Monday, September 29, 2014

BB59 - I'm Behind the Grassy Knoll

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 59th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

This month's version comes from commenter Zappity who asks:

Probably been done before... What about local force projection (as opposed to the longer distance force projection that is often talked about)? I think of 'terrain' in EVE to be how systems are mapped together by gates. Strong tactics which exploit terrain have historically been extremely important in deciding battle outcomes. How does this apply in EVE in the presence of cynos?

Related to this, you have the option to explore the topic of wormhole systems with effects (Black Holes, Cataclymismic variablestar, etc) and if similar environmental effects on certain grids/deadspace or system wide should be explored for known space?

Get writing!

BB59 - I'm Behind the Grassy Knoll

Terrain in Eve? Well it used to matter a bit, especially in low-sec where the lack of jump bridges meant you needed to use stargates to get around with your fleet. Cloaked alts watching the bottlenecks in the various "pipes" were essential. Planning to engage nearer to your home base than theirs so your downed pilots can reship faster etc.

These days it sometimes feels that if you've not got a Titan you are poor and shouldn't be playing. Small gang? Guess what.... cyno up.... WTFPWNLOL.

So with titan, and to some extent Blops bridging, is terrain in Eve completely irrelevant? Not entirely, there are still uses for the "terrain" and I'm not just talking about asteroid belts. For example faction war complexes make for some interesting terrain for PvP whether you are in faction war or not. I'll use these as my example of making the terrain work for you.

The first thing is, you cannot warp to people inside or directly outside the plex. What many people don't know is that if you warp to someone on grid outside the plex (as in 'warp to fleet member' or via combat scanner probes), you will land on the acceleration gate at zero not at the person. You can warp to the plex at a set range as per anything else on your overview, but you cannot warp to a ship. If you know this and your enemy doesn't, it can be fun! We had a Goon fleet prowling around our neighbourhood a few years ago and we used this tactic to great effect. They had a very good prober with them and they were very fast. So we shipped to 100km optimal range sniper ships and warped to a plex at 100km. The prober would probe us down and warp the fleet to us. However, as we were on-grid at a plex gate, their fleet would land at zero on the gate. We'd pop a few from range and warp off. We'd then warp to another plex at 100. Again, they'd probe us down and warp the fleet to us assuming the last time the prober and made a mistake with the fleet warp. Again they'd land on the gate 100km off us and we'd pop a few more. I cannot remember if we did this three or four times before they realised something was not right and stopped trying to probe us down.

Inside a plex there is no warping about either, a MWD is the fastest way to get about inside. Again this can be exploited tactically. For example if you burn out 150km, it is very hard for someone to pull a gank you. If they have a bait tanked ship their mates will need to be fast to get to you. Once they have you tackled their back-up will have to warp to the plex, activate the gate and then burn 150km+ to you. Plenty of time to either kill or escape the bait ship.

Another one where the terrian could be used is inside the plex when you have a high-speed eWar kiter on you. I'm thinking of the Maulus kiter specifically here. I've had to come and help several times when a blue has someone tackled but doesn't have the DPS to kill it. By the time I've grabbed a high-speed DPS ship and got to the plex they can be hundreds of kilometers from the warp in. If I can still see them, then its just a matter of time before I catch up and help kill them. However if the guy had been clever I'd have not been able to help. The usual thing that happens is the victim tries to burn away in a straight line. He's sensor damped so he cannot target his foe, but the tackler's DPS is terribad so his tank holds. Unable to do anything, he just burns in a straight line whilst the tackler is posting in intel channels "Anyone near X able to help me kill a Y? He's burning at 3k."

Now as he burns he "stretches the grid". Whilst under normal circumstances you cannot see a ship 600km away, in this circumstance you can. The trail the ships take loads grids as they go. So when I get there in my fast DPS ship I can see my friend and the victim. Its just a process of catching up. A 2km a second difference means I'll be there in five minutes usually. However, if that guy had taken a sharp turn after a few hundred KM they'd be locked in a stalemate as I'd not be able to help as I wouldn't know where they are. Basically if you have been burning in a straight line this is what it would look like, sort of..... I know its a crap graphic but you get the idea. The grids that have loaded give me a clear line of sight.

If he had turned, the grids would have a bend in the trail. You cannot see through unloaded grids so when I arrive, I'd not be able to see them (no LoS between grids) and therefore there is no way I'd be able to help unless I became a sudden D-Scanning hero. As thats not going to happen, I'd just sit there and say "Dude, where are you?".

The target would still not be able to escape, but if the tackler cannot break him it would be a battle of wills until one gets bored or tired or until downtime hits. Now this bending of the grid, I have no idea if this is an exploit or not. Its using the game mechanics in a way that is not intended so it might be. I've never done it myself but have seen it done by enemies that are more cunning than the usual "fly in a straight line at maximum speed" lot.

Terrain in Eve is generally not much of a massive factor these days especially with everyone and their mother having access to a titan, but there are still a few tricks out there on this subject that can give you an advantage.

P.S. I'm no expert on grid mechanics. This is roughly how it works.... ish.....

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SCASSSS - New Modules

ONE-MAN WOLF-PACK just Tweeted these images and tbh they are much better than what I was going to post for this Sunday Short!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Final Man Flu Short! Clarion Call 4

So whilst my nose has been running all week my creative juices have not. Today is the first morning I have felt human and therefore have been neglecting my fictional duties. Back to normal next week, but for now why not watch how Rooks and Kings got into "Pipe Bombing". The language is NSFW!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Still Got Man Flu - Launcher Not Working For You?

I'm dyyyyyyyyyying! The Man Flu is taking me! Need hot ladies to come round to my place dressed in nurses outfits to mop my fevered brow!

Any takers?



Oh well. Anyway Eve-O had been under DDoS attack for a few weeks. The "network issues" that CCP have been reporting have actually been DDoS attacks, they were calling them "network issues" not to give publicity to the hackers doing the attacks. This was then backfiring as everyone was blaming CCP for the connection drops and not being able to log in. Of course if you visit forums and social media there are the conspiracy theorists who say there is no a DDoS attack and it is network issues. Then again these are the same people who think the world is run by a council of Illuminati and the 'grey aliens'. Of course it isn't.... is it?

These DDoS attacks generally boot you from the game (socket closed) and stop the launcher from connecting.

It would appear that the amount you are affected depends on your country and ISP and thus the route your personal interwebz traffic takes to reach TQ. If you are having trouble and the Eve Online launcher is not working you can always bypass the launcher on those rare occasions.

Go to the CCP/bin folder and look for the exefile.exe. Run that and it'll take you straight into Eve and bypass the launcher.... hopefully. Here is a picture of Explorer....

Damn, sorry wrong one, that was CCP Explorer stolen from Freebooted, this is what I meant, Windows Explorer....

Use that when the launcher is under attack from these hacker dudes. Right, to bed with a mug of hot lemon flu remedy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I've Got Man Flu - Here, Have a Video!

I have Man Flu. Full on, probably fatal, one step down from Ebola, Man Flu.

The video below was posted to the Eve Online Players Facebook page this week and highlighted to me by my good friend wivers. He's CFC but don't hold it against him.

So like a school teacher who cannot be bothered, here class, watch a video.... I'm going to crawl into bed and die!

