Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eve: Themepark or zoo? Not so much sand.

     All the haters of high sec players and indy types like to throw around Eve memes like "pubbie", "care bear", "sandbox" and "theme park".  PVP types are pretty much incapable of understanding or even accepting anyone who isn't angry enough to try to attack other players with no more expected gain than an e-peen number boost on a kill board.  The same angry little pvp types will also be quick to advise that said care bears would be wise to go "back" to a theme park MMO.  Like many/most memes, many/most of the users have no real clue what they are talking about, what the meme actually means, and angry Eve types are no different.

     A "theme park MMO" is basically any MMO where the content of the games is decided by the developers.  Regardless of how often you try or experience that content, it's going to be the same.  It's like a real themepark.  You go on the roller coaster today, and it'll be pretty much exactly the same ride you took on it last week, unless of course Bill-the-maintenance-guy was off getting a little sugar from Suzy-the-candy-floss-girl instead of tightening roller coaster track bolts.  How many roller coaster type rides does Eve have?

     The most obvious place to start is any pve content, and contrary to the pro-pvp crowd, Eve has tons of pve.  All the different types of missions are a very obvious addition to the theme park list, regardless of the type.  Planetary interaction, research agents, COSMOS missions and epic arcs are four more.  There are grav, radar, and DED sites to scan down as well, and that too is pretty much clockwork, bog-standard pve content.  More theme park-ery.   How about grinding for rep or status?  Same.  How about crafting?

     In Eve, "crafting" is a sure magnet for hooting and derision, but the industrial player does pretty much the same thing as any crafting player does in any other MMO.  The player goes out, locates and collects crafting material, either from the environment or from killing npc mobs.  They train up specific skills in order to create whatever particular item or items they decide, and in some cases need to buy the recipes first.  Sometimes, the player even needs to go into hostile areas of the game where either pvp combat or high level npcs provide a higher level of threat to make it difficult to obtain special materials for higher level items.  The player takes the materials, builds the item, and uses it or sells it.  Are we talking about Eve, WOW, LOTRO, or GW2 here?  Doesn't matter, they're all the fucking same as far as "crafting" goes.  Pretty much full-on theme park.

     Eve has tons of theme park content but there's also another clever meme to learn, and that's "zoo".  In basic parlance, a "zoo" MMO is set up so that a particular game feature can be tried almost as many times as you like, but each time, the content of the feature will or can be a little different.  Just like in a zoo, where one day you walk by the lion enclosure and the lions are outside sunning themselves, and the next day you go by, they're up against the feed shed going halfers on a memory.  Lots of content in Eve was highly predictable pve, but since CCP jacked up the AI levels recently, higher end npcs can be tough little peckers to deal with, because you don't know what they're going to do every time.  I'm specifically talking about sleepers, complex sites and Incursion npc AI here.  CCPs plan is to jack up AI across the board to make npcs act more unpredictable.  Maybe not full on zoo-ness, but definitely zoo.  More zoo stuff is T2 invention.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Scanning down wormholes, grav sites and other random spawns are also on the "zoo" side of game play.  So, there are some "zoo" aspects to Eve, and more zoo-like features have been suggested for future inclusion.

     In a "sandbox", the content is player driven.  A "real" sandbox has sand and . . . well, that's fucking it.  Eve isn't a sandbox.  It has a shit load of rules and mechanisms.  Eve players like to turn up their nose and claim it's a sandbox, but I played in sandboxes a lot as a kid, and I can't do a fraction of the shit in Eve that I could in a sandbox with just a stick and a rock.  The closest thing to a "sandbox" that I've ever played on a computer is Minecraft.  In there, the only thing that limits you is your imagination.  If the standard game play in Minecraft is too plain for you, then you can always make your own mod and truly build your own content, in a world that is completely unlike anyone elses.  In Eve, people are obviously confusing a minimised EULA with a sandbox.  Being able to be an asshole doesn't make where you're standing a "sandbox", it just makes it a spot where an asshole is standing.  Being able to run around in areas with low level/new players and ganking them doesn't make it a sandbox either.  People could do that in Asheron's Call or Ultima Online, to name just two.  Being able to claim, upgrade and control in-game territory is also nothing new.  DAOC, LOTRO, WHO, and GW2 are 4 that quickly come to mind, where you could do exactly the same thing.  No body was yapping about sandboxes with them.  At best, being able to fuck other players around without the Eve devs stepping in, it might amount to a spoon full of sand.  Far from a box, unless it's maybe a little box that a ring might come in.

