The Rivals
Duncan Ringill

LOLCaps057

EVE=PvP is a charmingly limited view, and “villain” is as adorable a handle for a pretend destroyer of pretend spaceships as “teacher” is pretentious. (But go learn how to fly a Cynabal–good stuff there.)

PvP is a small subset of war, but I’ll happily grant Dex the pride of the infantry grunt invoking the favor of the Queen of Battle.  The officer corps has its own swagger, to be sure, and rightly so.  Nothing, however, matches the arrogance of the war profiteer who moves the chess pieces.  The masters making trillions off the efforts of PvPers like Dex do not spare a thought for his chimpanzee fun, as he in turn may care little for the grand games they play.

Standing to the side are the markets, whose warriors enjoy quieter conflict.  I can imagine racing hearts even there, though, as the combatants sift buy and sell orders to try to divine the hearts of their enemies.  The struggle for resources that is EVE is nowhere so exemplified as in the marketeers, for whom everything has a price.  The masters of war bow to the need for fun, but the economy rules all.

EVE is therefore more a trading game than it is a war game, and far more than it is a PvP game.  Spaceship combat is simply what gets Dex’ juices flowing these days, but rather than argue with his passion I’ll encourage him to wallow in it–because when we break it all down, there’s a secret depth that no one talks much about: we are the nascent gods of New Eden, indulging every whim to live larger than do the NPC inhabitants of this little universe.  To do, in a word, anything.

What EVE is really, really about is being awesome in any of a ton of possible careers.

Spoiled Rich Kids
Duncan Ringill

Ask your parents.

Ask your parents.

Art reminds us once again that one of EVE’s greatest potential strengths–its lore–lies rusting at the bottom of a corroded dev bucket.  It’s a vast yet unfinished science fiction universe underpinning the game we know and love, and yes, it’s also a source of frustration.  Why didn’t CCP get around to finishing it…or if they did, why didn’t they bother to set it in motion?

The answer, of course, is that that’s supposed to be our job.  We are the ones who invest hearts and minds into making all the space politics go.  NPCs, their corps and even their alliances are supposed to dance with us, fight us, and perhaps be bent to our will.

It’s been a colossal failure, hasn’t it?  Perhaps you’re having too much fun to have noticed.

The one thing NPCs have in common with each other is that they all have jobs.  Their behavior is oriented around activities that would further the economic or political interests of their bosses.  This is convenient for our player characters, because the NPCs can be counted on to be in certain places, doing certain things.

Time was, there would be news posted.  A bit of power would change hands here or there.  Sometimes it would be written around faction warfare or live events.  I never paid it much attention, because it didn’t seem to intersect with my game-play.  You see, I didn’t notice the gaping hole where lore should be, either, being too busy flying pretty spaceships with my friends.  Art seems to think this disconnect is potentially fatal.  Surely not.  Surely?  A decade ago, it was a marketing slogan; in what may be EVE’s twilight years I think it is a lost opportunity.

I didn’t need EVE to be any more than it was, and perhaps I still don’t.  I didn’t have a job, either, beyond the occasional mining ops with my crew.  In that respect, I am a little like the HTFUest pilots out there.  What fun there was to be had, I helped make, and I made it on my own terms, because I didn’t have a job.

While considering how my and Art’s points of view could be so similar and yet so different, I think I came up with a theory: capsuleers are not part of New Eden.  While some of us have jobs (shout-out to miners, faction warriors, DUSTies and industrialists everywhere), the socioeconomic background of the game doesn’t really touch most of us.  At all.  NPCs are busy working for a living 24/7.  Guess who that makes us?  That’s right; we are the spoiled rich kids driving the Rolls into the swimming pool.  We are the interchangeable Britneys and Shias, grabbing headlines for what amounts to less than nothing, unless a lot of ISK being destroyed or stolen counts.

Art’s already made the connection before, but the one thing that might cause us to reconsider the pool as parking is standings.  Without some responsibility to NPCs (beyond a few crabby agents), we are rootless inhabitants of the playground the working folks have to live in.  Standings are what could force us to engage with the opinions of non-capsuleers and thereby become citizens of New Eden rather than its vacationing assholes.

