Wednesday 29 January 2014

Biggest titan battle in Eve history - the consequences

This week the Eve universe saw the biggest commitment of resources in a battle ever, the first genuine titan brawl.

With it perhaps the writing is on the wall for the "good fights" pvp-oriented sovereign nullsec alliance.

I don't mean something as facile as CFC will now win nullsec and complete the blue doughnut. I don't think they will. I do think that they've probably become unassailable and we won't see a credible assault on VFK until the CFC rots from within.

What I mean is this.

Some sov alliances win by any means. They use spies, diplomats, force, whatever it takes. They behave much like modern nations.

Some sov alliances like to win by defying the odds. Hurling contempt at people who would be friends, seeking out situations where, Spartan-like, they can defy the odds against a larger force.

PL, BL and N3 are very much the latter type, although PL in particular has elements of the first type. The main distinguishing feature is diplomacy.

To have an effective diplomacy programme you need to be able to do two things:
- not hold grudges
- persuasive communication.

Now Vince Drakken, the leader of NC. is something of a pit bull in terms of his game personality. He'll love to find a reason to fall out with another Eve leader because it creates narrative for a war. He doesn't really care what enemies think of him.

The Mittani on the other hand is visibly sweet-talking PL and doing deals with them while in the middle of a war against them. However the Halloween War ends, CFC and PL have pretty much negotiated the peace treaty already.

With the defeat of PL and N3 at BR- it may be that the modern national approach to coalitions will start to utterly replace the rather feudal outlook of alliances like Bob and NC. Sov Eve won't become a doughnut but rather a patchwork of localised proxy wars fought by people who are careful to agree a mutually assured success with their rivals.

Friday 17 January 2014

TEST leadership jumps into action!

(9:17:47 AM)
Skier and I are doing karaoke. Get into the World of tanks moombala channel and join us for some fun.

Do it. We're driving good members away one at a time.

#### SENT BY Chris Rittenhouse to All online test/allies @ 2014-01-17 09:17:58 EVE Time ####

I really don't know what's going on with my alliance.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

So what should CCP do with the new continent?

Things go in cycles it seems. After the debacle of the Incarna expansion, Mittens coined the phrase "Jesus feature" as a way of ridiculing the notion that each expansion should aim to bring some amazing and fantastic new feature to Eve as opposed to carefully making many small incremental improvements. Now after 2 years of small incremental improvements the player base is crying out for a jesus feature.

What's more we know there's a jesus feature in the works. We were shown stargates under construction at Fanfest last year and we know CCP Seagull is managing a 3-5 year project that will see new space opened up via player-constructed stargates.

What do we want in that space?

Hell, what do we need in that space?

Here's my vision.

The new continent

First off it should be aspirational content rather than starter content. I do think Eve could do with a better starter experience, particularly as the New Player Experience with its emphasis on missions and the Sisters of Eve mystery and the lore bears almost no resemblance to ganking blobbing and hotdropping, the end game of Eve.

But the new area, let's call it Atlantia for now, isn't it.

Let me first outline some of the problems I want to address

- low sec should, in my opinion, be an intermediate area for pvpers. Instead it attracts many of Eve's most lethal pvpers with heads full of expensive implants, drug boosters and offgrid command ship alts. FW does achieve the goal of an intermediate area for new pvpers and CCP have done a good job there. Now I don't think players should be forced out but I do think there should be a place in the game for "lone wolves" and I don't think low sec should be it. Currently people who want to maximise personal performance are forced to play in low sec because of bubbles in null which mean you lose your pods over and over.

- null sec is too easily moved around. It was never designed for thousands of cap ship pilots. Any small entities get stamped out, any interesting fight gets swamped with people until the servers crash, second fronts don't really work as people can pvp on both fronts pretty easily.

- people looking to get into nullsec have too little choice. New alliances and corps find it particularly hard, effectively you just have to wait until whoever's at the bottom of the barrel is mass recruiting then join an outfit like EMP or Li3.

Here's the solution.

1) Atlantia will be much harder to move around in for caps although not for subcaps. We do this by making the distance between systems in light years greater. My initial thought is that a constellation gate should be around 20 LY and inside the constellation the systems are 5-7 LY apart. This would mean caps are local.