TL;DR - New player, steaming on Twitch with no delay in a faction/shiny fit (partially) Navy Apoc. What's the worse that could happen? (What you expect to happen, happens at around 8:40 btw)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SCASSSS - Eve Probe

Eve Probe was released at the end of last week by CCP. Basically it uses the Eve Online graphics engine to test your system. Detailed (anonymous) data on frame-rates and any crashes is sent back to CCP for analysis allowing them to see how Trinity runs on YOUR rig. Given the tens of thousands of hardware configurations Eve runs on worldwide, this is very useful data for CCP.

It runs five scenarios in a 3DMark styleeeee and gives you a summary whilst sending a detailed report to CCP.

As well as testing your rig, it also installs a screensaver onto your PC. This can be found in your normal Windows screensaver menu

And on three monitors, it is fecking AWESOME!

Note that the screensaver is for you viewing pleasure only. It does NOT run any tests or send any information to CCP.

P.S. Why didn't I link the Eve Probe installer here? Are you insane? Go to the forums and click the Dev posted link yourself. I could link all sorts of virus/trojan infested malware! Where Eve is concerned, be careful! Here is a link to the new sub-forum if your the trusting sort ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Alien - Part 2

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here! Basically this is what Monday's post would have read like if I was a professional journalist and 86% less of a bitter-vet!

Alien - Part 2

Esme started to come around, his head throbed. He felt like he was no longer on the ship. He could hear birdsong. The air was humid and smelt of a damp forest, certainly not the recycled air of a starship. Was he dead? Was this paradise he was waking up in? He flexed his fingers expecting to feel grass and soil, but they scraped the harsh cold metal of a ship's deck plate. He opened his eyes briefly. A bright sun was shining in his face and stung his eyes so he closed them again and let out a groan. A wet cloth touched his forehead.

"Sir? Sir? Are you OK?" came a female voice.

He knew it was one the bridge crew. He forced his eyes open again. He was looking up at a deep blue sky again. He tilted his head and realised he was still on the bridge, or what was left of it. The decks above had been torn away completely as had most of the starboard side. Ensign Khana, one of the navigation officers, was kneeling by his side.

"How long have I been out?" he groaned.

"About 12 hours sir." she replied.

"Where is the Captain?"

She didn't reply. She simply shook her head slowly, a tear forming at the corner of her eye.

Esme struggled to his feet with the help of the Ensign. He was amazed anyone could have survived. The devastation was all around. He saw a few more crew moving below on the edge of the crash site. What he assumed were eight crude graves were mounded near the edge of the forest. Looking behind him he saw the trail of destruction the ship had created on landing, if you could really call it a landing. A brown scar ran thought the forest, fires still burning in parts. It must have been a good three kilometres of forest that they had sliced through.

He headed down the makeshift ramp of twisted deck plates and hull sections to the grassy floor of the forest. Several crew stopped what they were doing and approached him looking expectantly.

"Sir, good to see you are OK." Navnok the Security Chief said as he neared.

"I will be when this head clears. What's our status Chief?"

"Not good I'm afraid sir. Looks like the ship split in two on decent. There were nine survivors of the initial impact but we lost two in the hours following including the Captain. The basic medi-kits just weren't up to the task and the med-bay is on the other section of ship. I guess thats the other half over there." the Chief pointed into the distance. Esme shielded his eyes from the sun and looked in the direction the Chief was indicating. Some 30km or so away there appeared to be a line of mountains, smoke could be seen billowing up from behind one of the peaks.

"We've tried communicating to any possible survivors over there, but there is something in the atmosphere that blocks our transmissions. We cannot get a signal to them, which also means..." his voice trailed off.

"The distress beacon on the ship is probably not getting through either." the XO finished for him. "How are we for supplies?"

"Not great sir. The Sun of Amarr was never intended to end up on a planet. We aren't prepared for this. We have a few ration packs and the side-arms from one security locker. Without ships power, most of the rooms are sealed to us. Plus all the tools we could use to open the doors, well they are in engineering in the other half of the ship. Its not looking good sir."

Esme knew that he needed to lift the crews spirits. Giving up and dying would soon become far too great an appealing option in such a desperate situation.

"How about the local environment?"

"Some good news there sir." the Chief perked up. "Gravity and O2 are close enough to Amarr norms to sustain us. There is a water source 50m to the east which SO Shabra says is good drinking water. We've also found some fruit which again she says is safe to eat. I've seen evidence of animal tracks but no signs, I guess a few thousand tons of spaceship crashing down on top of them scared them off. Will try hunting later and get us some meat later when they return."

"Where is the SO?" Esme enquired.

"Down by the water sir. I'll take you."

Navnok led the XO into the forest. Esme glanced at the various trees and plants which looked like nothing he had seen before. The colours, shapes and smells were all alien to him. 

After a couple of minutes they reached a clearing with a pond. A small waterfall fed the body of water at one end and he could see his Science Officer sat on a rock scribbling in a notepad. He noted a few other crew members sat by the pond.

"As well as me, you and SO Shabra, Ensign Girned made it along with Lieutenant Hazara, Ensign Khana and Lieutenant Commander Zarisri. No-one who wasn't on the bridge made it. We think there are 28 bodies locked in the ship plus may be upto 70 to 80 slaves. With the power down to the doors and life support gone the knocking stopped after a few hours. We tried to open the doors but we had no chance. The breach protocols had kicked in and everything was sealed tight."

Esme nodded and approached the Science Officer.

"Commander Sir!" Shabra said jumping to her feet.

"At ease. I think we need to loosen on the formalities Shabra. We've on an alien planet in unknown space and the ship is scrap metal." he smiled.

"Yes Sir. Sorry."

"Navnok's assessment is pretty grim especially about the signal interference. I don't suppose you have a plan." he asked almost resigned that they may end up becoming the furthest Amarr colony from the Throne Worlds.

"Actually I do. Here." and Shabra passed him her notebook. Small diagrams and formula were scribbled haphazardly over the two open pages. He closed the book straight away after only a cursory glance.

"I've got a bit of a headache and one of the good things about command is you can forget most of the astrophysics lessons from the academy as you have others to do it. Why don't you give me the TLDR?"

Shabra smiled and nodded.

"Well sir. The interference is due to certain isotopes in the lower atmosphere. We noticed these early on from the orbital scan. They interrupt ground-based communications and will stop anything getting through into space. So we need to get a transmitter higher than these isotopes. This is a problem as the ship is totalled and the shuttles got roasted by that alien object that hit us and then burnt off. The only thing we have are the survey probes. However they only have warp engines."

Esme nodded. "And warp engines cannot work in an atmosphere."

"Exactly sir. Warp drives work by creating a depleted vacuum in space allowing anything in the warp bubble to travel FTL. In space the warp drive has to deplete the contents of the bubble from 99.99% vacuum to 100% vacuum and that is hard enough. In the atmosphere it has no chance with 0% vacuum. So what we need to do is get a probe 90km up where the atmosphere is so light the warp drive can create the depleted vacuum bubble and activate. Then it can warp to the wormhole and re-enter known space and transmit our distress call." Shabra smiled.

"Excellent. Shabra, just one issue." Esme said.

"How do we get a survey probe 90km in the air with only the front-half of a wrecked starship, seven crew and a primitive rain-forest at our disposal?" she asked.

"Exactly. I mean I'm as handy with an axe as the next man but I'm not sure the wood from these tree's is strong enough to support a 90km high tower!" he smiled.

