Friday, March 27, 2015

Thoughts On The CSM 10 Election Results

I haven't touched on the results of the election for the Council of Stellar Management yet. While the raw results and audit logs are now available (sorry, I don't have the link), I haven't had time to do any analysis that way. So instead, I'll just give some quick thoughts on the winners.

Sugar Kyle (Permanent Seat) - Sugar getting re-elected, sure. But with as much as Sugar hates the campaign season, this happening ...
Round beginning - 3 candidates remain
21583 votes, 7195 quota
Initial talley: 
9080 "Sugar Kyle" 
6275 "Sion Kumitomo" 
6228 "Manfred Sideous"
Actions:  Elected: "Sugar Kyle" 
Transfer from "Sugar Kyle":   
Votes: 9080.000000, Factor: 0.207599, Excess: 1885.000000   
1242.273128 votes to Exhausted   
457.548458 votes to "Manfred Sideous"   
185.178414 votes to "Sion Kumitomo" 
Elimination: "Sion Kumitomo" with 6460.178414 votes

... I honestly didn't see it coming. But she deserved the win. I don't expect Sugar to burn out, although she may not finish out the term if certain people keep screwing around. I don't think CCP allows people to serve from a jail cell. But, as long as she's able to keep her self-control, I expect she'll continue to do an outstanding job.

Manfred Sidious (Permanent Seat) - I'm glad that Manny won a permanent seat, because he'd definitely get an invitation to attend both summits anyway. I don't expect him to have as high a profile as Sugar, but I expect a lot of the EVE media will want him as a guest, so his visibility may become even higher than now. I should also add that having Manny under an NDA so they can ask him everything should help CCP with the changes in sovereignty system a lot.

Sion Kumitomo - With the White Paper up for review, I expect Sion to have an outlet for his organizational expertise. I'm also interested to see what results of his calls for greater transparency.

Chance Ravinne - Chance was the best of the new players running and should bring an interesting point of view to CSM. I just hope he isn't the typical marketing guy, ready to market anything. EVE still needs some polish before hitting the mainstream market. Like, ending the stagnation of the current state of null and making structures not resemble instruments of torture. But I expect EVE to reach that point either at the end of this year or the beginning of next. If Chance can help with good advice on how to position CCP properly, then I'll take that as a win.

corbexx - Leaving aside the silliness of parking his main in Goonswarm while he enjoys playing EVE on his alts, I expect corbexx will continue to do a stellar job representing wormhole space, even while most of CCP concentrates on null. I should add, that stunt was one of the best ways of declaring he's not running for a third term that I've seen.

Sort Dragon - The good news is he has a huge potential for improving upon his performance in CSM 8. The bad news is that's because he was, for all intents and purposes, a no show. Quite frankly, I'm expecting nothing out of Sort Dragon, so anything he contributes is an unexpected bonus.

corebloodbrothers - corebloodbrothers was quietly effective in CSM 9 and I don't expect that to change in CSM 10. Don't expect anything flashing, but with changes to null coming, we may hear more from him publicly.

Mike Azariah - I expect Mike to continue what he's does best; act as a gadfly and obtaining one last big benefit for the incursion community. I do hope that, as he's announced he won't run for CSM 11, that he helps groom someone from the high sec carebear community to take his place. The most obvious candidate is Lorelei Ierendi, who came in 15th in this year's election and I believe Mike has contact with.

Cagali Cagali - Can Cagali balance the demands of  CSM with his responsibilities in Brave? I'm not so sure now given the recent leadership turmoil in HERO. Cagali is someone to definitely watch in CSM 10.

Steve Ronuken - I consider Steve an industrialist, with no regard to security band. Given the election results, Steve may wind up the third most important voice, behind Manny and Endie, on the sov revamp. That's because of the importance of the industrial index to defending systems. The industrial index currently only takes mining into account. CCP plans to expand the activities that make up the industrial index in the very near future and I expect Steve to offer significant input on that change. Oh, and he'll keep doing his thing working with CCP Foxfour, which is kind of important, too.

