Monday, 24 May 2010

Well, I am back

EVE has proved to be a hard game to put down for too long - although I just about managed to spend a year just logging on occassionaly to change some skills.

On the plus side, not spending so many hours in-game has given me time to get married and set up home with my wife. :)

Not entirely sure what I'll use this blog for going forwards. Perhaps a chance to talk about my corporation and the project I have set up offering short-term production "apprenticeships" to pilots from EVE University.

Until later - fly safe. o/


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Of war and other matters

I was going to post on the broken war dec mechanism, following EVE University's recent mass of war dec's and then someone posted a thread on the IVY forums, so I brain-dumped there.

For those of you in EVE Uni, apologies in advance for repeating stuff you've already seen. :)

The thing is, I don't think that the war dec system is massively broken. It is being used in the wrong way at the moment by corporations and individuals wanting to find a large mass of targets.

In part, I think the problem is that there is no alternative for groups or individuals wanting to PvP other than 0.0 and factional warfare. Pirates, for want of a better word, don't have prey in sufficient quantities in low sec because low sec isn't used and gate camps are dull.

So, I posted the following suggestion on the IVY forums.

1: Fix low sec

Get people in and using low sec - this would reduce crowding in high sec and provide more targets for people looking for a fight.

  • remove all sec status hits for aggression other than in gate grids, but keep the podding sec hit
  • add an escalating faction navy response to gate-grid aggression to discourage gate camps (note, at gates only so you can be driven off from preying on travellers, keeping your ship rather than the high sec Concordoken response) and make gate-grid aggression flag you to be attackable in that system with no penalty at the gate
  • move all level 4 agents to low sec (never thought I'd suggest this but it makes sense to me if travel is safer)
  • introduce higher yielding roids in low sec, in particular a +50% (or something) veld roid
  • reduce the yield on high sec ore belts, to encourage miners to move to low sec for better yields

The idea behind all of the above is that I think the security system for low sec ought to be the empire factions saying "We'll keep the roads safe but if you head off the roads, you are on your own". Gate camps are not fun (drinking beer and singing on teamspeak is fun, but the actual camping is dull....very dull) - but without a significant presence in low sec they are the best chance of getting a kill. They also discourage people from going into low sec in the first places.

Under my suggested changes, if you do want to camp a gate then feel free and you will be able to get a few kills before being driven off and players coming through once you have started attacking people on that gate can engage you immediately. In addition, the fixes above are aimed at getting more people in there in the first place, negating the need for a gate camp.

In my mind, security status hits are also a large part of the reason for people not going into low sec. "Pirates" don't mind about their security status (or wear their -10 with pride, yarr) but a lot of other players are discouraged from entering low sec with the knowledge that they cannot fire until fired upon without a sec hit.

Low sec ought to be profitable - it isn't. I think in part high sec is too profitable and in part low sec needs a boost so the rest of the above suggestions are designed around making it worth your while being in low sec.

I'd much prefer to have the situation where it is easy for people able to get into low sec with a low level of risk to get there but a decent need to take precautions while doing stuff there plus an acceptable reward for the level of risk

This would have the effect of increasing the number of potential targets for roving gangs of "ebil pirates". In turn, I think this ought to reduce the need for PvP corporations to declare war on corporations based solely in empire to find targets.

2: Change the war dec system

I think there ought to be two levels of war dec:
  • Low sec wars with the same sort of cost structure as present
  • High sec wars which cost significantly more

In my mind, low sec wars would benefit the people who want to PvP and have noticed a corporation with a significant low sec presence and want to be able to engage at gates, run camps and slaughter them at will in their own back yard. It would also keep the opportunity for 0.0 alliances and entities to declare war on opponents to extend the defence of their borders - although hardly anyone ever does this.

However, I think high sec wars ought to be about ramping up aggression against an economic competitor. They ought to be a way of taking down competing POS networks, restricting trade and supply routes and sqaushing opponent empire mining operations. They ought not be about "getting kills".

I like the idea of restricting large POS towers to low sec only to increase the fragility of a high sec POS network - if the war dec fee is set high enough so attacking and looting high sec POSes is not a profitable activity.

