Friday, May 2, 2014

Eve memes & other myths

     Eve players tend to be pretty full of themselves when talking to other gamers, or talking about other MMOs.  They're pretty arrogant, as if other non-Eve players should talk in very quiet voices, whispering about how cool <insert player name> is because they play Eve.  It's a small player base, and Eve is infamous for it's hard style of game play, and it's unique mechanics.  Eve and its players are also pretty good at taking something that may or may not be a little unique, and inflating it, sometimes, often times maybe, way past the realm of fact.  Eve players have been regurgitating the same memes, and sometimes flat out bullshit for so long, and so many times, they've started to believe their own rhetoric.  That rhetoric is also the kind of advertisement, to the rest of the gaming world, that is pretty effective at keeping the overwhelming majority of MMO players, the fuck away from Eve.  The vast majority of these misdirected, uninformed memes/myths come from the null sec minority, and the high sec gankers (even a smaller minority).  Let's look at some of them, and the real world interpretation of said memes, shall we?  :)

- "Eve is a sandbox"  Complete bullshit.  This is spouted everywhere Eve is mentioned and is used so much, to describe so many games, it's as meaningless as the phrase "homepage".  Just a FYI, a "homepage" is where a browser goes when you click the little icon at the top of the window that is shaped like a house.  The ignorant masses had and still have no clue, that a homepage is not at all the same as a "main page" or the "index".

     But I digress, all the "cool kids", the zealots and fanboys, like to chant about "sandboxes", and they have no clue what a sandbox is - likely never even seen one let alone been in one, real or virtual.  A sandbox is all about the content that users CREATE.  Eve has far more mechanics than likely any game out there, and that completely controls the actions of the players.  Regardless of how creative Eve zealots think they are, they're all operating inside the game mechanics.  Doing pvp is governed by mechanics.  Building ships and stations is governed by mechanics.  WHERE you can build those things, is governed by mechanics.  No one has, or can, create some new ship, or market or station, or quest/mission.  You can only use what's there.  99% of what is going on in Eve is any different that anything that has or is going on in any one of scores of MMOs.

     Mouth-breathers, especially the F1 null sec types, seem to think an "open world" style of game design is "sandbox".  It isn't.  Eve is a space theme park, just like Guild Wars and WOW are fantasy theme parks.  While WOW has a far more linear style of play where you have to go to a certain area to start, and follow the quest lines before going to another area, etc.  Eve is open world like Guild Wars/RIFT/etc where you can go in any direction you like, and while you still have to follow a "leveling" progression to graduate to higher level ships, components, scan sites and missions/quests, you can go almost anywhere in the game and do it.  That's not "sandbox", that's open world.  The only sandbox part of Eve is all the ways that people can be assholes to each other, ways that would get players kicked out of any other MMO with far more players.  Null sec is no more sandbox than the open pvp zones of many other MMOs where you can claim territory and get bonuses and money for owning and controlling them.  Maybe calling Eve a "sandbox" somehow makes dullards, and the unimaginative F1 mashers feel good about their "creativity" by doing the same shit everyone else does. ?

     Real sandbox games?  Minecraft is one blazing example.  The basic, core game mechanics are there in the engine, and the players can do whatever they like with it, go anywhere in the game world, build anything they like, and mod the hell out of the game.  Two other prime examples of space based REAL sandbox games are Starmade and Space Engineers.  Both games allow you to build whatever ship, station, machine, weapon, etc you like, anywhere you like, looking and coloured any way you like, already doing many things that Eve has only promised for years.

Translation?  "I have no clue what a "sandbox" is, but I'm a special, mouth breathing snowflake playing Eve, so I'll parrot what every other F1 pusher says".  Eve is a space theme park.  Always has been.

- "Eve is not a game for solo players"  This is parroted mostly by the mouth breathing MINORITY in null sec who seem to think that being told where to go, when to go there and what to fly is somehow the most "fun" that anyone could have in Eve, and that everyone should play that way too.  Anyone who feels like thinking for themselves, and playing an open world game the way THEY individually decide to, is some how mentally flawed.  Apparently, they derive a lot of herd courage, herd intelligence (to whatever lacking extent) and a sense of cozy security knowing they can hide in a mass of players.

     Apparently, these deep thinkers haven't heard of any of the missions in Eve, just about exclusively which can be played as a single, solitary player/ship.  Apparently they also think they need to be in a herd of players to manufacture any item in game or to buy and sell at a market.  Researching, running scan sites, SOLO pvp, mining, wormhole spelunking, living in wormholes, running a POS, hanging out in an NPC corp, cloaky camping, ganking, etc.  Any of these activities can be done quite easily as a solo player.  So I guess in real terms, the actual translation is "I'm a bit of a mindless follower, so if I'm too lazy/stupid/mindless/scared to play a game other than in a herd of people, OBVIOUSLY, everyone is".

