Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 30 April 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 28 April 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 41.5 21,965-2.4
22Guild Wars 218.09,545-6.2
33Star Wars: The Old Republic11.66,158-13.1
56Eve Online4.92,618+18.2
77Lord of the Rings Online3.01,585-9.3
88Planetside 22.81,475-2.1
99APB: Reloaded2.11,104-14.1
1011Need For Speed World2.01,046-2.1
11--Age of Wushu1.91,016+14.9
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 52,969

The time the Xfire community spends playing the most popular MMORPGs on Sundays declined for a third straight week.  Sunday's 4.9% drop was led by Runescape (-22.5%), APB: Reloaded (-14.1%) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (-13.1%).  In the face of the decline, two games managed strong gains: Eve Online (+18.2%) and Age of Wushu (+14.9%).

A Changing of the Guard?  For the first time in the 65 week history of The Digital Dozen Metin 2 failed to make the list.  The eastern fantasy MMORPG was supplanted by the eastern martial arts MMORPG Age of Wushu.  While Metin 2 looked a lot like Dark Age of Camelot in concept with its 3 faction PvP, Age of Wushu has been favorably described as a fantasy version of Eve Online.  Age of Wushu recently launched and instead of making a big splash and then descending quickly, will the game gradually build in popularity based on word of mouth?  Time will tell.

Jagex' War On Bots - Runescape's developer Jagex has waged a war on bots for quite a while now.  This war has now reached the Old School servers that fueled Runescape's popularity and rise on The Digital Dozen and may explain the game's drop in popularity over the past few weeks.  Over the two weeks leading up to last weekend, Jagex had banned over 21,000 accounts.

Pumping Up The Base - One day after the end of CCP's annual Fanfest celebration in Iceland Eve Online saw an 18.2% increase spent playing internet spaceships.  With some of the news coming out of Reykjavik I think many players decided they needed to take some action as the summer expansion will have far-ranging effects on the economy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Questions After Fanfest 2013

I got home from Fanfest a few hours ago, tired and with a nasty chest cold, but alive.  Instead of trying to write something insightful or thought-provoking, I'll just note five questions that came to mind as we move toward Uprising (Retribution 1.2 for Eve players) and Odyssey.

Will Odyssey be a boon to bots?  A lot of people are celebrating the move of ice belts to depletable anomalies as the death of ice bots.  I'm not so sure.  That really depends on the new discovery scanner and how it works.  If bot developers can use the discovery scanner to scan down ice anomalies, then they can do the same to access high sec ore sites (the former grav sites).  That could make the feature a buff for bots.

Is wormhole space receiving a net nerf?  I originally didn't think so, but I ran into a wormhole player who said the region was receiving 6 nerfs.  The three that I remember him saying are a reduced payout for blue ribbons, the capital rigs nerf, and the reduction in the supply of ice.  I don't know very much about wormholes so I'll wait to see what the blogs and podcasters say about the subject.

Can I still live in low sec?  After Friday and listening to the changes to mining I wasn't so sure.  After talking with people and asking questions on Saturday I think I still can.  Then again, I live in low sec because I don't like high sec so I'm a little more resistant to economic realities than others.  That sounds like two posts, with the first one hopefully finished for Wednesday.  I would have finished it already but this cold keeps knocking me down.

What happened with the CSM 8 election?  This year's CSM election has the lowest turnout (12.12% of eligible voters) than any election since the term for CSM members was increased from six months to one year with CSM 5.  I have my own issues with the single-transferable vote process and think that was a major factor, but I would like to see what others with more insight have to say about the matter.

Will null sec explode in violence?  Will the changes to moon minerals incite a war between the null sec power blocs?  Or will an increased industrial capacity in null sec lead to increased attacks on Empire?  I'm not referring to events like Burn Jita.  Oh no.  I'm referring to increased efforts to dominate resources in low sec.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Risk vs. Reward No Longer Applies?

I didn't feel well last night so I skipped the pub crawl and read the dev blogs that CCP Fozzie put out last night.  After reading them, my reaction was...

