Tag Archives: Hilmar Veigar Petursson

EVE Fanfest Home and the Finale of the Long Summer of Skill Points

One hates to look a gift horse in the mouth, but there are times when you feel like you’re getting too much of a good thing.

We’re all injector addicts to a certain extent it seems

And so it has been for me with CCP’s DAU/MAU boosting efforts during the Season of Skills event.  For over a month you were invited to log in every day with every character to earn some free skill points by blowing up between 1 and 10 NPCs.

10K for my alpha clone

I could see that becoming a drag if I tried to that with every character every day, so I decided to focus on a few Alpha characters that were already at their 5 million skill point limit.  The only way they could get more skill points was to subscribe, buy those special injectors (I think), or jump in and shoot some NPCs daily.

I managed to do that diligently for about a week, then started to slide.  By this week I was paraphrasing Linda Evangelista and saying, “I don’t even undock for less than 50,000 skill points.”

Sometimes the party just runs too long.

But I no longer have to think about that.  The NPC shooting portion of the Season of Skills has wrapped up and we are on to the final round of CCP asking us to log in on the promise of giving us something for free.

This weekend if the bonus skill point weekend.  On August 23 through 26 log in each day for another grant of skill points. Alpha clone accounts will get 75,000 skill points while Omega clone accounts will get 250,000 skill points if they log in all three days.

So don’t forget to log in Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in order to collect… those days being after down time in UTC, so if you’re running late you can grab the last grant if you get in before down time on Monday.

Also coming this weekend is the next stage of the EVE Invasion World Tour, with the Fanfest Home edition.  Somebody in Finland won the contest to have an EVE Fanfest event staged in their home.  No tickets are available, so we’re all going to have to watch it on the CCP Twitch channel… or watch replays on the CCP Twitch channel, since it will be kicking off in the middle of the night out here on the Pacific coast.  We’ll see how quickly CCP makes replays available.

CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson is set to present, along with Creative Director CCP Burger, about the past, present, and future of EVE Online, so I am sure we will be hearing more about the wonders of the Chaos Era and Hilmar’s depth of knowledge about the game.

Chaos Fatigue

Do you press one of these buttons when you log off from EVE Online?  CCP added them a while back as something of an exit survey.

Thumbs up or down?

For about a week after they showed up I diligently and thoughtfully clicked one of those buttons every time I exited the game.  And then I stopped.

I stopped because, on reflection, this seemed like data collection without value.  It lacks any context and, given human nature, can be waved away by circumstances of the moment.  There is always something going on that will allow CCP to say, “Well, that i just because we announced X and a few people are mad about it.”

I would not be surprised to find out that the buttons are not hooked up to a backend that stores the results, that CCP put them in there as just a way to deflect anger into the void.

It is a very Reddit-based response, let people down vote the game when they are upset because it lets you feel like you have done something, even though down voting never changed anything because it can always be explained away.  And that makes it very appropriate for the Chaos Era that CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson has declared for EVE Online.

Things have been somewhat chaotic since the Invasion expansion arrived back at the end of May.  That brought Triglavian incursion-like events to high sec, leading to NPCs camping the routes between tutorial and career agent systems and the joy of logging in an alt only to find you had best just log off because you’re system is now an NPC kill zone.

Didn’t want that 10K skill points anyway

And, of course, that has expanded, so hanging out it a belt in a 0.9 system might end up with you getting blow up right  away as well.

Didn’t want that Venture anyway

CCP also spread the chaos to null sec, which has tended to monopolize the headlines (Because who cares about new players?) with Drifter attacks and the Blackout and the sudden VNI nerf and the tax increases and now the coming cyno changes, with the promise of more changes to come.  I have mostly watched this from the sidelines, this blog being little else than that.  If you’re reading this you are in a tiny, obscure part of the EVE Online player base.

Just the other day CSM14 representative Dunk Dinkle was encouraging people with strong opinions on these changes to speak up publicly.

To me, strong opinions are part of the problem with any EVE Online discussion.  PvP players can be exceptionally vocal… roll footage of the forums of every PvE focused MMORPG ever… and the chaos era changes have brought them out en masse to cheer CCP for making changes that disrupt the status quo.  Anybody speaking against the chaos is shouted down because their motives are based on self-interest.  As such, every CCP proposal seems likely to go forward unchecked, since it isn’t difficult to find a wave of vocal support for them.

So the chaos will continue until morale improves.

However, I wonder if chaos is really a viable long term strategy.  Hilmar mentioned the novel The Three-Body Problem as one of his inspirations during that interview on Talking in Stations.  It was already on my list of things to read at some point, so I picked it up last week.  I have gotten far enough along to see where Hilmar swiped the idea for the Chaos Era.

In the book there is a video game which experiences alternating orderly and chaotic eras.  During the orderly times the player society of the game progresses.  During the chaotic eras nothing is predictable and everything is in disorder.  CCP seems to have decided that is the path forward for EVE Online.  They want to keep changing things constantly so that nothing is predictable in anything but the immediate time frame.

What I found interesting in the book was the player reactions to the chaotic eras.  While a select few persist through those eras, trying to discover a pattern to the chaos, the vast majority dehydrate themselves and are stored away, only to be revived when the next orderly era appears.  Then everybody gets back to work on progress in the game.

I could not help but associate the dehydrated state in the book with something akin to becoming an Alpha clone in EVE Online.  People often find chaos to be wearing over time, not what they want to devote themselves to as their hobby.  I know I am feeling a bit weary from the chaos era of New Eden, and barely any of it has an impact on me.  Only the coming cyno revision will change some aspect of my play.