Gorga - I lump Gorga in with Sort Dragon. A clear bloc candidate. If he does anything, I'll consider that a bonus.

Jayne Fillon - After only a week, I really, really regret that Bam Stroker wasn't elected instead. Jayne is a very specialized, PvP-centric character with an NPSI background. He doesn't really offer a whole lot to CCP. I don't want to go into his behavior during the first week after the election. Quite frankly, he's left me shaking my head in disbelief. Maybe he'll settle down once he signs the NDA and sees how the CSM actually functions. But if he doesn't get his head out of his ass, he'll quickly become irrelevant.

Thoric Frosthammer - I'm going to reserve my judgement about Thoric. Quite frankly, since he ran on the same ticket as Sion and Endie, he's naturally going to look like a weak link. Ask me about Thoric again once the Summer Summit rolls around

Endie - Everything I said about Manfred Sideous applies to Endie. The voters made a great choice in electing Endie.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Post-Fanfest Goals And Projects

Fanfest is an event that always re-energizes me for the year ahead. Combine that with having the foresight to join Signal Cartel as soon as I saw Mynxee recruiting and I'm feeling better about EVE than I have in a long time. I have to echo Marc Scaurus' comments about the great community that the leadership of EVE-Scout Enclave has created.

So, with exploration on my mind, and how my playing reflects in my blogging, what does the future have in store? First, I have a couple of personal goals. The first is that I'd like to record 50 Thera exits in Tripwire in a month. A totally achievable goal considering I did 6 last night. I think I'm getting better at picking out the wormholes just based on the size of the signature alone. The other is to collect 1 billion ISK worth of items from data and relic sites in a month. That could prove a touch harder due to all of the other things I want to do. But, I have to have some challenging goals, right?

Next, I really need to work on fitting ships, and writing posts about them. Would you believe that I still don't own an Astero or a Stratios? Those are fast becoming our signature ships (and probably the reason we collect war decs). Instead, I run around in my old, cheap Cheetah. I had fun writing my "Mastering the Wreathe" post. I'm thinking about doing the same with the Probe/Cheetah and possibly the Heron/Buzzard as well. I also think a review of my Prospect fitting is in order in light of my experiences flitting around New Eden via Thera.

I also have a couple of projects I want to undertake that I'd definitely blog about. The first is related to fitting ships and the progression of fits as players learn new skills. I'd like to collect the signature strength data for various sites in high and low sec. Sure, obtaining a 120 point probe strength is ideal, but new players, or experienced players jumping into exploration for the first time, can't get that right away. If someone has already produced a guide I'd promote that, but otherwise I have some ideas I tossed around with EVE University's Seamus Donahue.

The next project is to get into researching intelligence gathering in EVE. One of the reasons our corp and alliance has a sub 1% ISK efficiency on our killboard is that we tend to run towards the sound of gunfire instead of away from it. Not very bright considering we are an NPHI alliance, but as I've written before, we poke our noses everywhere. Exploring the various ways to find the fighting will help gather more interesting war photography. Of course, others may find the whole process useful for avoiding conflict. I'm going to start with the Broad Intel 101 class session from the EVE University Class Library and then branch out from there.

Finally, I'm still going to write about real money trading. I have a post about activity in the first quarter of 2015 planned for mid-April. Since Team Security did such a good job of wrecking the way I detected a lot of their major anti-bot/anti-RMT actions, I think I need to actually stick my nose into further analysis of the EVE economy. I really need a way to track the inflation rate.

Think I have enough to do until Fanfest 2016? I think so. And for anyone who doesn't play EVE, I should add I've played for 5 1/2 years now and still haven't scratched the surface of this sci-fi world simulator. I have a lot of exploring left to do.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Back To NPHI

After a very long day travel day on Monday due to snow in Chicago, I finally got to log back into EVE Online yesterday. Don't ask for my thoughts on Scylla, because I haven't the faintest clue beyond the "download on demand" client. I guess the client is nice, and I didn't have any problems with the cache thingy it performed. One day I'll need to look further into exactly how the cache works, but today is not that day.