     "But look at null sec!  Players control that whole area of the game."  And?  I knew of a guild in DAOC that controlled the whole RvR area of the game server and were operating no different than the null sec alliances in Eve.  That was also complete with battles involving all three races and hundreds of players fighting over keeps and resources.  Again, being able to lie, cheat, steal and grief in Eve, doesn't make it a sandbox, that just makes it a game that attracts assholes, generates lots of "bad" news for Eve, and simultaneously keeps the majority of "normal" gamers away.

     When you look at it, without the kool-aid glasses, Eve is maybe about 80% theme park and 19% zoo, with more npc zoo content planned, and 1% sand . . . spoon.  When it comes to null and pvp zones like Factional Warfare, the sum total of active accounts in those two areas is somewhere around the 20% mark of active accounts, and all those players are operating with 100% reliance on the theme park content for every item they own.

     So, the next time some meme spouting drooler of a pvp player tells a care bear to HTFU or go back to a theme park MMO, tell them to fuck off.  Tell them to then go get a clue.  Then tell them you already play a theme park MMO.  It's fucking Eve Online.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saving Eve: 2 places to start

     Back a couple years ago, the common complaint was that CCP was pumping out too many big game features - the "Jesus features", they like to call it now.  Why were big, new features a problem?  Well, because for the most part, none of the features were complete.  They were like a house that had doors and windows that stuck because the house was cooked, and it had nothing finished on the inside.  CCP promised they would get back to them, but for the most part, they never did.  Eve is in perpetual beta.  It's got all kinds of things that were unfinished or patched and are still broken.  Null sec sovereignty, factional warfare (yeah, still broken), wormholes, corp and alliance UIs and player owned stations, to name a few biggies.  Contrary to the spin fests that David Reid puts out, even with these new, awesome ship changes in the latest patch, subscriptions are still in dire need of resuscitation.  CCP's penchant for grabbing PLEX money for anything and everything, to me, is proof that they are looking hard at ways to make some extra cash.  Most recently, anyone who wants to pay $20 for an overpriced EON magazine that costs $15, just let CCP know.  They'll pop one in the mail for you, but that'll probably cost another PLEX for mailing fees.  After all, who the fuck would want to use a PLEX to pay for their subscription anyway??

     So, the two ideas?  Well, not that they are anything novel, but they are simple, but not necessarily easy.
Players in station or active in systems
     First, drop all the other side projects, and put ALL the coders on fixing null sec sovereignty.  Make sovereignty performance based, and then alliances and corps will only be able to hold, what they physically can hold.  What they are living in.  No more dog-in-the-manger bullshit where big organizations own all kinds of space that no one does fuck all in.

      See the picture?  Right now, when I took that screenshot, there were ~40,000 players online.  You can see exactly how much of that population is in null sec, based on the display that is set to show how many players are active or docked in systems.  Two words:  GHOST fucking TOWN.  The biggest dot of the dots in the outlying null sec space is 92 players, and that was only one dot on the edge of the Vapor Sea.  All the rest of the big dots?  None were over 50 - I checked.  The vast majority of the small dots were 1 to 5 people.  Yeah, I spent about 30 minutes mousing over and clicking on that shit just out of curiosity.  Lots of podders and bloggers like to throw around null sec populations like 20,000 or higher, but the last real numbers of active null sec ACCOUNTS were just under 12,000 accounts, and that number went up from the previous CCP population numbers by .05%.  And yeah, that's not five percent, that's 1/20th of one percent, and that was the end of 2010.  For people to imagine that the active accounts in null went up by nearly double since then?  Whatever shit they're smoking is better than medical grade pot.  So for anyone interested in guessing, 12% of the online population is about 4800 accounts in null vs a very optimistic 20% of 8,000.  Look at the dots and decide for yourself.

