28 March 2016

Enslaving false gamers

BB 73 -The Other Eve Game?
So soon(tm) we will have Eve Online, Valkyrie, Gunjack and the as yet untitled FPS to replace DUST514/Project Legion. Are we missing anything else? Are then any other games CCP should be looking into? Colony building simulators in the style of Sim City or Rimworld. Should it be on a grander scale link Civilisation or Stronghold Kingdoms. How about RTS games ala Command and Conquer. Survival games such as Rust? Planet based combat like World of Tanks? Would you like to see other game types expanding the Eve Universe or should CCP stick to what it knows?

For a long time CCP had a single title, EVE Online. As anyone with a half a clue knows it isn't the best idea for a company to rely on a single product to keep the lights on. CCP recognise this and over the years have tried to create new titles on par with EVE. World of Darkness never saw the light of day. Dust 514 will be cremated in six weeks. This leaves CCP with EVE as their main money maker. Valkyrie and Gunjack have yet to take off properly. I'll believe in the FPS replacement for Dust when I see it. Clearly CCP need more titles out there. The EVE universe is massive. There is potential to create just about any game genre and set it somewhere in New Eden.

For a long time I've been hearing that gaming is changing. There is a certain elitist mentality that says 'proper gamers' are the ones on PC, Playstation or Xbox. The people who play games on their tablet or phone aren't 'proper gamers'. I used to agree. As time has gone on I've realised that the games on tablets are still games regardless of the complexity, graphics quality or depth of gameplay. There are legions of people out there who don't want to sit at their PC and play EVE. Those people want to sit on their couch and dip into something simple for 20 minutes while waiting for something good to come on TV.

There are some aspects of EVE which would fit nicely into a tablet environment. Market Trading and the planet interface side of Planetary Interaction are two that spring to mind. Let's face it, how often do people doing either of those tasks actually put themselves at risk?

Space Empire Market Trader

Your aim is to make as much ISK as possible. You start in Jita 4-4 but can pay for transport to other stations. The transportation can either be cheap, slow and fulfilled by NPCs or more expensive contracts hopefully fulfilled by Capsuleers in New Eden. Buying and selling is against the same New Eden markets the rest of us use. Players could stay in a single station simply trading on the market there but the real riches are going to be buying in one location and selling in another.

There are positives for EVE itself. As these traders aren't looking to fit ships there will be less of the positive reinforcement of the trade hubs we see today. New hubs will gradually appear where there are many capsuleers.  In Jita itself, the increased number of traders will give rise to greater competition which could push prices down. A new career would appear in New Eden of 'taxi driver' as well as reinforcing the 'space trucker' role seen in corps like Red Frog. Finally, the 'score' in this game is the amount of ISK a player has. These players are all seeking to have the highest 'score' which gives this ISK-sink qualities.

Space Empire Factory Manager

You are an interplanetary factory manager. Your job is to maintain the production capacity of capsuleer installations around the universe. You are hired by capsuleers to keep their PI running at all times so they don't have to. Your score is the amount of ISK you earn. This is a true sink as there would be no way to return this to the economy.

Imagine never having to update your PI again. For a token ISK payment each of your planets goes into a pool of planets which require management. Random people on tablets will be shown your planet and update your extractors to find the best location for the extractor heads. They export the PI to the POCO if it's needed. All you need to do is fly your Epithal over there and collect it. Genius.

More games please

In case it isn't obvious I am all for CCP further exploiting the New Eden universe to create more titles. If these can be hooked into the live universe we all live in then even better. Even if they can't then I am all for more titles such as Valkyrie and Gunjack. It would just be nice if CCP could release it on hardware I already own.

21 March 2016

The Beautiful Game

EVE is 13 years old but she definitely doesn't show her age in the graphics.

18 March 2016

The Road to Discovery

A long time ago I gained a degree in a biological science. I really enjoyed the time I spend in the lab doing science stuff such as ELISA tests, PCR or running DNA though gel electrophoresis. Apart from one seasonal job as a government scientist I sadly never followed my studies up with a science career. Naturally I was rather pleased when I heard CCP were going to add a 'citizen science' feature into EVE. It sounded like something I could get my teeth into, time permitting.

