Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Day Of Crucible

As launches of MMORPG expansions go, yesterday's launch of Crucible went pretty smoothy, at least for me.  The announcement that the expansion was deployed went up around 1700, or about 3 hours after the scheduled time.  Of course, working in Chicago like I do, that was 9 hours before I could get home, plenty of time for everyone to download the game before I tried.

I have to update two clients and for the first time I had to run the repair tool on one of my computers.  Following a 9 minute download, the repair tool took 22 minutes to eventually install the game.  Not to bad considering a 1.2 GB download because of the graphics.

Upon logging in, I noticed that the Captain's Quarters in the Minmatar station I was docked in looked a lot better.  I suspect that the graphics settings changed from what I had set, but as I did not notice any lag like the initial download of my CQ at Incarna's launch, I left everything as is.

Planetary Interaction doesn't look any different, but then again I wasn't importing or exporting products last night.  On the train ride home I read the uproar over the hugely increased cost of conducting business in the CONCORD (high-sec) and InterBus (low-sec) run stations.  For high-sec, everyone knew that the tax rate would double.  From what I read on the forums, no one expected the base prices of products to increase as much as they did.  I thought about just stopping, doing the math and writing a blog post about what I'm sure will be a hot topic in the Eve blogosphere in the coming days, but I had courier missions to do.

And am I glad I decided to play the game!  Wow!  My first missions were done flying a Mammoth.  After I got done looking at the background, the first thing I noticed is that my Mammoth had engine trails going into and coming out of warp.  That little detail made the warp experience a little better.

The Ice Cream Man Warping To Zero
The warp tunnel affect is pretty cool also, especially when warping through a planet.  Ships look like they are transiting a distorted subway as the warp tunnel gets dark and then lightens up as the background nebula appears.  I didn't get a screenshot of that experience, but I did get a nice one of how celestial objects along the way appear distorted.

An uncloaked Prowler in warp.  Don't try this at home.
One nice feature is that pilots no longer need to be within 2,500m to click on the jump button in the action menu.  Just click on jump on the outbound gate and you warp to zero and then jump through.  Before Crucible, I was turning the autopilot on and off to get the same effect.  Now I don't have to pay as much attention to how I'm flying.  Caution, though.  This functionality does not work for cloaked ships like blockade runners.  When I tried it, I received the message that I could not jump through because I was cloaked.

Coming out of warp at a backwater high-sec gate
I didn't have much time to play last night, but what I saw flying around my little corner of Metropolis was pretty pleasing to the eye and left a good first impression.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts On Crucible Patch Notes

The rollout of Crucible expansion is underway now so I thought I'd review some of the more interesting (to me at least) items we will soon see on Tranquility.  I keep hearing how Crucible may be the best Eve Online expansion ever.  I realize I was not around for Red Moon Rising, but I was around for Apocrypha and I do not think Crucible will surpass that.  So here is my look at the patch notes.

Critical:  CCP is rolling out a new localization technology called Cerberus.  Unfortunately, all the German and Russian translations were not complete so those using German and Russian clients will see some text in English.  Also, it sounds like CCP isn't too confident in the performance of the overview settings under extreme load (like massive fleet fights) so that is something to watch out for.  And if you have your windows customized, you'll have to set those up again.

Time Dilation:  While time dilation will make the large fleet fights Eve is famous for more playable, those looking to experience the feature right away will be disappointed.  The feature will not be turned on at launch.

Worldshaping:  Eve Online is a beautiful game and CCP has from all reports improved the scenery immensely.  I'm looking forward to seeing the new nebula, enhanced starfields and new background for the in-game map.

Captain's Quarters:  I'm looking forward to seeing the new Caldari, Gallente and yes, even Amarr quarters.  I also want to see just how the quarters change in appearance depending on the system's security status.  Just a warning to all those who like to spin their ships.  That feature in only available if you turn the "Load Station Environments" option to "ON".  If you leave it off, you just get a static screen.  I have the feeling some people are not going to be happy with that.

Ships:  All Caldari and Gallente ships as well as the Apocalypse and Impairor have had their shaders upgraded to the V3 shader set.  But the big news is the 4 new tier 3 battlecruisers.  I'm not a big fan of glass cannons, so I'll probably only pick up the Tornado to say I own one.  I like by battlecruisers mounting warfare links and able to take a tremendous pounding.  That said, I won't go into the stats, just the lore descriptions.

Naga (Caldari) - The Naga was designed in YC 109 by the Corporate Police Force as an anti-Guristas ship, sacrificing the usual robust Caldari Navy standards in favor of supporting battleship-class weaponry. It was rejected by Hyasyoda management for being overspecialized. The Naga design remained in the Hyasyoda archives, forgotten (save for a cameo in the Gallente holo-series CPF Blue). In YC 113 the Caldari Navy entertained contracts for a new tier of gunboat battlecruiser. Hyasyoda quickly submitted and won with the Naga, underbidding both Kaalakiota and Ishukone.