     So anyway, performance based sovereignty.  Lots of easy-to-see unused space will no longer be claimed.  That leaves lots of room for other corps and alliances, that aren't part of and don't have huge super-friend daisy chains, to move down into null and maybe carve out a bit of space for themselves.  THEN they can spoon up with all the blue-fests down there.  And holy fuck, if that doesn't mean that there would be room and reason for some of the high sec players to move to null, like the players are crying about and CCP expects.  Also, with all the problems in null sec, and the sov grind that exists, lots of problems need to be fixed before other things like POSs are touched.  It'll be extremely easy to completely fuck up POS reworking when the space the POS is supposed to go in is fucked.  Fix the space FIRST, then you'll have more of a clue about what the players want and need a POS to act like.  Fix null sec FIRST, and that will sate the Eve vets, and encourage other players to go down there.  Fixing null is unlikely to bring in new players and more money, but new player features can come later and I'll touch on options for more money too.  More on that in another post though.

     2nd, ship skins.  Drop all the bullshit that the CCP artists are doing for all the NEX store crap that the majority of players don't give a fuck about, and get them on ship skins.  Supposedly, according to CCP devs, implementing individual ship skins is not that much of a difficulty anymore with the new V3 graphics.  Apparently, some CCP staff take issue with the idea of players being able to change the colour schemes on the ships, but too fucking bad for the devs.  I might give a fuck if they ACTUALLY PLAYED, but they don't, so I don't.  I doubt the players do either.

     My idea on how to do this is for another post, but basically, each player pays for a ship skin, once, for each type of ship.  There are over 200 different boats, so that is 200 individual payments, from 450,000 accounts.  Each skin only has to be bought once and while I doubt many would want custom skins for ever ship in game, I bet it would at least get 10 to 20 ships per player, not to mention start a new graphics industry going in-game for designing skins.  If you ever want to turn off the custom skin, there's an option for it in settings.  If you want a new/different skin, you pay for it and it's applied.  There's some money for CCP.  That way, CCP doesn't need to fuck with people actually using PLEX for what they were fucking invented for, by "allowing" players to buy $150 video cards for $400 worth of PLEX, or fucking $15 magazines for $20.  This, obviously, aside from being a big revenue stream for CCP, allows the many creative players to exercise their art muscles and would go a long way of appeasing the player base while CCP devs try to keep their heads out of their asses and hit the next big problem.  For that, I would suggest POSs for the WHOLE dev team to get on.  The more people working on it, the faster it gets done and the more people available to work on more patches.  Ship skins would also pique the interest of new players.

     That's it.  Forget about FW, POS, the fucking NEX store, UI tweaks and anything else.  Fix null, get ship skins, then move off to the next point.  Keep Greyscale and Punkturis away from the processes, and everything should be fine.

Friday, December 14, 2012

So there I was . . .

     . . . humping my ass through the boonies, deep in Indian territory.  It had been a tough day.  Pitched battles.  Gain ground, lose the ground, gain it again.  It's just the way it is.

     We had fought for over an hour trying to save a small station from some punk-ass Vanu in their purple, princess suits.  We managed to push their defensive tank line back a couple hundred yards and reduced their number from about 2 dozen soldiers, down to a manageable 3 or 4.  Just as we thought the situation was cool, they started rolling in with their heavies and some fast air.  Shit went sideways pretty fast from there.

     Their tanks were firing from run-up positions on a small hill about 200 yards south of the  compound.  We had our heavy infantry switch out to AT launchers to try to thin their ranks, but even with missile lock, once the tanks went hull-down, our rockets just hammered the hillside.  We got a few lucky hits in but we weren't clearing the armour fast enough, and certainly not as fast as they were clearing us with their small arms fire and HEAT rounds.  Huge splash damage.  The medics were busy little bastards keeping our guys on their feet.  We had some hard core dudes in MAX suits and they tried to flank from low ground to the west, but even with their engineers repping their power suits from cover, all the unguided proxy and HE grenades they sent down range didn't thin the tanks fast enough to be of much good.

     After about 15 minutes, the air support they had called in, arrived.  Their fast air was problematic as their low speed passes allowed their auto-cannons to rip shit up bad.  We were sending a lot of SAMs their way but splitting our heavies into AA and AT groups were reducing the effectiveness of our defence in a major way.  We couldn't send enough of either type of fire to take planes or tanks out faster than they were arriving.  As we tried to hold pop-up fire positions for our AT gunners, their air support and gunships would hit us from behind.  When we moved into cover from the fighters around the corner of the main ammo compound, their snipers were taking us from cover to the west.  Their shit was wired tight.  Ours was not.