- "Eve is all about the end game, which is null sec"  Laughable.  So, this being the case, the reality of the game environment completely refutes this.  The last official report by CCP put null sec active accounts at 12% of the total in Eve.  If null is the end game like so FEW like to claim , 88% of the active accounts plainly demonstrate that idea is complete bullshit.  At any time, look at the starmap statistics, and where are the most kills, most logged in toons, the most player activity?  NOT nul sec.  There are vast numbers of accounts, (ignoring the active accounts information), that have been playing Eve for every bit as long as the mouth breathers in null, and they hang out exclusively in game space other than null.  Once again, for whatever reason, people decide to be a mindless F1 pushing drone in null sec, and they have decided that in order to justify that decision with a stupid claim that null is the end game.  Apparently, the coolest thing to do is be able to claim "I was there" as you sit in a 4 hour fight where you managed to hit the F1 button twice.  At the same time, if the "end game" is sitting in some null system, afk, while you're  alt-tabbed out playing WOT - the Eve end game is fucked.

     At the same time, apparently this "brilliant" claim is supposed to make other players sudden exclaim "OMG!  We've TOTALLY been playing Eve wrong!!" and then immediately move to null sec where the other "cool" players are, so they can be a mindless drone like the other 15% of the player base, and sit  there being a little renter puppet and be told how to play the game.  The translation?  "I wish more people were stupid enough to go hang out in a broken part of the game like I do, and be told how to have "fun" like a good little puppy.

- "Eve/DUST514 has hundreds of thousands/a million players"  Point of fact, it was "let slip" by a CSM member on a podcast in the late summer of 2012 that there were about 160,000 actual individual players, not "hundreds of thousands".  CCP has done little to renew any vim or vigor in the player base, so while there might have been a positive blip in the player base after DUST went live, according to Eve Offline, even with the latest "brilliant" uh . . . updates, the average player counts are well on their way to slipping back into peak 2008 numbers.  It's not a surprise that CCP tries to milk every last cent it can from the small player base, and they are zealous enough that they are quite willing to pay ludicrous amounts of money for a perma-beta game like Eve.

     Interesting thing?  The more the player base and subscriptions tank, the more "innovative" ways CCP finds to get people to buy/spend/use PLEX.  The latest of course being that players can now pay $45 a month per account, so they can ghost-train all the toons on each account if they like.  Another interesting thing?  Those daily player count number for Tranquility?  Yeah, that also INCLUDES DUST514 players.  So, taking the average ~3000 DUST bunnies (on a good day), the real Eve player numbers are even lower at sub 25k per day.

     Same for the DUST "stats" that fanboys and CCP like to spread around.  There is much talk on how many million characters there are, but again, good luck getting into a PUG group without waiting for a (short) 10 minutes.  DUST player activity has tanked and stayed that way since shortly after launch, meanwhile a game like Halo 4 is claimed to be "struggling" at a daily average of 30,000 players and Halo 3 at an average of over 100,000.  Other "old" FPS titles are also thoroughly trouncing DUST in interest levels.

     So, for "reals"?  "It would be nice if Eve and DUST had as many PLAYERS as accounts, and I could more easily maintain the myth that the games are thriving".

- "CCP can't fix <insert feature name here> or the GAME WILL EXPLODE!" (or something to that extent).  I call total bullshit on this.  Every time they don't want to be bothered to fix some busted chunk of the game, they pull this out.  Every time the players want the devs to work in a direction that they don't want to go, they pull this bullshit out.  If the feature that people are raging about is mostly already in their sights, then CCP might be motivated.   The more broken something is, the lazier CCP is about fixing it.  Having coded in another life, while there are sometimes many ways to skin a coded cat, there are still established methods for writing clean, tight, well commented/documented code.  Lazy people write sloppy, bloated and un-commented code.  Lazy coders with lazy/incompetent leads write terrible code.  Too bad CCP didn't have someone to oversee that process.  Oh wait!  That's what the fucking lead dev/programmer is for!  To make sure the coders work to a standard!  So, even if the code IS shitty, which I have no doubt a certain amount of it is (based on the way CCP does other shit), I still think it's a bullshit cop-out every time they don't want to do something USEFUL that the PLAYERS would like.  The real translation is "Fuck you, we're not interested in that right now, we want to make sure the fucking crap in the PLEX store is minimally passable so we can try to get players to pay MORE real money for it".

- "Eve is all about pvp and shooting people in the face".  Moron-speak.  Yeah, aside from, well, NINETY NINE fucking percent of the game, it's "all about pvp".  There are only small things like ALL the indy jobs, all the missions, all the scan sights, PI, the markets, ratting, incursions, and mining.  Huge, incomplete and generalized list.

