Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Winter Expansion To Be Called 'Invasion' - Maybe

It's funny how things just slip out...
In response to the bittervetstorm of discontent surrounding CCP's failure to live up to their previous promise that Incarna wouldn't take developers away from the core Eve product CCP Soundwave made a comment

And then hurriedly changed it

If you look carefully the change was to turn the capitalised word 'Invasion' into 'a new flying in space feature'.

Now, this could be an internal codename which marketing will play with until they come up with the final title - for example Dominion was known internally as Rubicon. However the name clearly implies a certain direction or theme for the new iteration and combining this with the information that the PVE content design team is apparently working flat out for this release leads me to speculate that this will bring another big step in the back story of Eve.

My guess - the popularity of the live Sansha events has been noted and the theme of pirate incursions into empire is going to be expanded on with more mission content. But that on its own doesn't stand as a feature so perhaps the missions will have some new wrinkles - such as requiring multiple pilots to collaborate or perhaps a 'live' feature where players run PVE encounters in specific locations to help defend systems from attack.

No doubt we'll find out sooner rather than later now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free To A Good Home

Thanks to whoever abandoned a Crow outside the Sisters of Eve Station in Soshin - I was passing through and I can assure you it'll be given plenty of the right kind of abuse.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Like Your Avatar? Be Prepared To Re-Design It This Winter

The CSM summit notes are finally online, and amongst the legitimate complaints regarding CCP's development priorities and interaction with the council I did notice this interesting mention regarding the winter Expansion....

The winter expansion will focus on polish of existing features, mainly planetary interaction, and
preparation for coming expansions. The aim is to include new character modeling, which involves new
technology and new artwork.
Players will be required, when the new character creator will be released, to recreate all avatars in the
new system. CCP will probably continue to provide the paid service of remaking avatars.

So, I'll have a lot of work to do when that arrives.

Further down I noticed one other interesting comment regarding refining rates...
ORE Faction Control Tower. POS refining has a large shortfall in efficiency. Develop an ORE
Faction control tower (small, med and large...or at least large) with bonuses to either: 1. Refine wastage
percentage or 2. CPU and Power Requirements of refinery array equipment. Offsetting drawback is to
have no bonuses to defenses.
CCP’s response: The whole reprocessing system needs an overhaul and individual towers will not be
added or receive a refining boost in the foreseeable future. To phrase this in a bigger perspective the
station refining being at 100% might be the source of the problem, not the lack of more efficient POS
tower. Limiting the game-play by having a ‘perfect’ outcome with little effort is a route that CCP believes
needs to be revisited.
Session discussion: CSM asked for clarification on CCP’s response. CCP replied: The issue is not the
towers but rather the presence of perfect refinery in NPC stations, which is the guideline.

Now, If you've read my previous comments on the Mineralpocalypse you'll know I've been advocating a rebalance of the refining system to deal with the high efficiencies that even untrained pilots get when melting down mission loot in NPC stations, so I'm taking this as a sign that CCP are ready to look at this and perhaps make those skills that I spent weeks training worth a lot more.

My Poor Hardware

My Eve play style for the last month has been kind of odd, I was doing a bit of travelling so all I really got a chance to do was login and manage planets. However, I also found myself at home for a few days without the rest of the family, so in theory I could get some proper playtime, but instead squandered it by playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii, which left me with only enough time to manage planets.

Then disaster struck and my laptop died on July 4th, and since then I've been forced onto my aging MacBook Pro which gets stupidly hot when I run Eve with minimal settings, lasts about 60 seconds on battery power (I need to replace that someday), and has all sorts of annoying UI problems relating to only having one mouse button, and having the Function keys requiring another key to use.

Of course, the Mac is designed around only one mouse button, my Thinkpad had been suffering for the last few month from a disfunctional Right mouse button, which makes all sorts of random things completely impossible unless you plug in a mouse. Try playing Eve without the ability to right click, you'll find that there's all sorts of things that you take for granted that are suddenly impossible.

I could take a ship out and go ratting in belts, as long as you can select something in the overview then you can warp to it, missions however are impossible since you need the right mouse button to warp to a bookmark (another reason why I'd love to see bookmarks on the overview), in theory Courier missions are possible, but you can't set autopilot destination, so you need to manually plot your course. Weapons work fine, but you can't right-click and reload or change ammo types, instead you need to open your cargo and drag the ammo to the weapon, and without the right mouse button you can't launch drones.