Shabra skipped a few pages in her journal and showed him a diagram.

"Seriously?" he asked in amazement.

"I think so. I think I can fit one of the maneuvering thruster rocket assemblies from the ship and make it a single stage launch vehicle. With a few modifications I think I can get it to 90km, then with an explosive decoupler it'll be enough. The issue is although we have probes here at this crash site, the thruster assemblies are on the aft of the ship which is...."

A harsh buzzing sound stopped Shabra and all the crew spun around to see where the noise was coming from. A huge insect was slowly hovering above the water. To Esme is looked like some kind of cross between a dragonfly and a butterfly. It was vividly coloured in bright blues and greens. Approximately half a metre across it slowly hovered over the water, translucent wings beating so fast they were a blur. The crew watched the beautiful creature as it slowly moved to shore and its path took it towards Ensign Girned. She smiled at it as it gently floated past. It slowly swung around her and hovered apparently looking at her, inspecting even. With lightening speed a hidden tail uncurled from under its body and it struck her on the neck before it flew away at speed into the forests undergrowth and vanished. She looked across the pond at Esme in shock before collapsing to her knees. Esme and Shabra sprinted around the pond just behind Navnok. When they reached Girned she was holding her palm to her neck and wincing.

"Well that wasn't very friendly!" she grumbled as Shabra dropped to her knees and inspected her neck.

"We need to be careful. We have no idea about the wildlife on this planet." Esme said looking to see if had had gone.

Esme glanced back and was met with Shabra's  face looking up at him. She looked worried. Esme looked at Girned's neck and saw it, a dark red puncture wound. The flesh around it was white and lumpy and black veins could be seen snaking out from the sting.

"I don't feel too good" Girned muttered as she collapsed.


It was early morning and the surviving crew were trudging through the forest pulling a sledge. Shabra had shot some sort of six-legged mammal last night whilst hunting. It had provided a good meal. After a nights sleep there task was to get to the other section of the ship whilst dragging a scanner probe recovered from the wreckage.

Nobody had said much that morning. It had not been a good night even with their first proper meal in nearly a day. Girned had deteriorated through the night. The sting had been worse than any of them could have imagined. Her neck had swelled up and she had screamed for hours in pain as the poison assaulted her system. None of the medical supplies they had worked. Even the drugs designed to knock patients out had little effect. She'd gone under for a matter of minutes before waking again screaming. Within a couple of hours her arms and legs had turned black. Just before midnight her face had swelled and turned purple. Sometime in the early hours she had died. All the crew now walked in pairs with a laser pistol between them. If one of those creatures was seen again the order was to shoot it on sight. Esme had thought hard about it. If he was stung he'd take his own life. No way he wanted to go through what Girned suffered.

The jungle was thick, luckily Navnok had a lasade, a type of knife where the blade was an adjustable laser, and was easily cutting a path. The weapons locker that had survived the crash had four pistols, the laser blade and a couple of low-powered concussion grenades. The armoury on the ship was well stocked in case of the ship being boarded. However that was located in the aft section. The bridges weapon locker was simply to arm the crew to slow attackers down until security turned up.

Four of them dragged the scanner probe on the make-shift sledge they had built. That left Navnok to take point and one to follow behind with a gun ready. They were rotating the tasks given that pulling the sledge was such hard work.

"Wait" Navnok hissed and everyone stopped. His tone made those carrying the guns draw them. The ones without guns quickly grabbed sharpened stakes that were stacked on the side of the sledge. Esme looked at his small band, it would be comical if it wasn't so tragic. His crew was armed with the latest Amarrian laser blades, laser pistols, but also and sharpened sticks. 10,000 years of weaponry represented in a single group.

"I saw something, it was small but it looked humanoid." Navnok whispered to Esme.

"Impossible!" Esme whispered back "All these planets have been scanned before, especially by the eggers. Any human civilisation would have been picked up!"

"Did I say human? I said humanoid. It was 30cm tall, max! Also it wasn't wearing any clothes."

"What?" Zarisri said at normal volume. "You got us all worked up for a 30cm pigmy?

Everyone looked at the Lieutenant Commander.

Esme worried what would happen next. Zarisri was in charge of the survey aspects of the ship. He was a hot-head who had an inflated ego and was particularly bitter he had not made Commander yet. He failed to understand that before he would be given a Command role he needed to garner respect from his peers. Something his attitude wouldn't get.

"Look I'll blast its head off and we can get moving OK?" he moaned and stomped forward to where Navnok had stopped cutting.

"Zarisri get back here, thats an order." Esme hissed quietly. Zarisri either didn't hear or chose to ignore him as he pushed through the vines and ferns and vanished into the dense undergrowth.

"Navnok with me. Everyone else take up a defensive position here, we have no idea whats out there!" Esme ordered as he raised his pistol in both hands and started after Zarisri.

The jungle was thick, they could see where Zarisri had pushed through and soon caught up with him in a small clearing. He was down on one knee with a hand extended to a small humanoid creature. Navnok had been right. It was around 30cm tall with light-blue, hairless skin. Its ears were too big for its head and its head was too big for its body. It looked a bit like a chubby baby.

"Lieutenant, slowly move away from it." Esme said in a low tone.

"Nahhh don't worry sir, look its like a small lost kid. Come on little man. I won't hurt you." he said extending his hand. The creature took a couple of small steps towards him looking very unsure of itself.

"Zarisri!" Esme hissed annoyed now.

Suddenly the humanoid creature darted forward at a speed nobody could believe. It crashed into Zarisri who shrieked in pain. The creature was moving so fast it was almost a blur. A red mist exploded around Zarisri's left leg.

"GET IT OFF ME!" he cried as Navnok and Esme ran to help. As they reached him they couldn't tell where his leg was and where the creature was. Blood and gore was everywhere.

"SHOOT IT!" he screamed.

Esme fired at the blur hoping not to hit Zarisri. The shot missed but the creature stopped for a second to see what the noise was. Navnok's follow up shot hit it square in the chest and blew it three metres across the clearing. Navnok ran to make sure it was incapacitated as Esme helped Zarisri. Navnok reached the body and looked down on the creature. It was still alive, barely. It looked nothing like the small cute, chubby baby-like creature they had first encountered. Its hands and feet sported razor sharp claws that were drenched in red blood. Its mouth was open showing several rows of serrated needle like teeth. Blue blood leaked from the bullet wound in its chest. Its eyes locked on Navnok's own. It looked at him hungrily.

"Good night!" he muttered as he raised the pistol and shot it in the head. The tiny head exploded, showering bright green brain matter over the grass. He quickly jogged back to Esme and Zarisri. As the ships Security Chief Navnok had seen some sights, but this one nearly made him throw up. Esme was busy using his belt as a tourniquet on Zarisri's  thigh. The leg below the knee had been stripped of flesh. Red-stained bone extended down from the knee to the top of his boot. The thing had stripped the flesh from his leg in seconds.

"What in the name of the Empress....." he muttered. Esme looked up.

"We need to get him back to the others. Shabra might be able to help him. Everything on this stinking rock is hazardous and we......"

The sound of a laser pistol discharging stopped him dead. Suddenly dozen more discharges could be heard, back towards where they had left the group. There was a fire-fight erupting in the middle of the primitive jungle. The two men quickly grabbed Zarisri and supported him between their shoulders and started to head as fast as they could to the other. The sound of the fire-fight growing with every step.

