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.

Fimbulvetr
Duncan Ringill

Mittani may have evolved as far beyond actually logging into EVE as the rest of us have beyond ants, but here he is offering a view from his altitude of the NPE that matches up well with the experiences of mere immortals: namely, that EVE’s NPE sucks and always has.  With entertaining hyperbole (the tutorials aren’t really bad IMO; they just need a lot more context), he even makes his case clearly and convincingly.  Only Nixon can go to China, it seems.

A newbie zone, huh?  Yeah, it’s a no-brainer and an old one at that, but perhaps only the man who indirectly put the T in HTFU can come right out and say it on his website, and now that he has, gunfighters from all over CFC can begin to admit to seeing wisdom in the idea.  A good scheme doesn’t become bad just because CFC wants it, after all.  Any jerk can float an opinion, and I’ll be no exception, doggone it.

He may still be thinking too small.  He’s careful only to propose setting aside a chunk of that mysterious new space, and to bar any but new players from it, so that CCP would do all the hand-holding there (and so that naysayers can’t accuse him of wanting to make hisec safer).  Such economy is to be admired, as would be any clever EVE propagandists who stood waiting just outside the zone to recruit the new and presumably more skilled and confident class of capsuleers.  If Jove-space is furthermore only going to connect to low (rumored), Mittani’s proposal makes even more sense for CFC.

Can CCP unbend, though, and scrape together the resources to make something like this happen?  Even the coldest, harshest heart on staff ought to be warming to the thought right about now.  Why not design a universe where fewer players quit in frustration in the first month?  Why not prep those same players a little more thoroughly for corporate play and the sort of social experience CCP says it wants?

A Mittani as a player of the larger game necessarily sees new capsuleers as a crop to be harvested.  It’s not surprising that he would advocate for carefully-tended fields surrounded by the tallest of fences, watered by the gentlest of killmails and fertilized with ISK or ship replacements, all paid for by CCP.  What megacorp doesn’t dream of subsidies, and won’t lobby for them?  In retrospect, we should be surprised only that it’s taken this long.

Me, I’ll still advocate for perfect-sec systems in existing 1.0 and perhaps elsewhere, connected to minor trade hubs.  There’s no need to tie up the new space when the game begins here in high…unless CCP really does want to nudge everyone toward low and null.  If that’s the case, I would happily share.  Let n00b-space connect to all five other types (holla at my w-space peeps), so that the adventurous player fresh out of the tutorials can easily move in any of those directions when the training wheels come off.  Mittani has spoken, and I agree.

Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

Testing EVE Online’s graphics with ‘EVE Probe’
Duncan Ringill

Coming this summer, a way for CCP to sniff and analyze your EVE experience on your computer:

EVE Probe plays back animated scenes using the very same graphics engine as the EVE client, but everything is deterministic and not dependent on player input. When it is ready, we will offer it for download so you can run it on your machine – with your graphics hardware and your exact configuration. EVE Probe then gathers performance data, such as frame times and memory usage and sends that back to our server, along with your machine specs and display settings. This gives us valuable feedback on the performance of our engine on a much wider variety of computer configurations than we could ever hope to cover in-house.

Note that this data is sent anonymously and we don’t collect any data that could be used to identify any individuals – all we care about are the machine specs.