Tag Archives: blog banter

The Root of All Kinds of Evil – BB58

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (New International Version Bible)

The latest blog banter is about money.  We are invited to comment on the SOMERBLink drama, RMT (real money transactions), monetizing services, offsetting costs, selling goods, requesting donations, EVE events, and converting PLEX into cash.

Gone are the simple days of playing games simply for fun.  Games and gaming are now huge business.  They have “journalists” and fan sites and major conventions and merchandise and movies and IPOs and spinoffs and in-game monetization and third-party services and in-game services and “gold making guides” and blah blah blah.

I suppose it is an interesting phenomenon.  Harvard Business School will probably do a case study on the rise of The Mittani someday (if they haven’t already).  As games have gotten more complex (and interesting), it has fueled the rise of gaming blogs and guides and services that are external to the game company itself.  In fact, most of the guides done by passionate players are orders of magnitude better than the guides provided by the company.  Personally, I like this.  It adds to the richness of the game and the gaming community.  EVE has been at the forefront of this.  Given its relatively small size (compared to say World of Warcraft), EVE has a huge meta footprint in gaming blogs, sites, guides, services, etc.  EVE has also pioneered the use of PLEX as a company controlled way of buying in-game currency without destroying the game.  I think EVE is richer and better because of PLEX and certainly it helps CCP’s bottom line.  This is not easily done.  Diablo III’s auction house as designed by Blizzard pretty much ruined the game and was eventually removed.

EVE as a game is designed around both pvp and a market economy.  Everything in the game is designed to be built and destroyed and rebuilt (with only a few exceptions).  The complex nature of this lends itself to specialization and niche businesses.  Things like courier companies (Red Frog, Push-X)  and clone services (Estel Arador Corp Services) come to mind.  Things like that don’t really exist in other games..

So what does all this have to do with money?  Well, here is my simple opinion.  In-game actions and services should be paid with in-game currency (ISK).  Out-of-game actions and services should be paid with out-of-game currency.  When there are entities that have large dealings in both in-game and out-of-game actions, then they need to be closely monitored by CCP.

Examples:

Website services:  Out-of-game compensation.  If it is a high-traffic site, it should sell ads (including to EVE), get an EVE referral bonus, and possibly get some support/compensation from CCP if it fits with their engagement strategy.  I think it should be able to accept monetary donations (however, if this entity and associated accounts have a ton of ISK, they would need to be monitored to be sure they are not giving out ISK in return for donations).

Blog about EVE:   Out-of-game compensation.  I think the CCP compensation of one paid account is sufficient for a fan site.

Running an in-game event:  In-game compensation.  I think CCP should use reward/prize ships for those that run useful and successful in-game events.

EVE “Journalism”:  If the site meets the requirements of the “Website Services” above then those that write for the site should receive out-of-game compensation (ETC’s for articles, etc).  I don’t think they should be paid directly in ISK.

Bookmarking Service:  In-game compensation.  The bookmarkers should be paid in ISK by those that use their services.

PVP training:  In-game compensation.    The trainers should be paid in ISK by those that get the training.

New Player Training Corporations (EVE University):  Primarily in-game compensation.  CCP should provide in-game assets and support to corporations that support the new player experience.

Gambling “Services”:  This one is a mess.  I know that they are gambling with ISK, but they are using an out of game resource to do it.  If I were CCP, I would stay away from this one.  It generates limited in-game content and is ripe for scams.  I would certainly no provide it with in-game resources and I would closely monitor it since it is likely to have large dealings in both in-game and out-of-game activities.

EVE RL Events and Gatherings: I think CCP should support the hosts of these events with out-of-game resources and compensations if the event meets CCP’s marketing/recruitment goals.   I think CCP could support the attendees with token in-game resources as door prizes.

I don’t think that PLEX should ever be able to be converted into cash.  Directly or indirectly.

Personally, I like to keep my recreation activities and my work completely separate.  I also value being able to walk away at anytime.  I have no aspirations of ever making money in EVE.  I am an adult with a career and I don’t have much interest in trying to make money off my hobbies.  I think once money starts getting mixed in, all kinds of bad stuff happens.  On the flip side “all kinds of bad stuff” being possible is one of EVE’s selling points.  And I know there are many gamers who consider “going pro” and supporting themselves by their gaming habit to be the ultimate success.  I am just not one of them.

I think that once it starts to be a way for you to make money, it is more about the business than about the game and the game itself is corrupted for you.

 

 

 

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Learning to Fit Ships – BB57

The latest Blog Banter is up and I am going to participate.

