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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vendetta - It's a Natural Reaction

James 315 - even in Anoikis space I've heard that name. He's the self-proclaimed savior of high-sec, right? I read somewhere he is even running for a CSM position. Well, it takes all types. My only advice on that is he shouldn't attend any panels drunk. No one likes a copy cat.

For laughs, I went over to his web site and read The New Halaima Code of Conduct. I figured since I have a personal code of conduct, I may as well have a look at that one. Perhaps there really is something refreshingly emergent there.

I couldn't even finish it all. What a colossal waste of bad grammar. It was all so "done already" I couldn't believe anyone except a noob would think it was original.

Still, there are a few things in this Code of Conduct that I'd like to comment on. Fortunately, I have a blog of my own on which to do so. James 315, I hope you read this. I've a message for you at the end of it all. So, onto my first comment.

Paying any amount of ISK to you or your cronies would eat into my profit margin unacceptably. I'll mine where I want; when I want. Come bump me if you like. Suicide gank me if you can. It's all part of being a miner. I've been around long enough to remember when auto-destruct had no countdown. I remember when jerks like you would auto-destruct in belts and blow up dozens of mining barges and drones at one time. Now that's a real suicide gank. (FYI, suicide by cop isn't.) I never got caught back then. I doubt you could catch me now.

As for respecting suicide gankers, I only treat with respect those that have earned my respect. Suicide gankers will never do so. I respect capsuleers who do difficult tasks with aplomb. Suicide ganking is neither difficult nor demanding. Aplomb is not possible. Neither is earning my respect.

I also don't talk with suicide gankers. It's like correcting other people's ill behaved children. It's not my responsibility. I have more important things on which to spend my time. If they want attention, they can run for CSM - though there are a plethora of candidates far more qualified.

There is one concept you especially seem weak on understanding James. To earn respect, one must first be worthy of respect. It is sad but true, the originality-challenged often do not understand respect is not an entitlement. So many people feel they are entitled to things which they simply never will live up to. You should re-size your goals because you're in for a very long road of self-disappointment otherwise.

And about lists in drawers, I do not need crayon and paper to keep track of jerks. James 315, you are a jerk. I'd like to hunt you down and kill you, but I'm just to damn busy with really important stuff. However, please cross my path some day. I really don't care that you are hiding in an NPC corporation. I tell you and everyone else right here and now, I will pod you if given the chance - unless I have something more important to do - which is very likely. Nevertheless, I, Mabrick, declare vendetta on James 315 for the offense of banal discourse.

You are the only exception to my personal code of conduct against podding James 315. You can feel all special about that if you like. It only speaks to your level of banality. Nothing irritates me more than wasted words and you have wasted far to many on meaningless blather. Vendetta is your punishment for publishing trite. Now don't get me wrong. I really won't spend time hunting you, harassing you, or extorting you. I won't go out of my way to find you - you're just not worth it. I'll just kill you if I see you and then I'll pod you. 

I encourage anyone else reading this who feels the urge to declare vendetta as well. If you see this self-appointed cretin of high-sec, shoot him. It's not personal, it's just a natural reaction to imbecilic behavior.  Vendetta will allow you to cleanse yourself of it. But by all means, do it only in your spare time. I think we've wasted enough time on this already.

Fly Careful

PS: If any of these words are too big for you James, try this link.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Live and Learn

Saturday night was a good night for Mabrick. I received an email from HBHI's CEO on Friday. There was a corporation operation Saturday night and I needed to have my ship fired up and ready to go at the appointed time. So, at the appointed time I was on standby awaiting orders. I was ordered to get my butt to Purjola and pickup a Rifter the corporation had staged for the operation.

So I headed out of our class 6 home, negotiated my way down the pipe and entered high-sec 15 jumps from Purjola. On the way, I was informed there was a Cynosural Field Theory skill book in the cargo hold and enough liquid ozone to make the thing work. You see, we had a new ship to bring into the hole. I was given my first destination while en route. It was five jumps into low-sec - Egbinger to be exact.

That ties my longest jaunt through low-sec but it was nothing I hadn't done before. A quick check of the map  showed the five systems to be pretty damn quiet. There were FAR more ships destroyed in Hek than those five systems together. I started the training and exited the station.

While I was on my way I got a quick schooling on how to light the cyno. It went something like this:
"So, how do I do this thing?" I asked.
"You click on the module and then tell us it's green," the CEO said.
"Then I just wait for the ship to jump in?"
"Yeah. He'll jump in, dock up and then you can wait to die."
"What? Why do you say that?"
"Because people just love to shoot cyno ships when they can't move."
"What do you mean 'when they can't move?'"
First I'd heard about it. Shit. I thought about complaining. But the CEO was in the other cyno fit Rifter and he was going first. I decided to wait until I found out how it went for him. He lit his cyno, our ship jumped in, it docked and everything looked okay for a minute or two. Then our CEO got blown up.

Great. Well, I was more than half way to my destination so no backing out. This was a volunteer operation anyway. I got to my last high-sec system and held up for my training to finish. That didn't take long and I was soon on my way again. The other side of the first gate had a criminal sitting on it. He didn't even try to lock me up. Rifters are fast and hardly worth the effort fortunately. The rest of the route was totally peaceful. I arrived at Egbinger, got my Rifter at least 5 kilometers from the station and lit the cyno.