....... to be continued.........

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roamin' Solo, Aiming to Misbehave

OK, I got nothing. Nothing to write about, no motivation for the game. Nothing. Look, I'll do a commentary on my usual roam at this time to show you how boring it is. I mean, nothing can go wrong there can it.....

Log on, everything is quiet. Too quiet. Nisuwa is actually empty! So I jump in a rocket Kestrel and head out into the big black.

Oinasiken is also empty. A popular militia farming system with nobody here. Onto Pyne then!

Seriously? I'm on TQ right? Pynekastoh is empty!

Hurray! Two in Rakapas. Omen on scan. Boo! Other dude must be docked up. Onto Reitsato.

One guy in system, one industrial and a noobship on scan.

Onto Okkamon. Two people on, one is a noob ship 140km off the gate. Other is a Caracal in a medium plex, probably the Ibis' main. Onto Asakai!

This is more like it! 6 in system. No one on scan, I'll pop a plex and give it a few minutes. Doesn't need a few minutes! Atron on scan! He's in. Scram!

11:46:31 Combat Warp scramble attempt from you to Yukirin Ryj [G.L.D](Atron)

He's gone. Stabbed! Two minutes later, Incursus.

20 seconds into fight..... he appears to be gaining range? The dangers of engaging in someones home system I guess!

Pod back to Nis!

Into a Tristan. To Hirri this time! Incursus on scan! D-Scan him down to large compound. Warp, land and watch him run away!

Tristan on short scan..... nope no where near, must be at a safe. What's that on scan now? Woomp! Daredevil on top of me! Nope! So I warp off.

As I land on a stargate I think. Hang on a minute..... a Daredevil.... thats a hybrid/web platform. If I can get right on top of him.... Mmmmmmmmmmm....

I warp to a novice outpost and just as I arrive so does he. 12km off. No good. I spam the acceleration gate and enter. I overheat my neuts and activate my AB.


Here he is. 324m off. I lock, align at him and activate all the things. Got him!

Hell he hurts! Activate the repper! 70% structure and the DPS stops. YES!

Wait! Why is he taking no damage?

YOU ****** IDIOT!!!!!

So I launch my drones (whoops) and they start to eat through him. I'm overheating the repper, reloading the cap booster and pulsing the AB to make sure he doesn't make range. I hear "The capacitor is empty" three times and whilst some of the neuts drop, the scram and AB don't.


He goes down, gf's in local and I scoop the 34m ISK AB. Time to head for home....

Job done!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Star Citizen. Threat?

Every two and a half days someone suggests that Star Citizen is going to kill Eve. Every third day it is Elite: Dangerous that will spell certain doom for our own brand of important internet spaceships. However, are these really a threat? Well, yes and no in my opinion.

No doubt SC and E:D had the potential to be great, fun games. If it was not for my limited monthly bandwidth I'd have paid for the Beta for E:D already. However it appears to be much more of a twitch game. Get a flight stick and throttle, Oculus Rift headset and pew-pew away. Whilst there is "space trucking" and missioning, its no Eve and I cannot see how it can compete in the long run.

SC is too hyped. Even if it lives up to half of its hype I can see people getting bored quickly. Instanced PvP and more than likely heavy enforcement of rules. Scamming, ganking and all the underhandedness that makes Eve so popular won't be in SC. It'll be WoW in space.

However is it just those two? Isn't nearly every game is a threat to Eve currently. My personal opinion, and one echoed be quite a few players, is that the game is stagnating. What have we got to look forward to? What is the next big thing to hit Eve? What are we all excited for..... whats the next hugely anticipated feature to arrive in Eve-O..... erm.....

A Revamp of the Corporation and Alliance UI!

Wow.... I cannot wait.

I mean Hyperion had some good stuff for wormholers but for me, its embarrassing to say, but the bit I was looking forward to was the introduction of some more vanity as this will help some "art" shots for my fictional Fridays. Yup, that is pretty sad. Oceanus has even less. Cloaking effect is cool but its a graphics heavy expansion that has nobody excited, again!

Whilst the corp and alliance UI revamp is absolutely and totally bloody needed as its pretty terrible at the moment, 90% of Eve are unlikely to ever see those panels. What else have we got to look forward to? Erm.... we have no idea given CCP's policy of keeping quiet following the star-base/POS rage that kicked up in 2012. They have a point though, far too may players took "We would like to do......" as "We are 100% absolutely going to do this....." and then raged when it didn't happen. Apparently its a hard distinction for some to make between "We have this idea we are thinking about...." and "We are 100% doing this"!

We know it is Corp/Alliance UI then starbases and POS and then 0.0 Sov and then new space and player built stargates but we don't know anything more than that. So we have limited stuffz to look forward to at a time many are getting bored with a stagnating game.

There are a few reasons Eve Online has lasted so long. One of them is that every six months its had a big expansion. Something new and exciting. I wonder how many current players would still be here is The Empyrean Age hadn't deployed? Would subscriber numbers be at current levels if we'd never had Apocrypha? I don't think so. Its these that have kept the game fresh.

This is the biggest threat to Eve Online. Star Citizen, if it is released whilst we are still in this state has the potential to take a lot of players away. Same with Elite: Dangerous. Then again, so does every other game. I'm playing more Titanfall, LoTRO, RimWorld and Stronghold Kingdoms than Eve at the minute.

It is the community and the freedom of the sandbox that has kept Eve going. For a game famous for its toxic community, we players know better. I cannot see how SC will have the same longivity as Eve simply because it is unlikely to have the same level of community.

SC and E:D are likely to be shoot 'em ups more than the vast player-driven sandbox we inhabit. Whilst in the short term they will hit Eve hard, I cannot see them being a long term threat.... providing CCP do something to refresh Eve in the next 6-9 months.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

SCASSSSS - Oceanus Wormhole Graphics

My current fiction is set in wormhole space so Friday morning I was flying around trying to find one of these wormhole thingies to get in there. Eventually I scanned one down. Apparently these are the new nebula and hole graphics to be release in Oceanus at the end of the month.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

To be honest I'm not sure where this one is going. I have an idea and thought "Sod it, its a multi 'part-er', I'll let it run and see what happens."


"So, you think your having a bad day? You haven't got a fracking clue! If anyone ever receives this transmission our location coordinates are embedded in the signal. However I do not hold out much hope. We're fracked. Just for the record I am First Officer Esme of the Imperial Navy Science Academy Exploration Ship Sun of Amarr. Our current mission, our current failed mission, started 72 hours ago. This is my official record of the events that transpired....."


The Captain surveyed the bridge from his elevated chair. It was a hive of activity as they scanned the planet below. Dakba commanded one of the most advanced exploration ships in the Amarrian Imperial Navy. Their current mission was to survey plasma planets for a specific type of plasma. It was a relatively boring mission but the sensors aboard his ship were the only ones sensitive enough to identify the correct plasma in the maelstrom within the atmosphere. He thought about the mission, there was no challenge. Get into orbit, launch probes, wait, get results, flag positives and transmit to other ships whose job it was to drop into the atmosphere to collect the gas, rinse and repeat. Dakba had reached the rank of Captain relatively young. A combination of family connections and that he was also a very capable commander. The science vessel Sun of Amarr was his third command.

A subtle light flashed on the console mounted into his chair arm. He opened the priority message and read it. He double checked the authentication and then cleared his throat.