Oh and if you've just bought yourself a shiny new ship you're going to need that right click menu to assemble it, at least with assembled ships you can drag them from the ships window into the hangar to board them.

Mining is about the only thing you can do industry wise, manipulating blueprints for research or manufacture is all controlled by the right button, and even if you mine a bunch of ore you can forget jetcan mining, since you can't jettison anything from your hold. So warp to station once you get a full load and then despair as you realise there's no way to refine it.

Forget about managing you market orders, the best you can do is buy the cheapest thing in our current station/system/region, or place a buy order for an item. You can't sell anything in your hangar, or trade it with someone either via contracts or direct trades, and forget about using your daytrading skill until you invest in an external mouse.

However, while I complain about planetary interaction's awful UI, it had one redeeming feature for my half broken input device - you can do everything necessary to run a PI empire without ever touching the right mouse button. Although if you want to import or export products you need to use a spaceport and hope that you have customs offices on the overview...

Can't wait for that new laptop so my mac can have a rest.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is EvaGate Too Obvious?

CCP have just annouced that Eva Jobse AKA Ankhesentapemkah has been removed from the CSM for violating the NDA - details are sketchy but she denies this, and there's a great deal of speculation as to what was disclosed. This announcement is much more vague than when Larkonis Trassler was dropped from the CSM for making some market trades based upon confidential information (the scandal dubbed 'LarkonisGate'). Larkonis was allowed to make a statement explaining the situation, apologise and resign, but in this case no such statement has been forthcoming via CCP channels. This has lead to speculation that this situation is a whole lot more serious than Larkonis' inside trading, and given that Eva works for another video games company people have even been throwing around the term 'industrial espionage' - which is highly unlikely since pet doggy games have very little to do with internet spaceships.

Massively.com has contacted her as part of their coverage and Eva's statement reveals very little beyond the fact that CCP and Eva disagree as to whether an NDA violation has in fact occurred.
When reached for comment, Eva had the following to say: "All I can say at the moment is that out of respect for the CSM, the players of EVE, as well as the good people at CCP, I cannot give any details besides my personal conviction that CCP's statement is not in relation to any of my recent publications, and that I do not share CCP's conclusion that there has in fact been an NDA breach. I am currently engaged in following up this situation with CCP."

It's unclear how much the rest of the CSM knows about the situation, Sokrates has been making a number of comments in the discussion thread, and has stated that the NDA violation is unrelated to Eva's blog which has been critical of CCP's development priorities - if that were the case I suspect that half the CSM would be on the line and I might have a chance of bubbling up to CSM status :).

Mortarion Curze Memorial Station

When I first moved out to 0.0 I based out of BR-N97 which had an outpost named in memory of a Mortarion Curze, the primary character of Michael Fisher, Michael had died at a tragicly young age due to a genetic condition.

Earlier this year when Sylph dissolved my new alliance rushed to grab what we could and spent many hours to capture the station, in fact we spent way more time that we needed to because after knocking the station into structure there was a server crash and restart which meant that the station HP got reset - all 350million of them. Despite the amount of work we put into capturing this station, and the loss of some dreads due to a -A- drive by Titan fleet we decided to keep the name, most of us had come out of Sylph alliance in the last year and so there was some vestigial respect for the reason behind the name.

Now, Imperial Order has come in and taken control, they come with the support of -A- and we're in no position to refuse, so after 2 years the name of Mortarion Curze is gone, replaced by IO Command Post - chosen by a new generation of residents who no longer have ties to the old.

I wonder how many players that flew with Mortarion Curze are still playing?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spending Those Skillpoints

The process of 'spending' skillpoints is hugely different from regular training, and I've seen a bunch of pilots just applying it to whatever skill they're currently training. Considering that many of these players are the kinds to optimize and tweak skill plans in EveMon I find it quite surprising that the same amount of effort wasn't applied to the skillpoint decision.

The ideal strategy is to spend it on the skills which you learn slowest, and for most people that means anything with Charisma as a primary attribute, so, put points into those Trade, Social, Leadership and even Planetary Management skills. You may not have been planning to learn those right now, but you'll save yourself a few hours down the road. And should you have been lucky enough to get this bonus while you were still inside your <1,600,000

Myself, I realised I could put a couple of levels into negotiation, and get some extra points in leadership. Meanwhile my training towards large Hybrids V is almost over.