Our ship jumped in, docked up and I started waiting. And I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Frack that's a long damn timer. And then the timer was done. No one in local showed the least interest in the Rifter on d-scan. I just lucked out I suppose.

Then I took a look at the route for my next, and the last, cyno system. What the hell! In comms I had to ask, "you guys know this is ten jumps into null-sec?"

"Yeah, that's where the hole is for bringing in our ship."

Great, that's just great. Now I knew I was going to die. There was nothing for it but to undock and hit warp. I informed the CEO, who by that point was on his way to jump system three, that he was backup.

I could drag this out and give you the blow by blow. However, suffice it to say I got out of the five low-sec systems even easier than I got in. Then I crossed high-sec as fast as the Rifter would go - which is pretty damn fast actually. Then I crossed the two low-sec systems to get to the gate for my first null-sec jump.

I engaged the gate on landing and jumped. The first thing I saw when my screen came back to life was a warp disruption bubble. I was not in it. There was a small fleet about 200 kilometers from me. I quickly located a celestial in the other direction and warped to a distance greater than 20 from it and less than 100 - you know why. Then I jumped to another celestial from where I could d-scan the next gate. It was clear so I proceeded to it and jumped.

Rinse lather repeat. Fortunately, I've been around long enough to have learned you don't jump gate to gate in null-sec. This was reinforced by my corp mates. It was not an uneventful trip. At one point I was followed by a Stiletto. I know he was following me because I added two more celestials to my system hopping to make sure. He landed right after me both times but never got close enough to even think about it.

Here's a neat trick for all of you who've read this far. When you are trying to shake someone, pick a planet on the other side of the system with as many moons as possible. Pick a moon at random and bounce to it. I picked a planet with 17 moons. From the other side of the system, he had no idea at which moon I landed. I was through my next gate before he picked me up again.

I did manage to land in one bubble.
[ 2013.02.24 04:29:00 ] (notify) You are within a warp disruption zone. Get 11500.0 meters from Mobile Medium Warp Disruptor I to warp.
It sucked me straight past my gate. My heart sank as I watched the gate pass under my unarmed Rifter when I should have been hearing a gate activation. When I hit the bubble I burned straight back to the celestial from which I'd warped. That got me out of the bubble in about two seconds and I was off again. An Atron showed up just as I activated my warp drive. I bounced to a couple more celestials and came back into the gate on the side opposite the bubble. It was Gunfight at the OK Corral by then.
[ 2013.02.24 04:32:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ;∴Harbinger Harbinger |  [AGONY] Alistone Malikite - to ;∴Vexor $@# |  (A.4.D) Felson -
[ 2013.02.24 04:32:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ;∴Talos Gizznitt |  [AGONY] Nikki Forte - to ;∴Vexor : |  (A.4.D) Quadia -
[ 2013.02.24 04:32:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ;∴Vexor : |  (A.4.D) Quadia - to ;∴Talos Gizznitt |  [AGONY] Nikki Forte -
[ 2013.02.24 04:32:05 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ;∴Retribution Retribution |  [AGONY] Darak13 - to ;∴Stiletto Really Annoying |  (A.4.D) Captain Mac -
[ 2013.02.24 04:32:11 ] (notify) Session change already in progress.
This did not involve me so I quickly moved on. However, I did briefly wonder if the Stiletto was the one that was following me: damn funny thing if it was. I was just a few jumps from my destination and I crossed the intervening space efficiently and as quickly as possible. There was no one in local when I arrived. My luck was holding!

I warped to the wormhole post haste and lit the cyno. I made a short movie to commemorate the operation.

But in the end, I did get blown up. My own CEO came through the wormhole and did the dirty deed for me. Someone showed up in local and rather than risk it he decided to end the cyno countdown the old fashioned way.

And we discovered something very, very strange. You see, we were in the same fleet. And what's more, I still have a bit of the 50 mISK bounty Goonswarm put on my head when Retribution released. I got nearly 18,000 ISK from my own bounty! Click the screen capture to see the proof. CCP may want to look into that one, eh?

It wasn't until I was safely through the wormhole, and asked how he got there, that it dawned on us I didn't have to cross ten systems of null-sec after all. I could have just went in our high-sec entrance and come out our null-sec exit. In wormhole space it was two jumps. Damn. Had I done that, you all would have had a much shorter post to read. Live and learn, right?

Fly Careful

Friday, February 22, 2013

BB45: Propaganda - for Better or for Worse

(I'm not the first to have this idea. *LOL* But, you have to start any discussion on the same page.)
In a socially-driven game environment such as EVE Online's, everyone has an agenda. CCP promotes its products and has an army of volunteers to do the same; corporations and alliances deliver entertaining recruitment drives, CSM election candidates solicit for voter favour, bloggers and podcasters opine to their audiences.

In this intricate web of communication, influence and control, what part does propaganda play in your game?

In my bio section, The Meaning of Being Mabrick, I give a brief outline of what I stand for in this game. It is propaganda. That does not mean it is somehow sullied or is something of which I should be ashamed. Quite the contrary, I am proud to have my own standards of play. Otherwise I would not have written the bio in the first place.

