For those not up to speed on nullsec, there currently exists two very powerful blocs in New Eden – the Clusterfuck Coalition and the Honey Badger Coalition. The CFC is led by Goonswarm Federation, an alliance primarily made up of users from the popular forum SomethingAwful. The HBC is led by Test Alliance Please Ignore, an alliance that also comes primarily from an out of game source (namely, Reddit).
To understand the complex history between these two entities would require more words than I’m willing to put down right now. Here, however, is the short version: Test came into nullsec under the aegis of Goons. Test swiftly outgrew Papa Goon’s tender embrace and struck out on their own, to the south. Their first steps were a bit wobbly, as to be expected, but Goons helped Test where and when they could, asking for little in return (other than a powerful blue ally). Grudges were born in these growing pains between Test and other Goon allies, leading to bad blood even a year after Test fully stepped out of the shadow of the Goon machine (and into the shadow of Pandemic Legion – but that’s a story for another time).
Now most of nullsec is covered by one of these two behemoths. In the north, the CFC; in the south, the HBC. Over the past few weeks, apparent boredom (and a little of that bad blood) began to make itself known to the HBC. Test in particular began to harass Fatal Ascension, a CFC alliance. Things became heated when HBC ‘Head Diplomat to the CFC’ Bring Stabity stated boldly to a CFC Senior Diplomat that Test’s ultimate goal was to destroy Fatal Ascension in such a way as not to arouse the sleeping giant of the north – Goonswarm.
This resulted in repercussions. The shared Jabber channel between Test and the rest of the CFC allies was disbanded. In response, Montolio (leader of the HBC) kicked all Goonswarm accounts from the HBC’s IT infrastructure, a move more than a little reminiscent of closing down one’s embassies or ejecting all foreign dignitaries. Goonswarm, however, seemed inclined to shrug this off and carry on. However, Montolio wasn’t having it.
Instead, he embarked on a short and vicious propaganda campaign, seeking to unite all non-CFC entities in a Great War Against The Tyranny of the King in the North. There was one small hiccup to Montolio’s plan, however: Pandemic Legion. PL enjoys a special symbiotic relationship within the HBC. Though not the formally recognized leaders of the coalition, PL holds most of the HBC’s supercapital military force. PL fleet commanders hold the reins in wartime and PL holds no sovereignty, allowing them to operate more or less at will. They are not invested in sov infrastructure, allowing them to (if things go south or if Montolio were to piss them off enough) simply walk away.
The part where things get somewhat disappointing is where Shadoo, leader of PL, and The Mittani, leader of the CFC, sat down to hash things out. It was swiftly agreed that no one wanted to participate in actual sovereignty warfare, for the simple fact that its core mechanic involves not fighting people, but shooting stationary objects. The sovgrind is literally so boring that it stopped what would have been the greatest war in MMO history from going forward. I have no doubt that if sovereignty did not involve the deployment and destruction of structures as its core mechanic, PL would gladly have let Montolio rally the troops forward unto destruction.
Shadoo informed Montolio that actual sovwar would not be happening. Instead, a reset of standings and some essentially ‘for lulz’ fleet combat would be the extent that hostilities would escalate to. Montolio did not take this high handed declaration well, conducting a bit of a verbal slapfight with Shadoo via HBC Jabber broadcasts. This short fight between the formal leader of the HBC, and its military backbone, ended predictably: Montolio has ‘decided’ to take a break from EVE and has handed over the reins of the HBC to a trusted lieutenant.
Some may read this story and roll their eyes. Drama llama crap, nullsec politics that you don’t care about, etc etc. However, here’s the part you should care about, reiterated for emphasis on just how silly it is:
A war that would’ve involved 20,000 players, 75% of nullsec space, and hundreds of supercapitals was halted not by diplomacy, but by a game mechanic so dreadful that those who have experienced it previously have no desire to do so again.
