Tag Archives: EVE Vegas

EVE Vegas 2019 Swag

When you get back home late Monday afternoon and are on the hook for work Tuesday morning, it can take a bit to get all your stuff together.  Writing a summary was actually easier.

EVE Vegas Invasion World Tour Shirt

But somewhere along the course of the week I did managed to collect everything… I think it is everything… together for a picture.

The swag collection

There are some more buttons and pins on my lanyard, which has been through five EVE Vegas events now.  You can see the very nice EVE Scout coin that Katia Sai gave me.  I also kept my record of getting an Open Comms shirt every year, along with the pin.  I didn’t have to hit up Dirk this time though, as there was one in my size up on the charity auction which had just a $10 bid.  I couldn’t let it go for that cheap, so I doubled the bid and walked away with it myself.

We shall see what happens in 2020, with a player run EVE Vegas returning and a CCP event in San Diego.

Summing Up from EVE Vegas 2019

Let me explain.

*pause*

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

I am back from EVE Vegas and my brain is full of stuff.

EVE Vegas 2019

Lots of things were said and shown over the course of the event, too much for me to lay out in any detail in one post… at least if I want to get the post done today.  We haven’t unpacked from the trip yet, save for essentials.

Keynote

As I wrote on Friday, I went to Vegas with the hope that CCP would give us a vision as to where they are headed.  A plan.  A roadmap.  And the keynote is where you set that sort of thing up.  You can have other sessions for deep dives into details, but you have to lay the groundwork at the keynote.  The keynote is important.  This session easily had the most people in the room.  Even CCP seemed to agree about its place in things.  They got the keynote up on YouTube that night.

All the other sessions are still just part of day long video files on their Twitch channel, but they keynote is readily available.

So did they set the right tone, one enough to give everybody hope?

Maybe.

I spoke with quite a few people that evening about the keynote contents and either we’re a bunch of cynical bastards or CCP held back too much.  To me it felt like a promise for a promise.  They did, in fact, use the word “Roadmap” on a slide, but they didn’t have an actual path charted out in any but the most vague, hand waving way.  There were many nice thoughts, but not enough detail to satisfy.  Afterwards out in the meeting area there was some grumbling and a lot of comments about CCP needing to have something to back their statements up.

EVE Portal

One odd thing that stood out from the keynote for me was the brief pass by plans for the EVE Portal phone app.

EVE Portal

CCP has taken the mobile app development in house and has some plans for it.  CCP Burger specifically mentioned the ability to “trade PLEX in Jita” from the app as one of the goals.  I am not sure the ability to trade PLEX from your phone is something people are dying for, nor necessarily a good idea.  And I hope he meant “in game” rather than specifically “in Jita.”

EVE Core and Team Talos

Saturday morning at 11am was the EVE Core presentation, which was done by CCP Rise.  CCP Rise is serious and low key at times, but he presents well and you can sense his passion for this game as he talks.  If you have to pick one session to watch, this is the one.  It is the first one up on this video on Twitch.  Lots of information about what CCP would like to do and plans to do.

Part of what came up was the new Team Talos, which is a small group which is doing special updates every two weeks.  The warp speed increases from two weeks back was their first project, and this week’s Howling Interceptors changes was theirs as well.  They sketched out the next couple of updates as well.

Overall, lots of good things were said here which backed up the keynote.  People were happier after this presentation.  However, there was also skepticism if CCP could pull this off.  We found out later that Team Talos was just three people and some items on the bigger list felt more like things they want to do rather than items they have committed to.  We shall see.

The EVE Variety Hour

Worst name ever for a presentation, which may account for the room emptying out quite a bit after CCP Rise’s talk.  It was mostly about new player retention, the things CCP has been doing and is planning to do with a look at what impact the changes have had.  It was full of good info, if that aspect of the game interests you.

Larrikin Numbers

Billed as “Data & Botting” it was mostly CCP Larrikin throwing fun and interesting bits of data at the audience.  I have to go watch this again full screen to grab some of the charts.  He may have inadvertently given us a bit of data to help figure out how many people in total have played EVE Online in one of his graphs.  It was Americas only numbers, but still a starting place.  That is a figure that companies like Daybreak specifically won’t say publicly.

Over 1.8 million players (people, not accounts or characters) from the US alone

There was also quite a bit on income inequality and people deemed as “cheaters,” those who bot or use other illicit means to gain ISK, what ship classes generate the most, and what impact the blackout and the cyno changes had on things.

