Wednesday 30 April 2014

A win for the blogosphere!

"Absurd," they claimed. "Irresponsible," they called us. "Mass ignorance and hysteria," they said.

The strong concern expressed here and on many other blogs seems to have got through to CCP and CCP Greyscale said today

"First, we're hoping to broadly maintain the current balance of manufacturing between hisec, lowsec, nullsec and w-space with these changes, purely because it reduces the risk of the changes as a whole. We're hopeful that the summer release will make manufacturing in nullsec more viable, but we're not attempting to comprehensively address nullsec industry in this expansion as it needs to be done as part of a wider consideration of the nullsec ecosystem."

That really wasn't the case before for all CCP want to imply "nerf highsec, no no we never wanted that, apologies for the miscommunication." The original dev blog clearly stated otherwise:

"Expect costs ranging from 0% to 14% of the base item being produced for the most extreme case."

Reading that with the knowledge that currently almost all non-cap manufacturing occurs within 2 jumps of Jita it's clear who that was going to hurt.

There's still a very strong move towards nullsec via the refining changes but at least high sec industry won't be hit by a double whammy of 14% manufacturing costs on top of significantly worse refining.

Great job to everyone who blogged robustly about this. We won!

Sadly in some cases I think we have lost good people we won't get back but at least Mord Fiddle, probably the finest writer blogging in Eve this year won't be completely out of our reach.

Monday 28 April 2014

Gentlemen's Agreement disbands

Kesper North, CSM, veteran of the Fanfest alliance panel, has posted this on the GENTS forum.

It was a good story. There was adventure and intrigue and big spaceship battles. We pulled off some remarkable feats and were involved in some of the most momentous things to happen in EVE's history. We had larger-than-life heroes who pushed the envelope of the game to its limits. But the time comes for all good things to end.

After consulting with the CEOs of each of the corporations within GENTS, as well as other members of the executive team, Kippig and I have jointly decided to shut down GENTS. Sometimes, problems become endemic to an organization, and no amount of leadership change will rehabilitate the structure. When that happens in EVE, it's better to get a fresh start with something new. So after three and just-shy-of-a-half years of GENTS, we're going to gracefully exit the stage.

This shutdown will be gradual and orderly; supercap builds will have time to complete and there will be plenty of time for corps to find new homes elsewhere in the CFC. Sov and moons will be transferred to GSF in an organized fashion; we'll work with moon holders and GSOL to manage that transfer safely.

As for alliance isk and assets - we're working on a plan to divide assets and isk among member corps, so you guys will have a nice present to remember us by. Exactly how we do that division of spoils is still being discussed; we'll let you know when we come to a decision.

Kippig knew he was going to have to go to bed before I was able to get home to make this post, so he wrote up a statement and asked me to include it in my post. Here it is:

Quote from: Kippig
Dear Gentlemen,

Yesterday was a weird day. The moment I got appointed CEO I started talking to all the relevant parties I could find to figure out what needed to be done to keep the show on the road. When it was midnight again I finally realized that we would not be able to turn this around anymore. Do it right or do not do it at all, that has been one of the principles in GENTS we live by. It saddens me deeply but I do not think we can do this right anymore, so according to that principle, we do not do it at all. Gents will be winding down.

I have enjoyed my time in GENTS. Starting out in Cloud Ring, catching a cloaky camper that was terrorizing the region on the first day I joined. Doing scouting during the first Vale campaign and becoming an FC once we returned back to Cloud Ring. I kept getting promoted until I finally found myself in the spot I am in now, with all the experiences and things I learned from everyone I met on the way. I not only learned a lot about FCing but also more about people, what makes them and what motivates them. I am by far knowledgeable enough on that aspect but I like to think that if you have the heart in the right place and try you will at least have a shot at things working out.

I would really like to thank everyone in the alliance for flying, and losing ships with me, and would like to thank the corp leadership for working with me when they could. the conversations I’ve had with you guys were heartwarming. I would like to thank everyone who stepped up as an FC and scout, both the ones who taught me how to, and the ones I in my turn could teach. I would like to thank everyone in the DG team, past and current, for stepping up and helping out with running this alliance. You have all dedicated a lot of time to this and that is a big commitment to make. I would like to thank the current and former EXECS Tradik, Shangpo, Romandra, Nova, Lake, Kinkouin, Chiaco, Noir and Ryan for their trust in me and making a lot of GENTS possible to begin with. A further thanks to Chance and Soft insanity who pulled quite a few hours last weekend to work on a solution.

And finally I would like to thank Kesper North, the man who made this all possible, and poured everything he had into this all the time. The reason GENTS has been around for this long, three years already, and has grown from a few 100 members to an almost 3000 member alliance with a swath of sov, that reason is Kesper North. I think he can be proud of what he made happen over the lifetime of GENTS.