And there is a very vocal choir that supports the chaos, which means that CCP would have to work to see a reason not to keep on with it.  So I suspect that the chaos will continue.

But it makes me wonder if chaos a viable long term strategy?

Addendum: After writing this, I listened to the Talking in Stations interview with CCP Rise, and it sure sounds like chaos is the long term strategy CCP has chosen.  My question as to whether or not we take Hilmar and CCP Falcon and their vision of where they want EVE Online to go appears to have been answered.

Hilmar and the Chaos Era of EVE Online

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

-Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight

Talking in Stations released a show on Friday focused on the null sec blackout featuring CCP Hilmar Veigar Petursson, along with EVE Community Manager CCP Falcon and EVE Online Brand Manager CCP Goodfella, and it is a show people will be talking about for quite a while.

Local is now delayed in null sec

It is also a bit of a frustrating show to which to listen as the TiS staff basically failed to challenge their guests on anything in even the most mild fashion.  The tone is set in the first few minutes when, after Matterall asks about the effect of the blackout of local in null sec, Hilmar says that activity is up in the game, saying that the MAU and DAU numbers for July are at their highest point in the last five years.

Here is where, in the back of my head, I am yelling, “Ask if that is because of the Season of Skills event, which required people to login daily to get free skill points!”  What we got instead was Carnaeros basically holding Hilmar’s coat, nicely explaining that those terms meant “Monthly Active Users” and “Daily Active Users” and then letting Hilmar carry on as though the blackout was all that went on in July.

I get that this is sort of the style of TiS.  Matterall is a nice guy and likes to create a space where everybody on the show gets their turn to speak without being interrupted.  (Imagine the same interview on the Open Comms Show, where Dirk and Rahne would be shouting over each other to try to respond.)  This is, perhaps, how you get guests like Hilmar, by having a reputation of encouraging your guests to speak by giving them easy questions and letting them go their own way.  But given what was said by Hilmar and Falcon, it made for an unsatisfying listening experience as my brain kept coming up with follow up questions to expand or clarify or nail down what was really being said.

And a lot was said on the show, which I am sure people will be digesting and examining and writing or speaking about for weeks to come.   I have things I want to pick apart from the show and, as I noted on Twitter, I could make a months worth of “Quote of the Day” posts out of it.  This could be a watershed moment for the game, the announcement of some drastic changes coming to EVE Online.

Or it might have been the online equivalent of a late night drunken dorm room discussion in college, a metaphorical circle jerk of “wouldn’t it be great…” sort of ideas.

So my first question out of the gate is how seriously should we take this interview?

I don’t even know who CCP Goodfella is, and that he is the brand manager makes it likely we can discount pretty much any ideas he espouses… not that I can recall anything he said.  Sorry man.

CCP Falcon is the Community Manager, which puts him in the thick of things with the players. But, by his own admission, he is not part of the design and development loop.  I had a post with a quote from him on Friday around a reply he put on Reddit about what he would do about capital ships.  He made it clear down the way that he has his own opinions about the game, which he can freely express, but which are not necessarily the official line of CCP.

So when Falcon is on about his dystopian hellscape vision of EVE Online, he often prefaces it with “If it were up to me,” a solid indication that it is not.  The problem is that this tends to blur the line between when he is speaking for the company and when he is speaking for himself, as most people will only remember what he said and not how he prefaced it.  Is it his opinion or CCP’s that people who don’t like risk when they mine should go back to high sec?

And then there is Hilmar.  He was involved in the development of the game, wrote code and was part of the design team and has been CEO at CCP since 2004.  While Pearl Abyss now owns CCP, he is still the boss on the ground in Iceland, so when he says something it gets some weight.

But how much weight does it get… or should it even get?

He had been absent from the game for quite a stretch, making a big deal about returning and trying out Planetary Interaction and finding the UI for it abysmal.  The CEO complains, a dev blog appears, and changes go in.

He has said that he had been playing in wormhole space lately and now we have the local chat blackout in null sec.  This is a change that has been talked about for years, but the CEO goes and plays in WH space and suddenly it happens.

Now he says he is playing faction warfare, so I guess that is good news for somebody I hope.  Maybe FW will get some love… or maybe some FW mechanic will get stuffed into null sec.

Of course, he was also the voice of CCP during the Incarna fiasco where he manifested some J. Allen Brack level arrogance in telling the players that the company knew better what they wanted when it came to the cash shop while dismissing people who wanted the hangar view of their ship back rather than the resource hungry captain’s quarter or the metaphorically disastrous locked door, continuing to denigrate it as “ship spinning” even as they said they would return the feature in some form.

After that Hilmar declared that the era of the Jesus Feature was over and CCP started updating and iterating on features they had launched then neglected.

I am also a bit skeptical of Hilmar’s relationship with how things have worked out in the past.  One of his big talking points during the show was making the game easier for new players but harder for veterans.  Malcanis says that anything you do for new players tends to benefit vets even more so, while we have clearly seen that making things difficult for veterans tends to just lock them into their position, with the changes essentially turning into barriers that keep newer players out.

If he is talking about a better NPE… a topic about which I have another post brewing… that is one thing.  But beyond that how do you help new players?  And does the planned Chaos Era help the new player retention issue that CCP went on about at EVE North?

So, does Hilmar saying something mean it is going to happen?  Not that what he is saying is good or bad, but is he the final word?  Does this represent consensus in the development team or just voicing his own opinions?  Is the Chaos Era about to begin in New Eden?  Will there be a dev blog?  Hilmar said that there are a lot of destabilizing things that will show up in the coming weeks.  So maybe it is already a done deal?

I don’t know.  We’ll probably have to wait and see and evaluate what we get.

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