NPC Kills by Ship Class for 2019

There is a lot more like that in the presentation, as well as the odd fun bits, like Goonswarm Federation pilots having been on the most kill mails.

Kills by Alliance

However, the most common kill was a Mobile Tractor Units, at 32,466.  I was surprised to see TNT made the cut for top ten, though I am usually surprised when anybody mentions my alliance at all.

This was the first presentation on the Sunday video if you want to dig in right now and see more.

Ghost Talk

CCP Ghost gave a presentation about the social effects of being online.  If you want to feel good about spending many hours of your live logged into EVE Online, this will help.  It turns out we build real, deep friendships through the game and, in turn, develop resiliency in ourselves by playing.  This comes up in the video after CCP Larrikin’s talk.

The Hotel

This year the even was held at The Flamingo Hotel and Casino.  We checked in on Friday and ended up with a room with a great view.

The view from the 27th floor

I sat at the bench by our window and watched the Bellagio fountain show over and over.  Of course, not everybody got that sort of view.  Also, in the foreground on the lower right is Drai’s night club, where CCP held the party.  Our room was nice, though we had what was perhaps the busiest set of shower controls I have yet run across.

How many knobs do you need?

At first glance I thought it had two USB ports.  They were, in fact, spray nozzles.  However, water pressure on the 27th floor was pretty weak to start with, so turning those on reduced the shower head to little more than a dribble.  Oh well.

Overall The Flamingo was better than The Linq in almost every regard, save for not having a nice central bar to congregate around.  The price of a poolside cabana was so high that the Open Comms crew went back to The Linq to hang out.  It was right next door.  Pools aside though, Planet Hollywood was still better in almost every regard.  Heart Bar, best bar.

The Party

This year the party was held at the Omnia, a club at Caesar’s Palace.  Overall it was not as good of a location as Drai’s.  A huge number of people turn out for the party, and we filled up the Omnia.  It was crowded.  However, for a tight club experience for watching Permaband, it was pretty good… if you secured a spot downstairs within sight of the stage.

In the Omnia

Permaband did an excellent set.  Having ex-CCP Guard back was great, though many say it was CCP Tara who stole the show.

A good party, though it was crowded and tough to find a spot where you could have a chat, though I can’t hear anybody in those circumstance unless they shout, so it might just be me.

There was the usual, last minute “Oh, there is a dress code!” panic though, as usual, the dress code seemed to only apply if you were going to hang around after the club opened up to the public.  I saw enough people in violation to feel pretty sure on that point.

We left just before the general public was going to be let in and there was a line through the casino and out the front door of people seeking that honor of being in Omnia.  Given that Dirk and Dreydan were talking about the club charging $60 for a vodka and Red Bull once our time was up, I am not sure I get the appeal.  But I was never in the “love to club” group.

The People

I spoke with a bunch of people.  I almost only ever talk to players for whatever reason, but there were lots of familiar faces as well as a few new ones.  Among the new people I got to talk to, if briefly, were Katia Sae and Olmeca Gold.  Katia had a Signal Cartel coin for me, which I greatly appreciated, and Olmeca was mellow and fun to talk with, as most players tend to be in person.  It is on social media where we’re all jerks.

I also got to meet some of the Liberty Squad people, including Cainun, Zed Starshine, and Mapache Doom, and handed out buttons with the Liberty Squad bee.

The buttons I had on hand

That big button was a special for Zed, who is from Canada.  Drakes are also the ship Cainun refuses to FC, so that was a natural for the flag shape.  As usual I made too many buttons, so put some on the swag table every once in a while, so hopefully they spread far and wide.  I saw some of the bigger Liberty bee buttons around.

Sandy Eggo

The only time I heard the audience go really negative was during the closing ceremonies when CCP Dopamine mentioned next year in San Diego.  It wasn’t really people “booing,” but there was a loud, low, grumbling “ooooooo” that was clearly a negative reaction.

CCP hasn’t adequately explained why they chose San Diego, and “trying something new” doesn’t really cut it.  It is tough to hear about Vegas being the biggest meetup outside of Iceland in one breath to hearing CCP is giving that up in the next.  And San Diego, as nice as it is, still seems like an odd choice.  There are lots of other nice conventions towns in the US.  Even LA, 90 minutes up the highway, has more attractions and better transportation options.

But plans are well under way for a fan run event in Vegas next year, as EVE Vegas was before CCP stepped in.  There was even word that the group organizing Vegas for next year had already negotiated with CCP in order to keep the two events far enough apart on the calendar.  That is good for both sides, as it would be shitty for CCP to be seen stepping on a player event with their own, and embarrassing if that player event drew more people all the same.  And if CCP is smart they will send somebody to Vegas no matter how things go.  They were sending people to the Vegas player meet as far back as 2009.