Give us standings, CCP!  Give our standings hits and buffs when we interact with your myriad NPCs.  Make those standings matter.  Make it expensive to live beyond the law; make it less remunerative to operate within empires, and make the back-and-forth between these spaces be difficult to cross at a whim.  Make the CFC (along with perhaps all PC and NPC sovereignty) a de facto empire; they’ve long since earned that status, and while you’re at it sov that can shelter carebears in relative safety need not give up as much loot as the wilder spaces.

That crew I just lost came aboard my battlecruiser in a station, where people still remember them and who may resent my stewardship.  I might be able to buy a replacement ship in that station, but it will come at a cost, and my next crew’s loyalty will also be expensive.  Where are the colonies and outposts who could use a helping hand from a capsuleer, and who will remember his or her name after a service done them?  Should I be able to run for political office on Luminaire, leveraging my standings from the war into a lucrative income or a place at a strategy table?

Come on, CCP!  Reward daring and ingenious players by working them into the lore.  They belong on the screen in my CQ, not just on a statue in the parking lot.  Let them drag NPC corps into their schemes.  Make governments take notice or take flight.

That’s how to make your lore live, breathe, shout, fight, shit and fuck.  Maybe it will even feature in a real-world news story someday.

Cheesecake In Space #1
Duncan Ringill

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My EVE experience has always been about the pretty.  From hulls to starscapes, I want to see, feel and smell the game’s textures.  I’ve called EVE space opera, and nowhere is this more obvious than in its primitive astrophysics, which takes Newton and stuffs his laws of motion where the lens flares don’t shine.  Planets and moons hang there like toys, but toys rendered in precise detail.  The nebulae overpower objects that in a real universe would be much brighter.  Some planets appear only indirectly lit by their stars.

I thought I’d dig out screenshots from my past, so let’s start this show with the very first one in my current computer.  Two years ago, I was still pretty new in New Eden.  I was just learning combat, and as Duncan I was training up some industrial hauling skills to supplement our mining.  Here’s Suz bringing a POS online while I arrive with a load of fuel.  Did you know that the Mammoth is camouflaged for Min-space?  Neither did I.

CSM8 Town Hall 16 June
Duncan Ringill

Speak now or forever grit your teeth:

The 8th Council of Stellar Management (CSM8) will be holding its first Town Hall on June 16 at 1900 EVE time. This is an excellent opportunity to speak with your elected representatives to CCP on matters that you feel are important in New Eden. CSM8 is working in cooperation with EVE University and EVE Radio to provide an interactive session where you can listen, ask questions, learn about what the latest CSM is up to.

The focus of this particular Town Hall will be player reactions to the Odyssey expansion, suggestions for topics for us to take to the first CSM/CCP Summit, any final questions about the CSM8 election cycle, and of course, general questions from EVE players on any topic they desire.

More Ship Rebalancing in Retribution 1.1 Release
Duncan Ringill

Changes inbound February 19th!  The Hurricane’s seventh high slot is dead. 🙁

The Hurricane has long enjoyed a position on top of the Battlecruiser heap, as one of the most popular PVP vessels in New Eden. The combination of high speed, strong and easily applied damage, and room for excellent capacitor warfare has made the Hurricane a default choice for many PVP activities. It received one change in the Retribution expansion that reduced available powergrid alongside a reduction of the powergrid need of artillery, so the changes being made in 1.1 can be relatively simple.

The Hurricane is losing a high slot that had often held an energy neutralizer, leaving it with one utility high. It is also facing a slight reduction in hitpoints, and an increase in mass that will slow down align times by two tenths of a second. These changes should leave the Hurricane as a strong peer to the other members of the Combat Battlecruiser class, compared to its previously dominant position.

That seventh slot let me fit a second missile launcher in addition to six T2 autocannons.  I suppose it won’t affect my ArtyCane, which could only support a single launcher.

Less Panel, More Info
Duncan Ringill

The devs are having at the HUD, creating what they call Info Panels to display useful information more efficiently, efficiency being defined according to screen real estate.  Along the way, they’ve made autopiloting more intelligent and given us a gorgeous map (above) to give us a sense of where we’re going and how far:

Another neat new feature, which is toggled through the new autopilot settings menu by selecting “Show route path in space”, will reveal one of our best kept secrets; the stars in the space scene nebula actually represent the solar systems of New Eden. By plotting the route in space you’ll feel more like you’re actually travelling through space while burning up your route, rather than just appearing at arbitrary locations. In the near future we’re hoping to add some neat stuff to this feature such as making the stars interactive.