An Eve Online blog representing the vast silent majority who only wish to make the game better.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Elite Dangerous Paid In Full

Well, after reading the CSM minutes, I plunked down my money for Elite:Dangerous. E:D's idea of billions of stars to precariously explore and frolic in appeals to me.

I've written before about how much fun it is to build things from scratch in Eve. Go out get the blueprints, harvesting the materials, assembling all the pieces and building a thing-a ma-jig. It's all fun until you realize that raw moon resources are all spoken for. Monopoly of content by those who have gone before stopped we newer players, me and my corp mates, dead in our tracks. And I've written about that ... extensively.

So the wide open opportunities that I presume are inherent within E:D are simply begging for me to discover and explore. A space game with actual space.

Eve doesn't have any much needed infinite-growth inhibitors so everything gets taken and monopolized by the few large constructs. In E:D, who cares! We'll just get what we need somewhere else; or, we'll simply operate on some fringe performing up to our capabilities. No more ghetto, no more content exclusion.

I'm looking forward to some real E:D space exploration of a logically laid out universe and discoverable resources. I expect I'll still Eve a bit, maybe.

Maybe I'm approaching one of those walk-away moments that I've read so much about. It's too bad, really, as the Eve Online sci-fi universe is so full and evolved. Wish it was actually part of the game.

Anyway, we all try new games from time to time. Since I'm a one-game kinda guy I'll be largely absent from Eve while I explore E:D. But I'll be checking in every once in a while to see if any content opens up for the progression of newer players.

Looking forward to the future of both games ... but more so for E:D atm as Eve has lost its way.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why is Eve Online Dangerous?

There are a couple of ways in which Eve is dangerous to we newer players. Eve is dangerous because other capsuleers catch and kill us, and because PvE scenarios overwhelm us. For us, the precept of the game is to progress toward an objective all-the-while overcoming danger. This precept however is short-lived as attainable objectives, content, rapidly runs dry. Then we leave.

Of course, there is no "objective" in Eve. The game essentially is just to subscribe long enough to be able to kill others who, typically, have subscribed less. No content IS the content. So the purpose of the game is just to kill others, hence the kill-board metric being the only statistic of value ... and it's not even a part of the content-less game.

There is no reason for a newer player to remain subscribed once our small pool of possible objectives has been reached.
  • Yes, it's nice to see the pretty graphics. If only they weren't tucked behind all those spreadsheet informatics.
  • Yes, it's nice to partake of its sophisticated economic dynamic where we newer players have to work for a living. If only ISK wasn't essentially free to more veteran players.
  • Yes, it's nice to explore the large expanse of unknown space. If only there was an access route that wasn't spelt "turkey shoot" or habitable areas of space not named "no trespassing."
  • Yes, it's nice that it is a sandbox game where all things are possible. If only this were true. Most of Eve's sparse content is stamped "large alliance only."
Why is Eve dangerous? It makes it interesting and challenging for newer players initially as we learn basic mechanics.
  • Then we hit the brick wall where only veteran groups are allowed access to content.
  • Then we learn that the game has nothing left to offer save the vet-biased out-of-game kill-board.
  • Then we discover we're just flying spheres with no sci-fi flavoring or context at all.
  • Then we realize that Eve's meager designed-in content is almost exclusivity for those who have come before.
  • Then we understand that we, the newer player, are the content upon which veteran players feed.
Ultimately we end up with nowhere to go and nothing novel to do save join some detestable group in the hopes of accessing a bit more content toward no good end. Even if your new-player corporation has a dozen or more members, all must surrender to the control of vets who have long locked down the content of Eve and narrowly defined its play style.

I often find myself doing simple distribution missions. Distributing esoteric nothings. Food for no reason. Weapons for no purpose. Medications for no disease. Humans are irrelevant so their item distributions contribute nothing ... economic sterility. Zero value to the market. Give no content to me; I give no content back. Growth-limiting humans would have been a very sophisticated game touch.

I see -10 security status players ganking for jollies. Why can they use NPC stations when I can't dock at vet-owned stations? So the vets can get depth and content from newer players yet giving no equivalency in return. Eve in a nut shell. Eve's grossly irrational and poorly conceived universe is a turn off.

 If I had access to content I might choose to interact more widely. I'm not joining with meaningless entities to gain access to content. My dollars don't work that way. My dollars work for me. Eve's endgame is exclusive of me and that is disturbing. Eve's dynamic is irrelevant to me as there is no enticingly fun and exciting equilibrium state into which one can grow. An "objective," so to speak. All capsuleers are equal but some are more equal than others ... a bit insulting, this.