Oracle (Amarr) - In YC 113 Empress Jamyl Sarum I challenged Amarr ship manufacturers to build a new battlecruiser that would break the stalemate of the Empyrean War. Deviating from the doctrine of brute-force and heavy armor, the engineers at Viziam took inspiration from Caldari history. During the Gallente-Caldari War, the Caldari developed light, maneuverable ships to counter the slow ships of the Gallente Federation. This philosophy, along with a cutting-edge powertrain and ultra-light alloy armor plating, led to the Oracle. The Empire immediately ordered the ship into production. The Empress personally congratulated Viziam Chief Researcher Parud Vakirokiki, calling the ship ‘a work of Divine Grace for the Empire, and retribution to our enemies.’

Talos (Gallente) - The Talos began in YC 110 as a R&D concept by ORE. Conceived as a patrol craft for mining operations in lawless space, the Talos would have been abandoned completely were it not adopted by the Black Eagles, a black-ops branch of the Gallente government. The Black Eagles stripped the Talos of non-essential systems and bolted on battleship-class weapons, creating a quick-strike craft ideal for guerilla action. The Talos remained a military secret until YC 113, when it was introduced into wider circulation as a third tier battlecruiser. Today the Talos is manufactured by Duvolle Labs, who modified the original ORE designs to bring it in line with Gallente standards.

Tornado (Minmatar) - In YC 113 Republic Security Services learned the Amarr Empire was building a new battlecruiser capable of supporting battleship-class weapons. Determined to not lose their technological edge to their adversaries, Republic Fleet commissioned Boundless Creation to construct a gunboat to match. What they designed was the Tornado. Developed in record time and total secrecy, the Tornado is a testament to Minmatar engineering. Modeled loosely off of flying-wing designs of ancient planetary bombers, the Tornado supports multiple large projectile turrets, dealing massive damage while maintaining a small signature radius.

New Tech 2 modules:  I'm excited about the new tech 2 modules.  I'm really looking forward to the warfare and mining links as well as the Micro auxiliary power core II and Small Tractor Beam II.

Customs Office:  This feature I hate.  One of my goals for my third year was to get more active in low sec.  This change is a disincentive to do that.  For me, low sec planetary interaction just became unprofitable, if doable at all.  I'll have to find some other motivation to risk my ships out there.

User Interface:  For me, the change is meh.  I'm used to the current UI and I don't mind it.  And a "loot all" button?  Big deal.

Combat:  The big change is in killmails.  Implants now show up as well as the difference between blueprint originals and blueprint copies.  Good for stroking the epeen of PvPers, but not really exciting for me.

Exploration and deadspace:  I guess I should be excited about the addition of more 3/10 and 4/10 DED complexes.  But I don't run DED complexes, so no big deal for me.  I am looking forward to seeing Site One in Eram, though.

Graphics:  The graphics updates look interesting, with the reintroduction of engine trails, seeing shots miss your ship, new warp tunnel effects and seeing the full body avatars of other players.

Changes:  I just can't get excited about the changes that everyone is raving about.  I guess my style of play just doesn't lend itself to being affected by too much.  About the only thing I see that really affects me is that destroyer buff that will make getting ganked in high-sec so much easier.  I might have to keep the Orca docked now, at least for the first few weeks until the novelty of having gank ships like the new tier 3 battlecruisers and the buffed destroyers wears off.  Unfortunately I forgot to move my Orca and it is stuck on the wrong side of Hek.

Null sec players are interested in the supercap nerfs and changes in capitals and lots of players are interested in the POS fuel changes.  But for me, I have a big case of the blahs about the changes.  Maybe I just need to take more time to read them.

Conclusion:  I now regret writing this post.  After reading the patch notes and thinking about them, I'm not excited about Crucible anymore.  Fortunately, Eve Online is a game driven by the players.  If the general player base is excited, that will bleed over into the general feeling about the game I have.  But in my opinion, the only thing that makes this expansion exciting is just how bad Incarna was.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fratt Asmurkik Needs A Girlfriend

I think almost everyone who has played MMORPG's for any length of time has heard stories of guys giving female avatars free stuff to attract attention.  My main in Everquest 2 was a female wood-elf ranger and I did receive a few items in my time in-game.  Things are a bit different in Eve Online because with the overwhelming majority of players (over 95%) being male, I think people assume you are male unless proved otherwise over Teamspeak, Ventrillo or some other VOIP program.  However, over the past week I think Wandering Rose has received some special treatment because she is a woman.

The man's name is Fratt Asmurdik, a Brutor agent for the Republic Parliament stationed in Metropolis region's Ridoner system.  But he's not just any agent; he is a level 4 storyline agent.  That's right, an NPC is sweet on Wandering Rose.