     Our numbers and morale were dwindling.  We had been reinforced by a LAV and half a squad, along with 2 or 3 tanks.  The platoon commander decided to get the fuck out of Dodge when we were finally pushed into a small building in the corner of the compound.  Control of the facility had been lost, and the word was sent for the new reserves to do a fighting withdrawal to the north while the remainder of the platoon re-orged back at the bio-dome, a couple clicks to the west.  The hope was that the Vanu would consolidate most of their troops to secure the compound and only send a few after our smaller force.  The other ~40 troops would mount up in fast air, gunships and armour, and counterattack from the rear and their left flank.  If anyone couldn't get into a plane or tank, then they could jump on a turret MG or tail gun.  Everyone was invited.  We had 2 minutes for a piss break and a gear check, and then we were rolling out.

     Go time arrived.  We took about a dozen heavy armour, a couple LAVs and a couple gunships.  The rest went north, where they would slant off to the east and hit the enemy's left flank.  We were coming in straight from the south, hopefully, while the princesses were watching to the north for a counter attack from the direction our fighting withdrawal went in.  We hoped.  I had my gun cam running with the intent to catch a little retribution.  It was a satisfying thing to see our armour rolling out and I figured it was going to be even better to see us crash into the rear end of some unsuspecting enemy tanks and LAVs.  LAVs don't like 100mm AP ammo much.

     As we were getting close to swinging north, a fast air scout flew over our column.
"Well shit", I said over comms, "there goes the party."
"STEADY UP!" yelled the platoon commander, "Fighter, 12 o'clock high, get some triple A on that!"

     The fighter was low to the deck and coming fast, and as he crested the hill in front of us, we probably surprised the shit out of him as much as he did to us.  He pulled back on the stick and started to roll hard, up and to the left, and then he magically turned into a big ball of smoke and bits of metal flying out in a funky star burst pattern.  We had no idea if he got word out or not but our main force was nearly on the Vanu and there was no time to worry about it.  The fighter saw us, not our flanking force.  It still might work out.  What didn't work so well, was my gun cam after a piece of shrapnel caromed off turret and turned my gun cam into just a useless piece of tech.  Meh.

     We got to the break-off point and wheeled north.  I was manning the 30mm chain gun on the Prowler's cupola and keeping an eye out for any more enemy air assets.  The chain gun does a nice job on just about anything with it's AP ammo though, so a few tank targets would be cool too.  The prowler is a big tank with a fat ass, and it was slow up the first hill.  The lower, lighter, faster Lighnings (apt name . . ) left us in their dust, crested the hill and headed down a shallow dip and up the next hill.  We could see smoke and hear gunfire, lots of it, so I swung the gun forward, scanning the sky and quickly reloaded the mag.  Bad karma to be fucking around with reloads once we hit the shit.  And hoo baby, did we hit the shit.

     Did I mention the Prowler was a pig with a fat ass?  Well, it is a pig, but when you get a bit of a downhill, and a nice run of speed with a short uphill, you almost get enough air on the other side to pull a back side fakey.  I saw blue, then brown, then fucking stars.  We hit the ground like 40 tons of bricks and I bounced the chaingun off the bottom stop.  When all the craziness and vibration stopped, we had landed right in the middle of the Vanu defence force, which was busy sending round after round . . . to the west.  At our flanking force.  :)  Well, boy howdy!  How I DO love a nice broadside silhouette.  It was pretty hard to see what was a good guy and what was a bad guy.  Smoke, fire, explosions, Vanu tanks trying desperately to get the fuck out, and Terran tanks trying to get the fuck in.  The squad commanders were screaming out primaries, turrets and cupola guns were spinning like tops, and rounds were flying in every direction.  Every time I had to reload I cursed the fact that I hadn't taken time to put a little extra training into reloading skills.  If I'm loading shit, I'm not exploding shit!