This must change. Players often contemplate how to ‘fix’ nullsec in such a way as to allow smaller entities to enter the Grand Game of Sovereignty without kowtowing to the established lords of space. They come up with inventive and outlandish ways to achieve this. However, it’s all a bit unnecessary. If this war had happened, the turmoil involved in it would likely have allowed windows of opportunity to open for small entities to gain toeholds in space, be it from turmoil, lack of coordination, or invitations from the victorious bloc to come hold space.
Fix sovereignty, allow the Great Wars of New Eden to actually take place without threatening mass burnout, and voila – nullsec, fixed for all.
(Of course it isn’t that simple, but addressing the core dynamic of nullsec in such a way as to allow more conflicts to happen would certainly be a great start)
Seemingly since the day when intrepid capsuleers ventured into the unknown reaches of wormhole space, players have speculated about the removal of local from nullsec and/or lowsec. There is no denying that the absence of local chat lends a unique mystery to wormholes, helping define them as an area very distinct from the rest of New Eden. However, would the removal of local chat actually help address any of the issues in lowsec or nullsec?
In my opinion – no, they wouldn’t. Not without the implementation of a slew of systems in EVE Online to take the place of the local chat channel in regards to intelligence gathering. That being said, I do think that the removal of local (or moving it to a delayed system) and the implementation of new methods of gaining intelligence as to the status and situation of a system would be one of the single greatest advances towards true immersion in EVE Online.
Immersion is something that, at times, EVE Online severely lacks. However, it is not the most pressing issue to be concerned with. CCP is, in relation to the gaming industry as a whole, a small business. Their resources are limited (see also: No Modular POS Expansion) and any attempt at justifying the prioritization of removing a feature that, while not ideal, definitely works in favor of a list of features that are unproven is just silly.
Perhaps one day we can cast off the tyranny of local chat in favor of a system that allows for more ‘thrill of the chase’. That day, however, should not be today or any day in the near future. However, when that day comes, I wouldn’t mind seeing something that represents a futuristic version of submarine warfare, wherein ‘pinging’ (be it through d-scan, seeing a ship on grid, probing or another game mechanic to be determined) allows for a visual representation of what ships are around, what their affiliation is (neut, blue, war target, etc – think IFF system), and depending on the system, their approximate location.
The most important consideration, when thinking about ways to remove local from the intel situation, is to ensure that it remains a system that is skill-based – and not skillpoint-based. No new modules, skillbooks, or other requirements should be involved with this theoretical new intelligence tool. One of local’s few charms in the role of intel tool is the fact that you don’t need any number of SP to be able to understand its use and role. The freshest character off the capsuleer assembly should be able to use this new intel tool without arbitrary roadblocks in their way.
Considering this – the fact that local’s intel gathering capabilities need to be replaced by a system that does more or less the same thing, with a similar requirement that it not be skillpoint-based – I feel that it is, at best, a ‘would like to have someday’ goal. And while it is fun to speculate as to the shape of things to come (enough people have certainly had a field day with the no local banter), I prefer to deal in the immediate needs and wants of the players.
Since the summer of 2011, following the failed debut of Walking in Stations, the NeX and the outrage that followed, CCP has been steadily improving EVE Online. Great strides have been made: from the revamp of Crimewatch to the introduction of Bounty Hunting as a legitimate feature; from the ongoing Tiericide that has revitalized the subcapital game to the reform of Faction Warfare into an enjoyable feature with depth and substance – CCP must be given credit for righting the ship after a potentially disastrous turn in 2011.
CCP has acknowledged their failings openly and readily. They seek to finally develop EVE Online in ways that make sense, both from a business perspective and from the players’ points of view. With their declaration to embark on future expansion development along thematic lines, lines that transcend geographical areas and offer something for every type of player and space, it is more important than ever for the player-elected Council of Stellar Management to represent each type of player and every space in EVE.
It is my intention to provide a strong and clear voice that represents the denizens of low security space – not just Faction Warfare, as CSM7 did, but not ignoring it either. Lowsec has undergone the beginnings of a renaissance due to the changes made with Crimewatch. Now is the time to ensure that we are not left, forgotten for another 10 years. Now is the perfect time to push forward the cause of the pirate, the industrialist, the PVEr and the weekend warriors, all of whom combine to make lowsec what it is today.