     "But hey!  If it wasn't for blowing shit up, there wouldn't be any reason for the other things in the game!!"  Yeah, maybe for the indy side of things, and a few exploration site and rat drops, but then if it wasn't for all the non-pvp stuff, there would be nothing to blow up.  Now granted, you can claim ratting is pvp when two guys are going after the same rats.  You can claim incursions are pvp when two fleets are going in after the same site.  You can claim pvp is the market games as people try to undercut and outmaneuver other players.  You can even claim it's pvp when a coupe miner fleets are trying to out mine each other.  So, if you're really desperate, you can claim just about anything is pvp, even for the "carebears' that supposedly don't do it, but in reality, like so many other things in LIFE, it's a symbiosis of supply and demand.  Adults see and realize this, people with the mental maturity of a spoiled 7 year old do not.

     In the end, if there was no PVP, people would still be building shit, flying missions, running sites, and shit would be super cheap.  What the pvp mouth breathers don't get, and never will, is there are more people than them who just like to fly spaceships.  They're not trying to hide some kind of self esteem issues that a pvper has in real life, by being "the man" and blowing things up in a game, usually, preferably, someone/something outnumbered, unarmed, or both.  In the end, it's really "I'm too thick to see or understand anything beyond my own small view".

"The majority of players play in null sec"  For anyone but a mouth breather that has no clue how to operate the stats options of  of the starmap, this is one of the more stupid claims by the F1 heroes.  On pretty much any given day, null sec space is pretty much a ghost town while there is the typical huge flare of activity in faction war space and high sec.  Aside from a big, pre arranged battle, with no stakes involved, I am pretty sure that the 12% active account figure is even lower than 4 years ago, which could also be a big part of the reason why CCP quite with the annual reports.  Additionally, if the majority of players were already in null, why would CCP be trying so hard to give null players everything while nerfing the shit out of low and high sec?  The answer?  They wouldn't.  Every once in a while null produces some nice PR spin footage for CCP in some epic battle that amounts to little in the world of Eve, but that's it.  The real statement would be "Look how thick I am that I have no clue how to view the starmap stats, even though I'm one of the "elite" null sec players".

- "There are no low grade ores in null sec"  More bulllshit.  There is exponentially more ore in null, including veldspar and other low ends, but null sec players can't be bothered to mine it.  They claim it's not worth their time in isk/hour to mine it, and then at the same time claim that high sec miners are making too much isk, too easily.  Fact is that even ignoring the thousands and thousands of belts, with much higher yield and bigger roids, the easily upgradeable indy system levels can yield grav sites that produce 5 times the isk per hour that high sec players can get, and that is by mining EVERYTHING, not just the ABCs.  Fact is, the null sec players are too lazy, so they bring their ores in from high sec, while complaining about high sec, and build everything with that.  Lil Mittens has said multiple times that there is no reason to have any indy types in null, even though he talks about the farms and fields myth, because it's far easier to import everything from high sec where players get 20% of what a null sec player would get.

     At the same time, these mighty "elite" pvpers complain that they CAN'T do hard core mining in null because it attracts pvpers who come in and blow up their hulks.  Seems they don't like it when combat ships come in and blow up their unarmed indy ships.  REALLY?  Too bad you didn't take your own advice to high sec miners that get ganked when you say they need to a) dock up, b) get some other players to fly security patrols for them, or more often 3) harden the fuck up or go back to WOW.  Their hypocrisy is epic.  Fuckin whiners.

     They need not fear though, apparently CCP is thick enough to cater to every whim and whine from a very small portion of the game so the null sec players will get an ore boost whether it's needed or not.  It would seem though, that catering to a very small null sec player base is going to bite CCP in the ass, based on the latest promises of their indy "patch".  In real terms, "We're too fucking lazy, and arrogant, to mine all the ore that's available in null".

"Eve players aren't devs".  Nope, they aren't, but that doesn't mean the player doesn't have better insight into what Eve needs than the devs.  It's a "forest for the trees" kind of thing.  Does every mechanical engineer automatically become the world's best race car driver because they could design a car?  Is a person with a garden automatically the best cook?   Is a person that can cut down a tree the best choice for a carpenter?  There are millions of examples and while a person might be able to write code for a game, that is no different than a plumber or an electrician.  CCP has demonstrated time and again by their stupid fucking updates and by their own staff's comments, that they don't play Eve much at all, even though there's lots of bullshit talk claiming that just about everyone in CCP DOES play Eve.  They have no clue for the most part how their game mechanics interact with each other, and they are too arrogant to listen to people who do.  Any player who is extremely proficient or skilled at a certain aspect of play is going to be light years better at commenting on game dynamics compared to some chair jockey who pounds the keyboard all day on an isolated aspect of Eve code.  Every once in a while CCP gets their head out of their ass and hires someone like Fosi with a player-based insight on the game mechanics, but that is rare.  So, no, Eve players aren't devs but CCP and the players are pretty thick if they are narrow minded enough to think that a player can't know more about the game than a dis-connected dev.