     The Prowlers finished up blasting the stragglers while the Lightnings sprinted off after those Vanu that were smart enough to get out of the carnage.  A few fast air were buzzing around but our air cover had taken most of the enemy patrol craft out.  One of the enemy fast air, a nasty little one man killing machine called a Scythe, was jinking and juking, desperately trying to outrun and scrape off a couple SAMs.  He was a pretty slick pilot and managed to bounce one off a hillside, but the other missile was still looking for him.  The pilot levelled out and didn't seem to realize that his escape from the SAMs was running him straight down my gun sights.  I lined up on his nose, a little high, squeezed the trigger, and let him fly directly into my line of fire.  I fired 100 rounds of red hot AP into his windshield, and he piloted his fighter directly to the scene of a crash.  Splash one.  Good pilot though, just unlucky.  Sometimes lucky is better than good when you're in the shit.  Me and my driver?  So far, we were lucky.

     We surrounded the compound and poured a withering wall of fire at anything that moved - in buildings, outside or in the air.  In only a couple minutes we'd cleared the compound of enemy troops, and the total counterattack had been over in only 10 or 15 minutes.  We circled the wagons, set up a defensive perimeter, and while the main gunner kept his head on a swivel, I jumped out to rep up the tank and reloadboth guns.  Sent a couple scouts out to the east and north to set up pickets, and called her a night

     So, ok, I wasn't exactly "humping" too much seeing as how my less-than-narrow ass was parked in a gunner's chair, and it wasn't Indian territory, it was Terran, then Vanu, then back to Terran.  It's all good though.  Word is, we need to rest up for a big op tomorrow.  We're loading up half a dozen Galaxies, and going to hot drop 60 or 70 MAX on a New Con party.  Hope they have enough chairs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elitism & perspective

     I guess it's a pretty standard thing for "older" people to remember how they had to walk uphill both ways and seemingly forget that at one time they didn't know everything and couldn't do everything.  In Eve, how they had to push the frigates out of the hangars, by hand, in bare feet.  They look down on any new/young person if the youngling can't do what the vet can do now, and the vets don't remember what it was like at a time when they knew as little as the n00b.

     Eve is certainly no different in this regard.  The vets are way out to sea on the ocean of Eve, and many look back with disdain at the players just starting to wade into the surf.

     One of the biggest problems with Eve is that many new players get their first taste of Eve by getting fucked over in a scam or being blown up.  The elitists explain that the new players "should know better", but there's no explanation of HOW they should know better.  The vets have no cogent answer, because they don't remember how they figured out not to be scammed, or they DID get scammed and don't want to bring up the hypocrisy of their current point of view.

     When the elitists started, there were no PLEX (didn't come in until about 2008) so they really don't give a shit how many different ways there are to spend PLEX now, nor do they care about the rising cost of them.  From their lofty heights, the vets are oblivious to the fact that paying customers (yes, even if they buy PLEX with ISK from the market, they're still paying) who can't afford the inflated PLEX prices will stop playing.  This elitist view is held by some of our CSM members too, notably, Karde of Noir mercs.  Not really representing all the players, apparently, only the "have" players that pay for subscriptions with real cash.

     I read and hear all the disdain from "experts" who laugh at all the "fail fits" that show up on kill boards.  Somehow, the rest of the players, the "fails", weren't born with innate knowledge of Eve ship fits like the critics.  Apparently, any trial and error fit experimenter is somehow supposed to also know that they were supposed to "ask someone" about the fit.  How and where that someone was to be found, for someone with a life who doesn't obsess over a game and the whole meta aspect of it, is not answered.  The standard "they should have known better" is all that's proffered.

     Contrary to the angry pvp perspective, any player that goes through all the tutorials, learns the basics of how to play Eve.  It isn't all about pvp, because if it was, there would be more reference to that in the tutorials.  But there isn't.  Granted, it's pretty damn hard for NPCs and AI to simulate pvp, but pvp is far from "all there is in Eve" like the elitists like to preach.  If it was "World of Tanks in Space Space Space®"(to be said with suitably booming and echoey voice), there would be nothing but NPC markets full of spaceships and gear.  But there isn't.  Curiously, it would appear that there is a huge layer of player activity underneath the destruction where players actually CREATE all the gear for/in the game!  Also, conveniently coincidentally, there is an equally huge layer of in game resources and mechanisms that allow the creating of all the shit getting assploded!  Just like in real life though, all the people that build all the shit, and do all the base level, boring, repetitive jobs that generate the raw materials, are looked down on by all the "cool" pvpers in the game.  Anyone who doesn't do pvp, according to the elitists, is either;
 a) an automatic target
b) needs to start doing pvp immediately
or c) needs to leave
Can't imagine why Eve subscription increase is drying up . . .