I am still waiting for more info before I make plans for one or the other or both.

Home Again

Three nights in Vegas are enough for me.  I’d happily hang out with the players longer, but I want to get away from the smoke and noise and prices… dinner on the strip is much more than dinner in already pricey Silicon Valley… and back to our house, cats, and extra firm mattress.

I’ve been to five EVE Vegas events in a row.  I suppose that says something.

Vegas badges and lanyard

As I said above, there is still a lot of information to process and presentations to watch over again.  There may be another post or two based on all of that.  If nothing else I have to get all my swag together for a picture.  I also need to see what pictures my wife has on her phone.  My phone was in the process of crapping out last week, so I took very few pictures myself.  Oh well.

A good time seemed to be had by all.  We will see what happens in the coming year.

Vision Quest to EVE Vegas

I’ll be getting on a plane to Las Vegas very soon and will be on my way to what is to be the last official CCP sponsored EVE Vegas.

EVE Vegas 2019

I was somewhat disappointed by the news of this being the terminal EVE Vegas.  Vegas wears thin on me in about two days, but there are few places that epitomize the glorious highs and seedy dark underside of New Eden than this city of sin.  It is also a pretty easy place to get to with plenty of distractions.  No so San Diego, next year’s chosen location, which, among other things, is literally the only big city in California that is further/more expensive for me to fly to than Vegas.  I still don’t understand that as a choice.  It is a nice city, but so are a couple dozen other options in the US.

That, however, is next year’s problem.  This year it is Vegas and I will be there live to see what CCP has to say.

They had better have something to say, and it had better sound something like a plan.

It is a sign when you hear similar messages from members of the community that wouldn’t otherwise acknowledge each other save to spit in their respective directions.  But the lack of direction seems to be a unifying theme.

There has been a lot of back and forth about whether or not any outsider can definitively prove that EVE Online has been slipping this year, but the Chaos Era seems like a bust to me.  Destruction isn’t up and most other metrics we can see are down.  But more than that, it just doesn’t feel like CCP has a vision.

Yes, yes, they have something of a plan.  As the CSM minutes informed us, new player retention is at the top of the list and 80% of development assets will be focused on that for the time being.  And that is a good thing… or could be a good thing, if they can do something that addresses the issue.

It is also a very tactical choice, the desire to get more people to stick past the tutorial and through the first 30 days.  More players are better for the game and its rather essential economy.

It just doesn’t do much for the eventual destinations.  A few percentage points increase in that 30 day number will look good on somebody’s review, but it won’t shake up the stale null sec meta or make missions more fun or revitalize faction warfare or stop wormhole space from being crab central.

And it certainly doesn’t give us anything to look forward to.  We need a vision!  A destination!  Something to inspire us to hang around!  Dare I say it?  We need a road map forward!

Okay, I know road maps are risky things.  People see them and assume they are etched in stone and start calling you names when things change or don’t run to your initial (and always optimistic) schedule.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  At my last company I used to have to help with an ongoing two year road map for our customers.  Everything more than six months out was always wishful thinking. (Not to mention about half the features I would suggest would get the response “We can’t put that on there, we told Gartner we had that already!” from somebody in marketing.)

But they are also motivational, both internally and externally.  I can say from my own career over the last… oh lord have I really been doing this for almost thirty years now… that having a big goal, a splashy new feature, or a destination can get the best out of people.

It is certainly much more motivating than revising and updating the same feature set for the umpteenth time.

So my hope is that CCP will have something to inspire us, some vision… be it near or distant… that will spark hope that the future of the game will be better than the present.

We shall see.  I travel light… and I don’t own a laptop in any case… so you’ll probably read about what they announce before I get back home to write about it.  Look for my response next week.

Onward to Vegas!

Looking for Offense

My mistake was going to /r/eve on Reddit.  Every nugget of useful information found there must be paid for by wading through post after post and comment after comment of nonsense.

I happened to wander in just after a post went up where somebody was outraged about CCP suppressing their freedom of speech.  We’re big on that this week since somebody said something we seem to agree with.  We’ll be down on it again as soon as somebody we don’t like says something we disagree with.  I guarantee it.

In this case the person in question appears to have been dropping mobile depots around Jita and naming them with messages supporting the protest in Hong Kong.

A CCP GM sent him a warning, which he posted in full, that he had been reported for “deliberately creating lag by excessive spamming of structures in a high population system.”  This was just a warning, it contained no sanction, just a link to the policies and an admonition to not do it again.

