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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Something familiar about that.

I wasn't tired yet so I took Space Ghost out last night for a little reconnoiter around the neighborhood. It wasn't long before I locked onto a magnetom site.

I warped in to have a look. Oddmonolithes floated in space surrounded by 'roids. I'd seen something like it planet side in ancient history books. In those books, things like this were viewed as either religious centers or cemeteries. To the Intaki, there is no difference.

Unfortunately, I wasn't alone though my cloak kept me safely hidden from their sensors.

It wasn't anything scary. But my one Warrior II might have taken care of two of these fellas though four was a stretch. I decided to warp back to dock and get something that would overwhelm the playing field.

Even with the addition of another frigate before I returned, those Coreli scum were no match for June Bug and his shiny new turrets. They are such a beautiful thing to behold aren't they?

The haul wasn't all that great though I scored a skill book I didn't have. While I was hunting through the heaps of junk left floating around, an Enyo arrived on site. I had a chance to chat with a younger capsuleer named Sturmguard. He was practicing his scanning. Nice to see the younger crowd taking an interest in it.

Fly careful.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Play or don't play. It's that simple.

My "brother in arms from another life" made it all clear to me. He's been a capsuleer for less than a year. He took a completely diffrerent path from me in New Eden but there is too much shared history for that to be a problem. I wanted to get his view of the current fracas. Here is that exchange:

Subject: RE: What do you think of the current unrest about micro-transactions in Eve.
Not familiar with this. I know about the whole bling thing with the new currency stuff – wasn’t aware of anything else. Shouldn’t be able to purchase skills or stuff that affects the game.
[MAB] Supposedly not but Helicity “released” an internal CCP newsletter that seemed to indicate they might in the future. I think that would be a bad move but it’s CCP’s game.
[MAB] Die in a fire.
I did notice that several updates ago they changed the HUD colors and the cap monitor became dull orange. I ran out of capo on a mission because I couldn’t see the damned thing. So I petitioned on it. Its still open, but the incarna update put the colors back to bright yellow and bright white on the armor / shield statuses.
[MAB] Yes, they did fix that. I noticed it too.
Incarna thing stinks pretty badly – the lag in station is so bad I turned it off. The feature of mousing over the ship model and getting the menus was pretty cool, but the graphics on the avatar are significantly downgraded from my picture that I created and use. Not cool.
[MAB] It needs some high end stuff to run and does not work well with ATI cards. My dual Nvidia 580’s handle it just fine but I’ve read that some people have melted their systems because of it. I like the idea of being able to interact with other players in a station. However, Captain’s Quarters as they now stand are rather boring.
They've made other changes too – like the scroll bars on windows are really dim and fade out – I cant see them to click on them half the time. I fucking hate pale and pastel colors – I like things bold and bright. Incarna also turned down the sounds by about 50%. I had to max out my headphones and max out the sliders on the sounds to get them back to where I can even hear them. If you try to play music while you play and want to hear the turret noises and lasers and lock-on stuff, good luck.
[MAB] That’s what happened to the sounds! I thought it was something on my system. I haven’t noticed the scroll bars but I use two 20” monitors and don’t have a lot of scroll bars since one monitor is nothing but open windows.
They changed the color on my mining lasers to blue and they are invisible if you use the tactical overview. Nothing like the bright yellow beams we used to have. They also changed all the turret icons – most of them are nice black shapelss blobs on gray backgrounds – I put in a petition on that too. IT would actualy be nice to SEE what the hell I'm doing in the game.
[MAB] More high end graphic stuff evidently. I haven’t mined since patch or used anything that needed a turret.
I look at some of this stuff and think Geez – Web design 101. They obviously have nobody who has a fucking clue about presentation and graphics and design, based upon the changes they’ve made recently.
 Obviously I’m a little pissed off about some of these things.
[MAB] You aren’t the only one, let me tell you. Some very well known veteran bloggers have rage-quit over this update.
We had one of those merc untis wardecced us again – mostly European, so hopefully I can continue mining and such. If they get online, I will join up to go kill them dead dead dead. I am tired of these bastards and want to teach them a lesson so they will leave us alone.
[MAB] I must admit that I like the sound of your alliance. I wonder if they take single capsuleer corporations?
Other than that, how's it going for you? J
[MAB] Well, I move tomorrow. It isn’t a full move, just large furniture that needs a truck and bedroom stuff so I can live in the house. Ellen moves on July 9th. I’ll move the rest of my stuff (the stuff I want that is) over the next couple weekends. We have one room in the house that needs the floors and walls redone. We’ve got them stripped down and ready for the renovation. The other room that needed work (the utility room) we contracted out because we needed new vinyl laid down and done professionally as a water block. It’s coming along nicely though.
Work as gotten really interesting. We had our ERP conversion two weeks ago. That went well. However, the nature of my job is changing. I am now part of the parent company’s help desk and have been answering calls from all over the country. They have help desk software that tracks all the tickets and I get them dumped into my mailbox as well. Today alone there have been 112 tickets opened… and I just got a new one. Gotta run! 