"High sec players are risk averse"  This is what the pvpers with self esteem issues claim is the matter with any one who isn't desperately trying to show how much of a "man" they are by blowing up pixels.  Their personal validation issues prevent them from seeing, possibly ever, that there are people who are happy and content, with jobs that give them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, who just like to relax and fly around in a spaceship game.  The same mouth breathers that say stupid shit like this are also the ones who don't want to mine in null sec because their ships will get blown up, and they're also the same hypocrites who don't want to fly around in COMBAT ships with a "cloaky faggot" in their system because they might get hot dropped and blown up.  ??  Fucking really?!?!?  Big bad pvpers, looking for the "gudfights", supposedly, yet they whine about afk cloakers who might drop a cyno as they are flying around in their pvp ships.  Morons.  Obviously, they need to get a real job where they actually expend energy and feel like they've accomplished something in a day and feel like they matter to the world.  So, it's actually "I'm pretty much a loser in real life so if I can cast aspersions at someone else in a sad little video game, people might not notice that I'm a loser".

- "Eve is a social experiment - an ant farm"  Wow, I don't even know where to go with something as arrogant as that.  In other words "We have no fucking plan, no vision, and no fucking clue how the game's pieces interact with each other, so let's use "a social experiment" as a scapegoat if anyone asks".  What a fucking idiot.

Lastly, "Icelanders are cold, stoic people who find it hard to apologize".  I've been to Iceland, I know all kinds of Icelanders.  When I ask them about this "Icelandic stoic - find it hard to apologize" mentality, they ask me what the fuck I'm talking about.  If that's the prevailing attitude and environment up there at CCP, it's not really a surprise that 3 top CCP execs have tipped the fuck out recently.  What's actually going on is "I am an arrogant fuck who is convinced I know everything, and being Icelandic is just a convenient thing to blame that on".

     I'm still waiting for CCP to get their heads out of their ass and resub with 10 accounts.  I'm not holding my breath though.  The biggest problem with Eve is all these bullshit myths about what it is.  Before any problems will ever get fixed, players and devs need to get their heads out of their asses and acknowledge the problems in the first place.  The balance and game issues are primarily player generated by the way they've decided to play in null and low sec.  All the changes aren't going to solve a thing unless CCP first admits what the problems are, listen to help when and where needed, and then comes up with game mechanics that prevent players from making the game boring and toxic to millions of gamers.  They nerfed moon goo to break up the coalitions and monopolies in null, and all that happened was renters got turned into the new moon goo.  It's still fucked with a big blue snooze fest that's spouting all the same tired rhetoric, and more, that I listed above.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Same 'ol same 'ol

Back in Mar '13 I think, CCP came out with one of their typical "broken" patches and memory and CPU usage just about doubled on my machine.  Previously, I could run ten clients, have a couple reference we pages up, and be listening to mp3s or a podcast at the same time.  After their patch, I couldn't run five clients by themselves without the machine seriously chugging.  I reported the problems on the shit-show Eve-O forums, along with others having the same issues (not to mention all the other shit CCP broke) but after a few more patches they were doing nothing about it except fixing bullshit like t-shirt and tie graphics, so fuck em, I let all 10 accounts lapse.

With the idea that I might give it a shot if CCP ever got their shit together, I left enough plex and isk to run all the accounts for a couple months.  Time has gone by, and I have little urge to play, and CCP seems to have learned little.  Players are still raging, subscriptions are still apparently comatose, daily player counts are still dropping (even though they are now adding dust players to the online player count), the blue donut went from moon goo farming to renter farming and no fields and farming at all, lots of gud-fights/big fights but no "real fights" where new organizations get to play in big-boy null without sucking off CFC first for permission.  Lots of ship changes, UI changes, industry and finance changes that favour null, and daily player counts still tank.  CCP has cleverly found another way to get more money out of the zealots by "allowing" subscribers to not just pay fifteen bucks a month per account, but FORTY FIVE dollars a month per account for the "privilege" of ghost training your other two toons AND CCP is once again/still using Eve players to fund other projects that they hope won't die like White Wolf - aka Valkyrie.  CSM had a reduced turnout for the vote, and this one is projected to have even lower voter turnout because apparently players are starting to think/see/believe that the CSM is more a PR project than a player representative body.  not a surprise. Yawn.

Some stub articles that I started are still relevant even with all the changes and a year going by.  Pretty lame and obviously CCP has learned little.  Mind you, how is that a surprise when players having been saying exactly that for more years than I have been playing.  More to follow though.