Now, I have to admit that I figured he must have been dropping A LOT of mobile depots to get that sort of warning.  I have reported on some of the things that people get up to with mobile depots in the past.

That is a lot of mobile depots

In that scenario you need to drop a lot of mobile depots to stand out.  As such, they seemed pretty sure that they were being singled out for political speech.

I suspect that the comments that came in reply to the post almost immediately were not what they were expecting.  Rather than support for Hong Kong the poster found people angry about them bringing politics into the game or thinking they had a right to free speech given the terms of service to which they had agreed.  The responses were nasty and the poster returned fire in kind.

I took a minute to log in an alt I had sitting in Jita and undocked to check out the mobile depot situation.  Unlike the screen shot above, Jita 4-4 seemed bereft of mobile depot spam.  Dscan showed a total of 8 withing the limits of scan range.  I checked a couple of the gates and found a few more, but mobile depots were not out in force.

So I went back to Reddit and replied, mentioning my observation of the current situation and asking the poster if they were sure if they were being uniquely targeted, because it seemed to me that CCP was trying to clean up the usual spam around Jita 4-4.

I received a short, apologetic response and the post was deleted.  Or as deleted as such things can be.  Nothing on the internet for more than a few minutes is ever gone for good.

I was actually a bit surprised at that response.  I have grown so used to people being unwilling to shift their point of view even an iota on the internet, people so keen to favor only facts that support their initial assumption and so ready to discount immediately anything that runs contrary to their contrived narrative.

It is just the way people tend to be.  I have long held the opinion that people make decisions first and fill in the supporting evidence needed to get there after the fact.  I catch myself doing that.  Some times it doesn’t matter.  Picking some music to listen to doesn’t require supporting facts.  Buying a new car though, or picking who to vote for, or making accusations of bad behavior, that should probably be based on facts, though I am quite convinced that is not the case more often than not.

Anyway, I was thinking about this in the context of the next couple of weeks.  We have EVE Vegas coming up next weekend and BlizzCon after that.  Both companies, CCP and Blizzard, are in bad odor with some of their player base.  No matter what they say at their respective events, some people are going to look for the worst, darkest, most damming interpretation of what is said and done.

It is one thing to speculate.  I do that all the time.  You get a few points of data and it is natural to try to string together a narrative or a motivation.  It is a natural response and can be fun.  Interesting discussions can come from such things.

Just don’t go full Gevlon and stop listening to facts that might contradict your carefully crafted conspiracy theory.  Be the person in my story instead.

The EVE Online 2019 World Tour

As announced at EVE Fanfest… last year I think, I know the plan has been knocking around for a while… there will be no EVE Fanfest in Iceland in 2019.  Instead, CCP plans to take Fanfest on the road for 2019.  In addition to the usual EVE Vegas event CCP will be adding additional events to their schedule as well as dropping in on regular player events, turning them into official Fanfest occasions.

Here are the announced locations for the 2019 World Tour:

Fanfest 2019 Locations

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands March 23-24 – Joining in with the traditional EVEsterdam event
  • St. Petersburg, Russia May 4 – Bringing an event to the large Russian EVE Online community
  • Sydney, Australia May 23-26 – CCP one again attending EVE Down Under
  • Toronto, Canada June 21-23 – CCP in Canada for the first time with an event for the northeast
  • Kemiönsaari, Finland August 23 – The winner of the Fanfest Home contest gets CCP in their living room
  • Berlin, Germany September 13-14 – CCP joins up with G-Fleet for a German event
  • EVE Vegas October 25-27 – The traditional Second Fanfest will return to Vegas
  • London, England November 23 – EVE London will have CCP in attendance

That is eight official EVE Online events being run for 2019.  And if the 2019 T-shirts for all of these events isn’t a concert tour knock-off with all of those dates on the back, I will be sadly disappointed.

For those of us who might make just one of these events in 2019, the plan is to stream them all so we can play along at home.  There is even a teaser video for the whole plan.

The only question that remains: Can PermaBand play a world tour and survive?

Further details at the dev blog announcing the tour.

EVE Vegas 2018 Swag

I finally went through and collected up all of the stuff that I got at EVE Vegas for the standard tableau shot I do every year.  I am just two weeks late this time around.

The swag laid out

The T-shirt on the left was the gift bag item from CCP.  I am always a bit underwhelmed by their T-shirt choices, and the Triglavian gate continued with this tradition.  I would like a T-shirt that isn’t so obscure in message that if I wore it people would ask me about EVE Online and not what the hell it even was.