W. T. F. ?!

Why the reaction?  Because pilots no longer have to probe down gravimetric sites.  They can use the ship’s built-in anomaly scanning equipment.  This is important because now the new ore sites are just a little more difficult to find than asteroid belts.  As I do my mining in low sec, this is rather important.

At the same time the ore will contain extra low end minerals.  Here are the new mineral concentrations for the ore found in low sec sites:
  • Crokite: 38000 Tritanium (+37669), 331 Nocxium, 663 Zydrine
  • Dark Ochre: 25500 Tritanium (+25250), 500 Nocxium, 250 Zydrine
  • Gneiss: 3700 Tritanium (+3529), 3700 Mexallon (+3529), 700 Isogen (+357), 171 Zydrine
  • Spodumain: 71000 Tritanium (+67810), 9000 Pyerite (+8590), 140 Megacyte
Is that enough extra reward to make up for the increased risk for mining in an ore site?  I don't know, although I'm inclined to say no.  Perhaps that is because of the increased risk in mining in low sec belts with the "Tags4Sec" feature.  Apparently no one mines in low sec belts to CCP decided to just turn them into PvP areas where players can fight over the rats that drop the security status tags.  For miners, that is definitely a rise in risk with no increase in reward.  I guess those of us who mine in low sec belts had it too easy.

I guess I should be thankful that us low sec players will benefit from a feature put in for null sec players.  At least I'll can still mine the low end minerals in low sec and not have to go to high sec.  Of course, the changes don't help when I am mining to get ore to finish up a storyline mission.

I plan on attending the resource rebalance session today so I'll find out more.  I really want to find some way to work the new system because right now I think I may have to head back to high sec.  I really don't want to do that.  High sec sucks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fanfest 2013: Day 1

The first day of Fanfest 2013 is in the books and I managed to somehow attend all the sessions I originally planned.  I think I'll have plenty to discuss for weeks to come, but for now I'll just record my day and what I took away from the presentations.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Fanfest 2013 Schedule

This year I'm a little happier with the Fanfest schedule than I was last year.  A year ago my schedule had holes in what I wanted to see, which worked out because I could just walk back to my hotel and take a nap or blog a bit.  This year I'm staying at the Hilton, which is two miles away from Harpa.  Fortunately for me the schedule makers smiled down on me and left me with a full schedule on all three days.

So what does my schedule look like for the next three days?  Let's see...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Celtic Cross

Something that is becoming something of a tradition at Fanfest is the Tweetfleet meet up the night before the convention begins.  I went last year and the bar, The Celtic Cross, was packed.  I decided while wandering around Reykjavik on Monday to go ahead and check the bar out before the huge wave of Eve Online fans arrived.

Upstairs at the bar
I got in early and was able to poke around and take some pictures.  Then a pair on Canadians, a pilot from Get Off My Lawn and his brother, came in and started playing a game that apparently is popular in the local bars.  For 1,500 ISK the bartender spun a wheel and where the wheel stopped is what they got to drink.

A winner!
Their first try netted them 1 meter of beer.  One meter of beer turned out to be 13 rather large glasses of draft beer.  Not bad considering the typical beer wound up going for 900 kr. 

Eventually more pilots came and went, with a few surprised that people were talking openly about things like Maelstroms.  That's one of the nice things about Fanfest.  People who usually only get to talk about Eve with people over Mumble or Team Speak get to actually talk to others face-to-face about internet spaceships.

After six beers, including one I won when I split a spin with the brother from Canada, I walked back to the Hilton, my trip a success.  I had successfully remembered how to find the bar, met some Eve players, had a good time, and had enough beer in me to help get my internal clock adjusted to local time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 23 April 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 21 April 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 40.4 22,509-6.1
22Guild Wars 218.310,175+6.0
33Star Wars: The Old Republic12.77,088-0.9
65Eve Online4.02,215-7.4
77Lord of the Rings Online3.11,752+11.7
89Planetside 22.71,507+18.1
911APB: Reloaded2.31,285+10.4
1110Need For Speed World1.91,068-11.0
1212Metin 21.81,015-8.1
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 55,687

The time the Xfire community spent playing the 12 most popular MMORPGs remained fairly stable Sunday, only declining by 1.2% compared to the previous week.  Games experiencing the greatest gains in popularity were Planetside 2 (18.1%), Lord of the Rings Online (11.7%) and APB: Reloaded (10.4%).  The only game experiencing a double-digit percentage decline was Need For Speed World (-11%).