For some reason, when the word propaganda is used people immediately associate it with the worst of human behavior. What Hitler used to dehumanize Jews. What Jim Crow used to repress freed slaves. We see propaganda as a lie couched in the folds of believability because it came from "official sources."

That is how most see propaganda today. But it is propaganda only in the way a Volvo is also a car. There are many types of cars on the road today. There are expensive cars and cheap cars. There are reliable cars and POS (pieces-of-shit) cars. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes. They are made by many companies from many countries all over the world. Yet they are all cars.

So it is with propaganda. And just as we will disagree on the best car available, we will disagree on what is good propaganda and what is bad propaganda. Loose lips sink ships. That too is propaganda, but was uniformly seen as good for the country in World War II. It does indeed work both ways.

What it really boils down to is personal choice - just like a car purchase. Some readers have heartily agreed with some of the things I've written for this blog. Some have vehemently disagreed - even unto the point of acting on that disagreement in more tangible ways than simple words. That is the power of propaganda. It can cause people to act as they might not normally consider. Especially if that action is seen as part of a larger momentum. When a person sees themselves as part of a group outraged, there is no ethic on the planet that can stop "bad" things from happening.

And it all depends on people's chosen version of "the truth." Each of us decides what is truth and what is falsehood. I fancy that I use reason and logic to make valid rational choices. So does everyone else. When what "we" believe diverges from what "they" believe propaganda grows like the poppies in Flanders field. It becomes the weapon of choice in a set-piece battle of wills; a proving ground for wiles.

We all use it. We all abuse it. We twist reality into shards of belief we hope will persuade others to our cause. For without others, we are powerless to affect change.[1] It is only through strength of numbers we realize our full potential for destruction - or as I like to think, disruption.

Disruption of the current order. Disruption of power blocks in existence long before I became a capsuleer. Disruption of their vainglorious propaganda machine. A foil against the perceived entitlement which is their chosen play-style! A bludgeon to counter the bellicose and belligerent...

It's an insidious thing, propaganda. It levels the playing field in a way no amount of training and practice can. It is a weapon anyone can wield. It provides the illusion it harms no one, and yet has the potential to bring down nations and entire races.

That is why we can't walk away from it. That is why we can't avoid it. From the caveman looking for a mate, to the used car salesman in Cincinnati, to the Goonswarm Federation in EVE Online, propaganda has been as much a part of human existence as sweat.

So is it really that bad a thing? Yes... and no. As in all things, we have a choice. It is up to us to put limits on propaganda. We must decide what is truth and what is someone simply trying to sell something. We do that by having a free and open discourse concerning ALL points of view. We must never exclude anyone no matter how strongly we disagree with their play-style. That is the road to real horror.

So when you read this blog keep that in mind. This is my "truth." This is my propaganda. My advice is that you read all the other blogs too. Give equal billing to EN24 and Don't forget Reddit or the forums. Between the webs of propaganda we all spin, there is truth. And so long as all sides are equally vetted, truth abides - and we will all be better capsuleers for it.

Fly Careful

You can read other responses to BB45 over on Freebooted.

[1] I'd like to point out that Jester is a perfect example. How many of his current followers remember the last time he ran for CSM? It wasn't a successful campaign. Who out their now doubts a seat is within his grasp?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carebear Dueling Advisory

Yesterday, within hours of the Retribution 1.1 patch, "L33T" PvPers were already using the dueling mechanism to trick unwary and naive carebears into "testing" a dueling bug. I found this on Reddit yesterday. EN24 picked it up soon after. Here is the chat log from that encounter so you know how it was perpetrated.