GENTS will be winding down, this means that we are going to transfer our sov in a coordinated fashion to GSF. Supercaps in build will be allowed to complete. Everyone will have enough time to decide what to do after GENTS and your CEO’s have already been informed about this and are most likely working on it right now. One of the options that we’re working on is a way for corps to stay together by joining a new alliance administered under the GSF organizational structure; your CEOs have been apprised of this opportunity and you should let them know your preferences in how you proceed.

I want to add my voice in thanking everyone who has made this alliance a success over the years. You've done wonders, and you have a bright future ahead of you. I wish you all the best of luck. As for me - I'll be sticking around the CFC and enjoying a quiet retirement in Goonswarm. I would encourage you all to find new homes in the CFC - ideally together, in  the new alliance Kippig mentioned. The alliance is ending, but the coalition is healthier than ever; let's go keep it running.

I will be hosting a final SOTA Monday at 1900 EU time where I'll try to answer other questions you may have, and so we can reminisce about the good times. A wake of sorts, if you will. I hope to see you there.

Fly safe.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Only you can save the universe, CCP Seagull

Only you can save the universe, CCP Seagull!

Does that sound dramatic? Good.

In every story there comes a key moment, a time that people later look back on and say then, then was when it all changed.

Eve is at such a turning point.

This story starts with a rather vague presentation that CCP Seagull gave at Fanfest last year on the big picture for Eve development. Something something exploration something something three to five year plan something something player-constructed stargates. Hmm, ok, sounds good but far too vague to get anyone excited. Still the expansion that brought in wormholes was pretty good so the notion of new type of space reached by player-made stargates has appeal.

Most major development in Eve is transforming the game for this goal. It's no accident that a recent dev blog about industry was called Building Better Worlds. In the current iteration of Eve the title is nonsense - you can't put a world blueprint into a station manufacturing slot, wait a week, then collect a fresh made world. It's called that because the grand vision is leading to this new content which will be significantly sculpted by players. (We already know we will be building the entrances and some objects in space).

Since CCP Seagull's announcement of the grand vision Odyssey revamped scanning and probing, Rubicon introduced mobile deployable structures and the Summer expansion will revamp industry. The game is being prepared for an exciting and epic new style of play.

However none of the players are excited yet.

It's too remote, too far off, too vague. It doesn't affect us when we play. It assumes we'll still be here in 5 years but in fact many of us won't be.

Instead what matters to players is what has always mattered in multiplayer online games, something that was absolutely nailed by Jonathan Baron at GDC in 1999: glory and shame. We play games online since we feel or aspire to glory and are likely to leave them when we feel shame.

This is true for every player, every playstyle, every MMO. It underlies the reasons we superficially have for playing - to pwn noobs, to make isk, to put our alliance's name on the map, to become eve-famous, to socialise with our friends.

The latest Eve problem reported by the blogosphere is the shift of optimal manufacturing from high to null, with low sec casually getting squashed in the process. Supporters of the system argue risk v reward, that it's ridiculous for high sec to be better paid than null for members of the industrialist profession. There's also a reason for this shift and it's around the New Worlds masterplan - it would suck to have distant new continents that are hard to get to but still have to buy everything in Jita.

The effect of the industry revamp is to re-distribute glory and shame. An unintended consequence perhaps but a serious one. This revamp is positive for some players and they'll enjoy Eve more, possibly even expanding to more accounts if they find that the changes particularly suit them. Industrialists with well established set ups in high sec have to consider whether to relocate. Relocation to safe nullsec means joining a large coalition either as a line member or as a renter. For many players renting is shameful. You pay your lunch money to the school bully so he won't come beat you up. Why would anyone choose to do that with their leisure time? We can just change game. And for people who are a little vain about their pvp, like perhaps Ripard Teg and Mord Fiddle it would probably undermine that vanity. Income streams need to be neutral for them because their game politics is small band of rebels against  the evil empires. That's not a narrative they can sustain as PL peons.

And here we have to consider the process. The industrial revamp was, as per his admission on Cap Stable, heavily influenced by Goon CSM Mynnna. Now there are good reasons - he's very expert, most of the other CSMs aren't, he actually knows the implications and ramifications better than even CCP's game designers. But having a Goon finance guy design your risk/reward system is like having Goldman Sachs design your banking regulatory system. Even if he's an impeccable paragon of objectivity it looks crooked and its perception not hard numbers that count here as if people feel the process is crooked they'll lose belief in the game.

We're already seeing people outside the Goonosphere lose heart. Mord Fiddle has quit Eve, Jester self describes as a traitor. Gevlon delightedly sees it as a Darwinian extinction event purging the weak. Foo thinks it's not a big deal but that Those manufacturers that are a little tired will leave manufacturing or possibly even Eve itself.  New manufacturers will take their place. Parasoja is one of the tired. Blake is fireselling his compression BPOs. Neville Smit has become a schizophrenic.