*blink, blink* "Other than that, how's it going for you?" Suddenly I realized life's too short to get wound up about a game - even if it is Internet spaceships.

So, I took a break this weekend. RL deserves more attention than pointless ranting about a silly game. Friends like him, with whom I've shared real life and death moments, deserve more attention than a silly game.

Then today in the continuation of the thread, he helped again. Of rage-quitters he said, "Idiots, IMO."  I have to agree. I'd rather play the game than not and getting that upset about anything related to a game makes me an idiot too.

So to all of you I say: play or don't play. It's that simple. If you play, put down your virtual pitchforks and enjoy what you do like about Eve Online. If you don't play, go outside and enjoy the summer. Spend some time with your family and friends. You'll feel better for it.

Fly careful.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When players cross the line... and why.

You all know there is quite a bit of angst in the star lanes these days. Justified or not, it is there. We've seen everything from meh to "sh*tballs" to "DIAF." Yes, that last is a personal threat. If someone said it to me, directly or indirectly, I'd take it personally. And since those I love most live with me, I'd take it to be a threat to them as well.

That led me to thinking. When do players cross the line? We hear it over and over, "It's just a game." We even repeat that mantra from time to time. But for some it seems more than a game. Why is that?

Like everyone else, I'm going to place the blame precisely where it belongs: at CCP's feet. Now hold on before you start cheering or jabbing, whatever your want. I don't think this is going where you think it is going.

Eve Online is unlike any game I've ever played. Why? (Yeah, silly question but used for theatrical impact.) Because when it allows player derived content it really delivers! We the players of Eve Online have far more latitude to control our game than any other player base out there. CCP even embraced this (sort of) when they allowed the CSM. What other gaming company out there would even think about allowing that? Sony? Forget it!

That, IMO, is the root of the problem and it is CCP's Pandora's Box. They opened it and let loose a plague within the player base.

"What the hell are you on about Mabrick?" I hear a few ask. "How long can he drag this out?" others lament. Not long, I assure you - I only get an hour for lunch and that only so long as the phone doesn't ring.

When players are allowed to control aspects of a game far beyond that usually entrusted to players, they begin to take ownership of the game - internally - psychologically. With ownership comes pride. Pride leads to vanity. Vanity leads to the dark side.

Okay, bad puns aside because this is serious stuff, when anyone is allowed to "own" something they internalize it. They take it personally. It becomes more than just a game. It takes a place beside their moral convictions and their faith. It takes a place beside their pets and their community. It seeps into their very being and they become emotionally attached to it as if it were a real thing.

When it is changed in a way they don't like or want, when it is done outside their control, when it is forced upon them, they react irrationally. Irrationality is not insanity. It is simply "without reason." With reason removed, emotion is the only capacity left. Because they have internalized their concept of what the game should be, this throws them into turmoil. It unbalances them and forces them to express their roiling emotions - sometimes vitriolically.

It is not all that different than when a person learns their dog has just been hit by a car. There is denial until they see the mangled corpse. Then there is intense anger at the driver of the vehicle who hit their beloved pet. That is where many in this latest debate are. They are irrationally angry because they see something they love laying mangled in the street.

Most drivers do not intentionally hit pets. They feel badly for doing it even if they had no choice. Hitting the dog is better than hitting the tree. I've read that CCP may need money. That would be the tree. So the dog lies dead in the street and anger has yet to give way to tears. It is at least understandable.

And CCP is to blame. They allowed us in. They encouraged us to participate. They asked us to become involved and many did - some too much. And without regard to what they've created, they carried on as if Eve was just some other MMORPG where the players log in, waste a few hours ignoring reality, and then log off without thinking much about it until next time.

Eve is not some other MMORPG. If CCP wants to understand where they went wrong, understand what I have just spent my lunch hour typing. We are your puppets on a string by your own invitation. Do not take our feelings for granted. Do not pretend that your business decisions have no real world impact on us. If you want to do that then disband the CSM. Close down the forums. Delete your Twitter accounts and your Facebook page. Leave us no doubt that you are a monolithic business prone to decisions driven only by EBIT. Then at least the rest of us know where we stand.

Concerning Helicity Boson

"And by banning me you have just martyred me in the eyes of your customers."

No, not really.

However, I will miss Hulkageddon. I hope someone will continue that silliness. It's about the only time this carebear has a chance to hunt (mostly unsuccessful hunting I might add but I enjoy it.)

Fly careful.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Well now, the gasoline has hit the fire hasn't it?