Lonely In Ridoner
Why do I think I've got an admirer in Mr. Asmurdik?  Last week I was on vacation and decided, when I wasn't sick in bed, to conduct a faction grind to get the necessary standings with Makor Desto of the Republic Parliament to get the 2-run blueprint copies of the Tempest Fleet Issue.  According to the ISK guide, that means having an unmodified standing with the Republic Parliament of 9.9.  Ouch.  So I started the grind by doing the courier missions with Rutadulf Hilsenaef, the level 4 distribution agent working out of Ridoner.  I like flying around in ships, and having both Wandering Rose and Rosewalker do the missions kept me busy enough while I listened to podcasts or Eve Radio.

Last Saturday, Rosewalker had an unmodified standing with the Republic Parliament of 8.03 while Wandering Rose lagged far behind at 6.53.  When I finished last night, Wandering Rose was almost finished with standings of 9.87 compared to Rosewalker's 9.66.  Why the difference?  Because Fratt kept giving Rosewalker missions that didn't give very much standings and gave all the choice assignments to Wandering Rose.  Since both Rosewalker and Wandering Rose are both Minmatar of the Vherokior tribe, I am assuming that the difference in treatment is gender.  Or perhaps I should say sex?  As in Fratt isn't getting any?

Hopefully this is just a fluke in the random number generator.  Or maybe not.  Can you imagine if the agents took gender into account when handing out missions?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Note To Self: Visit Singularity

I've spent my time in Eve this week grinding faction with the Republic Parliament.  I really should have visited Singularity to see the latest changes.  I hear they are beautiful.  But one change I'm not really thrilled with is the changes to planetary interaction.  Instead of listening to people, I really should have just visited SiSi and seen for myself.  Of course, that would have taken away from this really "fun" grind that I want to finish.  I'd like to finish it before people with nice shiny new gank machines (buffed destroyers and tier 3 battlecruisers) decide they want to use my industrials doing nice peaceful courier missions for target practice.  I never fly using autopilot, but why take chances.  Yes, I can afford to lose the ships, but not the time to replace them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TEST's New Fleet Commander?

I listened to the rewind of Bigcountry's talk show on Eve Radio from Wednesday which ran during TEST's eviction of Chribba from 9UY4-H.  His guest showed up late due to having to FC the TEST fleet in Providence that took 9UY4-H away from Chribba.  So who was the FC?

More evidence that Pandemic Legion and TEST are getting closer together?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TEST Captures 9UY4-H

Test Alliance Please Ignore's campaign of vengeance against CCP for permanently banning DurrHurrDurr successfully culminated today in the capture of the Unity Station in 9UY4-H from Chribba's Otherworld Empire.  The IHUB was destroyed on 19 November with the TCU falling to the forces of Pandemic Legion at 0105 this morning.

Of course, DurrHurrDurr was not actually permanently banned, as the killmail on the IHUB shows.  DurrHurrDurr was only banned for three days; the belief that he was permanently banned was due to a successful troll on the Kugutsumen forums, a story that was spread around everywhere from Eve News24 to Eve Radio to the Voices of the Void podcast.  Well, except for the troll part.

One of the goals of the TEST campaign was to engage a large fleet of high-sec carebears rushing to defend Chribba.  TEST did manage to intercept a rescue fleet that formed in high-sec in system KBP7-G, one of the few null-sec systems directly adjacent to high-sec.  However, according to the TEST killboard, the fleet was filled with members of 0.0 space holding alliances like CVA, Sev3rance, White Noise., and Yulai Federation.

In an interesting note, CCP formed up a fleet at 1700 yesterday that was announced by CCP Navigator on all social media.  Some believed this was a relief fleet, but with the small amount of ships reported (12-25), such a fleet would be way too small to successfully intervene with the operation.  While having a CCP fleet roaming around would distract a lot of TEST members (look, shiny!), the possibility of CCP coming to Providence could have influenced Pandemic Legion's interest.  I heard one rumor that PL was attempting to hit the CCP gang with 30 Falcons as a protest about the state of electronic warfare.  Another reason for PL involvement may be the reported forming of the Honey Badger Coalition of TEST, PL and Elite Space Guild.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Role of Cookies in WoW and Eve

I saw this comparison of World of Warcraft vs. Eve Online in the Eve-Radio in-game chat channel and just had to post it so I don't forget it.
"WoW holds your hand from 1-85, and makes sure you get a cookie regardless if you win or lose.  Eve not only takes your cookie, but laughs at you for bringing one in the first place."

