Category Archives: Blog Banter

Blog Banter #49 – Defining Rich

It’s been over a year since I participated in a blog banter. With my enthusiasm for the blog dwindling quick, I figured it’s a good time as any to get back into the swing of things.

So onto Blog Banter #49 – Rich

What is “rich” in EVE? Is it simply having more ISK than most everyone else, is it measured in raw numbers of some other ethereal quality? Can you actually be poor? Have you ever lost nearly everything and had to claw your way back? If you are rich, how do you know and how did you get rich? 

rich
Adjective
Having a great deal of money or assets; wealthy.
(of a country or region) Having valuable natural resources or a successful economy.

Being rich in real life involves having a lot of money. Being rich in EVE involves having a lot of virtual money. It’s simple.

Or is it?

In our spaceship game, wealth and being “rich” is subjective in more ways than one.  For most people it involves two main factors:

  1. ISK in the wallet
  2. Assets in stations/space

This is then broken down even further:

  • Income
    • Are you rich if you have little isk/assets but have a large income? You just spend it really quick and lose said ships really quick?
  • Investments
    • Little in the wallet. Practically no assets, but billions and billions in market orders. The ISK isn’t there yet, but it has the potential to be.
  • Number of assets vs quality
    • Are you richer if you have lots of cheap ships or one pricey one? 20 Frigates in the hanger vs one Battlecruiser, for example. Is this purely on the total cost of the ships, or is the equivalent value?
  • Relative value
    • A million ISK is a lot more to a new player than it is a year-old pilot. A billion is an insane amount to the month old but pocket change to the 5 year. Where is the line drawn?

With a fair few factors affecting what determines wealth and, by extent, “richness” then we struggle to draw a line between “rich” and “not rich”. A combat pilot will see far more value in 5 fully fit cruisers than, say, an Orca. So to him the cruisers are worth more, but if we went by ISK then the Orca wins hands down. On a similar note, a day old newbie will see the 10 million as rich, whereas I can drop that on a single module without caring, yet I do not view myself as rich.

So we must determine that the value of wealth and being rich varies depending on the player. Right. Easy. There are obviously a few exceptions (having 1 trillion, for example, is rich for 99.9% of the playerbase) but in the billion ranges it gets very very murky.

With that out the way, it’s time to turn to myself. This is my blog, after all. It’d be rude not to.

ISK is something I regulate carefully. There are a few golden rules in EVE but the one I live by is “Don’t fly what you can afford to lose”. Living in wormhole space (with the threats of theft and sieges) means “what I can lose” extends to everything in my POS Hanger. As a result I always keep a value in my wallet equivalent to totalwspaceassetvalue x 1.1+. If I lost every ship I owned, I’d be able to replace them all with a little bit left over. This also helps me define my own “rich” and poor quite easily. Right now, I have a wallet “limit” of about 4 billion. My actual wallet is 4.3 billion. That means I have 300million spare for “whatever”. So I’m not poor. If my wallet was on or below my threshold I then consider myself “poor”. I can no longer afford to replace what I could lose. It’s not poor compared to other pilots, but we’ve already established that this is relative.

With me so far?

So what defines “rich” to me? In my view, anything that is over double my wallet limit is “rich”. If someone has 10billion liquid ISK then they are “rich”. This stretches to assets, as I see a use for every ship in the game. Everything is useful in some fashion. Even mining barges make OK bait, so I view the worth of the ship by it’s raw value in ISK. In a fight, I’d much prefer a Command Ship over an Orca, mind you. So if someone has 6 carriers they are “rich” by my standards. Likewise with 5 Orcas.

So we’ve established my own views on rich and not-rich. It’s dependent on my own ISK at the time and that ISK came from somewhere. But before a rise comes a fall and I have previously very nearly hit rock bottom in terms of wealth. It’s where my wallet threshold comes from. My displeasure with buying unnecessary ships.

I lost a ship.

It was no ordinary ship. It was a Dominix. It was my first ever battleship. It was in a mission. I was 2 months old at the time. I was not skilled. It was nearly all my ISK.  The first mission room tanked fine with my T1 mods. I was confident. The second shredded it without mercy. Scrammed, webbed and under heavy fire, my first ever Battleship went down in flames. My wallet was at a mere 10 million ISK at a time when the Dominix still cost 40-50. I felt lost. Poor. Out of ISK.

So I went back to my Vexor and started again. Clawed my way up. Got a new Dominix as I hit T2 armour skills some many weeks later. The rest, as they say, is history. My ISK flatlined as I hit RvB a few months later, but those were losses I was happy to commit to.

So I’ve been space-poor early on in my career. Now how did I become not-poor?

Fast forward to today. I live in a wormhole. Common knowledge dictates that I should be loaded. Sadly this is not quite accurate. I’m currently sat on a grand total of 4.3 billion, with about 3 billion in wspace assets. Not that much for a 3 year old wormhole pilot. The thing is, i’ve been sat on this amount for about a year, despite losing a Proteus, 4 Absolutions and 4 Guardians in wspace alone. The key is careful spending and getting really bloody lucky.