On the right is the Open Comms T-shirt from Dirk MacGirk.  That was the shirt to have.

A lot of the items on the table were part of the gift back that groups can put their items into, including this item.

When do we want them?

It is a pre-addressed post card to be sent to CCP to get them to add alliance bookmarks to the game.  Just add a stamp and you’re set.

A few of the items were from the store, like the deck of cards with members of the “space famous club” on them.

House of Cards in Space

52 cards and a Joker.  The Joker is Winterblink.

Then there are my badges for four years of EVE Vegas.

Four years of badges

I drag the badges with me to each one.  As it turns out, the badges don’t change all that much over the years and people fully bought my 2015 press badge as legit before I picked up my speaker badge.

The two bracelets above were the blinking LED ones handed out for the party at Drai’s.  It is the same thing they often hand out to fans at playoff sporting events here.  While they will blink a bit before the event, when the host sends out the right RF signal they all synchronize and blink together in the same colors.

All flashing red… that guy in front of me is wearing two

And then there was the most important item to have at EVE Vegas.  Lady Scarlet was handing these out.

Friends indeed!

You’re not getting out of any sticky situation if you aren’t friends with Matterall.

FLEX Structures and the Return of The Eye of Terror

The first presentation on Saturday of EVE Vegas was from CCP Lebowski.  Titled “FLEX, Decs, & What Comes Next,” it covered a stretch of topics, but opened with the latest round of structures from the Upwell Consortium.  You can watch it here.

FLEX structures are set to replace the last few null sec infrastructure roles that still require Player Owned Starbases.  After that the noble POS and the horrible code base that supports it, long complained about by CCP, can be retired.  Maybe.  A POS is still a pretty hand structure, so they may still need something to replace the simple ability to drop a safe spot in hostile space.

Anyway, the new FLEX structures are coming, FLEX standing for “Fast Logistical EXpansion,” and they share some characteristics.

The Basics of FLEX Structures

There are three FLEX structures coming, each replacing a POS function.  There is the Pharolux Cyno Beacon, on which many an unwary capital pilot will probably die, the Tenebrex Cyno Jammer, which will let you stop capital drops in your territory, and the Ansiblex Jump Gate, which is going to open a can of worms we’ve seen before.

And it is that last one, the Ansiblex Jump Gate, that I want to bring up here, because it has some interesting features.

Jump Bridge becomes Jump Gate

There are some very spiffy aspects of this new structure.  The model looks good, they align in space to the star system they to which they are connected, and the animations for it are superb. The latter will also be used with the upgraded art and animations for jump gates throughout New Eden.

But the thing I want to highlight is how unlike the old jump bridge the Ansiblex really is.  It is the last two bullet points that are key here:

  • No Jump Fatigue
  • No Ship Size Restrictions

My first thought on seeing those two items was that these were, in essence, player made star gates, something that had been mentioned as a possibility quite some time back.  I was kind of hoping that such structures would send us into new space, maybe with some new rules, but these seem to fit the bill if you get right down to it.  Promise delivered on, if not in the way expected.

My second thought, which came very close on the first, and which I heard echoed by Dirk MacGirk amongst others, was, “Here is the return of the Eye of Terror!”

The Eye of Terror!

The Eye of Terror was a jump bridge network setup during the Great War.  While I was playing EVE Online at the time, I was nowhere near null sec.  It is, however, an item of legend, so I went to the Goon Wiki to get a description:

The original Eye of Terror was a series of jump bridges finished in December of 2007 during The Great EVE War. It ran from 46DP in Tenerifis to P8- in Feythabolis, enabling a constant stream of Goons into RISE’s living room for 24/7 harassment.

Since late August, RISE had been increasingly penned in to the “RIT Triangle,” their cluster of home station systems past the P8- choke point, and the constant presence of Black Ops and Pandemic Legion kept their station systems disabled and left them with no means of escape.

By the time the Eye of Terror actually opened RISE resistance had already been reduced to sitting in stations with the odd, terribly fit ship to attempt to escape. The stream of ships through the Eye rapidly destroyed their towers, many of which ran out of fuel as RISE logistics had given up or were trapped in stations.

That was the first Eye of Terror, and legend has it that its construction and effectiveness led to CCP changing the rules for jump bridges, restricting them to one per system so that fleet would at least have to expose themselves to gates along the way rather than just warping from POS to POS and jumping in relative safety.