As for the details of the war mechanics:
  • remote boosting a war target ought to flag you for the duration of that war or until killed: kind of a war kill right
  • high sec wars ought to revert to low sec wars if no kill is made for a week. Wars ought to be fought and if noone is fighting then it ought to be squashed. Note that this does not make turtling as easy an option as it sounds because an empire based corporation will still have to take down its POS network to stop their opponents suiciding a frigate against a tower to keep the war going.

Anyways, those are my views. Feel free to comment on them. :)

As for EVE life in general. I am not playing much these days. Real life and work have consipred to keep me away along with a lack of any real goal in the game. Once things calm down, I may go seeking excitement, I guess.

Until then, all the best.


Sunday, 8 February 2009

And so, the ebil plan is delayed...(an update)

"Give me a week" - Ah well, it appears that work had other thoughts!

I'm currently working 60-hour-plus weeks and it's not looking like settling down at all. As a result, I am going for plan B and am going to find someone to run my corporation for me when I get the chance to get in-game and speak to a few people.

On the plus side, I have managed to draft the first few pages of my production guide inbetween all the client reports and calculations.

A very early work-in-progress can be found here:

(I hope the links works - I can't check it from work, since EVE Files is blocked!)

It's not proof read yet and as you can see there are some links etc to add plus I want to flesh out and focus the chapters a bit - still, it ought to give an idea of what I am trying to achieve. If you have any comments or criticisms - positive or negative - then I'd love to hear them.

All the best


Sunday, 18 January 2009

New beginnings...

For some time now, I have been looking for a new project and a way forward in EVE and I've been discussing the creation of a production corporation with Master Akira.

We've been trying to decide what we want to get out of the corporation and also what the goals of the corporation ought to be. We decided upon the following two goals:

1) to provide new producers a supportive environment for taking their first steps into production. Mainly this will be done through the blueprint library, that is available to all, and through ready access to corporation laboratories anchored in the Korsiki system.

2) to enable those more experienced producers to combine resources in working on larger group projects. This is something that will come with time, but we sincerely hope that those who do join and develop their interest in production will help to develop projects for the corporation as a whole.

My initial plan is to recruit from Eve University.

With the goals in mind, I've set up a free corporation forum with various levels of access, to act as a means of staying in touch and also a store of information. Yes, it has ads, but I can live with those if you can...still working on permissions etc but it is starting to look useable.

Anyway, give me a week to sort everything out and we can start recruiting. :)

I'll probably use my blog to post my thoughts on the corporation as it develops, or fails. I am hopeful it won't be a complete flop but then you never know. Even if it fails, I hope it is fun - this is a game after all!


Sunday, 2 November 2008

A bit of an essay...

Three things happened this weekend that led to this post:
- a short conversation with someone about the fact that neither of us ever updated our blogs;
- a conversation with someone over the pricing of a tech 2 BPO; and
- a thread on the EVE University forums that had a side-discussion over whether it would be right or not to move all level 4 missions to low sec.

As a result, I'm going to write a fairly long post that resolves point 1 for the short-term, addresses my thoughts on playing styles and shares point 2 and also gives my own view on point 3. Not necessarily in that order. ;)

Apologies in advance for my long and rambling style. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the viewpoint I raise on playing styles - I care less about the specific issue addressed...I use it mainly to show how my viewpoint is applied to an issue.

Risk vs Reward

Any discussion about changes in EVE usually comes down to people arguing over risk vs reward. I've used the argument myself in the past. However, it leads to rather "vigorous" discussions that usually don't go anywhere.

The better discussions I have seen move on from there to considering whether people are "risk-averse" or "risk-seeking". Usually in the context of the chance that your ship gets blown up. :)

However, I think that this is a red herring.

My own view is that when considering making changes to the game, the most important thing is to bear in mind people's different "playing styles" (for want of a better description).

This stems from remembering that this is a game that we are playing and that actually risk and reward, profit, isk, PvP, mining, missions, exploring, travelling to luminaire to see the caldari titan, are all done with one aim - enjoyment.

Narrowing down decisions on which approach is better to a concept such a risk vs reward is, quite frankly, a load of rubbish.

Playing style

I'll give you an example of what I mean using a non-PvP vs PvE analogy by sharing a conversation I had with someone the other day concerning the pricing of a tech 2 BPO.