To careful spending; Only buy what you need (my hanger is rather empty of non-critical ships) and only replace a ship when you have the ISK to replace it a second time.

To getting lucky – I got two major windfalls of ISK. The first was making billions off an offline tower. The second was making billions off looting a CCP fleet. Win win. Through these windfalls and the occasional PvE I’ve managed to keep my wallet at an acceptable level for the last 2 years. I could be a lot richer if I made the effort to run sites, but hunting people is much more satisfying.

We now know how I make ISK. We know how I keep ISK. We know what I define to be rich and poor. We know that everyone thinks differently on what rich and poor is. So I’m going to leave you with an extra thought;

A ISK-poor frigate pilot with a lot of contacts can do infinitely more damage with a simple conversation than a lone pilot with several billion ISK. Does being rich matter so much in EVE?

Blog Banter 32 – EVE is all about risk

This month’s Blog Banter comes from Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships. He has foolishly chosen to poke the hornet’s nest that is the non-consensual PvP debate. Whilst you read his question, I’ll be finding a safe place to hide.

“A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons’ Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an “opt out of PvP” option. 

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?”

Oh boy, this is a fun one!

I hold that there are two major types of player in EVE – those that learn from their mistakes and those who refuse to accept said mistakes. The former suit the game well – adapting and adjusting their playstyles to whatever region of space they live in. The latter whine and bitch when their 8bil-cargo Iteron gets suicide ganked outside Jita 4-4.

It’s the latter who seem to advocate a “removal” of PvP in high-security space. Why? What possible good could come from removing PvP?

Let’s back up a bit. What constitutes PvP? Combat? Markets? Even mining depletes a resource another pilot could claim, so that could be considered PvP too. Removal of all those results in… nothing. I wouldn’t call EVE a “game” at that point. There’d be no spice.

So let’s change the definition of “PvP” into ship combat only, which seems to be the area where people get all mad.

EVE fields a risk/reward scheme throughout the game (with the possible exception of Incursions, trolo). If you take want those big rewards – taking space, getting expensive mods, making billions from trading, defeating whole fleets etc. – then you have to take big risks – Organising alliances, running dangerous sites, investing billions to start trading etc. Non-Consensual combat in Highsec is the risk to the reward of being able to run missions/mine/build/haul without being attacked at every gate. If you want to carry all your loot round cheaply, you are damn well going to take a risk in doing so.

Remove this risk counter. Remove the ninja looting, the can flipping, the suicide ganks. What are we left with? War dec mechanics? Those are laughably easy to exploit.

So you now have a Highsec without ship combat. What happens now? You’ve essentially just turned Highsec into a single player game, where your actions do not have consequences. What’s to stop everyone flooding into Highsec where they are now completely safe? EVE would go haywire. All because some idiot decided that because he didn’t want to take a risk for his reward. Some dumbass doesn’t like people “interfering with his playstyle” yet is perfectly happy to effect everyone else’s playstyle by wanting a removal of PvP.

Then, of course, there’s CONCORD. CONCORD is, as we all know, punishment – not protection. Those wanting a removal of PvP often ask for CONCORD to protect instead.  However, CONCORD is currently the risk factor for the “reward” of criminal activity in Highsec (along with loot drop rates, I guess). Change CONCORD and you’ve removed the risk part of that activity too. You’ve now fundamentally altered another aspect of gameplay. Of course, if you remove PvP then this gameplay is already dead, making this irrelevant, but it’s important to consider.

EVE is nothing without risk. Removal of non-consensual combat removes that risk, and then EVE isn’t EVE. One of its unique selling points is gone. Part of what makes EVE unique is out the window, just like that.

All because someone refused to accept the risk.

If you cannot accept the risk for your rewards, in a game that revolves around risk, I have but one image to link.

To be honest, I was just looking for a reason to link this

Blog Banter 31 – EVE is what the player makes of it

Welcome to the thirty-first EVE Blog Banter, a community conversation between anyone and everyone with an interest in discussing EVE Online. For more information on how this works, check out this link or for details of this edition’s topic, read on.

As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special ‘End of Year’ Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system. 

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best. 

The first thing many note upon entering EVE is that piloting your spaceship is not done via WASD or arrow keys, nor are guns activated by hitting a mousebutton or the space bar. This sets the tone for the game – EVE is not a normal MMO.

EVE is not a “twitch shooter”, and it’s vital anyone contemplating to try this game gets such a notion out of their head.

The second thing many people note is that there is a lot to do. EVE Online is a sandbox, in one of its many forms – it’s a player driven sandbox. Almost anything can happen in EVE and a majority of the stories that you hear in EVE are completely player driven – massive battles, espionage and market manipulation are all daily occurrences in this space universe.