Then there was the second Eye of Terror, the jump bridge line that I took so often back in the day, the one that first led to the beachhead in Cloud Ring for the invasion of Fountain.  Later it was extended, first through Fountain, then Delve, and then into Querious.

If a fight was happening in way down south we could just hop in our ships up in Deklein and be down there in a pretty short time.  And so battles like HED-GP came along and crashed the server.  Yes, there were other factors, like the proliferation of drones and the Slowcats doctrine that were not helping.  But the fact that people could log in anywhere in null sec and get to an escalating fight… all the easier because time dilation slowed the fight down while those traveling were moving at full speed… led to a pile on after pile on.

So CCP changed the way travel worked in null sec.  The Phoebe update came along and introduced jump fatigue.  Capital ships could no longer make jumps in rapid succession, and the same applied to jump bridges.  Then we got Fozzie Sov, which sought to disperse battles over sovereignty.  Small fights were going to break up the stagnation of null sec.

Certainly, some groups responded by consolidating their holdings.  The Imperium drew back into a much smaller footprint in the north though, in the end, that was still more than could be held by the coalition.  The Casino War proved that well enough.  There was that and other shake outs, but in the end there was still something of an equilibrium.  Outsiders and pundits still speak of the “blue donut” as though repeating it makes it so.

And then… something happened at CCP.  I think they decided big fights were in their best interest.  But the jump fatigue penalties started getting pared back.  At the start, with Phoebe, you could make a character useless for months by taking too many jumps.  That got reduced to five days.  Now it is down to five hours.  But it still injects a wait period between jumps.  You can’t just jump or take jump bridges in rapid succession.

Only soon you will be able to again, and I am at a loss to explain why.  Travel is a factor you must plan for in New Eden.  Jump fatigue seemed to have a purpose in that.  Now that whole “3 minutes per light year” travel time metric goal of just four years ago will be straight out the window.

When the new FLEX structures go in, when the Ansiblex Jump Gate becomes a thing, travel in null sec will lose its burden again.  Subcap fleets will be able to cross large distances at will, giving coalitions the power to hold onto more territory.  And it won’t just be subcaps, because capitals, supercaps, and titans will be able to take those new jump gates as well.

Yes, CCP points out that it will cost in liquid ozone.  But I suspect they underestimate the abilities of GSOL, the miracle working logistical arm of the Imperium.  I bet if The Mittani told them that there was a need to move every titan in the coalition in the next 24 hours, they would have supplies laid in and ships ready to refuel jump bridges along the whole route.  I think we’ve already demonstrated that cost and effort are not really barriers.

So there we’ll be soon enough.  But the gate animations will be cool.  I’m tempted get FRAPS setup again to take videos of giant fleets passing through these new structures as the third Eye of Terror takes shape.

Home From EVE Vegas 2018

This post won’t be going into the things that CCP announced at EVE Vegas.  Not in any depth anyway.  Some of those items will get posts of their own, though some I will likely wait for the appropriate dev blog to show up before I cheer/jeer/panic.

EVE Vegas 2018

Instead, being true to my presentation, this is more my story of EVE Vegas than anything else.

My wife and I probably made about the minimal duration visit to the event, flying in Friday in time for registration and having to catch a cab during the closing ceremonies to get out flight home.  Silicon Valley is just an hour away from Vegas by air, which makes that seem reasonable.

The Linq

This isn’t the worst venue on the strip but, as I noted last year, it does leave something to be desired.  It used to be the old Imperial Palace hotel, easily the cheapest place on the strip in its day, and Caesar’s Resorts takeover and refurbishment of it was only a semi-successful attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

It isn’t a bad place to stay, and it is still reasonably price, but it ain’t the Bellagio or Madalay Bay or even the Cosmopolitan.

Our room was nice enough.  We arrived before check-in, but if you upgrade your room they’ll get it for you straight away.  After some discussion as to what constituted a “strip view” (the Linq is set back from the strip, so you most see the backs of other buildings) we ended up with a room in District 3 looking out over the High Roller Ferris wheel.  It was very pretty at night.

The High Roller from our room

During the day it was less impressive.  That patch behind it is a construction site where Caesar’s Resorts are building even more stuff.  Maybe that will be District 9.

Fortunately our room was pretty much directly across from my room last year, so I knew the paths through the hotel and the secret of the “No Casino Access” elevator that pretty much goes directly to the casino level.

The real problem for the Linq is that its convention/event space is really sub-par.  Planet Hollywood had the sort of huge event areas that I am used to from professional events, with a lot of hallway space in between and some big open areas for people to congregate.  The Linq’s space is relatively small and EVE Vegas used it all.  That was good in a way, being the only event there.