"Science Station, recall the probes. Helm set a course to the location I'm sending you. Maximum speed."

"Sir?" asked the First Officer who was sat next to him.

"New priority orders Number One. We are to leave immediately for a location in the Zororzih system."

"And what do we do when we get there?" he asked.

"We'll find out when we get there I suppose." the Captain replied.

Esme was also a capable commander, he just didn't have the family connections that the Captain did. He wasn't bitter, it was the way things worked in the Amarrian Navy. Living with it for his entire life meant that it didn't grate on him as it should. He knew he'd make Captain eventually, it would just take a little longer than if he'd had an influential Holder for a father.

As soon as the Science Station reported that the probes had been recalled and secured the ship aligned away from the planet and slipped into warp. The destination they were heading to required jumping through nearly a dozen stargates and put them at the fringe of low-security space. The last leg of the journey was a 28 AU warp to a point in deep space away from any planets, stations or asteroid belts.

"Science, anything on scan yet? I don't like this flying into the unknown." the Captain asked as he stared into the large viewscreen that covered the front wall of the bridge. Stars blurred against the rapidly moving warp tunnel."

"Not yet sir. We are approaching maximum scan range of the coordinates provided now Captain. Initiating directional scan for any ships or structures. I have a Armageddon class Battleship on a five degree scan."

The Captain turned to the First Officer.

"A deep-space rendezvous with a battleship ship? Interesting don't you think Number One?"

The First Officer didn't immediately respond. He was staring ahead at the viewscreen.

"Its much more interesting than that sir!" he finally replied pointing to the screen.

The Captain turned his attention back to the viewscreen and had to suppress a gasp. As the warp tunnel faded and the ship dropped to sub-light speed the glistening Command ship was visible, next to a pulsating spacial anomaly. Light appeared to bend through the strange bubble in space. The Bridge crew remained silent as they recognised what it was.

"A wormhole. They are not expecting us to...." the First Officers voice trailed off as he thought about the possibilities.

A beep signified there was an incoming comms channel. The Captain touched his control panel and the view of the battleship and the wormhole was replaced by the face and shoulders of an Imperial Navy Admiral.

"Admiral Ahrnot. A pleasure to see you again sir." greeted the Captain.

"Any you Captain. Sorry to pull you out here at such short notice but this mission is of the upmost importance. Your orders are to immediately go through the wormhole and warp to the third planet. You are to conduct a level 6 scan of the entire planet and return."

"A level 6?" the Captain stated in surprise "That will take a number of days. Whilst I am no expert in these wormholes, I understand they rarely last more than 24 hours?"

The Admiral paused and then nodded.

"That is correct. It is highly likely this connection will collapse before you have completed your mission Captain. You have probes and one of the most advanced scanning ships in the Cluster. After completing the survey of the planet you are to scan down any newly formed wormholes and return to Amarr space as quickly as possible."

"Admiral. Again, please forgive my poor knowledge on wormholes, but as I recall it is not possible to know where the wormhole leads exactly. Scan results will tell us if it leads back to this star cluster, but we could emerge in the middle of the system of Rens or just off Luminairre."

"That is a possibility I'm afraid." replied the Admiral "And it is imperative that the data you collect does not fall into enemy hands. If you do end up returning to Matari or Gallente space you are to make it back to Amarr by any means possible. However I must reiterate, that data must not fall into anyone's hands! Good luck."

The Captain nodded and the Admirals face vanished. On the exterior he was calm, but inside he was furious. They were being ordered into a dangerous enough situation as it was, wormhole space was not particularly safe even for Capsuleers never-mind a lightly armed science vessel. Then to suggest they may be dropped in the middle of enemy territory on their return and have to evade the enemy Navy and hostile capsuleer militias was a step too far.

"Captain, as First Officer it would be remiss of me....."

"Save it Number One." the Captain cut him off "I assume you're going to say this course of action puts the ship at too great a risk. Well I agree with you, but orders are orders. I'll note your objection in the log directly under my own! Helm, take us into the wormhole and then immediately warp to the third planet. Science, I want all probes dropping the minute we land. Get the lot out there. I want a new Imperial Navy record setting for the quickest time to perform a level 6 planetary survey. Tactical, sound the alert. I want everyone on their toes."

The golden science vessel slowly started to approach the wormhole was the Command ship aligned away and jumped to warp. It was almost as if the entire ships crew were holding their breath as the ship slowly breached the even horizon.


The crew were on edge. During the first 18 hours it had all been routine. The scan was going well and they had not encountered anything out of the ordinary. The planet was a temperate one and contained what appeared to be abundant life. First Officer Esme had the bridge as the Captain was resting.

"Sir. I've been getting some strange readings on the directional scanner." one of the crew reported.

"What is it Ensign?" Esme asked.

"I have been getting some ghosting. The scanner picks up something in orbit with us and when I go to do proper scan of the signal there is nothing there."

The First Officer rose from the Captains chair and went over to the scanner console. The Ensign had left the logs up and he was right. An object had been identified in close proximity on the broad-spectrum sweep but any attempt to scan the object resulted in no result. Esme scratched his head.

"That's odd. Could it be a sensor malfunction?" he asked.

"Possibly sir. But its weird that it appears on a set course. If I plot all the ghosts we've got then it follows an orbital path. Its strange sir. I'd have said it was an object in orbit but there is nothing there."

"Strange. Keep an eye on it."

Esme returned to the chair and look out of the viewscreen. The space he saw was alien to him. Nobody really knew where this collection of solar systems was located. There were many theories. The simplist was this was just another part of their own galaxy, the wormholes taking vessels that passed through them thousands of light-years away. Other theories claimed this was a distant galaxy or even an alternative dimension. He was still thinking when the ship shook violently.

"Report!" he shouted.

"Sir we've been impacted by something. Nothing on scanner. Hull on decks three through eight in sector two are showing breaches. Forcefields holding but the internal monitors say we just lost 34 crew sir."

Other stations relayed their reports. It wasn't good. Engineering reported that serveral important plasma conduits had ruptured and and systems along the port side of the ship were not getting sufficient power. Helm stated their orbit was deteriorating and main engines had been knocked offline as the drive-reactor had gone into emergency shut-down. It was restarting now but they would be without engines for a few minutes. The Captain came running into the bridge.

"Sir, we've been struck by an unknown object. What ever it was it didn't show up on our scans. We have 34 crew dead, sector two is badly damaged and the engines are down following the drive-reactor rebooting." the First Officer said.

The Captain nodded and took his seat.

"Science, recall a probe and positition in 200 metres off our fore-port quadrant. Helm as soon as the engines are back online stabalise our orbit and plot a course back to the wormhole. It might be still there, no way we want to be emerging into enemy space with a damaged ship. Engineering, ensure power routing is stable and that the DCU has sufficient power to keep those breach shields up." ordered the Captain.

The bridge was a hive of activity. Within minutes the Science Station reported that the recalled probe was in position and the Captain ordered its visuals on the main screen. The Sun of Amarr could be seen in the distance, a black shape against the planet they were orbiting. The Captain ordered the image magnified and the screen was suddenly filled by a picture of the ship.

"What in the name of the Empress is THAT!" the First Officer exclaimed looking at a large black sphere embedded into the side of the ship.

