Stories
Sunrise Aigele

There is a regular piety shared widely among Eve players. It says that the big battles and other large-scale player-generated content are the only real content in the game, because it is the only content the press will report on. This is not only an unusual logic, given the well-established bias of the media toward the sensational and the violent, it paints a wildly distorted view both of the game and of what is good for it.

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Kings, Not Emperors
Duncan Ringill

rome1We were overdue for a threadnaught, and CCP Greyscale delivers in the form of the proposed jump drive changes.

Null-security space is stagnant, he tells us, as though we didn’t already know that, and he is beginning with a giant step (or the opposite of one, really).  The addition of jump fatigue and cooldown timers will seriously slow force projection.  The goal is to make the enormous, headline-making battles less feasible and less well-attended, the theory concluding that EVE will be more interesting.  Surely this will be the case.

Imagine a Roman Empire suddenly lacking in those fantastic tools of conquest, the roads.  Legions less able to cover ground rapidly are less able to enforce Imperial law in the provinces.  Imperial might and the myth of its divine origin lose the ability to awe the citizenry, conquered peoples and rival empires.  An empire built on military might–as they all are–weakens and eventually crumbles.

Other CCP plans will affect sovereignty in many ways, but even a hisec bear such as I can foresee a nigh-inevitable end to the era of the Space Emperor.  At the very least, additional Doughnut resources (time and ISK) will be taken up in logistical planning, strategy and diplomacy.  I don’t know whether the jump-drive nerf must necessarily spell the demise of CFC, but it’s going to make for hella interesting behind-the-scenes sov struggles.  CCP is tuning our EVE experience.

What if the moods, health and welfare of your neighboring friends and enemies suddenly became more important than the edicts handed down from a distant Doughnut Throne?  What happens when the Gauls begin to feel more Gallic than Roman?

War.  That’s what happens.

The result?  Maps redrawn.  The destabilization of nullsec through some sort of nerf to force projection is the sort of thing I’ve predicted and hoped for (without having had a clue as to how to accomplish it), for the sake of GrrGoons as well as for the rest of us.  Their wars will be less CPU-throttlingly spectacular, less exercises in Teamspeak endurance than grand strategy and rapidly-evolving tactics.  The Art of War more than War Gratia War.  Null governors, de facto kings owing less fealty to an Emperor, will be seizing, trading and squabbling over renters, capital ships and moons they once shared.

NBSI will evolve into NRDS. Alliances will split from coalitions and corps from alliances.  Toons will leave null to be replaced by others drawn by the new face of war in New Eden.  The wily old Space Emperor will clutch at power, alienating some alliances to gain or retain others.  Dogs and cats living together! Turnover is what we’re talking about, turnover and interesting war.  More battles and more FCs.

Hope the Space Emperor is up to the challenge.  He’ll be playing a new game, as will everyone else.  I don’t want to see CFC destroyed, mind you; I want to see them earn their legend, and earn it again every goddamned day–or make way for those who will.  Their forum swagger will become more than empty bluster, as will that of their new rivals.  More who-the-hell-are-these-guys will be seen in Local.

There will be battle reports I’ll actually read.  Thanks, CCP.  I believe you’ve figured out how to think big by thinking small.  Great idea.

Or Help to Half-a-Crown
Duncan Ringill

I could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.    –Jane Austen

 

drama1Summerstock theater takes its name from the season in which it runs.  Why is it not acted during the school year?  Too much else going on, of course.  Summer theater has a reputation for being uncool and inept.

Does that describe (the Northern Hemisphere’s) EVE summers?  Not much going on where you are in the game?  Peace declarations getting you down?

No worries.  Ours is a game of Internet spaceships, and Internet means drama.  Where there is none, we will create it.  Where there is any extant, we will nurture it into full flower, whence cometh the turgid little morality play known as Gamergate.

Mabrick takes NoizyGamer to task elegantly, not for bringing it up, but for caring about the Wrong Thing.  Me?  I’d only heard bits and pieces, and had already written the matter off, as Nosy does, as a teapot-encased Tempest Fleet Issue.  My own prejudices were confirmed as I stepped out into that particular cesspool for the first time today.  The plaintiff begins his case with a great show of concern for trust in the community rather than as a rant against a jilting ex-lover, then goes on to offer little more than the aforementioned rant and a lot of privileged conversations.  Neither party comes off well.