And that is why I like flying cloaky ships.  You can't take my cookies if you can't see me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chuck Norris WoW Commercial

Yesterday while watching the Bears-Chargers game (go Bears!) I saw the premier of the latest Blizzard commercial for World of Warcraft featuring Chuck Norris.  Yes, a Chuck Norris commerical was inevitable, wasn't it?  And I was there!  In an effort to keep from getting round-house kicked, since my game is Eve Online, here it is.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eve Online Receives Some Vampire Love

Players in Eve Online finally found a reason to like CCP's World of Darkness project as four devs from Atlanta switched gears from working on vampires to improving an internet spaceship game for three weeks.  The resulting dev blog is getting rave reviews as the temporary Team Papercuts worked from Team BFF's Thousand Papercuts list improving the quality of life in New Eden greatly.  As nice as the UI and inventory changes are, this is my favorite part of the dev blog:
"We also added an improved Jump command so that it behaved more like the Dock command. Currently, when you hit Dock, it will warp to or, approach the station you’re docking at, before finally docking to once you’re in the appropriate range. The same idea now applies to Jump, where you will Warp (or Approach) if you’re too far away to interact with the gate, and then jump through once you get there. The task asked for the same functionality for Acceleration Gates and Wormholes. Being a player myself, I instantly noticed the next logical step for a feature of this type… so I just kind of… did it. In addition to Dock, Jump, Activate Acceleration Gate, and Enter Wormhole you can also now request to Open Cargo, Scoop to Drone Bay, Scoop to Cargo Bay, Scoop to Ship Maintenance Bay and you’ll attempt to get to the correct range and do the action.

"You’ll also find a couple of drone improvements on the way. Nothing is worse than warping off to find that you’ve forgotten your precious drones. Well, fret no more! You can now reconnect to lost or abandoned drones that have been left behind as long as you’re still in the ship that launched them. Right clicking on your ships right-click menu, you’ll now find a command to Reconnect to Lost Drones. Alternately, if you like keyboard shortcuts, you can map a key to this as well. In order to prevent this from being completely abused and used for evil, you’ll only be able to reconnect once a minute (this time is subject to change) and if you have more drones around than you have the ability to control at once, you get no say over which ones will come back under your control… so when you’re attempting to reconnect, make it count!
"You’ll also find that when your ship is forced to make an emergency warp, your drones will attempt to return to the drone bay before you take off. Hopefully this can save you a few drones when your cat walks across the power strip."
I'm really looking forward to Crucible, although I haven't drunk enough Kool-Aid to keep me from putting some long skills in my skills queue for the 29th.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eve Online And Real Life Implant News

I know that a lot of people will be disappointed that CCP is not giving out snowball launchers (yet) this holiday season, but players in Eve Online will receive something almost as cool: implants:
CCP is pleased to announce that starting with the release of the Crucible expansion and throughout the holiday season, we will be giving away several gifts to players with active subscriptions to EVE Online.
Players logging in on November 29th will discover a unique new implant waiting to be redeemed - The Genolution CA-1.  First of two in the ‘Core Augmentation' implant set, the CA-1 offers the following benefits to its lucky hosts:

·         Boosts perception by 3
·         Provides +1.5% powergrid bonus
·         Provides +1.5% capacitor amount bonus
·         Implant set bonus: 50%

The Genolution CA-1 will be distributed during the Crucible release to all active subscribers of EVE Online. Instructions for redeeming items can be found here.

Watch the EVE news and the Crucible Feature Site for more information on what's in store for your characters this winter!

Happy Holidays!
But the technology behind Eve Online's implants is not in a galaxy far, far away 200 centuries in the future.  On Sunday the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine published a press release on their latest work in the field:
"A team of researchers co-led by the University of Pennsylvania has developed and tested a new high-resolution, ultra-thin device capable of recording brain activity from the cortical surface without having to use penetrating electrodes. The device could make possible a whole new generation of brain-computer interfaces for treating neurological and psychiatric illness and research. The work was published in Nature Neuroscience.
'The new technology we have created can conform to the brain's unique geometry, and records and maps activity at resolutions that have not been possible before,' says Brian Litt, MD, the study's senior author and Associate Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine and Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. 'Using this device, we can explore the brain networks underlying normal function and disease with much more precision, and its likely to change our understanding of memory, vision, hearing and many other normal functions and diseases.' For our patients, implantable brain devices could be inserted in less invasive operations and, by mapping circuits involved in epilepsy, paralysis, depression and other 'network brain disorders' in sufficient detail, this could allow us to intervene to make patients better, Litt said."
 FuturePundit had the quote of the week concerning this news:
"The scientists say it is for people with diseases. But of course the gamers will eventually be the biggest users. Of course, if virtual game playing is an addiction the scientists are right anyhow."
FuturePundit also had more on another study about video game addition which is a bit off-topic but still worth the read:
"What I wonder: have video games shifted people from drug addiction to game addiction? If so, video games might actually be reducing brain damage by giving people something less harmful to get addicted to. On the other hand, since video games are [sic] illegal and have less of a stigma about them more people can become addicted to them more easily."
I'm constantly amazed at how much I see the beginnings of the tech seen in Eve Online emerge into the real world.  I'm tempted to put FuturePundit on my blogroll just to remind me of the fact.