However, lowsec is not the only corner of New Eden that I seek to represent. Bounty hunting, while still new and fresh, still needs polish to achieve long term stability and success. War decs are in a state of disarray, with no clear vision on the part of CCP as to what role wars should play in high security space. Suicide ganking, an activity that is as much a personification of EVE as nullsec sovereignty, has suffered large setbacks in the last year. Ninjas across EVE have disappeared – seemingly for good – as their favored playstyle has become a victim of circumstance.
All of these causes are causes that I not only believe passionately in – they are all activities that I have done and enjoyed over my five years in EVE Online. I have conducted non-mutual war decs in high sec against corporations 10x the size of my own. I have been a member of both Suddenly Ninjas in high sec and The Tuskers, EVE’s most honorable pirate organization, in lowsec. I have led small pirate corps as both a director and as a CEO, and can remember well the tedium that exemplified coordinating the logistics of a small corporation. I have roamed the unknown reaches of wormhole space, feeling the pain of managing a POS as well as living out of one.
I am not a fitting savant, as past CSM members have been. I am not the leader of a nullsec alliance, as past CSM members have been. I am not a full-time mission runner, miner, or industrialist. I am not the be-all, end-all solution to the CSM. What I am, however, is a clear and concise communicator. I am one of the EVE community’s largest supporters and advocates. And I am dedicated to seeing this through, to putting in the work and to helping improve the game that we all care about.
In the coming months, I hope to hear from as many viewpoints as possible, to learn what concerns pirates and industrialists alike, and to help bring attention to lowsec in a mature and intelligent fashion. In the end, I hope to represent you on the Council of Stellar Management, and to honor your faith in me with a dedication to meaningful transparency and honest representation to CCP. It is the CSM’s role to be the elected advocates of the players to CCP – and not the other way around. I brook no bullshit and call things like I see them, a quality that I think will serve well in the CSM.
Ultimately, it is up to the players to choose the candidates who they think will do the best job at fulfilling this role. Throughout this campaign, I will remain dedicated to answering the questions and concerns of prospective voters in as forthright a way as possible.
If you would like to reach out, I am available in the following ways:
A formal platform, updated bio and forum announcement are soon to come, as well as in depth looks at the issues of the day – watch this space.
After waiting for a month for the Minutes from CSM’s Winter Summit, the EVE Community was greeted this week not with Minutes, but Hours, of reading. Having delved into the Minutes and doing a reread (sometimes two) of the various sections, I’ve decided to share a brief overview of their contents, to be followed by between 7 and 10 more in depth dissections of their contents. With 113 pages of ‘Minutes’, information overload is both inevitable and regrettable.
However, I’m not one to complain. The level of depth and thoroughness in the Minutes from CSM7 has been commendable, as well as a direct response to the baying of the transparency hounds. Ironic, then, that those same people now complain at the length of the Minutes, but that is a topic for another day.
To me, there were a few standout items to take special note of in the CSM’s Winter Summit. First and foremost was the future direction of EVE development, as discussed in the Minutes’ first section. Therein, CCP Unifex and CCP Seagull shared with the CSM their philosophy towards EVE Online’s future development. To sum it up, they are pairing an increased effort to gather statistical data regarding EVE’s player base with a solidly defined framework for future expansions to deliver more, and better, content to EVE Online.
What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that, rather than chasing the shiny (be it the Jesus Feature or the Low Hanging Fruit), future expansions will be focused around a central theme. From this central theme, CCP will either fix existing, legacy features – or introduce brand new features in an attempt to do the same thing. An example of this could be seen, albeit in a reduced form, in our latest expansion Retribution. The theme of the expansion was ‘War’, and featured both iterations on old mechanics as well as the introduction of (essentially) brand new mechanics.