Those that were angry before are now more angry. I've even trudged through the self-immolation of public rage-quit over Incarna. It is... something to behold. I hope that bloggers health gets better. Sacrificing your health for any obsession needs... treatment. Seriously, that requires some major medical gurus to sort out. It just isn't good - period.

As for the update, I think I'll just see what happens from here. I won't be buying anything via micro-transaction. I make a good salary but I'm not a fool. My secret hope is that someone slipped a decimal place in the programming. I mean, if NASA/JPL can screw up metric and English measurements when attempting an orbital insertion, CCP can slip a decimal.

Captain's Quarters are nice. It's not perfect but it is nice. I could relax there I think.

Overall my game play will not change. As far as that goes there may as well have been no update. It doesn't affect me unless I choose to let it. I refuse to get angry over something I can easily ignore.

I have noticed one thing though. Eve's responsiveness seems to be better than before. You know, less laggy. It may be wishful thinking but I think I notice some performance increase now that all the capsuleers are in their quarters and that traffic is off the game bus (so to speak.)

I do have some advice for CCP though. Don't jack us around. We're all a lot smarter than your average WoW player. We love Eve, but divorces happen all the time even though two people still love each other. Financial stress is most often the reason. Wise up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm sure this will be all the blog rage: me!

Fly careful.

How do you make planets more valuable?

I was reading a very good article over on The Hydrostatic Capsule (link here) and Cailais said something that really stuck on my mind. Planets will have to be more valuable for Dust514 to work. Yes, that is absolutely correct. How?

Then it hit me. The change in jump bridges. The constant "ignoring" of sovereignty issues. Other things I don't have the time right now to rehash.

Think about it. I learned a saying many years ago in another life. The jet jockies may control the sky but they have to land somewhere. Tanks are great but when they run out of gas they're a metal coffin. They need a place to refuel. That's what the infantry does. It holds ground. It makes a place for airfields and fuel depots. It also denies the enemy a place for those very things.

What if sovereignty did not rely on some silly beacon in space? What if sovereignty depended on having a place for airfields and fuel depots? What if null sec alliances HAD to control the planets to control the space above them?

Now wouldn't that be something? Frightening isn't it?

Fly careful.

Boon or bust?

As I type, CCP is no doubt testing Incarna on Tranquility. Soon our very own Captain's Quarters will open its hatch to us. Will it be a boon or a bust for CCP? Only time will tell.

One thing can be said though, CCP does not shirk from trying hard things. This is hard. They walk a tight rope between the past and the future. They risk alienating loyal subscribers by looking toward a future that is different than anything we every imagined.

I will stand by them whether Incarna is a glorious success...

...or an epic failure.

I owe them that much for bringing use this incredible game. If they fail, I will cry with them. If they succeed, I will raise a beer in their honor!

I hope all who read this do the same. Remember, they do it for us (well, and profit but just go with the moment okay.)

Fly careful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Concerning API licensing: Hail profit! It really is better than the alternative.

So here is the dev blog link: Click here. You've probably already read it and fumed over it.

I read it and smiled.

For a low fee of $99 anyone can monetize their contribution to the community. "How could CCP do that?" you ask. Here, let me clue you in.

CCP: Hey Battleclinic, would you pay $99 a year to charge your thousands of viewers a nominal usage fee?
Battleclinic: Hell yeah!
CCP: He DotLan, would you pay $99 a year to charge your thousands of viewers a nominal usage fee?
DotLan: Hell yeah!
CCP: Hey Aideron Robotics, would you pay $99 a year to charge your thousands of users a nominal usage fee?
Aideron Robotics: Hell yeah!
CCP: Hey...

You all get the point. And even if CCP didn't ask they'd still get those answers. When given a choice of working for love or working for love AND money EVERYONE ON THE FREAKING PLANET SAYS, "HELL YEAH!"

This decision isn't for the player base. It's for those entrepreneurs who can create a product and realize a profit from it. All you whiny Internet carebears who think the Internet should be free can just HTFU. That's right, this EVE carebear just called all you whiny brats Internet carebears. Get over it. Your tears are neither juicy or tasty. They are bitter and unsavory.

Do you think the EVE API just maintains itself? No, CCP pays some really smart people to create it. They don't work for love of CCP. The work for love AND money. CCP has every right to charge for their investment. The API isn't free. It has costs that CCP pays.

I've always wondered why it even exists.  They don't have to do it at all. I know of no other game that I've played that had it. It's unique in my experience. It's also a gaping security hole. How many of those API calls are vulnerable to buffer overflow? How many of them can a cracker leverage for an advantage over the system? I don't know but I'd be willing to bet LULZ might.

By allowing developers to share in the profit they will enhance the API's innate value. With any luck, more entrepreneurs will want in on it. Instead of a money sink, perhaps it will begin to pay for itself. Having an army of developers using the API and finding its weaknesses before LULZ does just might make it more secure.