Still The 800 Pound Gorilla - While World of Warcraft's days of topping the Xfire charts with 6-figure are over, the game still dominates the genre.  Take for example Sunday.  The other 11 games on The Digital Dozen saw a 2.4% increase in hours played but WoW's 6.1% decline turned a possible positive gain into a 1.2% decline.

Burn Eve? - Eve Online's 7.4% Xfire decline corresponded with the lowest peak concurrent user number for a Sunday since the launch of the Retribution expansion.   While the mass movement of players to Reykjavik for Fanfest 2013 that began this weekend might explain some of the numbers, a more plausible explanation was the Burn Jita 2 event.  We'll see if the numbers rebound next weekend if Goonswarm and friends stop their attacks on shipping in Eve Online's main trade hub.

I am there!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Back In Iceland

I arrived in Iceland a few hours ago.  When I think about it, attending Fanfest is a little strange.  I'm a rather casual player yet this is the second time I've traveled to this volcanic island floating in the north Atlantic.  The existing theory is that going to Fanfest is an indication that a player is hard core because Iceland if views as so remote.  Following the antics of the players and the devs, I guess I'm hard core.  Actually playing the game, I'm casual.

I'll get more into Fanfest later in the week.  Right now I'm luxuriating in my room at the Hilton.  Booking my trip three months in advance didn't get me into a hotel that is close to Harpa, so I am two miles away.  In exchange, the shower is much better, with water that isn't scalding and actually comes out fast.  Also, I actually have more than one outlet that I can use, which is coming in handy for both using my laptop and recharging my iPhone and iPad and other electrical equipment at the same time.

One thing that shocked me a bit was that I'm charged for using an internet connection in my room.  1,500 ISK is not a lot in Eve, but is a bit for real life.  This isn't the first time I've been charged for internet in a hotel, though, so once I got over the surprise I looked at the bright side.  The internet connection better be good if I'm getting charged for it.  So far, so good.  I'm currently listening to Eve Radio and I couldn't listen at all at the hotel I stayed at last year.

Enough about the hotel, what about the weather?  People following the Tweetfleet on Twitter will know about the constantly changing weather.  This morning was cold and snowing.  Now it is 43F/6C and sunny.  My plan of wearing layers is looking like the right choice.  Once I finish this post I'll be roaming around the city since I never explored this section of town.  I hear the mall and even the zoo is in this area.  I hope people don't mind pictures because I think I'll wind up posting some.

Of course I'll have a few thoughts on Fanfest 2013 as the week goes on but for now I'm just acclimatizing to Iceland.  The weather is really not an issue since we've been going through some cold weather in Chicago before I left, so all I have to do is get my internal clock adjusted.  That shouldn't be too much of a problem, especially if I go drinking tonight.  I have a tendency to wake up early when I've been drinking.  So until then, farewell from sunny/rainy/snowy Reykjavik.

Friday, April 19, 2013

CCP's War On Bots: Darwin Award Nominees

"In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival."

In the midst of yesterday's uproar over the declaration that cache-scraping violates the EULA, a funny thing happened.  Well, I laughed, but the holders of 2350 accounts didn't find the situation so funny.  CCP Stillman made the following announcement:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eve Online Senior Producer CCP Seagull On The CSM

As of the scheduled time this post will appear, 12 hours will remain in the voting for CSM 8 (to vote, click here).  I haven't covered the election itself but instead have written a couple of posts concerning the Council of Stellar Management based on the CSM White Paper.  Yesterday CCP Dolan published a dev blog with a lot of quotes from CCP employees explaining why the CSM is important.