The gist of it is: How can players learn (or be taught) to fit ships correctly – and what exactly does it mean to fit them correctly?

Lots of players and forums and sites get a big kick out of mocking badly fit ships in EVE.  Some corporations will even use this as a reason to boot players (supposedly).

I have flown (and still fly) ships that would probably get me mocked on killboards.  In fact, I tried a fit just a few days ago that was pretty bad.  Not only was it bad, but I even used it on new content at a warpable location in Lowsec.  But I used it because that is all I could cobble together with what I had in the area.

Anyway, I suspect lots of Eve players have used a few suboptimal (or even downright embarrassing) fits over the course of their playing careers.  So the first thing that I want to emphasize is the commonality.

Now I suppose there are different degrees of bad fits.  Some fits are actually fine – if you fly them correctly.  Some fits are correct for certain content, but fail in other content.  And some fits are pretty much bad at everything.

I think that part of the problem is that Eve is very different from other MMO’s when it comes to fitting ships.  For one thing, it is pretty common in other MMO’s to leave slots blank – especially early on.  You might have a sword and breastplate, but you might not be able to use a helmet or perhaps rings or whatever until you reach a certain level.  Or you might not be able to “enchant” your gear until a certain level.  But in Eve, empty slots are pretty much wrong.  You may occasionally leave a high slot open, but mid and low slots should ALWAYS have something.  However, this is not intuitive.  Rigs slots are not intuitive.  Knowing how tanking works and the different types of tanks is not intuitive.  This is further hurt by the fact that the only way to see how a module will perform on your ship is to buy it and equip it.  And if it is an active module, you have to undock and activate it to see how your stats are affected.

Now if you know how/where to find the out of game fitting tools, you can solve some of those problems.  But a new player isn’t going to look for out of game tools so he is automatically at a disadvantage.

And even if you use an out of game fitting tool, you can still get into a bit of trouble.  When I first played Eve, I thought of my weapons as “spells”.  So I thought I wanted to have some long-range “spells” for primary use with a short-range one as back-up.  From the perspective of another MMO, this made sense.  However, in EVE you pretty much never want to mix weapon systems.  You want all of your weapons to be focused on the same range and then fight at that range.

In other MMO’s, choosing talents/abilities/spells occasionally requires some out of game calculator or modeling tool.  But you can rarely make the level of bad choices that you can make in Eve.

None of this is particularly helpful to the new player.  Eve pretty much requires the player to do out of game research and read guides and using fitting tools.  That is fairly common to complex gaming these days and to some degree, that is part of the charm of Eve.  It is a complex game and it rewards those who enjoy learning its complexities.  There are always new things to learn and new ways to apply them.  That is probably what I enjoy most about it and it is one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place.

I also like to read blogs about games.  I like to read guides and learn tips and tricks.  In order for that to happen, the game and the varieties of fitting have to be complex enough to make writing about it worthwhile.  Reading about fits on other blogs – especially the why of the fit is one of my favorite things.  I will definitely miss Jester’s Fit of the Week.

Anyway, to sum of a rambling blog banter:

1.  We all making fitting mistakes.

2.  The game needs a better in-game fitting tool.

3.  Your perception from other games affects how you try to fit ships in Eve.

4.  Fitting ships is one of the most interesting aspects of Eve and is a great way to discuss and promote the game.

 

 

The EVE of the Future

This is loosely inspired by latest Blog Blanter.  You can read more about it at at the Blog Banter page.  As far as actually answering the BB question, Kirith Kodachi’s “Limit” post is quite good. 

(Also, he featured one of my blog posts on his most recent podcast.  For that, he has my thanks – although listening to someone read part of one of your blog posts is a singularly weird experience.)

I am an extremely casual EVE player.  Yes, I know I blog about it, but I don’t really have a lot invested in the game.  I have a single account.  I have never joined any player corporations other than to use a jump clone service.  None of my RL friends are currently playing. I have paid for my game time with PLEX for all but a few months at the beginning.  I am playing a fair bit right now, but I played very little over the summer and who knows when RL will take over again.

Having said that, obviously I like the game.   I like that it lets me play my way, that it allows for a variety of social interaction, and that it allows for creative play.  It IS fun to read about.  It is also fun to plan, to try things, to see if they work out.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  With all this, it still manages to be a visceral game.  It has a real sense of gain or loss.  It’s PVP can give you The Shakes!  But at the end of the day, it is just a game.  I consider it a pleasant distraction.