EVE Vegas Floor Plan

The problem is that this was the biggest EVE Vegas so far, which meant something over 1,200 people from around the world showed up.  However, the Showroom, where the keynotes were given on Friday can seat maybe 500 people tops, and probably not even that.  So they had to put most of us in Social A to watch a live stream of the keynotes, which meant most of us in attendance ended up watching a big screen showing the same thing everybody at home was seeing.  That is not optimal.  And while there was free beer for the room, the supply was limited and ran out quickly.

There was a gap between the opening ceremony and the EVE Online keynote, during which I found Nosy Gamer and joined him at his perch near the back of the main hall, so I saw that live.  It honestly makes a difference.

Anyway, the word is that next year EVE Vegas will be at a different venue.

The CCP Presentations

  • Opening Ceremony

Mostly about the other projects CCP is working on.  Posted to YouTube.

  • EVE Online Keynote

Preview of things to come in-game and to be talked about in presentations.  Also on YouTube.

The bit about War Decs was interesting.

War Dec Stats

Half of war decs come from five corps.  Those corpse make about 105 kills for every loss they sustain.  Only 4% of wars have a defender making a kill.  But the kills per war go up significantly if the defenders have a structure.  So the coming in December temporary solution is going to be to restrict war decs to corps that have structures, with a full re-work of war dec mechanics underway for 2019.

It was clear from the presentation and from talking to CCP Burger later that this was in the minutes because CCP had, at last, spent time looking into data around it and found it was worse than they expected, so CCP wanted to get it out there that it needed to be changed.  PC Gamer already has an article up about it.

  • Upwell Structures – The Future

Interesting and controversial as CCP maps out moving the last few POS restricted features to the Upwell format.  Jump bridges without jump fatigue that can move titans.  Waiting for the dev blog on that!  But the new visuals for that, and for upgraded art for jump gates, are awesome.

  • Project Nova

Interesting look at Project Nova.  It is in pre-alpha but looks really good.  They are clearly trying to find some positioning for it that doesn’t make it a space version of Call of Duty.  You can sign up to be in the alpha.

  • Ships & Balance

New triglavian ships.  I missed some of this getting ready for my presentation.

  • Introducing The Activity Tracker

I missed all of this because I was talking to Matterall, but they spoke about some of this at Fanfest earlier this year.

  • Events & The Agency

This was good.  Guess what, the Federation Grand Prix event was not popular.  Who knew?  I mean, besides anybody who actually tried it.  Also, a big revamp for The Agency interface is under way as well as more events.

  • Closing Ceremony

Was catching a cab to the airport, but it is also on YouTube already.  It was announced that in 2019 one of the “away fanfest” locations will be Toronto.  Good for Canadians and those in the northeast US.

Player Presentations

They were all excellent.  I showed solidarity with my fellow speaks and attended them all, and I was clearly in among some very talented people.

My own presentation wasn’t streamed and was at 4pm, which put it at the end of day two and just three hours before the party, so let’s just say that it was an intimate event.  My wife counted just over 30 people present, and I only knew about ten of them already.

Me looking serious at the podium, my winter beard already started

Still, it went well, people there were engaged and asked questions, and the wormholers at the back responded when I said they need to get somebody writing about what goes on there because I want to hear about it, but I’m not going to go live there to find out.

Probably the biggest loss due to presenting in that time slot was the person who went after me, Ahlea Corinth.  His presentation,  “Multiple Accounts = EVE On Steroids” was great.  Fortunately, CCP cut back from Stream Fleet and streamed his presentation, so you can find it at the end of the day two stream at CCP’s Twitch site at about the 4 hour 43 minute mark.

My presentation was the only one not streamed and is lost to history.  My moment of streaming fame came at the end of Talking in Stations on day three.  I have a two minute summary there.

Or there is this image that I made as a summary.

Highlight of my Presentation

Addendum: The Greyill put together links to all of the presentations in the recorded streams if you want to go directly to any specific one.

The Party

Drai’s is awesome.  This is a high roller location.  I can see coming to EVE Vegas and not getting a badge for the presentation if you want to hang out with friends, but the party… you have to get a ticket to the party.

Looking at the stage from the back

More up the center line

The drinks were free (and not the cheap stuff either) the crowd was happy and having fun (though Rixx was scowling some in the ABA pit when I passed by and shook hands) things were loud, and Permabanned played, as they always do.

CCP Guard on stage

That brings the house together as well all know some of the words.  HTFU remains the fan favorite I think, though Warp to the Dance Floor isn’t far behind.