On Tuesday CCP held a live chat with important people like outgoing Executive Producer CCP Unifex, Creative Director CCP Torfifrans, Development Director CCP Ripley and Senior Producer CCP Seagull.  Current CSM 7 member Hans Jagerblitzen managed to sneak in a question about the CSM:
"In what way have you found the CSM useful in the past year and how do you see the role expanding during the next term?"
The reply came from CCP Seagull...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tranquility Average Concurrent Users Before Fanfest 2013

I thought I would just post some of the average concurrent user numbers generated by the Retribution expansion heading into Fanfest next week. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 16 April 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 14 April 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 42.5 23,977-7.8
22Guild Wars 217.09,596-11.1
33Star Wars: The Old Republic12.77,155+1.5
56Eve Online4.22,393-2.4
78Lord of the Rings Online2.81,568-4.4
97Planetside 22.31,276-24.8
10--Need For Speed World2.11,200+68.5
1110APB: Reloaded2.11,164-9.0
1212Metin 22.01,104+6.8
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 56,375

Sunday was another rocky day for MMORPGs amongst the Xfire community as the genre saw a 7.2% decline in the number of hours spent playing the 12 most popular games as compared to the week before.  Games leading the decline were Defiance (-28.6%), Planetside 2 (-24.8%) and Tera (-14.3%).  The only game making a significant gain was Need For Speed World which saw an increase of 68.5% in the hours played by Xfire members.

Achievement Unlocked - Need for World Speed jumped back onto The Digital Dozen after an absence of 18 weeks on the strength of last week's patch that brought a new achievement system.  Based on the 68.5% jump in hours played the feature is apparently a hit, at least with the Xfire community.

Certified Chaos - Planetside 2 saw a big drop following a move to compensate players who had purchased duplicate certificates made useless following a change making certificates bound to accounts and not characters.  The amount of certs distributed as compensation was way beyond the stated exchange rate and has led to an uproar.  When players start talking about a game incorporating "Pay2Win" that spells trouble.

The War Z update - Last week I omitted the Xfire numbers for The War Z based on the difficulties the game faced that closed a shutdown.  This week the servers are running again, but with only 786 hours played Sunday the game failed to make the list.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scott Hartsman In Space?

On Friday CCP Hellmar (aka CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson) published a dev blog concerning the fate of the current executive producer of Eve Online, John Lander.  The dev blog was necessary after alert players spotted a job posting looking for a new executive producer.  We learned that CCP Unifex would remain with CCP working toward developing the company's mobile strategy.  CCP has a mobile strategy?  Exactly.

So while everyone dreams about all the goodies CCP Unifex will bestow upon a grateful New Eden (setting skill queues from our iPhones?), the question becomes: who will replace CCP Unifex?  If Eve was a sports team, I would guess the biggest available name currently available.  In my opinion, the biggest available name is Scott Hartsman, most recently the executive producer for Trion's RIFT.

What makes me think that CCP is leaning toward a big name?  First, this portion of Hilmar's dev blog:
"For our next Executive Producer of EVE Online, we will be looking outside of CCP. We have been actively interviewing candidates and plan on a smooth transition over the summer. I am letting you know now so everyone can plan on buying Jon a lot of beers at Fanfest, but also because we have had a lot of really talented people join CCP from the EVE community over the past decade. Jon himself is in fact one such example. It might very well be that some of you have what it takes for this job, or know someone that does." (emphasis mine)
Indeed, given the talents of the Eve player base we could indeed see a former player emerge as the next Executive Producer.  But given the qualities CCP is looking for in its ideal candidate, apart from John Smedly who I think is happy as CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, the talent pool is probably small:
  • A good understanding of MMO game development in general and EVE Online in particular.
  • Extensive industry experience with multiple titles and large scale operations 10+ years preferred
  • A track record of delivering multiple high quality entertainment experience
  • Significant experience of delivering excellent business results in large scale projects in an ongoing ‘Product as a service’ model 
Except for experience with Eve, I can't name anyone who could exceed his record.  Hartsman began his career in the video game industry back in 1986 and has served as a senior or executive producer for three AAA MMORPGs: EverQuest, EverQuest 2 and RIFT.  Back when Hartsman worked on EverQuest the game was the most popular MMORPG on the market with over 500,000 subscribers.  In describing his tenure at EverQuest 2, many just use the phrase "the man who saved EverQuest 2" for his performance in turning around the EQ sequel after a rocky start facing World of Warcraft.  And RIFT was the last major MMORPG to launch with a subscription model that has not gone F2P or B2P.