While some say this is just returning to past habits, I believe that CCP Unifex will steer the ship a bit more steadfastly than his predecessors at the helm. Expect future expansions to be tight, sleek and well rounded in addressing a particular area of EVE – not a geographic area, but a thematic area (such as Industry, Production, Sovereignty, etc).
One of the most controversial reveals in the Minutes was the fact that, contrary to the information given to CSM previously, Modular POSes are no longer a primary focus of CCP’s development. Some have taken to calling this an outright travesty, with a thread begun by Two Step reaching epic proportions. However, it is important to point out that Modular POSes have not been dismissed entirely. It will simply not be a central feature to an expansion in the near term. Instead, iterations are to be expected from CCP on the existing POS system, time and resources allowing. The code for POSes is quite possibly the oldest untouched code in the game, and as was described at the last FanFest, has been allowed to creep into virtually every facet of EVE’s core code. Unraveling that particular ball of yarn will simply take longer than initially estimated.
While not explicitly stated in the Minutes, I do believe that some reading between the lines of the Faction Warfare section in particular indicates a renewed willingness on the part of CCP to address lowsec as a whole, as opposed to just Faction Warfare as we have seen for the past year. Of course, I could be completely off base with this, but I would not be surprised to see at least one expansion in 2013 make significant changes to lowsec. However, the current CSM did not seem inclined to capitalize on this, which is a shame.
Of final interest (to me at least) were the discussions regarding the CSM itself. A commitment has been made for a revised CSM White Paper to be released in the coming months (before the CSM8 election gets underway). There is also the strong possibility of an entirely new voting system being put in place. Following the laughable effect that the ‘100 Likes’ modification had during the CSM7 elections, this is not surprising – but is a potential cause for alarm. With so many prominent members of CSM7 not running for reelection (Elise, Hans, and Aleks have all confirmed they will not be seeking another term), there is a real possibility that CCP could implement a tragically flawed voting system due to a complete lack of interest on the parts of those who are active on the current CSM, but not invested in the next.
Part One of my actual dissection of the Minutes will begin tomorrow, with an in depth look at the future conceptual development of EVE Online, as described in section 1 of the Minutes as well as the dual devblogs rolled out by Unifex and Seagull just the other day.
Awards? I can do awards…
Let me tell ya. I got awards comin’ out the wazoo. Half the year, the only thing you seen on this blog – you betcha, it was awards. Now ole Seismic Stan wants me to hand out some more.
…Applaud Your Peers, Embarrass Your Enemies…
At the turn of the year in meatspace, award season starts to spin up. Across the general media, folk are encouraged to look to their peers and recognise excellence and inspiration from the previous year.
For the past two years I have attempted to do the same for EVE by distributing imaginary Free Boot Awards to an eclectic assortment of community luminaries. This year I thought it might be nice to expand the concept.
For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let’s start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts.
There’s only one rule: no narcissism allowed (so step away from that mirror and resist the urge to nominate yourself).
Other than that, if it’s great, let’s celebrate.
You asked for it…
Sindel teased on Twitter a couple days ago that her awards might make some people mad. They might, but if they do, those people in question should probably relax, see the sun, etc. They were funny and poked fun at certain people in a ‘don’t take yourself so serious’ way. Maybe mine will do the same, though probably not.
Pundits are a strange class of people. You see them on CNN and Fox all the time, peddling their opinions as if they matter. Strangely, we’re never quite sure why we should care what their opinions are. Pundits, pretty much by definition, don’t actually have power in a certain realm. They just act like they do in front of as many people as possible.
AND THE WINNER IS…Poetic Stanziel.
Why the hell do we care what this guy thinks? His fact checking is abysmal, his opinions over the top, and yet we can’t stop reading. If he was in radio I’m pretty sure he’d be a part of the EIB Network. Grats, ‘Poe’, for being relevant without cause.
This one is dedicated to that rare breed in the EVE Online community – the podcasters. WAIT! You don’t know who I’m going to pick. JUST WAIT A MINUTE! I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. WRONG I TELL YOU.