(h/t Instapundit)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Just An Inadequate Substitute For Caffine

Sleep.  Blessed sleep.  I don't even have the excuse of a CTA to blame for needing it.  I was up at 3am yesterday to do some testing and I had more testing to do at 10pm.  All I managed to do yesterday was move my new PI alt 25 jumps from Amarr to Derelik.  Thankfully I take the train into Chicago instead of driving.

At least I got more accomplished than TEST in their war against CCP.  As I post this, Dotlan shows Chribba still holds 9UY4-H.

Sleep ... not just an inadequate substitute for caffine anymore.

Friday, November 11, 2011

TEST vs Chribba

Sometimes Eve Online makes as much sense as real life politics.  The latest example is Test Alliance Please Ignore's intentions to take 9UY4-H system away from Otherworld Emipre.  The Eve News 24 article left out some embarrassing information.  What could be more embarrassing than picking on Chribba?  Let's follow the timeline.

Apparently the MOTD for the Recruitment channel was changed to not allow scamming, a favorite pasttime of TEST members.  The much beloved (at least by TEST members) HurrDurrHurr decided this was an abomination against all that is good in Eve Online and began a petition campaign to change this policy.  But he didn't create a petition, he wanted people to send petitions and flood the GM staff.  He was a bit too enthusiastic about sending petitions to CCP and received a ban.  For some reason he did not know how long his ban was for, so he was suseptible to a troll on the Kugutsumen forums and believed he was permanently banned.

Unfortunately, that belief spread to other TEST members who came up with a plan to hit back at CCP for banning their beloved HurrDurrHurr.  Attack Chribba!
Oh the humanity...
If you haven't already heard the great terrible news, Durr has been permanently banned from Eve Online by some dick eating a rotten shark sandwich. No one really knows what the exact justification for the ban is, but apparently it has something to do with Durr getting a bunch of SomethingAwful guys to mass petition CCP regarding some GM adding anti-scam rules to the Recruitment channel. There is nothing in the rule book that specifically states that is wrong, and certainly nothing that would indicate that it is a instant perma ban offense.

At this time we ask that you not mass petition CCP while the CSM/higher level GM's get to the bottom of this mess.

Striking back
Instead, we will fight back the only way we know how, by shitting on the Empire pubbies that this anti-scam rule protects, and we'll do it in nullsec. You may be asking yourself, "How will we get a bunch of Empire pubbies to tear themselves away from the teat of Level 4 missions!?!?" and the answer is that we are attacking their Mecca and Muhammad all in one shot. We will be attacking 9UY4-H, home of Otherworld Enterprises, Chribba's alliance. If you've been wanting to see a bunch of empire pubbies frothing at the mouth even more than they have been, now is probably a good time to login. In the eyes of the average empire dweller we are now literally Hitler.

We will begin deploying to Providence in a few short days along with our allies Elite Space Guild aka Broski aka Shurk aka fuck it you know who. Some other friends of ours will also be making an appearance, but that will be revealed later.

Primary: Get at least 500 Empire dwellers in 9UY4-H at the same time
Secondary: Actually take 9UY4-H
Tertiary: Roam all of Providence and have fun with CVA, also fucking around in Catch

What to do now
Start posting on Eve-O about how we are going to shit all over Chribba.
Get excited, as Montolio will be FCing some wulfpax and RPing as a Nazi u-boat commander.

Get your Alphafleet and Welpfleet ships bought and fitted up in 6VDT and await for further orders, it won't be long.
It doesn't matter that since this declaration of war that HurrDurrHurr finally contacted CCP and discovered that his ban was only 3 days and will end tomorrow.  The war is on.

Chribba responded in the thread on the Eve-O forums created to spread fear and loathing in the carebear player base:

Looks interesting, I welcome all pilots to the Cottage for coffee and kladdkaka, TEST pilots and regular. I'm sure you'll like it and hopefully you will find it as good that you want to continue to serve the goodies after you take over managment as well Smile

Regardless if the system and outpost get new owners I am honored to have been your host there for over a year, it's been wonderful. It is a goal completed, being an outpost manager. I wish I would be there to pew pew you (not really since I don't pvp) but I am probably busy 3rd partying the supers you buy to attack me Blink

But I for one look forward to see what happens, go sandbox go!

