Saturday, January 30, 2010

EVE Blog Banter - The Heart and Soul of EVE

Welcome to this special installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic.

Complexity. Intrigue. Humanity.

When thinking about what I love about EVE, I can reduce the myriad awesome details down to several key principles. The depth of gameplay and variety of approaches to utilizing the sandbox creates opportunity for constant development and learning. Whenever a particular role becomes stale, one can jump into a new experience and explore what that has to offer. Missioning, trading, pirating, developing Sov Space, exploration, industry, mining, fleet warfare, and mercenary ops are just some of the obvious EVE pastimes. Drilling down into any role, the depth is almost overwhelming. One has to learn what ships to use, how to use them, how to fit them, and how to work with others most efficiently in a given role. Options range from playing an integrated role in group ops to multiboxing solo play. Given CCP's strong commitment to ongoing development, new options are constantly on the horizon bringing new challenges and new opportunities. The player run market pulses with aggression and beckoning opportunity. The ever-present degrees of risk in EVE require thought and planning to minimize losses. Engaging with this intensity and complexity is intellectually engaging and emotionally satisfying.

New Eden feels alive, vital, and expansive. Far more than the lurking pirate rats or Sleeper drones, it is the primal game of hunting and being hunted that breathes energy into the experience. Whether it is jockeying for market dominance or taking steps to minimize pirate predation, the ever present intrigue always influences time in New Eden. Gifted players take this to amazing heights orchestrating spy rings, disinformation campaigns, subterfuge, scams and campaigns based on revenge, political machinations, or pure opportunistic exploitation. Occupying a world with such nefarious Machiavellian processes makes trust the most valuable commodity in the game. Trust is also the most risky and dangerous vulnerability to any project in New Eden. This dynamic tension creates massive drama as an emergent process. For those with the mind to observe and utilize these forces, great works are possible.

While the first two principles of complexity and intrigue set the stage, it is the humanity that truly keeps me engaged with EVE. The communities that form both in and out of game provide a seamless interpersonal experience that is rich and entertaining. The EVE Bloggers, forums, websites and Tweetfleet keep me connected to the game even when I am unable to actually log in. The passion that these players bring to their creative expressions is inspiring. The extended community of external developers gives us great tools for maximizing our EVE time and effectiveness while keeping us engaged in planning and plotting. The most intense human aspect of EVE comes from collaboration with other pilots in cooperative projects. Whether working keep a corp functional and relevent, or joining a movement like Hulkageddon, players set goals together and enjoy the ride. We come together to defend our space or to build our wallets up so that we can then jump into even deeper projects. Living in a C6 wormhole, holding Sovereignty in 0.0, and building capitol ships are examples of projects in EVE that require massive coordination and cooperation. While the griefers add intrigue to the space, it is the pilots that we enjoy flying and building with who provide the heart and soul of the EVE experience. I look forward to meeting many new friends while deepening the ones I have already made long into the future that comes rushing to New Eden one line of CCP code at a time!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goons Gone!

The 0.0 political game is getting truly insane! Fortress Delve is no longer Goony. IT is sweeping into Delve after Sov bills were not paid by GoonSwarm. -A- is taking over swathes of Querious. Systematic Chaos is moving on Period Basis.

Everyone is waiting to see where Goons set their sights after they regroup in Syndicate. If they decide to amuse themselves with another high sec jihad, it will likely even eclipse Hulkageddon!

The churn seems to be accelerating. I am enthralled by the ripples of complexity as human behavior is channeled into metagaming and exploding internet spaceships! Dominion lag is a downer, but I am overall delighted by the cataclysmic shake up out in null-sec.

A Machiavellian toast to War, Profits, Pew, and Politics!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drums of War

War is raging in null sec.  The NC is defending against a variety of attackers after the fall of Geminate, AAA and CVA are sparring over a high sec pipe, and IT alliance is settling into the areas once held by Pandemic Legion and Sons of Tangra.
No one can argue that Dominion didn't bring war to New Eden.  One can only speculate about whether IT will be challenging Goons for Delve, or turn their attention elsewhere as they consolidate in the west.  The churn is impressive. 
We still haven't seen a rise in smaller alliances as a strong trend after Dominion.  While 0.0 can now support much more player density, big fleet engagements continue to control the political map.  I don't think a small alliance can hold space without backing from a major PVP alliance at this time.  I am interested to see if there is a selective evolutionary pressure that will reward Alliances that pursue increased density and system development over time as this can provide significant income through taxation and station fees.  The problem is that in 0.0, it all boils down to how many skilled pilots you can muster in a fleet.  Filling space with PVE and Industrial players may make the corp ISK and keep the market stocked, but it also makes your space a big target.  You have to be able to shoot any non-blue who comes near your space if you want to utilize it.  Null sec is harsh.  It's the best place to be in EVE!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #14 - Frontier Living