  1. ---------------------------------------------------------------
  3.   Channel ID:      -41103722
  4.   Channel Name:    Private Chat (alone)
  5.   Listener:        Karynak Idrissil
  6.   Session started: 2013.02.19 15:30:55
  7. ---------------------------------------------------------------
  9. [ 2013.02.19 15:30:59 ] Karynak Idrissil > o/
  10. [ 2013.02.19 15:31:09 ] tort-fk-off Maken > hello
  11. [ 2013.02.19 15:31:20 ] Karynak Idrissil > Hey, i wanted to know
  12. [ 2013.02.19 15:31:25 ] Karynak Idrissil > I have a bug with the new duel interface
  13. [ 2013.02.19 15:31:38 ] Karynak Idrissil > I have the duel window open at all times, and i can't reject it
  14. [ 2013.02.19 15:31:51 ] Karynak Idrissil > Relogging does nothin :/
  15. [ 2013.02.19 15:32:11 ] Karynak Idrissil > some guy told me re-dueling me from in-system might help
  16. [ 2013.02.19 15:32:27 ] Karynak Idrissil > But i dont want some guy to scam me into a duel then blap me
  17. [ 2013.02.19 15:32:36 ] Karynak Idrissil > SInce we're both mining, i'm pretty safe :)
  18. [ 2013.02.19 15:32:46 ] Karynak Idrissil > Could you duel me ?
  19. [ 2013.02.19 15:32:54 ] Karynak Idrissil > i really hope it will get that bug away :/
  20. [ 2013.02.19 15:33:19 ] tort-fk-off Maken > I hope it dont give it to me
  21. [ 2013.02.19 15:33:26 ] Karynak Idrissil > Dont think so
  22. [ 2013.02.19 15:33:47 ] Karynak Idrissil > right click me, pilot, invite to duel
  23. [ 2013.02.19 15:34:34 ] Karynak Idrissil > I can't believe that worked.
  24. [ 2013.02.19 15:35:36 ] Karynak Idrissil > Sorry mate, i had to.
  25. [ 2013.02.19 15:37:03 ] tort-fk-off Maken > your going to kill my ship
  26. [ 2013.02.19 15:38:19 ] Karynak Idrissil > Yep.
  27. [ 2013.02.19 15:38:21 ] Karynak Idrissil > Duel scam.
  28. [ 2013.02.19 15:39:08 ] tort-fk-off Maken > your a nice piece of work
  29. [ 2013.02.19 15:39:22 ] Karynak Idrissil > Just "asshole" will do
  30. [ 2013.02.19 15:40:17 ] tort-fk-off Maken > there is a 10 mil bounty on you now
  31. [ 2013.02.19 15:40:25 ] Karynak Idrissil > I suppose i deserve it.
  32. [ 2013.02.19 15:40:55 ] Karynak Idrissil > Oops, forgot to bring extra ammo.
  33. [ 2013.02.19 15:40:59 ] Karynak Idrissil > Good thing i have drones.
  34. [ 2013.02.19 15:42:33 ] tort-fk-off Maken > you will be got
  35. [ 2013.02.19 15:42:57 ] Karynak Idrissil > What?
  36. [ 2013.02.19 15:43:02 ] Karynak Idrissil > I'm mining veld.
  37. [ 2013.02.19 15:43:28 ] tort-fk-off Maken > your killing my ship
  38. [ 2013.02.19 15:43:47 ] Karynak Idrissil > I'm mining veld off your ship
  39. [ 2013.02.19 15:43:52 ] Karynak Idrissil > Pretty much the same
  40. [ 2013.02.19 15:44:05 ] Karynak Idrissil > gf :)

I seriously doubt this player really knows what a good fight is if he thinks a miner gank deserves a 'gf.' That aside, there is a very, very, VERY easy way for all the carebears reading to avoid this gank. DO THIS:

Go into Audio and Chat and select the Auto Reject Invitations under the dueling category. Now you cannot become an accidental victim of the "L33T" PvP players who are using scamming tactics to lure non-PvP players into fights because they can't win a real fight.

Fly Careful

Monday, February 18, 2013

WH Planetary Interaction - Redux

It's been awhile since I've written anything about my planetary interaction (PI) part of the business. If you remember, I was making NRP in the old class 3. That was a very lucrative business and I was making around 650 mISK a month with it.

Making NRP is no longer a possibility for me. NRP requires an ice or ocean planet to produce Biomass and neither are currently available to me. In high-sec this isn't a show stopper. It only decreases your potential margin by the cost of the Biomass you have to purchase in order to make Supertensile Plastics. In wormhole space you can forget about it. There is no such thing as an easy run to the store for things you can't produce yourself.

I've had to find something else to produce. I wanted it to be just as profitable as the NRP was. It took some planning, but I figured out what the new system is really good at producing. Before I tell you though, I'd like to use this as an opportunity to reiterate the nature of PI.

Some people have called PI Farmville in space. Those people are wrong as well as not being true industrialists. PI is not Farmville in space. I've never played Farmville, but my mother and several other family members did. Farmville is a social game where you get ahead by knowing lots of other people and making trades for what you need. Go ahead and try that in New Eden. I dare you. Please send video.

The true nature of PI is mathematical. Specifically, it is a game of ratios. Once you understand that, setting up profitable manufacturing lines are relatively easy. I once went into detail on PI setup formulas so here I'll just give a summary.
  • Start from the top down (what you want/can make)
  • All facilities run on a one hour cycle except P1 facilities which are twice as fast (30 minutes)
  • One P4 facility takes two P3 facility per ingredient to run at full capacity
  • One P3 facility takes two P2 facilities per ingredient to run at full capacity
  • One P2 facility takes one P1 facility to run at full capacity
To produce one Wetware Mainframe every hour requires one P4 facility, six (2x3) P3 facilities, 18 (6x3) P2 facilities and 36 (2x18) P1 facilities. 

That's a lot of power demand and you've not even built the extractors yet. It will take one extractor per P1 facility to stock it. The number of extractor heads depends on the availability of resources on the planet. That in turn is determined by where the planet is. High-sec planets have the worst yields. Null-sec and wormhole planets have the best. Bottom line, you will need more extractor heads in high-sec than in a wormhole to get the same amount of resource.

And the amount of resource is what you should key on, not how many heads, etc., etc. Here is another key number for your ratios game. It takes 144,000 m3 of any resource to keep one P1 facility in production for 24 hours. PERIOD. If you are running anything other then a 23 hour cycle on your extractors, you are taking ISK out of your own pocket. PERIOD. Why? Because the P1 facility runs on a 30 minute cycle. At 23 hours, so does the extractor. It's a perfect match (or as near perfect as you'll get.) 

