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.