While I was stuck in the airport in Boston, I found out that Signal Cartel had begun using out of corp alts in our battles with our newest war target, Absolute Defiance. Unlike our other current war target, Pursuit of Happiness, they seem befuddled by our superior understanding of EVE combat.

Battle footage from Amarr
While at Fanfest, I tried to convince a pilot from Pandemic Legion that while PL theory crafters like Manfred Sideous are good, that Signal Cartel has the best fleet doctrine in EVE. I realized that while we have a cool name, the Hugs Fleet, we didn't have an acronym to use to describe our style.

Apparently, our alliance leadership realized the need, because yesterday Mynxee sent out our latest propaganda, er, I mean, information graphic on Twitter.
I don't want everyone to think that Signal Cartel is all about hunting down war targets delivering hugs. We still keep up to date with the latest information about wormhole connections into and out of Thera. I spent a relaxing time probing down exits and entering them into Tripwire last night. I probably should have spent some time running data and relic sites, but I just wasn't in the mood for that much activity.

However, some members of the corp were busy demonstrating why a guy who writes a blog called The Nosy Gamer might feel at home in Signal Cartel. One, Ishtar Komarova, spent some time in Fountain poking around the war zone and posted his pics on Reddit. He's gotten a pretty good reception. I really liked this reply...
"Stop making Eve look fun, it's bad for CFC morale."
Honestly, that's not our intention. The Eve-Scount Enclave is completely neutral and are an NPHI alliance. But don't expect us to stop having fun because we like sticking our noses into places others might not want us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CCP's War On Illicit RMT: Top Down, Bottom Up, Get Out

On Saturday, I participated in Team Security's Fanfest presentation. People seemed to like my part, but I didn't, because I forgot so much. Then again, I didn't go up with a sheet of paper and just start reading. If I had, my portion would have sounded something like this:

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Quick Note On ISBoxer From The Road

I'm writing this post from a hotel room in Boston. I'm almost home from Fanfest but had to make a couple of comments based on a thread on the Dual-Boxing forums.

First, no one on Team Security was trying to fool or mislead anyone. As people know by now, I participated in Team Security's presentation at Fanfest. I was present in a couple of meetings going over the presentation and they were trying to explain the policy as clearly as possible. And at least one user gets what CCP was attempting to convey.

Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
I'm not sure he got everything exactly correct, such as the use of dashboards he mentioned in his following post. Like I said, I'm on the road and need to review the presentation for any last minute clarifications. I was sort of distracted during CCP Random's portion of the session.

Quite frankly, after reading not only the Dual-Boxer thread, but the talk of suing CCP on the EVE Online forums, I'm not sure I really want to address this issue anymore. I really only became involved with ISBoxer due to Questor using an Inner Space extension to help keep the black market supplied with ISK. Lucas Kell may have the right idea about how to approach the issue at this point.

I have more than enough topics to discuss from this Fanfest without having to discuss ISBoxer anymore. If I do come back to the issue, I may use CCP's handling of the matter as a case study on things game companies should and should not do in relation to enforcing their EULAs. Or maybe I'll do something completely insane and jump into the middle of the issue one more time. Perhaps I should wait until I'm back home and have gotten some sleep.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Biggest Takeaway From The EVE Keynote

I woke up this morning with the sun shining through the curtains of my room for the first time this Fanfest. Clear skies for the eclipse? I guess sometimes a plan does actually work.

At the peak of the eclipse

As we learned on the first day of Fanfest, the plans to hold the event during the eclipse this year were laid by the old, pre-Incarna CCP. The bunch that had grandiose plans that often came out of the oven half-baked. See also, Incarna.