"Sir, I'm not getting any readings from it. I know something is there as there is a perfect hole in the sensor readings, but its absorbing whatever we throw at it." the Science Officer stated

The Captain ordered further magnification on the object and the black sphere was enlarged.

"Its so.... black." one crew member observed.

"Its absorbing everything." the Captain mused "Not even light is bouncing off its surface. Thats why we cannot get a scan on it. Science, search the databanks for Sleeper technology and see if anything like this has been discovered previously. Expand the search to include Capsuleer data too. Get Engineering to get a crew suited up. I want a team to go and look at that thing and see how we are going to get it off us!"


Hahida was breathing heavily. He hated EVA and the Chief Engineer, who hated him, knew it. Therefore he was one of the team of three slowly walking over to the huge black sphere embedded in the ship. The hull plates were buckled and walking in the mag-boots was slow. Hahida had been on the Sun of Amarr for 18 months. He had originally got on well with the Chief. However, Hahida had slept with one of the other technicians not knowing it was the woman the Chief secretly lusted after. Since then he'd got every shitty job the Chief could find.

The suits sensor suite displayed its readings overlaid on his visor. There was a large empty space where the sphere was. The sensors were getting no readings off it at all. It was like a black hole.

It took a total of thirty minutes for the team to reach the sphere. They slowly walked around it relaying what they saw back to the bridge. It appeared glossy and should be reflective, but all light hitting the surface appeared to be absorbed. There was nothing but blackness when you looked into it. The scanners refused to believe there was anything there. They just reported it as a depleted vacuum.

Hahida walked around away from the group and saw a tiny flaw in the surface. He didn't say anything to the others and approached the anomaly. It was like a ripple in the surface. As if someone was dropping in visible pebbles into a black pond. Slowly he extended his hand and touched the surface. There was a glow and a roar. Milliseconds later Hahida was vaporised.

On the bridge the Captain and First Officer were watching intently on the viewscreen. Hahida was hidden under the curvature of the object so they never saw him extending his hand to touch it. All they saw was the orange glow as the unseen engines of the sphere fired. They also felt the effect as the alien engines burst into life against the buckled hull of the Sun of Amarr. The ship vibrated heavily knocking several crew off their feet. Alarms sounded as the sphere's engines ripped into the ships superstructure. As the strange craft slowly moved away, the damage could be seen for a few seconds before the power failed and plunged the ship into darkness. Suddenly the vibrations stopped and a eerie calm fell across the ship.

"Engineering, report!" the Captain called out into the gloom of the bridge.

"Sir. We are in bad shape." The Chiefs voice was distorted through the comms system. Explosions could be heard in the background. "I only got a partial reading before main power went down but the logs paint a bleak picture. Whatever that thing used for propulsion was hot. It nearly burnt all the way through the ship. I doubt anyone can get between fore and aft now. We cannot use any propulsion as it will rip the ship in half. Not that we could light the engines, everything is offline. The ship is crippled sir."

The Captain terminated the comm link and thought. A few whispered broke out on the bridge as the crew started to suggest ideas between themselves. Suddenly everyone fell quite and exchanged worried glances as the ship shuddered. A few gasps and murmurs started as the ship shuddered a second time.

"What in Divinities Edge...?" the First Officer said.

The ship started to vibrate violently.

"That Number One, is us skipping on the atmosphere. With no power, no engines and no control, you should say your final prayers as I am." the Captain stated slumping back in his chair.

Hahida looked around the gloomy bridge, lit by the emergency lighting. All disipline had been lost. Some crew were panicking. Others just sat and cried. He could feel the increased heat as the ship plummeting into the alien planets atmosphere.

"Send a distress call." the Captain shouted over the noise "Tell anyone who gets the message we're going down."

To be continued......

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Drop in the Oceanus

So our next "expansion" is out in 20 days. Oceanus brings us (so far announced)...

New Cloak Effect
Pretty cool. This graphical update for the cloak effect is very nice. You only see it for your own ship though. To people looking at you, you simply vanish as is now. So don't panic, your cloaking isn't delayed like many are screaming on the forums. Calm down carebear, cloak is still instantaneous and your MWD/cloak trick should still work!

Importing EFT into Eve!
Yay! You can now copy and paste your EFT fittings into your Eve saved fits within the Client. Go EFT Warriors!

French Localisation.
You can now play Eve Online: Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey! (Obviously only if you are Groundskeeper Willy, nobody else would call them that of course)

3D Previews in the New Eden Store
Now you can see what colour seamed tights look best on your avatar! You can swap between the mannequin and any of your three toons on that account within the store when previewing vanity items.

Select Overview Preset on D-Scan.Got a capital ships only overview? Want to scan for capital ships in a busy system but don't want to change your overview? A drop down menu on D-Scanner now lets you scan any of your saved overviews without having to change your overview itself.

Wormhole Effects
Visual clues to its stability and where it connects to. TBH I cannot remember what they looked like before and it took me ages to find this one on SiSi. Cannot be bothered to scan one down on TQ as I'm so bad at scanning.

LOD and Space Factory
Changes to how the Client loads graphics in space. Apparently should make grid load faster and pave the way for more stuffz in the future. To be honest I don't really know what they are on about! Assume it doesn't render the ship if you are too far out and then ramps up the resolution as you zoom in.

So for me, better than Hyperion but nothing to get excited about. I love the new cloaking effect but I rarely used cloaked ships. The importing from EFT is nice but how often will you use it? Plus it'll save you only a couple of minutes everytime you have a completely new fit. Nothing there for me to be exciting about. Nothing to really look forward to.

All in all, a bit of tinkering and some graphical changes. Come on CCP. Its time to start dangling a carrot for us bitter vets. We can handle these small updates as long as we have something to look forward to.

On another subject, if you read Monday's post you'll have seen I was going to try flying faction frigates as in the T1's people either ran away or came at me in a faction frigage. How did that work out for me? Not good. Two words - Griffin. Alt. Two more words - Rage. Log.

P.S. Feck it. The gloves are off. If none of these Black Rise Bastards want a 1v1 then I'll happily stoop to their level.

P.P.S Yes Bro, I am mad.

P.P.P.S Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Monday, September 8, 2014

This is an Ex-Faction War Pilot!

So, the squids are defeated, the warzone is quiet and the QCats have left faction war. Its been going downhill for months and whilst my TZ is generally bad, over the summer its been terribad. GMT +4 is farmville. The QCats were generally feeling the same. A mix of lack of wartargets and a generally feeling of "meh" over the state of the game has seen our monthly kill count drop from 5000 a month to under 2000.

So basically we have a new plan which we put into effect at the weekend. We're going to shoot EVERYBODY!

We were already NBSI and most of us were -10. However we'd not shoot Gallente Militia, we'd not go after Matari Militia specifically and we'd not shoot blues. However currently that puts our target pool down a hell of a lot. So we have decided to go full pirate, drop militia and reset our blues.

Of course this is already create some drama with some not getting the memo. Hopefully now the rest of Gallente Militia know we are full pirate. To be honest I don't get the blue-ing thing at the minute. You are in Faction Warfare in Eve Online. That means you are into PvP. We are PvP targets. Why would you want to blue us? We are providing the content you play the game for. If we blued everyone we'd turn low sec into null sec!

I personally voted to leave faction war which was a surprise for me. I've always been a bit fan of fighting for a cause. However, in the last few months its been too much searching for, and chasing for, for a fight.