For one reason or another, I was in the public Blueprint channel (Anyone want to buy a 10-run Onyx BPC, drop me a line *grin*) in-game and someone was trying to sell a tech 2 missile blueprint for 2.5bil isk.

General comments were being made by some people regarding the price being way too much. Tech 2 BPOs are shiny, but they are not all isk-printing machines.

I figured I'd have a look at the cost of producing the missiles and compare them to their market average to see how profitable it might be (numbers are illustrative, but you'll get the idea):
- the missiles cost 70isk per missile to produce
- the average price of the missiles is 40isk and there are loads for sale at Jita

So, I can buy all the missiles I like in Jita at a lot less than the cost of building them. To my mind, there is no profit from production.

I dropped the guy an evemail pointing this out and also pointing out that I could see situations where it might be strategically advantageous for an alliance or corporation to hold the BPO to produce ammo for themselves at locations away from Jita. However, how is the price arrived at from a commercial point of view?

I wasn't arguing against his setting the price but I was interested in understanding how the high value was arrived at.

As it happens, the guy convoed me and we had a good chat.

It turns out that at the location that the guy is producing, he produces from his own components as he has a nice corporation setup. At that location, he can sell the missiles at a higher price, let's say 150 per unit.

Now, you could argue that you could buy the missiles in Jita and haul them and sell them and make more profit. If you are trying to maximise return, looking at it from a purely economic viewpoint, that is what you would do.

However, he is playing a game and he doesn't enjoy hauling or travelling to Jita (well, who does?). He's in it for the fun of producing items and the blueprint allows him to do this at profit.

While you might argue that it is actually a trade profit he is making, it doesn't matter. Profit is being made and the blueprint permits this activity for him as he would not otherwise be doing the hauling and reselling.

The important thing here is that it is the way that he plays the game and wants to play the game that dictates his actions, not a strict market decision. Looked at another way, in the game of EVE, enjoyment is an important economic commodity.

It was an interesting conversation and I am glad he took the time out to chat to me as it made me think about the way that I approach the game and also ponder a lot more issues in a different light.

My argument, or I guess my point of view, is that when considering any change in EVE, the important thing to think about is that people have different playing styles.

I think we ought to be considering changes more often from the point of view of what is needed to make the game more fun, rather than arguing against other people's playing styles in favour of our own. As a net effect, we ought to be looking at how a potential change affects different groups' enjoyment of the game, not focussing on specific elements of measure as justification for the change in our favour.

An example, the lvl 4 missions to low-sec debate

This was a side discussion on the EVE Uni forums (probably still is!) and it piqued my interest, particularly since those posting were people who I respect and their views were well thought out and set out.

To summarise the discussion briefly as it stoood last time I checked (in no particular order).

- EVE is a PvP game and there ought to be a risk in earning isk
- Lvl 4s were not supposed to be solo missions, they were supposed to be group missions when they were introduced, so the current game mechanic is broken
- High sec missions are being farmed for isk
- If lvl 4 agents are moved, people will choose either to take the hit in their wallets or move to low sec
- Bringing more people into low sec is needed as low sec is very underpopulated

- People should not be forced to PvP when they don't want to
- A PvE fit is not going to be any good for PvP, so a move to low sec doesn't encourage PvP, it increases targets
- If you are going to argue Risk vs Reward, you are discounting trading, which is entirely risk free and a lot more profitable
- I don't want to go to low sec to do something I enjoy already

There were a lot more points made, but the above illustrates enough for now.

The point I'd make is, people are putting forward good, well thought out arguments on that forum. You can see their indvidual viewpoints in the thread and it's a good, friendly discussion. However, more often that not, they are looking at an arbitrary measure that is important to them to make their point.

Now, as far as I see it, there are actually two conflicting playing styles commenting on the potential change (with shades of grey between)with a view to how it affects them.
- there are people for whom PvP combat is enjoyable and to get the most out of the game, they need the opportunity to fight; and
- there are people for whom running missions is enjoyable, either enjoyment from running the missions themselves or because they are aiming to earn lots of isk.

Remember that people do various things in the game but the aim is enjoyment.