But not all the ideas that came from CCP were bad, or even done poorly. I think one of the main things that players wanted was for CCP to carry-through on their plans and do ALL of them well. If something didn't work right, fix it, don't just leave a mess. Over the past few years, CCP has spent a lot of time and effort fixing and cleaning up their systems and code.

I sat in the front row during the EVE keynote yesterday. I think some people were underwhelmed by the content in the keynote. The biggest news for many is the introduction of the new structure system, but we won't hear more about that until the session on Saturday at 1300. But for me, the biggest takaway from the keynote is that, at least for the EVE Online team, the swagger is back.

I think the swagger shows the most on the technical side. According to CCP Seagull, the six week release cycle is now too slow and CCP will release minor features in-between the major release points. For years, MMORPG players pointed to Blizzard as a company that would not release anything until the game was ready. CCP is aiming to gain the reputation as a company that releases content as soon as it's ready.

In addition, CCP plans to implement technology in the near future that will bring the company back on par with the latest innovations in the industry. Things like the "download on demand" feature for the EVE client, two-factor authentication using Google Authenticator, and the option to download high resolution images are all good technical steps that should make new players feel like they are playing a current generation video game, not one that launched 12 years ago.

I should add one additional note that is probably the most important factor of all. EVE Online is one of the few MMORPGs left that relies on the subscription model. At this point in time with the developments in the industry, perhaps I'll soon call CCP's business model "The EVE model", since even Blizzard is moving WoW to the PLEX model. But as part of that model, CCP is looking to continuously update the game. If players see that they are receiving fixes and new content every month, I imagine that players will find paying the monthly subscription more palatable.

I guess, as an EVE player, finding the monetary aspect of the keynote was inevitable. I'll probably continue on with that analysis in the near future after hearing all the presentations. But for now, I need to run back to Harpa and more presentations.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Graph To Think About

With the start of Fanfest less than two hours away as I type this post, I thought I'd take a chance to either look really smart or look like a complete economic fool. Here's a graph of the price of PLEX sold in Jita over the past 13 months.

The price of PLEX sold in Jita, 1 Feb 2014 - 18 March 2015
The current 13-month trend line shows continued growth. However, the price of PLEX has basically plateaued around the 800 million ISK mark so far in 2015. Looking at the graph, I think the market reached the plateau at the end of July or beginning of August and the only reason people don't realize the fact is due to the speculation bubble that occurred from mid-October to mid-December.

Admittedly, I look at the PLEX market a little differently than others. I don't look at the ISK value of PLEX. I look at the real-world currency value of purchasing EVE's virtual currency in 1 billion ISK lots. I also am monitoring the black market, or secondary RMT market to use a scholarly term, so I also am looking at additional factors and events that could influence the primary market.

Personally, I think the trend has shifted. I can't wait until Friday to see if I'm right.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fanfest 2015: Presentations of Interest

An easy post for any blogger here in Reykjavik to write is one on which Fanfest events we intend to attend. I have taken the Golden Circle tour twice and I recommend it to anyone who comes to attend Fanfest. The pub crawl? I'm getting too old for that. So this year, my post is just about the presentations I plan to attend.

I know that a lot of people make a big deal about attending the round tables. Quite frankly, I usually find them a waste of time, so I only go if none of the main rooms have an event I want to attend. Well, except for the Security one, but I have a special interest in that subject.

So here are the presentations I tentatively plan on attending this year...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fanfest 2015: Scattered Thoughts After An Ill-Timed Nap

What makes me think I play too much EVE Online? Not the 3 accounts I maintain or that I'm back in Reykjavik for the fourth time to attend Fanfest. No, the fact that when I woke up during the flight to Iceland and saw on the little monitor on the seat in front of me that the aircraft was 317 km from Keflavik, my first thought was, "Good, we're on grid."