One concern I would have is someone used to making theme parks trying to fit into the Eve universe.  That is offset by the recent moves that made CCP Seagull the Senior Producer and CCP Ripley the Development Director.  Also, looking for someone with over 10 years experience would ensure someone exposed to sandbox games like Ultima Online or games with shared dungeons and mob camping that promoted competition between players and guilds like ... EverQuest.

I do have to admit to a bias in favor of Scott Hartsman.  While I wasn't too thrilled with RIFT, I loved EverQuest 2.  The Echoes of Faydwer and Rise of Kunark expansions, the last two expansions he oversaw, were great.  I've also been tempted to pick up the RIFT expansion because I've heard the housing introduced is amazing.

Now, I'm not sure that CCP could lure Hartsman out of nice, warm Southern California to the cold rocky shores of Iceland.  But CCP's looking for a big time talent and not too many people fit the ideal qualifications.  So why not try?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friends Don't Let Friends...

This week I did perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever done in Eve.  That's right, I went ice mining in high sec.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Technologically Obsolete

Last night I finally admitted defeat.  I am no longer playing The Secret World.

Don't get me wrong, I liked TSW.  But my computer just can't handle the game since Issue #6 was launched.  I'm not even in Egypt but my computer still crashes.  I'm not really surprised.  When I bought the game I knew the specs on my graphics card weren't up to spec but the game ran anyway.  Apparently time and development finally caught up to me as I can no longer run the game for any length of time (i.e. 15 minutes) without the game freezing up and crashing.

I guess I'll have to settle for playing 10 year-old games like Eve Online.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CCP Soundwave and CCP Solomon On Twitch

Yesterday CCP held the second of three live streamed interview sessions on Twitch hosted by CCP Guard scheduled before Fanfest.  While CCP Mannbjorn and CCP Sisyphus also appeared, the stars of the show were Eve Online's Senior Lead Game Designer CCP Soundwave and CCP Solomon, the product owner of Teams 5-0, Superfriends and Game of Drones.  I couldn't watch live but did watch when I got home from work.  I picked out a few segments that stood out for me and quickly tried to get some of the quotes typed out.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 9 April 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 7 April 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 42.8 25,997+5.3
22Guild Wars 217.810,792-4.1
33Star Wars: The Old Republic11.67,047+9.1
66Eve Online4.02,452+10.0
77Planetside 22.81,697-19.3
88Lord of the Rings Online2.71,640+0.1
1012APB: Reloaded2.11,279+17.3
1210Metin 21.71,109-5.0
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 60,753
The Xfire community's time spent playing MMORPG's remained steady for a second week, only increasing on Sunday 1% compared to the week before.  Games seeing declines in playtime were led by Planetside 2 (-19.3%) and Metin 2 (-14.1%).  The games seeing the biggest jumps in hours played in percentage terms were APB: Reloaded (+17.3%) and Eve Online (+10.0%).
Defiance Debuts - Trion World's new MMOTPS (Massively Multi-Player Third Person Shooter) Defiance launched on 2 April.  Despite a rocky launch week and a player base split between between the PC, Xbox, and PS3, Defiance managed to land in the #11 spot this week.  Normally this would signal a short stint on The Digital Dozen, but the launch of the SyFy series of the same name on 15 April promises to bring in a fresh wave of players next week.
The War Z - Looking at the Xfire site shows that more players played The War Z last week than Metin 2 but Metin 2 is still on the list.  Why?  Because as far as I know The War Z was shut down last Tuesday due to a hacking attack.  The War Z forums were still shut down yesterday so I assume the game was down as well.  Therefore I will disregard any Xfire numbers for the game until I hear that the game is back on-line.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nathan's Words Of Wisdom On Defiance