If you run longer extractor times, you won't get as much resource. You will have to use more heads. That costs you ISK in terms of lost production because every megawatt you use for an extractor head means less production making something you can sell. If you are running less than a 23 hour cycle, you will produce more than one P1 facility can handle. That will take ISK for storage you shouldn't have to use as well as potentially causing you to upgrade routes which is also wasted ISK. If you build more P1 facilities, you have to expand the number of other facilities too or have the same storage issue. Any way you slice it, it costs you ISK. Plan for 23 hour extractor times - PERIOD. (I really can't stress this enough. If you can't make the commitment to be there every day at that same time you need to re-evaluate if you want to be a PI industrialist. Longer times are fine if you are a casual PI user who really just makes POS fuel. If you are running shorter times... I roll my eyes at you.)

That all said, let's go back to our planning. You will need to setup four scenarios here: 144k, 288k, 432k and 576k resource extraction rates. That corresponds to one, two, three and four P1 facilities. In the example above that's 36, 72, 108 and 144 total P1 facilities. Guess what, there isn't enough grid total in six level six command centers to run a P4 production line at the upper two extraction rates. You run out of power long before the line is complete. You'll be hard pressed to do it at 288k and forget that rate in high-sec. The extraction rates just aren't high enough no matter what. In short, very profitable P4 production takes a corporation, not a lone wolf industrialist and that's a completely different post.

So, back to what I've decided to do in the new hole. Without giving planet types away, etc., I determined the most productive PI I could do is producing one P3 item in large quantities. It takes two planets per P3 line. I am running a total of six P3 facilities, 18 P2 facilities and 36 P1 facilities. That's a [(2xP3) <-- (3xP2) <-- (6xP1)] setup on three planets and a [(3xP2) <-- (6xP1)] setup on the other three. These production lines require 432k resources every 24 hours which required three or four extractor heads depending on planet. At current Jita prices, the lines produce 750 mISK of P3 product a month. There is one catch though. It was easy transporting the NRP out of the hole. P3 products take a lot more cargo space so plan accordingly.

Fly Careful

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Retribution NRP Rush - Maybe

[EDIT 2/18/13: I believe the maybe is now a certainty. Have a look at Stabs' post today.)

There is another ship balancing developer post by CCP Fozzie. It tries to clearly establish what will come with Retribution 1.1 and what will come with the summer expansion (as yet unnamed.) It certainly does that. It talks all about what is happening to battle cruisers, etc., etc. It's all good stuff. You should go read it - later.

For now I want to tip you off about the large bonanza announced in the post. At least, it has the potential for being a bonanza. If I were a manufacturer (hmmmm, could be you know) I'd be staking my claim right now. What's this you ask? This here!
Ancillary Armor Repairers 
  • AARs can optionally be loaded with Nanite Repair Paste to increase repair amount, using a similar system to the way cap boosters can be loaded into ASBs, including the same 60 second reload time.
I've highlighted the part that got my attention. The new AAR is charged with Nanite Repair Paste, NRP for short. Hot damn! That's some of the best news I've seen in quite some time.

For those who are not industrialists, NRP is made from planet goo. However, it isn't like a Wetware Mainframe or Robotics. It isn't actually made using a Command Center and an Advanced Facility. It is made using a BPO like any other ammo type.

What's more, it's a high volume, high profit product. No matter how much is on the market, I've never failed to sell my stock and typically within 24 hours. And that's with sell orders, not the quick sell. Since the only cost to making NRP is time, the 50 mISK price of the BPO and the manufacturing taxes if you do it in high-sec, it also has a very fast return on investment.

With one paragraph CCP Fozzie has increased demand at least three fold to my way of thinking.

How's that? Let me give you a little economics ala Mabrick. It isn't enough to manufacture something that has a high profit margin. There also has to be demand. If you manufacture things with high margin and no demand, you end up with a lot of dead stock hanging around in unfulfilled sell orders. That's all liability and no asset. When your velocity of ISK goes to zero, your in a world of suck.

There is a HUGE difference between potential margin and real margin. Real margin is what you get when you actually sell something. Potential margin is the same as a boot up your ass. Okay, it's not as painful as that... until you get stuck with dead stock.

The trick is to manufacture something with good REAL margin. This means demand. Remember all that supply and demand stuff in the economics class you slept through? Anyway, ammo has always been one of these items. The gross margin is actually quite small but volume makes the real margin huge. Everyone always needs ammo. Just like pirates need NRP. It's the only way to repair modules when you can't dock up because CONCORD won't let you.

So how does this announcement triple the real margin? Well, actually that's a bit miss leading. Keep in mind, it's not necessarily triple the profit. That remains to be seen.What it does is triple the potential customers for NRP - the demand side of the equation. NRP as it stands now is a PvP play-style item. Those who over heat as a matter of policy need lots of it. But those capsuleers are not the majority of players. PvE players don't overheat. Carebears don't overheat. Blobs rely on numbers not over heating to accomplish the FC's goals. None of them need NRP.

Now they will. I know for a fact  the CFC is going to an armor doctrine. Most alliances in the "know" are. CCP Fozzie has just sounded the call for all those non-NRP play-styles to jump into my real margin calculations. Now, this is not written history. I could be wrong. Everyone might hate the AAR and this attempted reboot of active armor tanking may fail. But for now, I'm a very, very happy industrialist.