I'm writing this at 4 am local because my internal time clock is still messed up. I actually work up at 12:30 am, which is my normal time for recording RMT activity. The wind was howling and the time was late, so I didn't try going out. That's right, I missed a night of drinking in Iceland. But that's okay, I needed to recover from the trip. With my braces situation this year, I wound up not eating for about 24 hours. I also didn't drink enough water.

I've attended more cons than I can remember now, and one thing I've learned is the importance of remaining hydrated. I normally buy a couple of large bottles of water every day as a reminder, but with the wind this morning I just drank tap water all morning. Oh, and eating Kit Kats. Normally, eating chocolate is something I avoid, but the quick energy boost helps. Plus, Kit Kats are made by Nestle outside North America, so they taste better.

I did wander outside to poke my nose into a protest that some pro-EU forces held in the square outside Nora's and the English Pub. Apparently, the new government decided on Thursday to withdraw Iceland's application for full membership in the European Union.

View of the demonstration outside Nora's

I didn't get a violent vibe from the crowd as I did on a business trip to Bulgaria a few years ago, but I couldn't help but notice the police circulating around the edge of the crowd. Not to say they are some big boys (and girls), but I figured discretion is the better part of valor and stayed at the edge of the crowd. Sorry, but I'm here to have fun, not wind up in the hospital, in jail, or both.

I guess I should add this note. Just like EVE, always scout ahead, even while you're travelling. I was told the rally was scheduled on short notice, meaning that, if possible, people should read the local news of the destination country while travelling. I had no excuse for not knowing as Logan airport has free wi-fi. If I make a list of things to do when travelling to Fanfest, I'll remember to put this on the list. While I consider Reykjavik much safer than Chicago, even high-sec has gankers,

Also, just a quick note about RMT. Apparently the increase in demand for ISK I saw on Player Auctions in February was just a temporary spike. With the first two weeks of March in the books, sales volume dropped back to December levels. I half-expect the rate to fall back down to January's level, although I don't know how the news out of Fanfest will play out. In that, I guess I'm like the market gurus.

Speaking of market gurus, I'm at the point in my monitoring of black market ISK where I need to start monitoring more than PLEX. I think the introduction of the new Minmatar Tech 3 Tactical Destroyer caused the spike, but I'm not sure. I usually watch, or at least listen to, Lockfox's EVE Prosper show, but I may need to start taking notes. I also need to start paying more attention to null sec. I need to do so anyway now that I'm in Signal Cartel, but my RMT monitoring makes doing so a bit more important.

I don't know just how much I'll blog during this week in Iceland. I just may travel around taking pictures and posting those instead of writing.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quick Thoughts Before I Hit The Road

I'm in the middle of doing laundry, but I thought I'd throw out some thoughts.

The streaming schedule for Fanfest on Twitch is now up. Looks like the Team Security presentation is on live at 1500 EVE time (that's GMT for those who don't play EVE). Fittingly, it is the last presentation shown on EVE TV before the closing ceremonies this year. Don't let all those null sec pubbies fool you, the null sec revamp is not the most important thing CCP will talk about!

Also, the closing event is not called "CCP Presents!" on the schedule this year. In before people start speculating if that means CCP is announcing it was sold. Pretty sure the answer is no, although that would explain why Riot has hired away so many CCP employees. Okay, enough feeding the trolls.

Mynxee has sent out some tweets this morning that are pretty good...
If PvP combat is not your thing and you just like poking around everywhere exploring the galaxy, think about joining the Signal Cartel. More information is available in our recruitment thread on the EVE Online forums. And yes, I'm unironically sending people to the forums.

I thought about posting a checklist for those travelling to Fanfest, but I'm lazy. So instead I'll link Sindel Pellion's lists from both 2013 and 2014. Some good advice in both. Maybe I'll compile a list for next year.

Speaking of checklists, I have to continue down the one on my notepad. The paper kind, not the one on a computer. So the next post will probably come from sunny/rainy/snowy Reykjavik next week.