Project Discovery lets you donate time to the real-world analysis of human proteins. In game it is masquerading as analysis of Drifter cells. There is a token payment of ISK which I would probably have loved to be receiving as a new player. On the first day I did 45 samples and ended up with about 2 million ISK in the bank. I have made a point of trying my best to analyse the samples. EVE being EVE, of course, there will be players out there simply burning through the images as rapidly as possible with little care for accuracy. This is a shame because what CCP and MMOS are trying to achieve is a fantastic thing. I really hope they have good statistical analysis going on in the background so we don't create a conduit for dumb, selfish EVE players to mess data up in the real world simply because they want to maximise the dreaded ISK per hour metric.

Spare time progress is slow

15 March 2016

Who watches the watchlist?

These people don't watch me :-(
After a false start the latest update of EVE was rolled out on Wednesday last week. A large number of changes were introduced in that update but the one I want to mention is the fundamental change to the watchlist feature.

For as long as I have been in New Eden we've been able to add contacts and tick a little box which also puts said contact on a 'watchlist'. From that moment on we are notified when that contact goes on and off line. For my first couple of years in New Eden this watchlist was solely used for tracking friends or people I wanted to get in contact with for some reason (e.g. a recruiter for a corp). When the little notification appeared I could convo the person to say hello.

Once I moved into wormholes the watchlist took on a whole more important role. With a local channel you can see when people log off by their name disappearing from the system when you know they can't have left any other way. In wormholes we don't have local so the watchlist filled that intel gap. With the watchlist we could easily see when a potential target had went offline. This let us know we could stop waiting for them to go do something where we could potentially kill them. Watching patterns of people logging on and off also gave a fairly accurate insight to which characters were alts of each other. If you see three characters log on and off within a few seconds it is a pretty safe bet they are all just one player.

In this regard, removing the watchlist is a rather large nerf to wormhole life. Now we won't be able to know with any accuracy if someone is cloaked up in a given system or actually logged off. We won't be able to watch an industrial ship head out to hisec and know whether he is just being really slow at coming back or if he logged out. We won't be able to add all the members of a small corp to instantly know when they come online, useful if we're doing bad things in their home system. Guess what though? I'm totally okay with all that.

To add someone to your watchlist all you needed was a character's name and you could find out instantly if they were online or not. You didn't even need to have seen them in space to know. There wasn't anything you could do to prevent others adding you to their watchlist either. It was perfect intel and it was free. There is no place in New Eden for that. One of the things I like about living in wormholes is the difficulty associated with acquiring information about your surroundings. It takes proper teamwork (or a ridiculous army of alts) to effectively scout your chains. With the removal of the watchlist the onus on good scouting just increased.

10 March 2016


At some point many months ago the pirate ghost sites were introduced to New Eden. As a wormholer I didn't really pay much attention to these new sites. The other night one of these pirate sites appeared in our home system, possibly for the first time ever, so we got a small hacking fleet together.

Now that right there is a pretty easy warning to be had. Even if you gloss over the running-together of "above" and "board" it is fairly clear the Serpentis don't want us warping to the site. So, what else are we supposed to do? That's right, our small hacking fleet warped right in.

It turns out that the Serpentis aren't quite as accommodating to guests as I may have hoped. Bob protected me and my shield booster kept me on the shiny side of dead. Something scared the Serpentis off before they could finish me. Nonetheless I came out of the experience knowing to respect the Serpentis defences more than I have to date.

7 March 2016

Vote CSM

In case you missed it in the EVE launcher we are currently in the middle of the voting period for CSM XI. I had been going to make some pithy post complaining about my lack of care for the CSM this time and selling my votes for ISK. I decided that with two friends running for CSM that would be somewhat disingenuous of me. I do actually care about at least two slots on the CSM so I should use my votes accordingly.

Somewhere I read that the official Goonswarm voting list is designed to screw the CSM. As weak a voice as the CSM has I think that's a pretty dumb thing to do. If you have a realistic view of what the CSM is, a focus group, then you realise that they shouldn't be expected to 'achieve' anything other than be a useful and representative focus group for the majority of players. Hopefully as many Goon members will follow the voting regime dictated to them as pledged to the Goons' Kickstarter campaign. That leaves the vast majority to vote for the good of the game.

If you have no idea how to vote I recommend Nashh Kadavr, Brodit and Steve Ronuken at the top. Beyond that try Rixx Javix's recommendations for further inspiration. Most importantly though, go vote now.