Mynnna responds with a wall of data and some Goonly charm: Get out. You won’t be missed, and your less hysterical peers will be happy to pick up your slack, and profits

What Mynnna's missing is it's not about the numbers and rational analysis. Games are about emotions - we choose to play them because we find it fun. In real life if your company gets taken over by an organisation you dislike but they pay you more people would take that. It's hard not to be ok about an abstract dislike of becoming part of EA or the Murdoch empire if it means you get paid an extra three thousand a year.

In games we play because it's fun. No one has to just swallow their pride and become a renter because an economy shifts. We can simply play something else.

Now the thing about this is that the unsuccessful people are needed to keep the successful. Goons like Eve because they're doing better than most players - the quality of life for even the least of the Goons is higher than the average player. But without those average and below average players there's no one for Goons to be doing better than. Similarly for Goblins. It's only fun to be a goblin if there's morons and slackers to mock.

Months before implementation this change is costing CCP hardcore veteran players. We have no idea exactly how many as high sec industrialists form one of the least vocal demographics in the player base. Most of them won't give any indication of how they feel until they go.

And that brings us back to the Grand Vision. There needs to be a vision that inspires players in Eve because although CCP has hinted at Building Better Worlds the players who like building things are not feeling good about the game right now. The time for the big reveal is at next week's Fanfest. CCP can't sit on the grand plan any longer or else there's a danger that there won't be the players still around to build it. There's a real danger that people are starting to feel - as I did - that Eve's becoming a game of Go Goon or Go Home.

I'd like to build a better world. I'm improving my skills, building contacts, farming planets. But tell us what's coming and when you hope to deliver. Industrialists plan on a scale of months and years, if there's something to believe in they will stay and set themselves up for it.

But it's time to show us your hand CCP Seagull. Only you can save the universe.

Gentlemen's Disagreement

via Reddit

post from kespernorth and ceo of gents- It's time to talk about the elephant in the room. For various reasons, the core leadership of GENTS - the people I founded this alliance with - have had to step back and focus on their real lives. Lake, Nova, the Bloodtears and now Ryan have all had to drastically reduce their involvement in the game. This has led to there being only two really active execs, plus dribs and drabs of activity from me. We've stemmed the bleeding by appointing some new execs - Kinkouin and Kippig have been doing the best they can to manage the day-to-day business of the alliance - and by appointing new Distinguished Gentlemen, but in the end, someone has to provide vision and leadership. I haven't done an adequate job of that. As my real-life situation continues to grow more complicated - I expect to be starting a new job soon, among other things -  I've had to become less and less involved as well.
So I've made a hard decision. I've gone to The Mittani and let him know my assessment of my performance and the situation; we both agree that GENTS needs to go through a transition of leadership. We haven't worked out what shape that transformation is going to take yet; it's totally TBD. What is going to happen now is that, starting today, GSF's Corps Diplomatique is going to reach out to each of you corp CEOs and ask you where you want to go from here, whether that's staying in GENTS under new leadership or exploring options outside of the alliance.
Thank you all for your trust and hard work. This may be a busy time in the next few weeks as we determine our new direction, but with your talent and leadership I'm certain we will succeed in our new goals.

I must be the kiss of death or something. Recently I've gone to EMP, Black Legion then Gents all of whom suffered major trauma within a couple of months.

Fortunately I'm quite engrossed by other games at the moment. I'm playing The Elder Scrolls Online where I haven't got very far but I'm enjoying the early quests. I also really like the Diablo 3 expansion, especially the awesome Crusader class. And I keep my daily quests done in Hearthstone where I'm amassing gold in preparation for the new Adventure mini-expansion.

Ah Eve, my love, why must you keep floundering?

Thursday 3 April 2014

Eve: reactivation offer, 7 days free


"The two-month pilot phase of the Recall Program is now over and it’s time to start looking into how it fared. Based on the great feedback we’ve received thus far we’d like to bring it back again later in the year, possibly even making it a permanent fixture in the EVE Universe – but for right now it is on hold while we evaluate. Look forward to more information on the Recall Program in the coming weeks. "

CCP have a new programme whereby a player (eg me) can send a reactivation key to someone who has stopped playing (perhaps you). There's a dev blog about it here.

Put your Eve character name in the comments if you want a key. Once I process it CCP will email you a key.

Recall them today and earn rewards!

Do you know a player that hasn’t been around for a while? Now you can send them 7 free days of game time and get them back into the action immediately! If they accept the free game time and make a further eligible subscription payment, you can earn rewards!