gamer and Wired and Polygon.

Do the same for “M-OEE8” and you get… DOTLAN, zKillboard, EN24, and me.  My post is the the 6th result.

So what happened here?  Was the battle not big enough?  Was the spectacle no grand enough to suit?  Did we not amuse sufficiently?  Was there insufficient internet spaceship drama?  Should CCP be calling the Guinness Records people?  Do we need to tally up the losses and convert them to dollar amounts to get some attention here?

Or are people just over internet spaceship battles?

Addendum:  The war is starting to get some traction now on gaming news sites now.  It just took a couple days.

EVE Valkyrie and EVE Gunjack go Live with Occulus Rift Today

The Occulus Rift virtual reality headset officially goes live today… I wonder how many pre-orders have been shipped at this point… and with it a couple of titles from CCP, the makers of EVE Online. (This week’s new releases list is naturally a bit heavy with Rift related titles.)

The first is EVE: Valkyrie, the title that CCP has been talking about for a while now and which is bundled with the Occulus Rift for pre-orders.

EVE Valkyrie

EVE Valkyrie

I was able to play EVE: Valkyrie at EVE Vegas last year and it does seem like a pretty fun title… though I might be biased by the fact that I found it neat just to be able to fly around some of the ships from EVE Online.  The price to play, however, puts it outside of my reach for now.

The other title, EVE: Gunjack, described as an “arcade shooter,” was announced back in August, and initially released last November, for the Samsung Gear VR headset, but has been ported over to work with Occulus Rift.

SCV good to go, sir!

EVE: Gunjack

I am not sure how much work went into the transition between platforms, but the Samsung Gear VR was created “in collaboration” with the Occulus team, so one could reasonably assume that the effort wasn’t huge.

So CCP has two more games on the market today, both set in the EVE Online universe.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat related item, the most recent Blog Banter has bloggers taking on the topic of what other EVE Online games they would like to see.  I haven’t gotten around to thinking about a post for that yet.

Friday Notes about New Eden

I ended up with a Friday bullet points post that was all about EVE Online.  A few things have come up that I wanted to note, but about which I couldn’t quite muster a full blog post.

Caracal aligning for warp

Just a nice picture of a Caracal in Fountain Space

Tech III New Eden Cluster

We got news earlier this week via a video blog from CCP Seagull that EVE Online had been moved to an upgraded server cluster in a new location.  This accounted for some of the extra downtime we saw around last weekend.  But hopefully the new hardware means good things for the future… like less TiDi.

Downtime and the 200,000 Skill Point Gift

As an incentive for those who were subscribed during the rocky patch during the server move, CCP is giving every character that had an active skill queue between February 24 and March 1 200,000 skill points.  That doesn’t seem like much in the age of skill injectors, but it is still about four days training… and it seems pretty good for somebody who can only get 150,000 skill points out of an injector.

Skill Injectors are Made out of People!

The Skill Injector mania appears to be carrying on.  A few weeks of the things have yet to sate appetites in New Eden.  My favorite tale of the past week was from Gevlon, who has been making ISK by harvesting the character bazaar, buying up characters that were undervalued in relation to their total skill points, stripping them, and selling the resulting skill injectors.  The main problem seemed to be the active yet mind numbingly boring way each character has to get processed.

Still, the whole thing makes me wonder if there is any future for the character bazaar, the existence of which was used to help justify the introduction of skill injectors.  Why would you buy a strange character with which you held no affinity when you can simply boost up the skills on a character you made yourself?

February Economic Update

CCP Quant has some graph porn in the form of an economic update from New Eden.  The raw data that makes up the graphs appears to be available for download.  Add those charts in with the skill injector charts we got last week.

Kickstarter Op Success

I got my hardbound copy of Andrew Groen’s Empires of EVE Book this week.  I haven’t had a chance to really sit down with it yet, but I can already tell there is a problem with… it isn’t enough.  It will need a sequel or something, because the story carries on from what was covered.  I want more already.

Also, I think that screen shot on page 145 is a Hurricane fleet and not a Machariel fleet.  Actually, I am pretty sure it is this picture.  (Yay, a screen shot I took is in the book!)

Asher Speaks about the Casino War

Finally, over on the Asher Hour podcast, the leader of the Reavers and the 23rd best FC in the Imperium had Imperium Skymarshall Kcolor and fellow Reaver Azure and Argent (just one person despite that name) on the show to talk about the war in and around Fade and some of the mechanics behind what is going on.  A decent discussion without too much Imperium cheer leading.  Your mileage may vary.