PS. More role playing posts Lol


Yes, responding with the old "I didn't want this system anyway" defense.  However, since Chribba doesn't lie, he possibly is looking for a new challenge.  I wonder if he's interested in the Arek'Jaalan project?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tech 4 News: Following The Arek'Jaalan Project

Every so often I check out the latest listings of the Eve Pod Pack and last night I started listening to Tech 4 News.  Tech 4 News features an all-star cast of New Eden podcasters getting together to bring the news from the non-capsuleer standpoint.  Or, as the in-character description on the site states:
"Tech Four is an independent broadcast dedicated to bringing news of capsuleer activity to the general population of New Eden.  By utilizing a network of discretely placed operatives, the Tech Four Media Group has been able to access the capsuleer NEOCOM network bringing cluster-wide broadcasting to the masses.

"The capsuleer-run megacorporations maintain a stranglehold on all interplanetary communications and ensure that the service remains prohibitively expensive to the majority. This excludes the ordinary station and planet-dwellers from learning the truth about events across the New Eden cluster. Tech Four aims to bypass this intergalactic gag by whatever means necessary in order to inform the general population of critical and key capsuleer activity.

"Our team of dedicated and passionate professionals will broadcast from undisclosed locations as frequently as possible, bringing the whole truth straight to the ears of the ordinary citizen."
Tech 4 News is featuring the Arek'Jaalan Project, a live event run by CCP Dropbear as the Caldari scientist Dr. Hilen Tukoss, the head of the Arek'Jaalan Project.  I've only listened to the first full newscast that featured an interview with Mark726, the writer of the Eve Travel blog.  He is currently working on Project Compass, an effort to understand the relationship between known space (k-space) and wormhole space (w-space).  He issued a preliminary report of his findings that are actually quite fascinating.  He had two conclusions that bear consideration.

  1. Based on spectroscopic and parallax data analysis, Anoikis is located in a halo surrounding the New Eden cluster. This conclusion is based off of the fact that a star cluster, nicknamed "Orion" for simplicity's sake, has been identified both in Anoikis skymap captures and in New Eden skymap captures.

  2. Anoikis and New Eden are both located in an elliptical or irregular galactic system. To my knowledge, this has never before been postulated by the Capsuleer community (though I welcome any evidence to the contrary). This conclusion is based on the uniform and homogenous distribution of stars across the entirety of the sky, with none of the banding that might be expected in, say, a spiral structure.
As I was listening to the interview with Mark726, I was watching him discuss his next line of research concerning Project Compass in the Arek'Jaalan chat channel.  Apparently the function that allows player-owned stations to measure distances for the creation of jump bridge networks accurately measures the distances between POS located between k-space and w-space.  From what I gathered reading the chat, he plans to set up POS in w-space and k-space and do measurements.  His only problem is that he doesn't have the status to anchor POS in Empire space and was looking for help.  I'm really looking forward to what he finds.

I'm also looking forward to what Tech 4 News publishes in the future.  If I were still in the podcast review business, I would rate this as a must follow effort, especially for those who might want to enter the world of New Eden.  Not only is it an introduction to Eve Online (and DUST 514), but it is pretty good science-fiction as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Anchor Of Planetary Interaction

Since creating and playing my new industrial alt I have spent some time thinking about planetary interaction.  At first glance PI really seems appealing.  I spent a week training my planetary interaction skills to a level I could really start making some money (and for a week old player, a half million isk a day is a nice payout).  On my established characters I'm making at least 200 million isk a month and I make that little when I just get lazy and/or don't have time to maximize my profits due to real life.  But then I started thinking about the drawbacks.

To me, the biggest drawback is that PI anchors a pilot to a region.  No matter how a player sets up his colonies, he has to go back and visit them to pick up his products to move them to market or to launch products to the customs office when the storage fills up.  Not only has led to Wandering Rose and Rosewalker remaining within remote sensing range of my colonies in Metropolis but kept me from any deployments of more than 6-7 jumps away from them.  I just don't have the time during the week to do a lot of travel just to maintain the operation of my colonies.

Having operated for months on my main characters, I've finally decided planetary interaction is best done on alts who I can just park in a system or constellation.  I've got the new account making PI alts now and as soon as Wandering Rose finishes learning Salvaging V I am going to create a PI alt for her as well.  For me, 10 colonies in high-sec is enough.  And I mention high-sec because I thought about getting sneaky and setting up some colonies in low-sec but the creation of player-owned custom offices in the Winter expansion killed that idea as soon as I read the dev blog.

Don't get me wrong, I think planetary interaction is a nice way to make some cash.  If you are a new player, by all means learn more about it.  CCP designed a nice system that allows a player to make some isk without having to mine.  But I'm getting the urge to move around in Eve, and PI is really not for nomads.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Closer Look At DUST 514

I have to admit upfront I am a PC gamer.  Also, I do not play first person shooters (FPS).  So when people started debating the feasibility of CCP making DUST 514 and integrating the game into the New Eden universe, I didn't really have any perspective on whether the move was realistic.  But since Eve Online will start seeing these planet-bound mercs showing up in the next couple of months as the DUST 514 beta starts, I figured I should at least take a closer look at what some are calling SiF (shooting in face).