Those following Defiance, the new "PC-PS3-XBOX360-massively-online-tv-show-connected-third-person-open-world-shooter" from Trion that launched last Tuesday, know that the game, to put it kindly, has not experienced the smoothest of launches.  But the game has as a leader, Executive Producer Nathan Richardsson, who has some experience with rocky launches.  That's right, the same Nathan Richardsson whom Eve players knew as CCP Oveur for many years.  And in an effort to communicate with upset players he was deployed that popular weapon, the dev blog.  While some Defiance players may think of Nathan as " inbred viking trying to fool me with humor and shark," I've had a blast reading them and seeing some of the Eve and Iceland references in his dev blogs.  So I decided to pull out some of the gems that struck my interest.  I hope you like them.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Conflicting Views On Voices from the Void 68

I know that I've stated I am not going to cover the CSM 8 election.  But sometimes events happen during a campaign that shed some light on the community as a whole.  Voices from the Void episode 68 is a good example.  The host, Arydanika, had four candidates on the podcast for a debate... 
  • Sort Dragon,  Head of the Honey Badger Coalition
  • Kesper North, the CEO of Gentlemen's Agreement
  • Malcanis, member of The Initiative. and famous ~good poster~
  • Mike Azeriah, jack of all trade and champion for the casual playstyle
Usually these people would never meet as a group, but internet space politics often produce some unusual events.  So while the podcast was about the election, the quartet got into a discussion about the nature of null sec vs. Empire players and how that will influence the election results.  They also discussed the nature of CSM and whether the player body would benefit from diverse opinions.  They also discussed why some in null sec want to totally dominate the CSM.  And those who live in high-sec might be interested to hear that the null sec candidates believe that James 315 would have been a good high-sec member of the CSM.  Podcaster Xander Phoena, who interviewed James 315 when he was still considering running for office, described him as having "an anti-high sec platform arguing for severe high sec nerfs which he believes will better balance the game."  Needless to say, null and high sec players have vastly different views on Eve Online.

The portion I found most fascinating, from 47:37 to 63:04, I transcribed and present below.  For those who wish to listen, I suggest starting at 44:45 to hear what Kesper said that triggered the discussion.  I hope you find the segment as interesting as I did.  It is not a strict transcription as I took out most of the "umms", "likes" and "you knows" to make it more readable.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facts From The CSM White Paper

The CSM 8 elections began today amid a flurry of endorsements from Eve bloggers.  I haven't gotten that far yet as I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the Council of Stellar Management does.  I had some fun reading the first half of the paper, but now is the time to get serious and post some facts about the player-elected body.  For that I went to the White Paper, which seems to act as a combination of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution all rolled up into one.  But as Eve Online is growing and CCP would like to see greater participation in the election, I thought I'd offer up some answers to questions players new to the process may have.  I formatted the information in a FAQ format, with all answers coming straight from the CSM White Paper in quotes.  I hope you find the information helpful.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The CSM White Paper And The Eve Online Sandbox

One of the liberating benefits of admitting ignorance about a subject to yourself is the freedom to look and reexamine the basics of a subject.  For me, the latest subject is the Council of Stellar Management.  After coming to the realization that I at best only have a vague idea of how the body works or even what its function is, I started doing some research.  One of the basic places to look is the CSM White Paper.  I thought I'd find a bunch of boring stuff about the CSM and need to buy some coffee to stay awake.  I did find that, but first I read a brief history of Eve from a perspective I never really considered before.  I also found some thoughts on the Eve sandbox, although the author didn't refer to it as such.