Fly Careful

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Bump in the Night

Since I gave you short shrift on Monday, I figure I need to offer up something more meaty for this post. What can be more meaty than discussing my views on miner bumping? This has especially been playing on my mind since Corelin of The Fancy Hats paid me a compliment while giving us his take of the situation.

To sum up the issue, back in late November CCP decreed constantly bumping another ship is emergent game play and not grief play. You can read all about it from CCP Falcon at this forum link. There are 30 pages of locked comments. Since that decree, bumping has gotten some press. I honestly hadn't thought it was really that much press, but it seems to have gotten into the current CSM campaign cycle. Besides, what do I know about the goings on of high-sec now I've got my head stuck in a wormhole?

Corelin was right in one regard though. If someone bumped me enough to piss me off, I'd take matters into my own hands. I won't say they'd rue the day they crossed me, but I certainly know there are ways to hand it back to them in spades. But that's me. That's nearly five years of getting accustomed to this game and learning how it works. I'm comfortable with those thought processes now. But, I'm not about to tell other carebears that's how they have to play.

And isn't that really the issue here? It's not about bumping. It's not about some players being so fail at real PvP they have to extort ISK from PvE players. It's not even really about bullies. This is about forcing people to play the game in a way with which they are uncomfortable.

Die hard PvP players are tremendously afraid the carebear mentality will nerf their game, turning it into something they no longer enjoy. Carebears are tremendously afraid they will have to PvP or quit. It's two diametrically apposed alignments if you will, and CCP is caught squarely in the middle.

As in all things EVE, no matter which side CCP appears to favor, the other side becomes even more afraid and the situation escalates. I'd like to think EVE Online players are better than that, but we are just a mob of people. Mobs are panicky blobs with no real intelligence other than survive or die instincts. So when confronted with our worst fears, we react accordingly. At some point, the problem resolves itself when one side or the other is eliminated. That is not an optimal solution BTW.

So what does this have to with miner bumping? That miner you are bumping and extracting tears from is another player who is just trying to have fun in his or her own way. Your actions prevent that. They will determine whether that person continues to play EVE Online or leaves for another game. Chances are, if they are young enough in EVE terms, they will leave.

And that my friends, is a real problem. I've pointed this out before. It hurts all of us when we lose players - new or old. It hurts CCP by lowering their revenue stream. It hurts current players because it limits future expansion: less revenue equals lower headcount which means fewer developers. CCP may claim that does not affect the quality of their product but that's just PR wishful thinking. I live and work in a real world. I know better. You should too.

As rational human beings, I'd hope all of us realize that our actions online aren't just about us. What we do affects our virtual world tremendously. That's the essence of emergent game play. It's not about how you do things. It's about your actions affecting the game. It's unimportant how The Mittani took down BOB. It's only important BOB went down, Goonswarm stepped into the power vacuum, the Technetium Cartel arose and TEST found an incubator to survive in long enough to thrive. Null-sec as it is today - for good or for bad - would not exist if these things did not happen. They happened because of what The Mittani did, not because of how he did it.

Was that good for EVE Online? With the luxury of 20/20 hind sight, I think it probably was. The net growth out weighed the losses from BOB rage quits. I'm sure a few of those happened during that collapse. Here's a Mabrick secret. One of the things about EVE Online that caught my attention back then was this exact event. It was better marketing than I'd ever seen CCP come up with. But at the time, had I been a player, I think I would have feared for the very game itself.

I can't tell you miner bumping will be the end of EVE Online. That notion is frankly unwarranted. I also can't predict whether it could be its salvation. When BOB went down, how many of you bitter vets out there foresaw null-sec as it is today? I'd be tempted to call you a liar if you said you had.

So back to miner bumping. About the only thing I believe all of us can accept is this: when you treat people poorly they will leave. When it goes from being a game to being personal, we are all hurt. The game suffers. If the suffering covers a large enough scope, we run the risk of loosing the thing we cherish most.

Think of that when you play this most adult of all MMOs. Consider what your actions are doing to the other person and by extension the game you love. You can bump me and I'll stick around. Bump someone who is only three months old and struggling, and you'll get the other response. A response that harms you more than them. The decision is yours; choose wisely.

Fly Careful

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday, Monday

The day almost got by me here. I got back into the wormhole last night after almost a week being stuck in high-sec. I did a little ice mining. I did a little market trading. I mostly got bored as hell. Damn, when did that happen?

Anyway, that's it for today. Short and sweet and to the point and I ain't leaving for awhile!

Fly Careful

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wipe Out!

Last night was another quiet night in the wormhole. Earlier there had been a bit of a fracas but I was not involved. We had a good pipe too. It dropped out much closer to where I still had ships needing brought in than the last pipe. So I jumped in another shuttle and headed downstream.

I popped out in an empty low-sec system one jump from high-sec. It was the perfect setup. Low-sec access holes have far fewer tourists than high-sec access holes. However, when someone does take an interest in your hole they are quite often far more earnest about it. I didn't wait to draw attention to myself.

At HQ, I grabbed the next ship on my list. This was my trusty Venture. I love the Venture. It is fast. It is nimble. I hauls a goodly about of ore. You can fit it for any sort of mining except ice. It will even do gas. But most of all, it is a blast to fly.