Whatever the Internet makes of this is not going to be pretty.  No doubt I’m more than fashionably late to this party, and the stank is already into the Web’s air conditioning.  It’ll be there for them as wants it.

silos1Mabrick is hunting other prey today, however.  A nice man-he-killed detour through Remarque reminds us to poke our heads up, prairie-doglike, from our respective silos, and see things from multiple viewpoints.  ‘Kay.  Sure you want to do that?  The blogosphere is a bunch of people, real though they be, blindly feeling their way toward a description of the elephant in the living room.  Tweet!  Illegal mixing of metaphors–fifteen yards!

Listen to them all, suggests Mabrick, if you would approach the truth.  I won’t doubt him; I would only question the wisdom of diving deeply into every online melodrama.  Sometimes–most times–the rot is external to you, and not worth a figurative missile launch, much less a thoroughly researched one.

The stink gets on you and into you.  Sometimes one helps one’s fellow man best by utterly ignoring his follies.

Never the Twain Shall Meet
Duncan Ringill

trains01A bridge between Tranquility and Serentity?  Chinese players able to interact with those in other countries?  That a theme Art has touched on, and he hits it again this week.

It’s an idea to fire the imagination, and perhaps the coolest notion of all is that of new (to us) players chattering in an alien language in some of the same comm channels.  Yeah, I can see why this is desirable; cross-pollination has to be a good thing, right?

‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, all right.  World gamers getting to know their Chinese counterparts couldn’t help but defuse the international tensions willfully (or otherwise) deepened and prolonged by the current segregation.

Well, if it happens, it’s not going to be accomplished by CCP.  Standing between us Tranquilitarians and the Chinese is The Great Firewall, a technological and political barrier that we barbarians are not going to be allowed to scale anytime soon.  It’s unfortunate, but Chinese authorities are not going to permit ISK transactions and uncensored chat.  Heck, we’d be lucky to be able to pass EVEmail back and forth; forum wars and ISK trading aren’t about to happen, either.

The barrier’s not insurmountable, but CCP isn’t going to tear down this wall.  Even if they had the permission from the People’s Republic, there would remain a last hurdle: sharding.

Chinese players on Serenity aren’t playing in different space; they’re on a clone of the universe we inhabit.  Serenity, like Singularity, is filled with the same star systems we see on Tranquility, with (presumably) the same divisions among hi-sec, losec, null and w-space.  As amusing as it would be to watch an attempted merger of CFC sov with its Chinese counterparts, that’s not a task CCP is going to undertake.

Did I say that was the final hurdle?  Strike that.  The ultimate concern is budgetary.  The desirability of international brotherhood aside, there ain’t no money for trying to merge what was sharded by design.  The new space to which our player-owned stargates will bridge us is not going to be on Serenity–not until the government of China changes.  Or changes its mind.

Pull Up to the Bumper (Musclemix)
Duncan Ringill

Ask your grandparents

Much was made earlier in the year of a long-term dev scheme to push high-sec players out into low and null.  CCP knows that players who play together tend to subscribe longer, so space that more or less forces lone wolves to band together must have sounded like a good idea.

Applause/boos greeted it, because this is EVE.

I think that my dim view of the plan was based on instant resentment toward being pushed anywhere.  Who the hell is CCP to tell me how to play?  The hell with that!  I’ll plant my happy ass so deep in a high-sec station that there’ll be buy orders put in on it, thank you very much.

The recent tweaks of minerals and industry no doubt began the process, but what do I care?  I haven’t mined anything in over a year, and I don’t manufacture.  No, the first manifestation of which I’m taking note is the announcement of the Burner missions coming in Hyperion.

These will be L4 security missions, popping up randomly in rotation with the familiar PvE content.  Each will pit a capsuleer against a single frigate-clad NPC who will be using PvP tactics and modules,  That does sound cool.  Baby’s First PvP!  Or it would be, if this were happening in L1-3 missions, too.  Why the heck isn’t that the case? 

As odd as the implementation might be, I can dig it.  This doesn’t smell as much like a push as it does a pull.  Try this soupçon of PvP, says CCP, and if you like it you know where to find more.  In the meantime, it’s free training (plus loot) in how not to panic when scrammed by a frigate–and in how to plan for it.  Become a better pilot, ready for whatever the next step might be.