Instead he refers to three observations about the game and the three rights that every Eve player has.  I'm not going to try to summarize the passages for fear of getting something wrong.  Besides, I'm interested to hear what people take away from them.  I actually think that some of them are pretty illuminating and far-seeing and I'd hate to have anyone miss one because I did a poor job explaining them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 2 April 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 31 March 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 41.1 24,695+1.9
22Guild Wars 218.711,259+9.0
33Star Wars: The Old Republic10.76,459-12.2
66Eve Online3.72,229-11.5
78Planetside 23.52,102+30.8
87Lord of the Rings Online2.71,638-13.9
1011Metin 22.01,204-3.1
1112The War Z1.91,167-5.1
1210APB: Reloaded1.81,090-17.1
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 60,128

Apparently the coming of Easter did little to influence the Xfire community's gaming habits are concerned.  Sunday saw the number of hours spent playing the twelve most popular MMORPGs declined by only 1.1%.  Games seeing an increase in playtime were lead by Planetside 2 (+30.8%) and Guild Wars 2 (+9.0%) while APB: Reloaded (-17.1%), Tera (-15.4%), and Lord of the Rings Online (-13.9%) led the declining games.

Double Your Fun - Planetside 2 saw a resurgence based on a double Station Cash/double XP weekend.  SOE traditionally hands out double the rates of experience on holiday weekends and along with the deal for Station Cash proved once again the promotion still draws people to SOE's games.

Another Successful Patch - ArenaNet showed once again that players like new content when it released Flame and Frost: The Razing last Tuesday for Guild Wars 2.  So far ArenaNet was introduced some sort of new content, whether holidays or the Living Story, every month since October.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Why The Silence About The CSM 8 Elections?

Last week I wrote that I wasn't going to write any more posts about the CSM 8 elections.  I guess I should really write why.

This latest trip down the Eve rabbit hole started by trying to understand the new mechanics CCP will use to conduct the elections.  I found the Wright single transferable vote system, or at least the documentation provided by Trebor, confusing.  So confusing that I got the system mixed up with others.  Fortunately mynnna wrote an explanation that made sense.  Well, the mechanics made sense anyway, although I still find the whole system a bit confusing.

I guess I am always going to disagree with the single transferable vote systems over the traditional whoever gets the most votes wins systems.  I think that is a philosophical difference over the concept of the "wasted vote."  The proponents of the "wasted vote" theory argue that if a person casts a vote for a person that does not wind up winning a position that the vote was wasted.  My belief is that casting a vote for a losing candidate is not a waste as it does show interest in minority points of view.  I believe that the single transferable vote system, whether intentionally or not, acts to marginalize those points of view.  Using the CSM elections as an example, last year 24% of votes were cast for candidates who did not win seats on the council.  This year?  If I understand how the Droop quota calculation works, that number will work out to 1/15th, or a little less than 7%, of the vote.  Twenty-six percent is a large number that CSM 7, if it really wanted to claim to represent all players, could not ignore.  Seven percent, on the other hand, is a bunch of fringe people whose views are fairly safe to ignore.

My theory, on the other hand, is that a "wasted vote" is when a vote is cast for someone the voter knows very little to nothing about.  I'm not referring to the bloc voting that is going to occur this year that the new voting system almost makes mandatory to win a seat this year.  I'm referring to the practice that CCP is encouraging to fill in all 14 slots on the ballot, even if you don't hold strong views on a subject.  Picking one good candidate is very doable.  Picking 14?  Only the hardcore will do that with any sense.  The people with only a casual interest?  Let's just say I think some candidates with some pretty odious real life views have a better chance to get in with this system as voters scramble to fill 14 slots because not filling out all the slots would waste their votes.

From here my interest turned from why the voting system mattered to why the Council of Stellar Management mattered.  The answer shocked me.  I really don't know what the CSM is anymore.  In the past the CSM was a group elected to represent the players to CCP.  Now?  Given some of the statements coming out of CSM 7 concerning their stakeholder status and activities associated with it I'm not sure that's considered the most important job they do.

So I am not going to cover the CSM 8 election.  I think covering an election intelligently for an institution I don't understand is probably not a good idea.  What I probably will do is start writing about the CSM as an institution and ignore the personalities in the campaign as much as possible.  I really need to do some research and figure out if CSM is important enough to spend my time following and writing about it.

NOTE:  I realize that today is 1 April, more popularly known as April Fool's Day.  For those thinking this post is a prank, SURPRISE!  I'm really serious and this actually reflects my current views.