Why Sony?  Why not Microsoft?
  Like I mentioned at the beginning, I am a PC gamer.  I have no idea which is better, PlayStation Network or Xbox Live.  But from a player who wants CCP to succeed, I prefer Sony because of what happened to the first game that attempted to merge PC and console gamers into a single virtual world.
"CCP has a strong relationship with Microsoft – in fact Eve’s back-end server tech is based on Windows – so [CCP’s VP of business development Thor] Gunnarsson is politely talking around the issue. What he won’t say is that Microsoft had an opportunity, back in 2009, to launch the world’s first console MMO FPS with another studio entirely.

"The game was called Huxley, built by Webzen and intended to feature cross-platform play between PC and Xbox, as well as incorporate a microtransactions model. It was trying to be everything Dust 514 is aiming for. But during its development, Microsoft put a ban on the cross-platform feature. Then it prohibited the microtransactions. Huxley never made it onto Xbox."
The author of the article, Rob Crossley, continued on with a rehash of the stated reason for choosing the PS3 over Xbox.
“'We’re always keen to collaborate with both Microsoft and Sony,” Gunnarsson begins, “but when it came to Dust 514, Sony was in many ways more open to learn with us.'

“'In regards to Xbox and PS3, what we found as we got in conversation with the platform holders is that it became more and more evident to us that we had a difficult decision to make.'

"Launching Dust on both Xbox and PS3 would have resulted in, as Gunnarsson puts it, “two low-common-denominator games”. He doesn’t elaborate, but is likely referring to how both consoles wouldn’t have communicated with each other, and possibly wouldn’t be linked to PC."
And the whole concept behind DUST 514 is to link PC and console players together, which made NOT putting the game on Xbox a no-brainer.

Who is going to play a PS3 exclusive game?  Conventional wisdom on the Eve Online forums is that no one is going to play the game because everyone plays games on an Xbox.  Well, I'm not sure that CCP, whose main game is a niche game (a science fiction, sandbox MMORPG) is really going to worry about not having the biggest audience in the world. 

One other point I think the posters on the Eve-O forums miss is that not just players, but entire player organizations either move from game to game or start playing multiple games.  For Eve Online players, Goonswarm Federation and Test Alliance Please Ignore are the most obvious examples I can think of from larger groups (Something Awful forums and Dreddit), but this occurs throughout the gaming world.  For example, how many guilds made the move from World of Warcraft to Rift because they were dissatisfied with Cataclysm?

The same occurs with console gamers.  I've spent some time searching the interwebs and found that some of the more prominent clans from MAG, a PS3 exclusive game, plan on moving to DUST.  I actually saw a lot of comments comparing DUST with MAG.  But the clans moving over to DUST are not limited to MAG.  An unofficial website already has recruitment forums up with groups from a lot of games looking to enter New Eden.

CCP is going to beta test DUST 514 in Eve?  CCP is not calling it a beta, but it looks like elements of the Eve/DUST interface will be tested live on Tranquility before DUST 514 goes live.  DUST 514 Executive Producer Brandon Laurino explained:
"Just as we have done with EVE Online, we’re going to be telling a story with each of the events that happen in our game. To give a bit of context, in EVE Online you play as the pilot of a spaceship – a capsuleer – and in DUST 514 you play as a mercenary on the ground. It’s going to be a bit weird if, all of a sudden, we release the DUST 514 beta and all these mercenaries suddenly show up in the EVE universe, so the setting is that the first small group of players that get access to the Private Trials will be the first trial of this new mercenary technology in the context of EVE Online. Just as you’re helping to test the game in the real world, in the EVE world you’re taking part in war games organised to test this new mercenary technology.
"With our Private Trials – we’re not calling it a Beta, but Private Trials in both the real world and the EVE fiction – we’re not taking the usual “on / off” method of rolling out a build and then taking it back and tweaking it, then rolling it out again; when we roll out with those first few users we are introducing mercenary technology to EVE, our “game as a service begins”, and the story will continue from there as that technology develops, further empowering the DUST 514 mercenaries from test subjects in war games to ultimately allowing them to take hold of their own future. It’s what we call a thematic rollout."
So what may happen is that during the winter expansion we will hear about these new ground mercenaries and then the DUST players will start affecting events in New Eden with the summer expansion.  Can we still call the release of DUST Soon™ when we now have a rough time estimate of when we will see it released?

I'm sure that players of first person shooters have a lot more questions than this Eve Online carebear has.  After all, playing DUST will require killing other players and I'm the type of pilot who hasn't flown in low-sec in a ship mounting any weapons in over a year.  I actually found a list of 10 reasons why players would like DUST.  Of course, the author of that blog post might be a little more hardcore than the average player.  I really liked reason 6:
6. Total War, Von Clausewitz Style - That's right, the opportunity to totally cripple your enemy is basically a feature in DUST 514. You can destroy their resources, obliterate their reinforcements, leave their War Barge a smoldering husk, render them penniless and then say something like "Remember who did this to you." Wait? What? Where do we sign up?
Sounds like someone that would fit right into New Eden.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Site One Acquisition Complete

I received this in my Evemail when I got home from work yesterday.