Fitted and loaded, I headed back up the pipe. The only issue being I was naked again. However, the align and warp time is about two seconds and I was very soon back home. What was even better, all the connections were still good. Not a single one of them were end of life or verge of collapse. I decided I had time to go get another industrial necessity: command centers. I headed back down the pipe in my Viator to get a couple since an alliance mate had many on hand (and he was willing to give me them for naught!) but no Lava command centers.

I landed at a major trade hub and bought the last two on hand. Since I had more than a few thousand cubic meters of cargo space remaining, I filled the rest of my hold with fuel blocks for the POS. You can never have too much fuel. On an aside, whoever thought it was cute or business savvy to setup sell orders more then 500 ISK less than the nearest competition, but only in lots of 42 blocks at a time... I HATE YOU.

But I slogged through buying 42 blocks at a time because I'm a cheap bastard. Just as I was finishing, something happened and traffic down our pipe suddenly surged tremendously. It really wasn't pertinent to my plans so I mostly ignored comms. The holes were big and fat and unstressed so no worries. I left dock and headed home.

But there is one thing I realized about a week ago, about the time I understood how deep into Anoikis space I really was, and I assumed other's had realized it as well. Our pipe goes through all manner of wormhole systems. Tonight it terminated through a class 1. Any wormhole denizen should know nothing larger than a battle cruiser can squeeze through that static exit. Guess what someone decided to run down the pipe for this fracas? That's right, a big, fat, juicy battleship. And to make matters worse, it was armor fit with big, fat, MASSIVE plates.

It cleared all the intervening connects, hit the C1 static and bounced. And, the pilot sounded surprised on comms! Really? Really!? WTF over! And to compound the error, said capsuleer then turned around and headed back up the pipe. Oh yeah, you know where this is going don't you? He left one of the connection wormholes on the verge of collapse because his big fat battleship is a MASSIVE pig of a ship. By the time I got to the BM, the pipe had collapsed.

I had no choice but to turn around and dock up in high-sec again. So far this has been a professional recounting. Hopefully there is a lesson in it for anyone thinking about living in a wormhole. It's easy. Check the systems in your pipe. Each BM has the system designation listed in the right-click menu. Look them up. Know your size AND mass limitations. It's not that hard. But on an unprofessional note, there is one personal comment I'd like to make about this whole sad event...
Fly Careful

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shooting the Pipe; Hoping not to Wipeout

I am deep, deep in deadly unknown space. I don't think I knew exactly how deep I'd be until the other night.

My ship came out of stand-down to a system that was busy but not under attack or threat of attack. In fact, it was very quiet. The scouts had gone out and reported back the same. There was nothing alarming.

The scouts also reported two connections leading into Amarr space. Both exit systems were in high-sec. As it was quiet and I still had ships I wanted to bring in, I started down the pipe in a shuttle to retrieve them. You know, I just want to mention at this point that nothing makes you feel so naked as being in an uncloaked ship in Anoikis space. I've gone through two smart bombing gate camps in low-sec, the last in Amamake about a week ago, and I was less nervous. I'm just saying - flying naked in wormhole systems is no fun.

Anyway, the pipe in this case was three wormhole systems long. I've always seen the diagrams Penny uses over on Tiger Ears. I'd always seen them as a lot of trouble waiting to happen. She likes it that way I'm pretty certain. I'm cut from a different cloth. I prefer my transits uneventful. My route out was uneventful and I started my 20 jump high-sec run to retrieve another ship.

When I was a few jumps out from our exit, comms lit up. There had been a Proteus sighting in the home system. It soon became apparent the home system was compromised. That's not so unusual. It's the nature of wormhole space.

The alliance quickly determined there was a new K162 into our home. What was worse, or better depending on how you look at it, the K162 was from an AHARM C6. Questions were asked on comms. Answers were gotten. A plan of action was starting to take shape. Then AHARM began to roll the hole. It seems they weren't up for fun and games that night. For my part I'd kept on heading for the ship I was wanting to fly in. There was not much I could do from high-sec in a shuttle.

When I was a few jumps from my destination, comms crackled again. This time it was a report that the high-sec hole I'd departed from had gone critical and it was on the verge of collapse. I wasn't too worried. We had another entrance. Then the same member reported another wormhole in the pipe had just gone critical. As someone said on comms a minute later, "you're timing tonight is lousy Mabrick."

However, the ship I was bringing back in was my scanning Helios. It could jump a hundred times through a critical wormhole and not collapse it. Nevertheless, I jumped in it fast and headed back least somone else in a larger ship collapsed the holes for me. I'd just gotten back into wormhole space and I sure as hell didn't want to get trapped in high-sec again!

The Helios is a damn fast ship but I still had 20 jumps to make. I felt like I was in a race against time. There was a shorter route of only 14 jumps. I elected not to go through Egghelende for obvious reasons. I got to the beginning of the pipe and the wormhole was still there. I lost no time entering. I was on my way home again.

The second verge of collapse wormhole was also there. Getting through it as quickly as I could, I was soon home free. And, shortly before I got there, AHARM finished collapsing their connection to us. The evening was back to the way it'd started. Nothing much was happening in our neck of the woods. It was about that point I truly understood how deep I was into deadly unknown space. It could have oh so easily have gone the other way.

Fly Careful

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stop being a carebear?