This gives an effect similar to that seen when people build caps in low end wormholes. If someone has a carrier in a class 1 w-hole good luck attacking their pos when the biggest thing you can bring in in is a battlecruiser.

In Atlantia we'd see a badger den network of small independent kingdoms that once established are very hard to dislodge.

2) New constellations may always open up. I'm thinking that a constellation potential entrance might be an ultra rare exploration result. So people could find one and perhaps even secretly construct an entrance and move in without anyone being the wiser. Within Atlantia entrances are a slightly more common exploration result and allow stargates to be constructed to link to other Atlantia constellations.

3) With no easy jump freighting from Jita local industry is really important.

4) Atlantia starts with no stations. If you want them you have to build them. Atlantia stations are destructible.

5) Atlantia needs a unique trade resource similar to the tech 3 stuff that was found when wormholes opened up. Let's call it tech 4. It doesn't need to be better than regular stuff just different. I'm thinking of degradeable modules. These are modules that have slightly better stats but wear out with use, say a gun that fires 10k shots then breaks. This could be an interesting addition to the meta while also a resources sink that might help the economy.

6) Atlantia is a great place to pioneer new variants of sov conquest systems. I'd suggest something like Faction War. DUST should certainly have a role in Atlantia and Atlantia should use unique maps with weird looking terrain.

7) The stargates themselves should be a massive resource sink. To my mind the best previous example of such a feature was the opening of the gates of Ahn Qiraj in World of Warcraft. For each server massive amounts of resources needed to be donated but each donation rewarded the player handing in stuff. As a result many players who didn't care about the gates donated their copper and herbs to get the rewards. Ideally the stargates should require resources from the greater Eve universe - games like Valkyrie and DUST should have resources that will be needed by Eve players opening up cross-game trading opportunities. That would be good for the whole franchise because the games would help sell each other.

8) The implant system needs a revamp. Not just in Atlantia but it's fundamentally flawed. People hate losing their pods so many players lose interest in a fun carefree brave pvp style and those who take risks are brutally punished for it. If I take a bunch of newbros out on a thrasher roam I stand to lose my clone worth 21m and my implants (at least 2 +4s worth 25m each). I do this because I'm rich and I like FCing but I notice that even in TEST most veterans won't join such fleets because they might get podded. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as without veterans you lose fights and everyone gets podded. Good implants like Slaves pretty much force you into low sec where you're a shark in a goldfish pool. Maybe that's something Atlantia can do - player made implants that are based on time not death. Eg 30 day Slave set, persists through podding, expires after 30 days.

Conclusion: what will be the effect? Who will come - nullsec's losers, lowsec's elite, ambitious industrialists, good fight pvpers, ambitious empire builders, many new alliances. And of course the people at the top: Goons and PL but those guys also have to protect their existing empires.

Saturday 4 January 2014

TEST's desperate foothold on sov space

"Troll sov" or a triumphant return to nullsec?

EMP/Test formed a huge armada to contest the timer. At one point Local in our staging system was 444, low by old Test standards but excellent for modern EMP and TEST. One of our military directors spent the day pinging jabber every hour with 4 hours to go, 3 hours to go, 2 hours to go, etc.

The system we took on New Year's Day had been pushed into reinforced by the combined forces of the CFC and Black Legion. The CFC has sig group European Goonion, and alliances Co2 and Gents up here to attempt to contain us. All told that's a pretty sizeable force, especially in the light of claims that they'd just ignore this intrusion and stay focused on the big fleet fights in the South againt N3 and Pandemic Legion.

The TEMP coalition as it's starting to be called seems to be outmatching the CFC while having issues with Black Legion. Black Legion uses high mobility long range doctrines with great skill and they've often been enough to force much bigger fleets off the field

So it's shaping up to be a very interesting front.

Tonight after forming up we sat waiting on the titan for a long time. We were expecting the CFC to come in and attack the ihub when it came out of but they weren't prepared for the numbers we formed. Capitals went in and repaired the ihub while we waited on standby.

Having not been needed our FC decided to take the fleet somewhere to do something rather than just stand us down so we went to the gateway system of P3EN where we killed a defensive Sovereignty Blockade Unit. However our logistics people didn't manage to get a new one anchored so Gents managed to get a new one put in. A daring dash by an interceptor group to attempt to steal it before it came online was unsuccessful.