Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sending Mittens to Iceland

The Mittani, sometimes known as Mittens, is running for Council of Stellar Management. How did I find out? I got an email from one of my alliance leadership. We aren't in Goonswarm, but we share space with them, and fought with them in the war that destroyed IT.

Okay, it looks like everyone and their brother has decided to vote this year.

This means we need EVERYONE to vote for their designated delegate.

Odd numbers in your character name = Vile rat, Even numbers in your character name = The Mittani

Click the names to get directly to the voting pages

(Ideally, you should log on the goon forum, vote, then post how many accounts you voted with in the exit poll, this makes it a lot easier for the campaign managers to keep track)

Voting this year is vital to keeping our way of life in nullsec as we know it, if we don't vote, a bunch of empire retards will shit all over our jumpbridges, and we dont want that to happen.

Vote today!

CSM is a group of players who get to have some meetings with the developers of Eve Online and bring to them the concerns of the playerbase at large. Many former CSM members are somewhat pessimistic about the influence of the CSM. But not The Mittani. In this interview with TenTonHammer, where he writes a regular column, he describes how he felt that the lobbying of players was important in getting rid of Titan Doomsday weapons. (By the way, there's some really cool video of a dozen or so old school titans setting off doomsdays around a station in the above interview.)

So he's kind of an ideal guy to put up there for CSM on the burning issue of the day, which is jump bridges. CCP devs recently floated the idea of limiting or getting rid of jump bridges altogether. Of course, jump bridges are a significant part of everyday life in 0.0, and nobody screeches harder than when someone is trying to take something away from them. The more psychological term for this is "loss-averse", and I think that a loss of X dollars garners the same attention and emotional weight as a gain of 5X dollars, to put some numbers on it.

And apparently X is very large when it comes to jump bridges. In the EVE Devblog today was this eye-opener:

CCP has just taken the newly-introduced Hours for PLEX feature offline. The Account Management option was added to provide a more convenient way for EVE Online players who need a few hours of game time added to an expired account, allowing them to log in, redeem PLEX, and keep their account active.

Subsequently, we discovered that the feature could potentially be abused in the CSM voting process, and have temporarily disabled the Hours for PLEX offer. In meantime, CCP is reverting to the older system that was previously in place for reverse-redeeming PLEX.

People have been using Hours for PLEX to reactivate inactive characters to vote for CSM, despite the knowledge that if they didn't buy a PLEX during this four hour period, they would lose the ability to do so, and have to do things the old way. I have to guess that it's the jumpbridge issue is fueling this. By the way, this is metagaming, and as such, I don't really think it's acceptable behavior.

But there's more at stake here than simple loss of "our way of life". In point of fact, I don't use the jump bridges all that much, and mostly it's a time saver. We have two jumpbridges that take us most of the way to highsec, through Torrinos. This turns the traversal of about 15 jumps into 2 jumps. This was a big win for me when I first came out here a year ago. I would go through fairly frequently, so that I could sell and buy stuff in highsec.

However, as the economy in our space has developed, I've used them less and less. At one point during last years war with IT, one of the POSs in the JB chain became damaged, and when the response to the CTA to rep it was unimpressive, our then masters in Tau Ceti Alliance decided to leave it offline. Which is how we learned to get along without it, making more use of jumpclones and alts to buy and sell, and jump freighters and carriers to take stuff in and out.

We also have some jumpbridges in our home space, that give us some tactical options for home defense and save me time whenever I have to go refuel certain poses. These are nice, but I don't think they are creating the problem that CCP sees.

The big problem affecting the game is the blob. In any navalesque war game I've ever played, ships are kept together in as big as blob as possible, since, when they are split up, they are much more vulnerable. Combat in 0.0 follows this rule. There might be more than one flleet, but they are reallly working together. So fleet fights keep getting bigger and bigger, which gives everyone the motivation to keep that big fleet together.

Jump bridges extend the reach of the blob. So do Titan bridges, but they require a fair bit more coordination to use. With a jump bridge network, ships can come rushing from virtually all parts of 0.0 to wherever they are needed in probably 15 minutes, with no coordination required.

So, is blob warfare fun? I don't think so. It's fun to win, certainly, and its fun to get a carrier or dreadnaught killmail. But I never found the basic activity of a blob CTA fun. Mostly it's sit, sit, sit, and then maybe fight with huge lag, and the nagging feeling that I'm not the slightest bit relevant to the outcome.

By contrast, I've had lots of fun in smaller fleets with 10-20 ships.

So, blobs aren't fun, and we all know by now that they produce huge lag. I'm of the opinion that CCP is doing all that it can, but there are some very difficult issues with lag. Things on the order of laws of nature. They are doing a whole lot, and there will be more, but the blob is growing faster than their ability to make it run smooth. But I don't think that's the only issue.

At this point 0.0 is down to two factions, the North and the South. If you want to have any life at all in 0.0, you will be beholden to one of these two, and you will be expected to field significant ships in significant numbers in the blob fights. Dominion did have the effect of getting more people into 0.0, but it had the unintended (in my opinion) effect of putting most of those new people into blobs.

The political organization of 0.0 is more or less feudal. In order to keep your space you must provide both rent and warriors, which are paid to your feudal overlord, who, as everyone knows, has the ability to come and beat you down if you don't pay. And the feudal overlords keep the very best stuff for themselves. In particular T2 construction has pretty much become completely cartelized. There are a handful of players in the game that control all the Technetium moons, and they don't sell that Technetium on the open market, they use it to make T2 ships in a virtual monopoly. At least, that's what the price signals are saying. It is not possible to do T2 manufacture profitably unless you have access to a rare moon. And most corps, even those in 0.0 do not.

Let's make one thing clear. I don't hold this against the people who have accomplished this. Eve is a game, not life. I am accustomed to playing wargames with my friends during which sessions we try to rip each other's faces off. Within the game, that is. What did you think I meant? Some friends and I started one play by email game with an alliance that took over most of the game world, prompting the game developer to tell us that we had "ruined his game". But it was definitely fun for us, and for those few other players that liked the challenge of trying to blow us up. See, there was this time when I snuck a spy character into an enemy castle and TOOK THE ENTIRE PLACE OVER!!! But I digress...

No, the lords of 0.0 are doing their thing. I don't really approve of abusing Hours for PLEX to rock the CSM election, but I think that it's overly optimistic about the CSM. They are responding to conditions in the game and using what works. They are highly creative. But if the game gets to the point where a few people having fun can spoil the fun of a whole bunch of playing customers, it's a problem that affects their bottom line. And if they are the ruthless bastards that would make them worthy of being called capsuleers, they won't mind offending the few in order to enhance, or at least preserve, their own bottom line.



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