As a newer player I demand a logical, consistent, sci-fi rich universe. I demand limits-to-growth mechanics. I demand meaningful play and role identities to match my avatar. Yes, I want my progress toward an objective fraught with danger and excitement but I don't want my logical progression of objectives stopped dead in its tracks by very poor game design.

Go ahead, break open null's endgame by nerfing power projection. It is a step in the right direction. Break those roadblocks through the whole spectrum of the game! Keeping newer players locked up and tagged as apartheid is at Eve's own peril.

Eve Online is dangerous for the excitement of newer players. Content keeps newer players subscribing. Danger without content is a recipe for unsubscribing. It's simple.

Eve Online has got to be the only game in existence that deliberately squashes the aspirations of new entrants for the enjoyment of the embittered alumni clique. Strange marketing strategy, that.

Heed me, CCP.

Friday, October 10, 2014

NPE Eve Assessment

It has been a while since I've made a New Player Experience (NPE) assessment of Eve Online. And, of course, that was because there has been nothing to transmit home about ... until now. Now there is at least some faint hope.

Two rather nice incidentals have provoked hope that the NPE could improve.

First is the nerf to power projection. This may help fracture null sec to the point where space can open up to new entrants. A step in the right direction. Not enough to allow newer players and their corporations access to null but maybe further down the road this will change again. I'm hoping.

Second is an unlimited training queue (coming soon). As I understand it now, one can stack up training indefinitely. This makes things more understandable and easier for the Newer Player. But I think it will reduce the signed-in stats significantly. It might be better to limit the queue stack to the paid account time. And, I can see a very beneficial spectrum of predefined queue strategies which can be loaded to one's queue ... kinda like we can load Overview tab presets. Of course, skills already trained would be automatically dropped.

So, all-in-all, hopeful but not very NPE enticing.

The primary problems with Eve Online remain: no space; a veteran-based bias; and, no access to basic resources.

There is no space in which to dart around veteran players whose sole purpose is to kill you. High sec is essentially an apartheid state to those who don't subscribe to Eve Online's prescribed style of veteran-ruled play.
Kaeda Maxwell, "In most MMO's PvP tends to have progression as you get bigger and better you get placed in an arena with other bigger badder people, not so in EVE. There's only one arena, New Eden, and we're all in it together."
There is a veteran-based bias which forces new players into alliances. Not joining an alliance automatically makes much of Eve Online's sparse content inaccessible.
Ripard Teg, "doing some activities in some areas of space should completely suck and you would be dumb to do those activities there in the long-term grand scheme of things, this view of EVE is the correct one AND it's more healthy for the game."
There is no access to basic resources. Basic resources such as ores and moon materials should be available everywhere much as Planetary Resources are. Since there is only one arena, income opprtunity should be consistent and shouldn't be biased toward vet-based null. The Universe is illogically ordered. Further, income should be equalized everywhere though, of course, racial items should be area defined. And by equalized I mean that they are go-getable. A clever vet-evading Newer Player corporation should be able to build a Capital ship ... even though it may take years. That's access to content! And it's important.
Lyris Nairn, "A fully fit boot/slowcat only costs like 2.5b which is less than a week of ratting or mission running on a casual schedule."
Eve Online from the NPE perspective is locked down tight by those who have gone before. Yes, a glimmer of hope for an NPE improvement has occurred but, judging from my own experience, nothing to transmit home about. The main Newer Player corporation that I am a member of has members letting their subscriptions run dry.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

OMG, I Better Make a Posting

I've slipped from five postings a week to two postings a month. It's not my fault. My blog is a Newer Player Experience blog ... and there is nothing new to improve the NPE.

I don't know what CCP is thinking. Perhaps nothing. They seem to think that improved graphics will persuade newer players to stay longer. Improve the graphics and newer players will learn to love the vet dominated, teeny-tiny sandbox. Dubious logic, I suspect.

I'd write about something, if I could, but there is nothing. Nothing relevant to the NPE. Hence no postings. And this saddens me because I love to write. If I only had something to flog the virtues of this game to a new or newer player. Nope.

Next month, perhaps only one post.

Eve Online

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Burners: Take Two

Got another keg loaded and pressurized with the newest beer batch. It's going to be a challenge finishing off the kegs before returning to the big city. And that goes part way to explaining my second burner fail.

So I'll be leaving "the bush" in just under two weeks. Been here since May. Sure will be nice to be working with multiple screens again. One small laptop just doesn't cut it. That introduces the temptation to cheat. But I'm pretty sure I won't as it is just not my way.

I went to do my second and last burner mission. It wasn't the right kind; not the same as my first and not what the tiny T1 was knowledgeably fit for. But, after long seconds of thought, I accepted it anyway. Somewhere in the back of my head I concluded that this one fit was good for all.