People

This is why you go to EVE Vegas.  I am glad my wife went with me, as I tend to be quiet in person (though often tagged as a “good listener”) but my wife, the sales rep, she will get into any conversation and has no problem talking to strangers.  So we went around the event, and especially around the party, talking to people.

Of course, I talked to old friends from past events, like Matterall, Johnny Splunk, Nosy Gamer, and of course, the larger than life Dirk McGirk, who ran the Open Comms Show operations from a pool-side cabana at the Linq, where he was looking much worse for the wear after the Friday night Fremont Street roam.  The cabana reminded me a bit of a civil war aid station, with worn bodies strewn about the loungers.  But Dirk was looking out for me again and had an EVE Vegas Open Comms shirt for me.

Wormholers survived all the same

Anyway, I will wrap this up with pictures of some of the people who I talked to at EVE Vegas, though I have a special one I want to call out.

CCP Falcon and I at Drai’s

I’m sure that will send Gevlon’s tinfoil hat spinning.

Anyway, this isn’t everybody I spoke to, just those that I somehow ended up with in a picture, along with some other shots.

Heading to EVE Vegas 2018

That time of the year has arrived, at the other side of the calendar from EVE Fanfest in Iceland is EVE Vegas.  This coming weekend, October 19 through 21, CCP will be setting up in the city most closely representative of New Eden, if only New Eden still allowed gambling.  CCP has a dev post up covering the various aspects of the event.

EVE Vegas 2018

There will be a lot of eyes on CCP as this will be the first public event for the company after the acquisition by Pearl Abyss, the deal having closed on October 12.

I expect that the keynote will cover this in a very “everything will remain business as usual” sort of way.  Neither CCP nor Pearl Abyss wants to rock the boat right now, so a sense of soothing continuity seems like the best plan.

Still, if you want to panic about something, you can go check out the job posting for the new Monetization Director position at CCP.

You will work with Project Managers, Directors and EVE development teams to strengthen monetization designs, vision and process.

As it turns out, CCP is in it for the money.  Who knew?

EVE Vegas is also where we’re likely to hear about the next big thing for EVE Online.  We are at the end of the year where we often get a big, named release as opposed to a monthly update, and CCP like to announce that sort of thing in front of a live studio audience.

We will no doubt be hearing about CCP’s other New Eden related plans.  There is a presentation for Project Nova on the schedule.

For the fourth year running I will be attending EVE Vegas.  This year, in a change up from my usual lurking off on the side, I will be doing a presentation.  If you are going to EVE Vegas as well you have a good chance of spotting me at 4pm on Saturday in the Social A room.

EVE Vegas 2018 – Saturday Schedule (Pacific Time 16:00 = UTC 23:00)

Yes, my topic is blogging.  Go with what you know.  I will be attempting to evangelize the joys of blogging about internet spaceships.  So if you are in Vegas, have a badge, aren’t going to the Abyssal Deadspace round table presentation, and cannot find anything better to do, you can see me mumble into a microphone about the history, future, and reality of blogging.

If you are viewing from home… and CCP is streaming a lot of the event on their Twitch channel… then you’re not going to see me.  While some presentations are being streamed, the block of time where I am speaking is being used for Stream Fleet.

EVE Vegas 2018 – Saturday Streaming Schedule

Given that at least one slide of my presentation goes over the new media options that have supplanted blogging over the last decade, the irony of being pre-empted by streamers is not lost on me.  I suspect they looked at the list of speakers and put the two most dull topics into the same hour so they could turn the camera elsewhere.  Hard to blame anyone for that.  But at least the pressure is off and I don’t have to worry about accidentally saying “fuck” or anything.

Anyway, there it is.  I will be at EVE Vegas to hear what is coming for the game live and in person as well as communing with my fellow blogging types.  These events do tend stratify into groups, so it is probably telling that I’m over in a corner talking about CCP and New Eden rather than at the bar drinking and being loud.  Look for reporting on the event and some pictures next week.

Addendum:

After writing this I got the email from CCP about watching EVE Vegas remotely which includes a streaming schedule that is different from the one on the megablog post linked above.

Alternate universe streaming schedule

I suspect that the one in the in the original post is correct and that somebody just copied the presentation schedule rather than the streaming schedule, but who can tell.  Maybe you’ll see me, maybe you won’t.  We’ll only know when the time comes I suppose.  But now I’ve gone from wondering what I should wear to not caring what I wear to again being concerned about what I will wear.  I’m thinking one of the Open Comms show T-shirts.

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.