Greetings all,

I have some excellent news to report, which is that we've all but acquired the remaining materials for Site One's construction in Eram.

Faulx is standing by to provide the last of the supercomputers, but beyond that we're done.

On behalf of a very grateful Eifyr & Co. I want to thank each and every one of you who played their part in what is a momentous feat of capsuleer cooperation. Whether it was a handful of items, entire hangar's worth of goods, or simply spreading the word - each and every contribution combined together to create our collective success. As a Caldari, I have a deep admiration for the difficulty behind such achievements.

I'll be focusing in the coming days on finalizing as many paper abstracts for publication as possible, so that we can make the most out of our initial launch.

Additionally, with most of the hard work now behind us, I think a little celebration is in order. Keep your eyes open for party announcements in the coming week as well.


Hilen Tukoss

The only bad side to the announcement is I don't think Dr. Tukoss received my contribution.  I found that the contract I sent him had expired.  I re-contracted the construction blocks back to him, so we shall see.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Little Prior Planning

Due to a freight train derailment this morning, I have a little time to write a post.  I didn't write one last night because I was too busy moving ships around.  On my industrial alt, my experiment about how fast a player with knowledge of the game can get 5 planetary interaction colonies up and running on a new account hit a snag because, even though I had been doing courier missions, the storyline mission I ran into was a combat mission.  Unfortunately my Punisher was sitting 7 jumps away.  I have just a little allotted time for that, so I ended that time by finishing the move of the frigate so I can do the storyline mission tonight (I hope).

After that I logged onto Rosewalker and Wandering Rose and quickly did my PI work.  I then made the decision that I was getting tired of doing courier missions and wanted to shoot some Angels.  So I moved my Maelstrom and Hurricane so that the next time I get the urge I can hop into a level 4 combat mission quickly.  So I moved the ships 6 jumps to the agents station, taking up the rest of my allotted game time for the night.

Do I regret not having a lot of action because I spent so much time repositioning ships?  No.  Actions have consequences.  For example, on my new alt, if I had just taken a little time to pack my Magnate and my Punisher into an industrial ship when I initially travelled to my distribution agent's system, I wouldn't have had to stop to get the Punisher last night.  And the tell the truth, I really should have already had my top missioning ships in place already.  I needed them to do a storyline mission and was too lazy to move them back to their proper place.  I can just hear my mom making a comment about putting my toys away when I finish with them.  I never really thought that advice applied to internet spaceships until now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Arek'Jaalan Project

Last night I finally took the plunge into actual role playing in Eve Online.  Back in July I remember reading about the defection of the Caldari scientist Hilen Tukoss to the Minmatar Republic.  I read in August a post by Mike Azariah on how to join the Arek'Jaalan Project but I never followed up.  Until now.

Since the Khumaak Flying Circus (or at least Wandering Rose) has such a close relationship with Eifyr and Co., Dr. Tukoss' new employer, getting involved in the Arek'Jaalan Project is a natural thing to do.  Currently the members of the Arek'Jaalan Project are racing to complete the collection of materials to build Site One, a museum and library construction in the Eram system.  The deadline is the 8th and according to the latest from the mailing list, the collection of materials is almost complete.

I had switched some of my planetary interaction production to Water Cooled CPUs, but on Monday the Acquisition Division sent over the mailing list that all that was needed was 80,000-90,000 Construction Blocks, 42,000 Supercomputers and 2,400 High-Tech Manufacturing Tools.  After reading through the list I figured the best way I could contribute was to take the Construction Blocks from the hanger and deliver them to Eram.  Seven thousand blocks didn't seem like a lot, but since it looks like about 68,000 blocks had been delivered since Monday, I figure my contribution just about put the effort over the top of its goals.  But just in case, I've set up 4 of my colonies with 2 facilities each producing construction blocks.  I figure I can make about 5,000 more blocks before the deadline just in case they are needed.  And if supercomputers are needed, I can sell them off and buy a few of those.

One thing I learned is that in the role play world, the layoffs were referred to as "political instability".  At least that was the reason that Dr. Tukoss (aka CCP Dropbear) disappeared and could not collect all of the items players contracted to him.  Thankfully CCP Dropbear was not a member of the 20% and he became active again over the past week.

I'm curious to see if the players can actually pull this off.  A whole lot of players have contributed billions of isk in cash and materials to try to make this work.  I've added my humble contribution.  If you play Eve and are interested, join the Arek'Jaalan chat channel and take a peak at what is going on.