Now I'm left with a decision crisis. Try again to get the original mission; or, devise an attack for the second type of burner mission; or, stop at two as originally planned.

My strategy for defeating the second type of burner mission concluded with the determination that a T2 ship was required (at least for me). I checked its price ... almost doubled! Others seem to have reached the same conclusion. And whacks of new training! So that's out.

It is enticing to opt for new skills toward a new objective, which is what I play this game for, but shooting an irrelevant red plus (+) sign is not really a satisfying objective for me. The new skills would be good but I'm already working toward a distant objective ... and I've diverted from it a bit already to fit my T1.

I have been winding down my Eve Online activities. So too the rest of the corp. The inaccessibility of raw materials kills the game's potential. "No space" as a result of no corporate "infinite growth" restrictions, and the overly full sandbox means raw materials are essentially never available to we newer entrants.

Newer players don't need to pay and play for the jollies of those who started the game years before. The vets can play with themselves as I'm sure they do. The game becomes more and more exclusionary as vets continue to ripen in the septic tank called Eve Online.

In any case, newer more modern games are coming along and I'll certainly be examining them for superior playability and access to content.

So will I do a third burner mission? Probably. But nearer the end of the last keg.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Burner Bust

On day One 207 successful burner missions were completed. 1563 were unsuccessful.

One can assume a similar number on day Two. My mission was not among the successful.
I never got a shot off. I didn't even get a lock. Ten seconds and done. At least I saved my pod. ;)

AND, I didn't have insurance. That was dumb. It was just a tiny T1 frigate but I put on some jazzed-up gear. Nothing blingy, mind you, but enough to make me believe that a successful outcome was never in doubt.

I expected a fair fight. I expected to out-maneuver the opponent. I expected some tactical play. I really, really expected something commensurate with other Security level IV missions.


Got warped right into its teeth. Attempted a turn for range ... dead.

So it's just a come-out-of-warp and shoot thing. Like a duel at sundown without the 1, 2, 3 turn and shoot; just 3, or maybe just shoot. Oh, well. Die and learn.

And the opponent is pretty blingy.

I'll take one more stab at it. These are pricey experiments. But even with a win, I'll not be doing any more Burner missions. For me this is high risk toward no good end. It has no bearing on any of my present or future operations. I have real people with which to contend. And it probably should not have been wrapped with a lvl IV banner.

Yet another newer player turn off. My advice to potential new players is: start Eve only if you can buy a character with two years of combat training. The game is too ripe with veterans and seems to be developing solely for them, too.

Why they would introduce such a mission at this newbie-rarified juncture is beyond me. Very poor messaging.

That composite thing that I fought should instead be more practically applied. It should be jumping freighters. Maybe pouncing on gate campers. Destroying PI facilities. Neutralizing POS structures. It should be out there in space making it dangerous and unpredictable for those who no longer have risk in their play.

There is no reason for me to ever see that thing again except maybe one more time just to see if I've figured out how to beat it. That's worth one more ship, anyway. And I'll insure it!

Then it's done.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

China Game - 中国玩家的

I have to confess that three times in my very long life I have taken a stab at learning Mandarin. The last two-year flurry got me up to hundreds and hundreds of characters. Speech -- not so much as I am a diehard introvert -- but I remain fascinated by the characters. Problem is that they are non-phonetic. Total memorization. And, without use, gone from the head in mere months.

The title should read "Gamer's China," I hope. I waffled a lot on where to place the "de." But for us, I think the "China Game" is more intuitive.

When I first started this blog, I didn't have many readers. That is only natural, I guess. I did notice though that I had a tiny following from China ... and they were using Google translate. I actually wrote a blog posting on it but scotched it at the last moment thinking it in bad taste. Perhaps if I had left out the part about my requiring a Chinese mistress to learn the language properly. Still, I wonder about how the translations came out.

Anyway ... I notice now that there are many more hits from China. "Hey! 你好!" They no longer use Google translate. Maybe it's a more upscale group of readers now. And, of course, I think I have Chinese readers because I am a proponent of linking Serenity and Tranquility. Maybe they think it is a good idea, too. Perfect use for power-projecting cynos if you ask me.

I'm a newer player so the reasons for leaving Serenity and Tranquility unlinked are beyond my comprehension. Perhaps even beyond my pay grade. The World moves in mysterious ways but usually its just around and around when all is said and done.

Somehow, another blogger has figured out how to follow the happenings with Serenity. Again, above my pay grade. I feel like I've been separated from a twin at birth. Reasons elude me.

So here's my bet -- the new Eve Gate links to Serenity; or, at the very least, another shard. And then, eventually, in that way to Serenity. New gates, power-projecting cynos, and shards ... now there's some interesting game play!

I'm with you my Brothers and Sisters! Unite the Eve Universes!