     The problem, is lack of perspective.  Non-chip-on-their-shoulder players, of which the MMO world is apparently majorly populated by, can understand hard core pvpers.  The world is full of angry, aggressive people that want to "get even" for their life, and so look for any means to lash out.  Non-pvpers might not like these people, might not even understand them at times, but they accept their existence.  Pvpers, on the other hand, are far more narrow minded and short sighted.  It's their way or the intarpipe highway, especially in Eve.  Anyone in Eve that doesn't do pvp, just hasn't been "enlightened" yet.  they think just about anyone can be "converted", hallelujah!  Possibly, the huge chip on their shoulder is blocking a large percentage of their view, or prevents them from looking left or right.  In any case, many/most of them can't imagine why any "sane player" would want to do anything but try to shoot other players.  The elitists KNOW that anyone that doesn't play like them, is doing it wrong.  A "sandbox" like Eve, where any play style at all is possible, is awesome, BUT, only if everyone plays like the pvpers.  A sandbox is only a sandbox if it's all pvp.

     Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't mind pvp.  I do it in many games, just no interest in doing it in Eve right now.  I like HALO and Battlefield 3, I'm in the DUST beta and I spent more time in Planetside 2 than I do in Eve right now.  But, I like all the things I can do to CREATE things in Eve.  From and industrial player's perspective, Eve is very much like many other MMOs.  Improve the building skills, get the materials, build the items, and then sell them.  Even having to get the raw materials in more dangerous areas of the game is not some novel concept created by CCP.  It takes a lot of time and effort, sometimes really fucking boring time and effort, but that is not a big deal for a builder, a creator.  That's just the way it goes.  People who build, accept that.  The people who roll on in after the fact and destroy what was just built, have no appreciation for much of anything other than the possible grief it causes someone else and/or the adrenaline shakes they got.  It doesn't take a lot of time or talent to destroy things in most cases, and Eve has few exceptions for that process.

     The elitists laugh and enjoy intentionally griefing players that are doing things they despise doing.  The elitists have no problem explaining that stupid miners need to stop mining while they grief barges in Hulkageddon, and they laugh when the miners complain.  If miners explained that the griefers would have to stop doing pvp for a month, and start mining instead, the pvpers would lose their shit and likely rage quit.  To the elitists, it's completely acceptable to only support their point of view, due to a lack of perspective.  Granted, not all the non-pvp Eve players have perspective either, but they won't be causing a player to quit Eve due to griefing.  For the most part, the DO have perspective.  They are the majority of the player base.  The players that cause almost all the Eve news, are a minority, and the vast majority of the news is negative.  Because they lack perspective.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Mining libations: pods and cans

     Whilst mining I mentioned I listen to pod casts.  I don't mind learning a little bit about Eve's history from them, and I especially like hearing about the history from a null sec perspective.  As such, I tend to go back as far into the podcast's archives as I can, and move forward to the present from there.  I like the mental connection a "podcast" generates when the subject matter of the podcast is Eve.  Broadcast from a pod.  Fitting, thinks I.

     Anyway, I listened to Pixxie's Eve Online Podcast off of iTunes.  I thought she was an Aussie, but it turns out she has a South African twang to her voice instead.  At any rate, she only had a few episodes, but her voice was very pleasant to listen to.  She's pod faded since May of this year as she jumps around a lot from one MMO to another.  She speaks from a new player perspective and was well worth the listen.

     Another one I listened to was called Isk.  It's a guy who plays the market, trades and does BPO research and sales.  He sounds like a pretty smart guy and makes his in-game isk using the methods he talks about.  Unfortunately, he isn't very good at clearly describing what it is he does or how he does it.  He jumps around a lot in his podcast and even though I do most of everything he talks about, I still had a problem understanding what he was talking about at times.  He should make show notes, a basic "plan" for what he wants to cover, how he wants to cover it, and make sure it is in order.  He got his accounts banned in Dec 2011 for some forum post.  They were reinstated about a month later, but hasn't done anything since.  One thing that was an aggravation, and a distraction, was listening to him huffing away on his cigarettes, and listening to him gulping wine.  I've heard other similar explanations or talks on similar subject matter that were far more informative and easier to understand.