AND THE WINNER IS….Rundle Allnighter.
Listen, everyone in podcasting is a little crazy. You sit at your desk and talk into a microphone pretending you’re talking to legions of people while simultaneously hoping you get at least a dozen listeners who aren’t your friends. All podcasters have egos, they all have agendas, and they all are fakers in at least one way. Where Rundle differs is that, instead of buying into his own ego, his own agenda, his own mythos – he’s bought WHOLEHEARTEDLY into the shit being fed to him by an internet spaceship guild. Sorry, but this easily makes you the Looniest of the Loony Bin.
This is a genuinely tough one to give out. 2012 was a year of passing, in some very sad and serious ways. However this post isn’t sad nor serious, so let’s stick to the two names that popped into mind when I typed the header above: Verone and MichaelBolton III. The former was the leader of Veto for quite a long time before finally landing a dream job at CCP. The latter was some dude in TEST.
AND THE WINNER IS…CCP Dolan (aka Michael Bolton III).
Why, you ask? Well, if I was in a more serious mood I’d give it to Verone and Veto together. Veto is dead now and it’s leader has ascended to the pantheon, so to speak, working in CCP. That surely warrants an Achievement award. However, I went with MB3 in the end, because I think we all know this is as far as he goes. He’s peaked, and though he’ll probably live another few decades minimum, this is the shining moment in his life. Let’s let him bask in it.
Ah, what’s not to love about a good drama? Laughter, tears, burning hatred and rage – all the things that make EVE so great are basically the same things that make dramas so wonderful to watch unfold. There are many great contenders in 2012, ranging from the recent shenanigans in the podcasting community, my brouhaha with Mr. Rixx Javix, to the Elo Knight/Wicked Princess stuff of not long ago, etc etc. However, one drama trumps them all and, in many ways, exemplifies them all.
AND THE WINNER IS…FANFEST 2012, Featuring THE MITTANI.
Dude essentially told people to go taunt a suicidal guy. Pretty fucked (not BULLYING, you twats, but still fucked). He apologized, of course, but ended up with a ban and a boot right off the CSM for his troubles. 10k votes were tossed to the wind like so much chaff and instead we got Chairman Seleene. Heh
Doesn’t it seem like in every awards show, there’s that one nominee that is up for a ton of stuff but ends up with not a thing to show for it? EVE has one of those in this Blog Banter. He was so miffed he even declined to give out a single bit of recognition to his peers!
AND THE WINNER IS….Rixx Javix.
What? Someone had to give the guy a cookie. He brought back the frill, after all.
This guy, like James Brown, is everywhere. You can’t have a Twitter conversation without his name popping up. You can’t listen to a podcast without him being on it. You can’t even talk to your own writers at a certain Eve News website (sans Eve News in the name) without his name being brought into the conversation. This is truly the hardest working man in showbiz…
AND THE WINNER IS….Hans Jagerblitzen.
With as hard as he works at telling people how hard he’s working, you’d think we’d all have gotten the point by now. But we haven’t. Until this award was given out, of course.
Serious awards have to go out as well. I would be remiss if I didn’t give Ripard Teg a proper shout out – the dude is a machine. Best Blogger of the year, by far.
For Best Podcast, I have to say Crossing Zebras. They are young in terms of podcasts, but smooth and just all around good. Except for that terrible boy band music.
For Best CCP Dev, it has to be CCP Raivi. As innumerable others have pointed out, he has seemingly singlehandedly changed the game in a fundamental way in a very short period of time.
Finally, I’d like to give a hefty dose of recognition to the guy who asked for it in the first place – Seismic Stan. In a community that seems to come and go more than the tides – bloggers disappearing, reappearing, disappearing once more, etc – Stan has been the one solid rock throughout it all. While having a kid on the way, losing his job and finding new work as a legitimate games writer, Stan has stuck with the EVE community through it all and kept the blog banters flowing. So to him, I say thanks – for everything.