(Graphic contributed by Pell Helix)
Saturday I finally got back into wormhole space. Damn it felt good to be back in a hole. I've got no industry setup yet, but all good things in due time.

The action never ends in this hole as I learned waiting for a safe pipe in which to travel upstream. This phase of my capsuleer life will certainly keep me on my toes.

First, we had some insane wormholers come through our static with some T1 ships and just hang about 150 km above it. It was... weird. It wasn't like they were bait. The alliance had things too well scouted. So someone engaged them. They went running through the static, tails stowed between their ion exhausts.

That operation was followed by a hole closing party. There was a K162 from a C4 that needed to go away. The fleet had it collapsed within minutes. Once our hole was secure, the party started.

And as much fun as this was, I really don't think I'll ever stop being a carebear... but that doesn't mean I always have to act like one does it? And I must say, dangerous space is the place for that sort of behavior. Time will tell.

Fly Careful

Friday, February 1, 2013

It's not a Number Thing, it's an Acclimation Thing

Over on Poetic Discourse, Poetic Stanziel discussed "the numbers." It's his view the recent CCP comments about working to enhance the gaming experience of "lurkers," "enablers" and "small-scale leaders" as Jester discussed on his post from Tuesday, is "silly." From his point of view, I'm sure it is.

But Poetic's point of view is a self-inflicted blaster wound. It's not his fault. Many, many EVE Players suffer from the same self-inflicted wound. Most of them have been around awhile and fully embrace game play styles the are not considered carebear styles. This blinds them to the real issue with which CCP has to contend.

The self-inflicted wound I am talking about is their single minded vision of what EVE Online is. They look at EVE Online as a game where the only relevant (and therefore important) game play styles are the ones that involve blowing up other ships. After all, EVE is a PvP game. Doesn't that mean everyone has to make an attempt to PvP?

No Poetic, it doesn't mean that at all. It only means the safety is off. It doesn't mean everyone has to shoot or get the hell out. Furthermore, your attitude about ganking, that it is such a small percentage of everything going on it shouldn't matter, dismisses too easily how those who choose not to pull the trigger at the slightest whim feel about it. For many, it's the single biggest reason they leave EVE Online.

A good example is my own brother with whom I really, really want to play EVE. He is a family man first though. He has a wife and three children who, along with his full time job and sleep requirements, take up 22 or 23 hours of his day. During that one or two hours of time he had to fly Internet spaceships, that's all he wanted to do - just fly the damn space ships. He didn't want to get into fights. He wanted to relax to the hum of mining lasers, enjoy the gorgeous graphics, and get away from the daily mayhem of family life.

Except others would not let him do that. No matter where he went, he had to be on his guard. It was not relaxing. Quite the opposite in fact. And he did try to protect himself. But when your a month old capsuleer with no experience, "what can I really do?" That's how he felt when he cancelled the account. He also said, "I have better things to do with my time. I have more relaxing things I can do."

Don't be so quick to say good-bye and good riddance, we don't need your type around here either. The fact is, we do. In case you haven't noticed, there will soon be competition in the Internet spaceship niche with Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. My brother already plans to try them out. He still wants to fly Internet spaceships, just not CCP's.

That is why player retention is the real problem with which CCP has to contend. People like my brother who, even though I was paying for his account so he could fly Internet space ships, walked away from Eve. He didn't need the stress of having a gun pointed at their head all the time. It wasn't too hard or too time consuming. He walked away from EVE because he does not want to be content for you.

That's what CCP has to address, not the "numbers." The attitude of the few that drive the many away. It takes time for players to embrace a fully PvP sandbox, in some cases over four years. Yeah, that was me. Fortunately I kept to myself. I didn't take chances. I warped away at the first sign of anyone. And you know what, I missed out on a whole lot of EVE Online. During the last six months, I've made more friends and met more cool people than all the years before.

Why is that do you think? Is it because I finally embraced the PvP life? Hardly, I see it no differently than I did before: an occasionally necessary evil. Was it something CCP did that convinced me to move out of my carebear shell? No, that wasn't it either I assure you. It wasn't even the Goons war deccing me that got me out of my shell. The reason is far more simple. I was ready to leave the shell. Why do you think I wrote that piece on The Mittani in the first place? It wasn't an accident.

I was finally comfortable in my own POD. So it took me four years, sue me; I'm stubborn. The point is, CCP bleeds new players because those noobs NEVER get the chance to become comfortable with the realities of New Eden.  New Players need time to acclimate. No one climbs to the top of Mount Everest in a day. They have to acclimate to the altitude first. Expecting new players to embrace all that is EVE right away is naive and counter productive. They will move on to some other game faster than you can mash the overheat button.

So when CCP talks about, "a broader appeal without losing the things that make it EVE" they mean an environment where new players can acclimate to what EVE Online is. They mean an environment where noobs don't always feel the victim. Where new players learn to love the game without coming to fear the game.

There will always be those who jump right in and start shooting straight away. Bully for them! They are the exception and not the rule. Don't ever forget that. If CCP is to compete in a market where Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will do everything in their power to lure players away from EVE Online, CCP must broaden the appeal of EVE Online. To do that, new players must have acclimation time. If it doesn't come, they will leave. But, if you do allow them to acclimate they will become precisely what you want them to be - even if it takes four years.

Fly Careful