     Another one of the many I've listened to, is Starfleet Comms.  A great podcast, by a bunch of Brits (I think) but sadly, due to real life happening to one of the hosts, the podcast is pretty much done.  It was two men and a woman.  They worked well together, were very smooth, very comfortable with each other.  Well worth the effort of starting from their first episode, and working your way to the last.  Can't tell you what the date was for their last episode because they use Yoiul Conference time :)  I was hooked after just a couple episodes and was very disappointed that they had faded out.

     While I like to listen to podcasts and audio books, others have different ideas of what fun is, around ye olde asteroid belt.

     Yes, that is the same dude from Mittens-gate and fanfest, but it wasn't him that set up all those cans.  It was another player, apparently, a fan.  It was pretty impressive to see when you warp in, because that cluster in the middle, is a huge ice belt.  The pattern of the jet cans dwarfed the belt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

If Greyscale had a clue . . .

     I've been listening to hundreds of podcasts, from a number of different sources, as I do my indy thing in Eve, and also at work.  A recurring theme, back to 2008 at least, is that this dude is consistently involved with half finished features that are fucked up, right out of the gate, or that he comes in after the fact and completely fucks it up later as he "fixes" it, and then it stays fucked up, sometimes, permanently.  He consistently dismisses the opinion of players, and seemingly looks down on them/us as rather stupid or uninformed people who know considerably less about Eve than he does.  I think of the Wizard of Oz music track, and unlike the Oz characters, once greyscale got to the Wizard, unfortunately, we'd likely find he really DOES need a clue.

     Most recently, he has decided that (due to lack of coding supervision) a number of areas of game code are going to have their complication reduced.  It doesn't matter that it works fine for players, he's only interested in what will make his job easier, apparently, because regardless of whether Eve sinks due to all the dev fuck-ups, he's still ensured a job.  The removal of separate cargo holds, announced a month ago, is, I think, a prime example of how "features" are going to be removed to make incompetent coders' and CCP supervisors' jobs "easier" by "simplifying" code.  Either the devs like Greyscale are too incompetent to properly supervise the coders writing clean code (and adding sufficient commentary about function), or they have sloppy code writers (still the supervisors' fault for employing them) writing fat and sloppy, ill described, code.  Every time CCP can't be bothered to do something, they spin a long (most likely bullshit) dirge about how badly it was coded and that they are scared to touch it lest the entire Eve universe implode.  In the real world, if someone is working on something that is broken, and the admit they are not competent enough to fix it, why the fuck are they still working there?

     I have a few theories on that when it comes to Greyscale.

1.  The fucker owns majority shares in CCP and they couldn't fire him even if they wanted to.
2.  He's a close relative of Hilmar (married his ugly sister, cousin, et al), and there's a heavy familial obligation to give the driftwood a job.
3.  Hilmar owes Greyscale a pile of money, and Greyscale leveraged a job out of it in lieu of the debt, or until it is fully repaid.
4.  HE owes Hilmar a shitload of money and Hilmar is keeping his dumb ass around until it's paid off.

     Maybe there are others, but I can't seriously see how it has anything to do with talent.  Granted, it's possible that not all his projects fucking suck, but you know how the adage goes, "You can spend nearly your entire life building bridges, but suck one dick, and guess what your title will be?"  Looking at Greyscale's "bridges", he can claim the LP store function, the booster building process, Factional Warfare, null sec design/mechanics, scanning, T2 invention and production, the Primae, and most recently, axing corp hangars on ships.  There are more things he's been involved in, but seriously, how many of these things didn't hit the servers fucked up or completely broken/useless?  Obviously, not so much "building" at all, but a whole lot of sucking hard.  He's been responsible for some of the most fucking horrendous click fests in the entire game, and NOW, he's all about "complexity"??  Fucking really!?!?

     His "official" bio is a fucking joke too, but then, it can't be much of a news flash.  His "motto"?