I don’t worry about being “Nerf proof”.  If my current playstyle stops being fun due to some game change, then I can adopt another playstyle.**  The HML door closed – the HAM door opened.  If I don’t have the Skillpoints for it, I can take a break to train or easily buy a character that fits the bill.

And so I don’t worry too much about the future of the game.  I am curious about it, and I suppose it is interesting to guess, but EVE just isn’t real enough for me to agonize over where it is going.

Besides, something can sound good and still not play out well.  Alternatively, it can sound awful and still be fun.  Sometimes it just depends on your attitude.

For CCP’s part, I think that as long as EVE keeps generating interesting stories it will maintain an adequate subscriber base.  It probably will never grow to a massive subscriber base for reasons Kirith Kodachi’s post describes.  CCP’s growth will have to come from other games like Valkyrie.

And as long as I have time and can find interesting things to do, I will keep playing it.

**As an aside: The angst that I see on the forums about the smallest of changes is crazy. I honestly don’t know how CCP deals with it all the time. You develop a thick skin, I suppose.

BB 51 – The Shakes

the shakes

Blog Banter 51

“EVE Online can be a game of heart-pounding, palm-sweating, adrenaline-fuelled ecstasy or agony. Sometimes over the years those reactions dim and what was once a panic inducing situation becomes commonplace routine. For some, the shakes never go away.

From Druur Monakh (Twitter: @DruurMonakh) we get the topic of this banter: what was your most nail-biting experience in EVE Online so far? It could be PvP in a 1v1 or 1000v1000, your first fight or your latest one, a scam so close to being uncovered too soon, a trap almost sprung on an unsuspecting victim or the roles reversed and you desperately try to escape.”

This is a fun topic.  I think Eve is more visceral than a lot of games that I have played.  I definitely get the shakes, the increased heart-rate, and the pounding of adrenaline from certain situations in Eve.  It is one of the reasons that I play.  I also got it playing chess and those few moments before and after grabbing the flag in Warsong Gulch.  However, in Eve it is more frequent and I think it is because of 2 reasons: 1) Loss is real in Eve and 2) Losses are documented, reviewed, mocked, and analyzed.  Every loss is a potential Kill of the Week.

Oddly, I don’t really get it when I am attacked.  Even when I have a billion isk ship on the line, once I am attacked I just react the best I can and accept the consequences.  The only exception is a bit of an adrenaline spike if I happen to jump into a gate camp with 30+ ships around and drones all over the place.

I get the most adrenaline when I am the aggressor.  I don’t do this all that often, but when the opportunity presents itself, I get a major thrill sneaking up on other players.  A few weeks ago I saw 2 carriers on D-scan.  At first I assumed they were at a local tower, but after narrowing down the scan I saw that they weren’t.  I narrowed down their position using d-scan to about 2AU.  I then warped out of ranged and launched combat probes.  I was able to get warp-in with a single probing.  I recalled my probes and warped to the position at 70km (still cloaked).  I saw 2 carriers, a ton of wrecks on the field and no acceleration gate.  Doing an anomaly maybe?  If that was the case, I didn’t even need my probes.  In any case, both carriers warped away shortly after I arrived.  I was afraid they had seen my probes.  I was still deciding what to do next when a Noctis showed up.  I bookmarked an object near the Noctis and flew to another station outside of scan range to refit.  I thought maybe the other carrier was going to switch over to a guard ship, but he stayed on d-scan.  My heart was pounding as I warped in and stealthily approached the Noctis.  He was drawing in wrecks 3 at a time.  He had the field about 1/3 cleared when I got within 9km.

At this point I was seriously shaking.  I am in a Tengu and the other carrier is still on d-scan.  My risks are pretty low and I really should have waited for the Noctis to finish clearing the field, but I was so excited and pounding with adrenaline that I had to spring the trap.  I de-cloaked and activated dual warp disruptors and my sensor booster.  I waited out the 6-second delay and locked on.  I got him.  I fired my missiles and continued to approach.  He was dead within seconds and I let the pod go.  The way my heart was pounding it wasn’t even worth trying.  I scooped up my 60M isk of loot, shot the wreck and warped away.  At that point I had to cloak up and calm down.

I expect if I did this more often that the thrill would diminish somewhat.  Part of it is the unknown and part of it is the anticipation.  I have had it backfire on me when I activated modules at the wrong time are accidentally targeted a cargo container instead of the ship.  Probably I would do poorly at 1v1 PVP and I not committed enough to join a corps that does this all the time.  When I am ready to take a break from exploration I would like to give RvB a try to see if I still feel the thrill in cheap ships or large fleets.