So two days on and hows it going? Not great for me. Rather than spending time chasing one militias I've been chasing two. I call my TZ Farmerville but this is silly. I keep getting bored and then Leroying my T1 frigate into a faction frigate for shits and giggles. Engaging the cruiser that has neutral logistics. Then there are the "solo" ships. I get so happy finding a 1v1 in similar ships I fail to notice his multiple friends landing from a deep safe and that he is bait tanked. Fail, fail and Leeroy in equal measures.

I need to swap my tactics. I need to be the one flying faction frigates may be? Then again will I get the faction frigates running from me?

I have a few Hookbills and Firetails in my hanger. Should I go get a Worm? With nearly 5m LP for the FDU I could certainly buy a Comet or two.

Yes, I think I'll start derping some faction frigates and see how that works out for me! Stay tuned to see my KB efficiency really plummet!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

SCASSSS - New Cloak Effect

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last week you've probably heard there is a new cloaking effect on the test server.

Oh, you HAVE been living under a rock. OK just for you:-

Friday, September 5, 2014

Resigning the Commision

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

This is a short piece regarding a change of circumstances for me tomorrow......

Resigning the Commission

"So we won... again?" the Capsuleer sighed. He pulled the cork from the bottle of vodka which squeaked and then gave a satisfying 'pop' as the cork left the bottle. He poured a healthy measure and picked up the glass, swirling the clear liquid around the ice before downing it.

"Yes. We hold the entire warzone. The Caldari Militia have been pushed back to the high-security space beyond Tama. It’s gone quiet out there." the woman sat opposite him in the booth stated.

"It has, but for how long? We're immortals. The Caldari will regroup and the State will attack again. Demand for goods issued by the State Protectorate for assistance is rising. There has been a drop in supply and prices are up. The mercantile capsuleers without allegiance will flock to their banners. They'll soon push us back, we'll hit the stalemate, again. Then the price of State-Pro goods will drop with over-supply, the mercs will go look for better ways to make money and we'll push the remaining squids back again. It’s a pointless cycle and to be honest its not fun anymore."

The female capsuleer laughed at her male companion. Her short red hair swaying as she chuckled.

"Fun? Its war! Its not supposed to be fun!"

"Isn't it? What are we really fighting here for? To protect the Gallente way of life? No. Its for the thrill of the fight. Its for the money from looting the enemies wrecks. The exhilaration of the fight to the death. Yeah, I know you like your cause but if you were really interested in fighting for sovereignty wouldn't you head out and join the nullbears? You are like me, you enjoy the fight more than you'll admit."

She knew he was right. The Capsuleers were immortal starship Captains able to survive death. A capsuleer war didn't bother about pilots lives or grieving the dead. They simply were re-cloned, their brain-scan uploaded and they got into another ship. It was nice to have a cause to fight for, but in the end it was more about the fighting than the cause.

"So what are you going to do?" she asked.

"First I'm going to finish a large portion of this bottle of fine Gallente vodka. Then I'm going to take..." he stretched in his seat, scanning around the lively bar "....her and her..." he said pointing to two of the girls "...back to my quarters and do things with them that are illegal in almost every star system of the Amarrian Empire and also within certain prudish areas of the Caldari State!"

"You do that most nights, you're a total alley-cat. I meant about the war."

"There is no war. Its just us Empyreans slugging it out for shits and giggles. We've fought for the Gallente, we've fought for the Matari. What have we achieved? The tides of war ebb and flow. Nobody really wins, we just swap who is on top every so often, just like I'll be doing in half an hour. It is pointless. The war that is, not the things I'll be doing in half an hour."

The female capsuleer leaned back in her seat in the booth. The man opposite her was certainly war weary. In the five years they'd been fighting he'd never been like this. However, he had a point. Routine patrols with no action were testing the patience of many in the Gallente militia. Large portions of the enemy capsuleers were fleeing on sight, only willing to engage Gallente Navy and doing all they could to avoid Capsuleer Militia forces. In a word, war was boring currently.

"So?" she asked again leaning forward with her elbows on the table.

"I'm dropping from Gallente Militia tomorrow."

"Going to fight for the Minmatar?" she asked hopefully.


"Well you are certainly not going to be fighting for the Amarr or the Caldari. You are wanted by both of those Empires. I'd say that you are wanted 'dead or alive' by them, but the truth is they'd prefer you dead. Permanently."

"No, I'm not going to fight for the squids or those golden ship laser freaks. I'm going to fight for the cause that matters most to me."

The woman looked at him quizzically waiting for him to elaborate.

"I'm going to fight for me. No politics. No sides. No cause."

"You are going pirate?"

"CONCORD officially has my security status set as minus ten already. In their eyes I already am." he said whilst beckoning the two women he'd pointed out earlier to come over. "I'm simply widening my available target pool."

The female capsuleer saw the two women arrive by the table out of the corner of her eye. They kept a discreet distance back. It was obvious they had done this before and didn't want to interrupt the two capsuleers talking. They knew if they were wanted, he'd make it clear to them. For now they just had to be ready for him. She stole a quick glance at them. One was Gallente, tall with sleak long, black hair. The other Matari, shorter but wore heels to compensate. She was dark and dusky. They wore very little as did the other female and male 'entertainers' that worked the capsuleer bar on Deck Five. Generally Capsuleers were aloof, superior, snobbish. They rarely had time for a proper relationship, but they still had needs. Therefore most of the bars on the Capsuleer decks made sure their needs were catered for. Whether they be drink, pharmaceutical or companionship... by the hour. The station had been Caldari before it was captured by the Gallente Militia. In the years the bar slowly had become more Gallente than Caldari. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, three jumps from the Caldari State hi-security border.

"Well I'm going to enjoy myself. I'll see you in space." With that he rose and approached the two girls who greeted him with a broad smile and a peck on the cheek. He moved between them and wrapped a hand around each of their waists’ and guided them towards the exit, his hands dropping down as they neared the door.

"When I see you in space, do I need to be worried?" the female capsuleer called out to him as was about to exit the bar.

The man stopped but didn't turn as if he was in thought. The two girls glanced back to see who had spoken. The man was still for several seconds.

"The QCats will be full 'Not Blue, Shoot It' in less than 24 hours" he paused "...and we're not planning on having many blues. Don't worry s8, I'll not pod you." he said without turning before leaving with the two girls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Expansions - WWJD? The 2 Year Follow Up.

Back in September 2012 I wrote a post saying that I was worried the end of the 'Jesus Feature' within Eve expansions could lead to issues down the road. I personally thought the big headline feature was what kept Eve fresh and retained players. How many other 11 year old games are you playing?

Splinter Cell?
Galactic Civilisations?
Warcraft III?
Star Wars: Galaxies?
Everquest : Lost Dungeons of Norrath?
Time Crisis 3?
Call of Duty?
Prince of Persia?
Knights of the Old Republic?
Deus Ex?

Nope. I doubt any is, and before anyone says anything those are the originals of Planetside, CoD and Deus Ex! One of the reasons Eve Online has outlived all of those is that the game has grown every six months. One of the reasons it has survived is because of the expansions.

I can say, hand on heart, that if the Empyrean Age expansion had not happened I would not be playing Eve now or writing this blog post.

I wonder how many players would no be playing any more if Apocrypha hadn't introduced wormhole space and Strategic Cruisers and given them something different to do?