Yes, I'd gladly paste a free license on this blog for a more secure API. And though I never plan on monetizing this blog (yeah, I know, never say never,) I think it's cool that I have that option if never ever comes around. And if a more secure API doesn't happen, well, at least there will be profit to console us!

And what's more, EVERYONE PROFITS. Since when does making a profit fall into the category of horrible and bad? And please, for intelligence's sake, don't use the latest economic meltdown as a counter point. That had more to do with greed than profit. Profit is good. It keeps the world running.

Hail profit!

Fly careful.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When LULZ attack it becomes EVE Offline.

EVE Online is currently EVE Offline. LULZ has struck. It seems that the high sec of CCP's data center is no more secure than Jita. What is that rule again? Only fly it if you can afford to lose it? No, that's not it. Oh yeah, no place is safe from a ganker. CCP's been can flipped.

My question is, who is LULZ working for? Regardless of what they say, they aren't doing it just for kicks. Sure, they'll have fun doing it. I know I would if that sort of thing interested me. But I also know I'd want more out of it than just a few laughs. CCP isn't Sony. There are not millions of juicy accounts to rob. CCP isn't a very sensible target unless you're already getting paid for it. The LULZ war dec has all the trappings of a merc corp hire. So, who hired them?

... ... ...

Ah, what timing. EVEMon just reported Tranquility is back online. The web site is back up as well. I wonder how long that will last. Good luck CCP!

Fly careful.

Friday, June 10, 2011



Rixx hits the nail on the head with this post. He is right, it is a different fan base demographic and this decision has much good business foo. Those who like FPS aren't like those who like Internet space ships: they just aren't. Kudos to CCP for realizing this and thanks to Rixx for stating it so well!

Fly careful.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What does a carebear crank up to make those long trips to Jita go faster?

The manifest is complete and the cargo hold is full. You undock, turn your wallowing industrial toward the first gate and warp away. There are more jumps on your route than sunspots at solar maximum. What to do to ease the passing parsecs. Crank up the ship-wide sound system, that's what!

Now, pirates, ninjas and mercenaries might think carebears listen to Barry Manilow or perhaps Barbra Streisand. That's such stereotypical bullshit. It's more wrong than mixing guns, fitting an armor repper to a Drake or dead-heading. We're capsuleers just like the everyone else with a backbone made of neural connectors.

Here's what a carebear mix looks like. I'm very partial to the one that's highlighted naturally, but they all have meaning when crossing the vault of stars we call New Eden.

Why they're in the list (in list order):
Problem Child - Aren't all capsuleers?
Paranoid - Always.
Chain reaction - What it takes to get there sometimes.
Black Sabbath - Every day is black in space.
Rubicon - We all have to cross one.
Eye in the Sky - Because carebears live in Empire space.
Wheel in the Sky - Every trip's end.
Get Over It - For all the whiners out there.
Red Sector 'A' - Because we all worry.
Tramontane - It's just cool to kick back and listen too.
Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back - Isn't it though!
Child in Time - Always wait for the ricochet.
Distant Early Warning - Always be on the lookout.
Magic Carpet Ride - Every single jump!
War Pigs - It only takes one war dec to know why this is here.
Bad Attitude - Because that's what it takes.
Space Truckin' - Self explanatory.
Heavy Metal - Because I'm Gallente.
Stereotonomy - "Dissect me and I feel no pain." 'nuf said.
Edge of the Blade - We're all on the edge.
2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx - Because I'm Intaki (and the rifs are awesome!)
Cool the Engines - Self explanatory.
There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' - Oh yeah!
N.I.B. - "Follow me now and you will not regret."
Everything Louder Than Everything Else - Should it be otherwise?
The Launch - It's like this every time I undock.
Sirius - This is also just cool to listen to.
Keep on Runnin' - Because we have to.
Wasted Youth - True, but a productive youth makes lots of ISK!
Psychobabble - New Eden is the dream.
All Revved Up With No Place to Go - And sometimes it's just like this.
Iron Man - Because we all want to exact revenge from time to time.
Sole Survivor - Because we've all been this too and we always rise again.
Roadhouse Blues - "Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel."
Fairies Wear Boots - You KNOW they do!
Children of the Grave - It's where we all end up.
Born to Be Wild - A capsuleer's creed.
Squealer - No comment.
Mammagamma - This is cool to listen to as well.
Wildest Dreams - They always forget the carebears too.
Break on Through (To the Other Side) - Pure inspiration.
Dead or Alive - One way or the other.
Sweet Leaf - ISK is like sweet leaf to a carebear.
The Unwritten Law - Don't break it...ever.
Bad to the Bone - You just have to be: NO TEARS.

Fly careful.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A new type of armor hardener?

This latest patch has had some... interesting... surprises. However, they mentioned nothing about new armor hardeners!

Fly careful.