     "One half of game design is having solid, well-reasoned opinions about everything. The other half is figuring out why they’re wrong"

     Oooooh, how profound!  So, yeah, no news flash that he has "solid" opinions on everything, he's got his ego to thank for that.  Not much is "well-reasoned" from an actual game play or customer/player perspective though, because he doesn't play the fucking game, and he's too arrogant to listen to people who DO play the game, and DO know.  What the "well reasoned" part is, is how it will make his job easier.  If he was competent, that right there would make it easier.  If he actually listen to people who knew more than him, like the players, that would make it easier too.  The second sentence of his motto?  Well, lucky for him, he's wrong very little.  Doesn't take a lot of effort to find out where he's wrong when he knows he's right, right?  I wonder where he plagiarized "his" motto from?  His "bio" is precious too.
     "It turns out that if you don’t bother doing any homework at school, you can go on to study a subject with no obvious applications at a really good university and then end up designing computer games in Iceland. I am not a good role model"
     Now THAT is far more accurate and far more believable.  It's one of those cases, I think, where the truth is supposed to be taken as an ironic statement.  Fake humility.  He didn't specify the "subject", I noticed, but I can't see in my wildest imaginings how it would be game design, but if the "subject" was, then by logical extension, I can't see how it was a "really good university" either.
     I think the Eve player base, while pretty damn happy with the ship re balancing (at least they have ONE dude, in charge of ONE team that has a fucking clue), is still on a low boil.  I think that while they announce (in May '12) 360,000 "active" subscriptions, the number of actual people that pay for those subscriptions, is considerably lower and CCP can see the numbers that put Eve in a precarious balancing act.  In 2010 CCP said they had the same number of accounts and that the I would bet that the actual number of real people behind those accounts is less than half.  I wouldn't be really surprised to discover that "real people" numbers are closers to 120,000.  Maybe less, and that's why CCP was/is pushing so hard on that useless captain's quarters and the highly coupled NEX store, DUST and it's pay-to-play model and all the recent "extra" uses for PLEX.  I think they know that Eve is stagnating hard, and the anemic increase of 25,000 SUBSCRIPTIONS (NOT players) per year since 2008 isn't going to pay the bills and it makes Eve extremely dependant multiple times over for each and every customer.  They were at 300,000 at the end of the first quarter in 2009, so that's really only 60,000 accounts in three years.  I believe they are well aware that the majority of subscription increases are due to players buying multiple accounts once/if they stick with Eve for a while and see the advantages of multi-boxing.  I think the shitty numbers forecast for Eve are why they stopped doing quarterly reports.  Teh numbers show that the players aren't going anywhere close to the direction CCP is trying to  force them in their "brilliant" game vision being pushed by clowns like Greyscale.  I'd love to know what the real average daily PLAYER count on Tranquility is, because the number displayed at log in is ACCOUNTS, not players.  What is the average time an Eve player is logged in?  4 hours?  5?  6?  Less than 4?  Take 24 hours, and divide that by the average hours played per PERSON, then multiply that by the actual number of players online.  What's the real number?  Scary-low?
     Anyway, I think they are playing a dangerous game of roulette where they throw out these half baked "iterations" in an attempt to appease the masses, including completed fucked up shit like the FW mess, that fucked up inventory, and now things like the corp hangers, and who do they have steering their boat?  A moron like Greyscale.  If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.  they talk a lot of pro-player, pro-CSM bullshit, but I think it's predominantly bullshit.  Null sec is too scary for CCP.  POS are too scary for CCP.  Inventory is too messy for CCP.  Ship skins are too low a priority for CCP.  I don't think CCP has a real plan, and neither do the CSM members either when you listen to them on the most recent podcast appearances.  They seem to be pulling at straws, and unless people like Greyscale gets their heads out of their asses, Eve is going to tank while the loyal and dedicated players doggedly try to plug her holes and keep her afloat.
     I'm not all gloom and doom though, there IS good news.  Punkturis is knocked up, and supposedly she'll be stepping down and out for a long hiatus.  That's a good thing.  While she's gone, she can't fuck up any more things like she helped fuck up the inventory.  I hope she'll focus on motherhood for a long, long time instead of stupid fucking game design ideas.  Now, if only there was a way for Arrow and Greyscale to get knocked up too, Eve might have a chance if it could survive 9 more months of meddling.  Give Greyscale a job collecting dirty towels at the local hot springs.  It can be one of those corporate character expansion bullshit things.  I can't see how someone can have a job picking up wet towels, and still have an ego about it.  It'd be a good thing for him.
     On a side note, "bullshit" is in a spelling checker.  That's awesome :)