How many players subbing to Eve right now have been retained because of a certain historical expansion?

What past expansion has kept you in the game? I'm betting its not Odyssey or Rubicon.

Crucible and Inferno were severely needed. However they haven't delivered new things to do on the scale of Empyrean Age or Apocrypha. The subsequent "expansions" have not delivered this either. We have heard for years "Eve is dying". Eventually those people might be right. Are we seeing the start? Are the four horsemen on the edge of Jita and riding towards 4-4 as I type this?

I wouldn't go as far as Eve is dying, but it certainly is certainly stagnating. My kills for the last year:-

Yeah. Its not going good at the moment is it?

The fact is there is nothing to excited about in Eve currently. The old cycle used to be:-

New expansion release with new stuffz and new things to do brings people back.
Interest starts to tail off.
Announcement of next release with lots of new stuffz and new things to do creates a buzz.
Players start looking forward to the next release.
Pre-expansion lull hits.
New expansion release with new stuffz and new things to do brings people back.
... repeat for years...

What are you looking forward to in Eve's future right now? What forthcoming things have you excited?

Yup. Not a lot is there. What we know is coming over the next few years from CCP Seagull's five year plan at Fanfest 2013:-

Revamp of Corp/Alliance management UI (90% of Eve doesn't care but it is needed)
PoS and Starbase Revamp (again a large proportion of Eve doesn't use these, but might if done right)
0.0 Sov Revamp/Fix
New Space and Player Built Stargates

Thats what we know about. Not much to get excited about. What is there for those who don't run a corp or alliance, don't own a PoS or Starbase? Thats probably a lot of Eve. 0.0 Sov fix has the potential to excite as does the new space and stargates, but that several years down the road (potentially).

Eve Online needs a shot in the arm sooner rather than later. We need an Empyrean Age or Apocrypha to refresh the game and liven everyone up.

I don't think either Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous are serious long-term threats to Eve Online. However they are massive short-term threats. Stagnation in Eve with bored subscribers at the same time these are release? Yeah they have got the potential to do a lot of harm.

Come on CCP! I know after the space-house and rage in 2012 you don't want to tell us players of your plans, but we need something to look forward to. Chuck a bucket of cold water over us, the pond is getting a bit stagnant here!

Monday, September 1, 2014

BB 58 - Show Me the rMONEYt

Blog Banter 58 - Money

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 57th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

The SOMERBlink fiasco from last summer and then again this summer (link:, resulting in the service's ultimate shutdown has opened the floor to the discussion or monetization of services once again.

Do you think CCP was right in its reaction? Was SOMERBlink justified in trying to monetize its service via plex sales kickbacks? Was it true RMT or grey area RMT?

More generally, where is the line to be drawn when a service attempts to monetize in order to offset costs and/or make a profit? Is asking for donations in Real Life cash too far (I realize CCP considers it unacceptable right now)? Selling non-EVE trademarked goods acceptable? Asking for money to pay for efforts in setting up EVE meetups?

Should these all be scrutinized?

And should you want to dig deeper, should players be allowed to reserve redeem plex for cash? Does this already not exist in programs like Plex for fanfest packages or video cards? Is it right?
Get writing!


First off lets just make it clear SomerBlink did not DIAF for RMT. They were being investigated for RMT however by saying the scheme was "CCP approved" (it wasn't) and then releasing private emails between them and CCP they shat on the EULA, twice, and thus got permabanned for that. Lets face it though, the scheme that they were running was converting ISK to real-life money so it was RMT in a roundabout-way. It might have been a roundabout way of doing it but the outcome was the same. SomerBlink gave out some of its huge ISK reserves and received dollars, pounds or euros in return for that in-game ISK.

Anyway onto the blog banter subject. Money.

Over here in the deepest hottest parts of the Middle Eastern desert we have bands playing in the bars. Whilst there are many bands, the set lists appear to be repetitive. One of the most ironic (yes thats what I mean, its not an auto-correct) is "Its not about the money". The band is singing those lyrics..... to a bar full of expats....... who are really only out here for one thing.......... the money.

And for people out here money has different meanings. There are a couple of hundred different nationalities here, each see cash differently. What if I told you salaries can be as low as 130 GBP/$217/165 Euro a month over here for working 6-days a week in construction or haulage. However you get bed and food included. Fancy coming out here? Probably not if you play Eve as you probably earn a lot more than that. However there is no shortage of people wanting these jobs. Why? Because back in their home countries, $20 per month is the average salary and you pay your own food and lodgings. Therefore one of these guys can come out here, work for 5 years, save like a MoFo and go home with the equivalent of 50 years salary. Yes its not the greatest five years you'll ever spend, but 50 years salary!!!! The point here is $20 can be a massive amount of money to some people and very little to others. You soon learn that lesson out here.

Now we get back to Eve. RMT sites sell ISK for something like $20 per billion I've heard on various blogs. Thats convenient as that was the average monthly salary for someone from the rural Indian sub-continent that I used above. If RMT was legal it would be massively popular to grind and sell ISK.

Suddenly Eve would be farmville. PLEX prices would rocket due to massive demand from farmers, inflation would go mad as the farmers farmed ISK and sold it cheap to players. We'd have more bots than the future portrayed in The Terminator. It could be nasty.

Do you want to work for a month in the fields or spend an hour or two farming ISK on a computer game (access to PC obviously the issue here, but for the sake of argument)? Eve player numbers could rocket, but that would be a bad thing as they'd be farmers and bots.

Yes, currently you can use ISK (converted to PLEX) to buy real-life things from CCP. Fanfest tickets, Collectors Edition Boxset and even as a trial a graphics card. However the thing here is that CCP had full control on everything. If for some reason the "PLEX for X" promotion was effecting the game negatively they could just stop it. This is not an issue,

You can also use ISK for 3rd party services. Rixx Javix will do you a nice killboard banner or signature for in-game currency. The guys over at Eve-kill will give you a killboard for the right amount of ISK. However none of these are putting food on their tables. At most they are paying for their subs and preventing them having to carebear to make in-game money. More likely, in the case of Rixx, its paying for shiny ships to terrorise the space lanes with. What I'm saying is that these are not encouraging rampant farming therefore not endangering the game.

If people could make a salary from farming in Eve, then we would be in big trouble. Currently CCP in-game policies are right with regard to RMT.

The last point is real life money for 3rd party services. What a can of worms! Let us not forget Eve Online is CCP's intellectual property. They need to control and protect their IP and take their share of profits it generates. Create a Star Wars game and charge for it, see how long before it all gets a bit "legal". As above, when real life money gets involved people get more, erm, passionate? A bit of website advertising should be allowed. Whilst this blog costs me nothing (and therefore I do not monetise) Chribba's sites like Eve-Offline, Eve-Agents and Eve-Files do cost to run (I assume) and therefore need income otherwise he's losing money.  So having a few adverts toi pay server costs should not be an issue. Now the big grey area is if he was to start a subscription service. If he was making big profit from CCP's IP I'm pretty sure there would be issues there. Similarly as others have found out when selling self-made Eve merchandise like T-Shirts and tried to sell them online (thinking more here online stores and not Fanfest Tweetfleet T's which are awesome). Its a minefield and not one I'm going to tackle here. I'll simply say:-

"PLEX for Stuff" (under tight CCP control) = GOOD!
Making money from Eve = A can of worms to stay clear from!