But, what about the problems raised by the individuals? Well, so far as I see it, there are potentially four issues raised in the discussion that may need to be addressed:
- there is a wish to get more people into low sec, to increase the enjoyment of those whose playing style dictates they live in low sec;
- there is a wish to make use of low sec as a location for people to play in, as it is currently under-used;
- there is a wish to address the potential for people to farm lvl4 missions for isk; and
- the original intention was to introduce lvl 4s for group missioning, not as a solo endeavour.

So, if you ask me where I stand on the issue of moving level 4 missions to low sec, I'd say it potentially addresses all of the issues set out above but it does by adversely affecting the playing style of one group of people in favour of another group - and in my opinion the adverse effect is too great to justify it.

However, I'd also go one stage further and say that, if those issues need to be addressed, then is there a way they can be addressed that deals with them but doesn't discriminate against a particular style of play as much in favour of another?

Off the top of my head:
- Introduce something to low sec that might attract people looking for a bit of enjoyment down into low sec but do it in a manner in which they are going to be prepared properly for PvP. How about introducing a "new breed" of low-sec lvl 4 agent that gives a different style of mission for which a PvP fitting is appropriate. It doesn't force people to play the game in a different manner, it introduces the possibility of a new style of play - and it gets more people down into low-sec.
- Introduce a diminishing return over time to high sec missions on a player by player basis. For example, reduce the mission reward and bounties for the rats based on how many missions a player has run that day. This could be done in such a way that casual mission runners (which haven't been identified as a problem as yet) are not affected, but farmers (who have been identified as an problem) are.
- I think the introduction of lvl 5 missions has addressed the wish for a lvl of mission that needs cooperation to complete and with the new more powerful ships in-game these days, the fact that lvl 4s are soloable may not have been an intention but isn't a problem as long as farming potential is addressed.

Now, you can debate these and I haven't thought through the details - I don't really want to, to be honest.

My point is that I think it's more important to decide on what the problems are from all viewpoints and then address them from the point of view of enhancing game enjoyment for as many people as possible, bearing in mind individual playing styles, rather than use an arbitrary measure to decide if one idea is good or not.

After all, we are here to play a game.

Hopefully the above isn't too rambling - without seeing it printed out, I'm not sure if I've set out my point in as clear a manner as I might and I will think through and perhaps edit this post later if I feel it is needed.

Anyway - I was overdue a post on my blog and this is it. :)

All the best


Sunday, 26 October 2008

A short update

Seems like ages since I last posted - probably because it has been!

Work has been doing its level best to kill me under a pile of reports and calculations - luckily I have next week off! \o/

It will give me a chance to write a much promised short guide for EVE University on how to prepare for and give EVE University classes, aimed at new instructors there. It might also give me the opportunity to log into EVE and actually kills something. :)

I've been recently added to the EVe Online blogroll so apologies to everyone who has followed that link looking for exciting insight.

Time for me to go and hunt down food and also to think of something content-full to post next time. Please don't hold your collective breath - I don't want the resulting massacre on my conscience.

All the best


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Eve University forges forth

Exec summary:
- EVE University under Dee appears to be going well.
- Guide is progressing very slowly.
- Watch out EVE, I may return to active status in a month or so.

Longer rambling version: ;)

It's been ages since I last added to this blog - the main reason being that, having left EVE University, I am on a break from the game. However, I'm not on a break fro the IVY League forums! :)

EVE University entered a new period of leadership a few months ago with Dee Carson taking over as Exec Director. I don't think morning Maniac could have chosen a better person, to be honest. Dee's guidance in debates and the way he is taking the Uni is great. He seems to have a great balance when it comes to managing the information passed to the membership and is more openly organised in his communications. Anyone who's not read the SitRep he wrote, ought to.

As for me, well I am starting to get tempted back to EVE at the moment.

I am particularly tempted by exploration and stepping back into invention. I need to get my exploration skills up though, so I might delay my return while I train things like Astrometric pinpointing. I don't think I am ever going to have time to play EVE as much as I have in the past though. I am slightly tempted to find a partner to start up a production corporation in Korsiki with a high sec POS, but then again I am not sure I have the time - we'll see.

Oh, and for those who read this blog and are wondering where my production guide has gone - I am still writing it, but very slowly! I've drafted the first chapter and have now put it aside while I focus on actuarial professional exams coming up in a couple of weeks' time.

All the best