Welcome to the fourteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The first banter of 2010 comes to us from the EVE Blog Father, CrazyKinux himself, who asks the following: As we begin another year in New Eden, ask yourselves "What Now?" What will I attempt next? What haven't I done so far in EVE? Was it out fear, funds, or knowledge? Have I always wanted to start my own corporation, but have never dared doing so? Is there a fledging mercenary waiting to come out of its shell? Or maybe an Industrialist? What steps and objectives will I set myself to accomplish in order to reach my ultimate goal for this year? EVE is what you make of it. So, what is it going to be for you?
2010 is the year of my move to 0.0 space.  While I actually moved right before Christmas 2009, I am now settling into null sec life.  I have smuggled Billions in BPOs and am working at helping supply the frontier market for the benefit of my corp and all other blues in our region.  I will be training Gallente PVP skills, finishing off T2 Ogres, T2 Hybrids, and learning to fly T2 Gallente Cruisers.
The opportunities that Dominion has brought to Sov space in 0.0 are immense.  Grav sites with huge mineral deposits will hopefully keep the minerals flowing to my buy orders to use for production.  I am also tempted to train for a Hulk so I can do some mining when I am not in the mood for more active play.  Keeping an eye out for 10/10 plexes and WH to invade also provides diversion and variety while utilizing my scanning skills from the WH months in 2009.  I will continue to smuggle datacores and other essentials from Empire as needed, providing adrenaline and requiring increased knowledge of possible routes through 0.0 with safes created to increase my safety.
Most importantly, my move to null sec is about developing my PVP skills for roaming gangs.  I can produce Incursus, Vexor, Thorax, Myrmidon, and Brutix hulls.  As long as I can procure minerals, I can keep myself in affordable ships for PVP.  I am very impressed with the leadership in my corp, GMSEC.  We are working out the details of existing in 0.0 as a renter corp, and trying to get our members trained to the special needs of occupying territory under a great power (Atlas).  Everything in my first EVE year set the stage for my move to 0.0, I am very excited to see where the future leads!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Plex time

EVE provided an amazing weekend for me in 0.0.  My corpmates had found a 10/10 plex site in our home system, but no-one online had been able to scan it fully down.  I tried in my trusty rigged, Sister's fitted Helios, but was stymied as I carry Sister's Combat probes, which only go down to 0.5AU.  (Incidentally, in months of living in a WH, I never had a problem locking 100% on a sig with my Sister's combat probes.)  Luckily, a corpmate loaned me some Sister's core probes and I eventually locked the site down to bookmark. Scanning a 10/10 plex is not an easy process, it makes me think it would be worth taking Astrometric Pinpointing and Rangefinding up to 4 or even 5.
After assembling a crew of Battleships with a Raven tank and multiple RR Domis, including mine, we started clearing the Plex.  CCP must have had an entertaining chuckle when they designed this particular plex.  From the warp in, we were about 100Km away from the first gate.  In PVE ships without propulsion mods, that is a slow haul.  We moved while clearing the room, which while slow wouldn't have been too bad. 
Unfortunately, a red fleet spiked into our system and we all had to warp back to the POS to prevent getting scanned down and ganked.  When the fleet moved on, we warped back to the plex and began slowboating back to the gate.  We made it to the third room and were 1/2 done there when the enemy fleet came back for blood.  This time, our PVP forces were activated and a general CTA was given to help camp a gate.  This meant that we BS mission runners had to warp over to the gate and join with our PVP fitted brethren.  While PVE fitted ships are not terribly effective, the extra firepower from 4 BS is always helpful in a close fight.  Just the drones from 2 Domis can do some serious damage.  The enemy fleet quickly left to find less defended hunting grounds, and we once again got ready to warp back to finish the plex.
Slogging through the gates twice before had been brutal, so we stopped at the POS and fitted afterburners to make the return trip slightly less painful.  While this weakened our tanking abilities a little, it seemed like a reasonable risk to avoid slowboating back to the last room.
Our time investment paid off greatly when we finished the plex.  My cut of the profits, not counting looting or salvaging came to over 500 million Isk!  That will keep me in PVP ships for quite awhile as long as I stick to Brutix or smaller T1 hulls.