Fortunately, the tutorial is a lot easier on new players thanks to a revamp last Summer with the Incarna expansion. Players are helped given some direction to make ISK (the in-game currency) through a “career funnel” of NPC agents which teach the basics of combat, manufacturing and more.

In order to “protect” newer players, new pilots start in a region known as “High-Security” space, as opposed to “Low-Security” and “Null-security”. This simply means that another player who fires on your ship unlawfully (i.e. without being at war with your Corporation (EVE’s equivalent of a guild)) will have their own ship blown up by an NPC Police faction known as CONCORD.

This is where it gets interesting – CONCORD may not always arrive in time and you may still lose your ship first. This presents the most exciting aspect of EVE’s sandbox – nowhere is truly safe. If you fly a ridiculously expensive ship all day, someone is going to take their time and effort to try and make it space dust. EVE is a PvP game, whether people want it or not. (The trick is not to fly a ludicrously costly ship all day)

The PvP aspect extends beyond mere combat – the entire market and economy is player driven, which means that every trader and manufacturer is vying for the best prices and deals. Millions of ISK can be made and lost within mere seconds. It’s terrifying and glorious at the same time.

Sadly, this PvP-centric format is both what makes the game worth playing and what turns a majority of new players away – that and the grinding.

Making ISK in EVE can be done a massive number of ways, but the most reliable and arguably the safest is done via NPC missions. This is the path most new players will end up. For myself, however, it is also the most dull. This is what turns away quite a few players, and even I stopped playing my trial account because missions just seemed boring to me.

I made a new trial, and tried another way of making ISK – scamming.

Here we get to see another example of EVE’s sandbox nature. Scamming for ISK and Assets is allowed, even encouraged, and can be an excellent way to make some cash from those too greedy to double check that Item trade. Within a day I had scammed enough ISK to buy myself 3 or 4 basic Frigates with the items to fit onto them – and that’s awesome. It’s not a reliable source of income, at least on the scale I was doing it, but it was more exciting than missions and that mattered more.

Combat PvP itself in EVE can vary wildly – many thousands of pilots fly in massive battles in “Null Security space” where player alliances hold control of dozens of systems, whilst many more fly in much smaller fights across the whole Universe. No two fights are ever the same and no two experiences ever mirror each other.

It’s sometimes said that EVE is 90% waiting, 10% combat and this is a bizarre thing. The bizarre thing is that it works. Many EVE Players, particularly those new to PvP Combat, experience “the shakes” – essentially an adrenaline rush. All the 90% waiting does is enhance your nerves for the 10% of combat. Putting (potential) hours of your missioning ISK into one ship then potentially losing it in 5 minutes is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced in a game, especially in a MMO. It doesn’t make a loss any easier, but the more losses you experience, the easier it gets (mostly).

Now, this obviously might not appeal to a variety of people and that’s fair enough. The greatest thing about EVE is that this doesn’t matter. It is a player-driven sandbox, and that means you can go and do whatever the hell you like. Just be careful it doesn’t cross with someone else’s path unless you have the bigger guns.

I’ve heard many a reviewer call EVE boring – if you find EVE boring, make something up to do. Go shoot someone. Go scam. Go scan down and salvage people’s missions. Go mine. Build a ship. Explore a wormhole. Infiltrate a corp and steal everything. Make EVE exciting. This game is only as good as you make it.

I would love to give EVE a unbiased number rating – the graphics are excellent and the in-game jukebox has an excellent music score, but the gameplay varies so wildly from player to player it’s impossible to do so. Go make your own number rating.

On a personal gameplay level, I’d give it the following:

Graphics – 9/10
Sound – 7/10
Gameplay – 9/10
Lifespan – 10/10

Blog Banter 28: “The Future of EVE Online, CCP and the CSM”

It’s not often I do the “political” style blog posts. It’s just not my thing. I much prefer shooting stuff and reporting on shooting stuff than arguing through the written word, but here’s another blog banter and this time I will get in on it.

In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it’s customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP’s recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it’s player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online’s continued health and growth be assured?

Well, that’s a good one.

 Without a doubt EVE is going through a crisis moment. Player apathy and annoyance is at a high and the graphs, as seen in a lot of other blog posts (such as Seleene’s Reality Check post), are looking increasingly worrying.

Expansions usually carry with them a spike in player activity.

So where is the spike after Incarna? The expansion allegedly designed to bring new players into the game has not done so, and don’t get me started on the NEX/Barbies stuff.

This is what is commonly known as an “oh, shit” moment.

However, from what the playerbase has seen, CCP has not gone “oh shit” and instead gone something like this;

PEOPLE ARE BUYING MONOCLES!

The trouble with that is that all that appears to be happening is increased player aggravation. CCP seem hell bent to drive away their core playerbase with a sharpened stick, all the while trying to tempt them back with a half baked promise of a mouldy carrot.

Fortunately, all is not bleak. Some CCP devs are holding a light in the darkness, particular those in Team BFF as well as those working on the Nul-sec revamp. However the problem with CCP lies not with the “smaller” devs but more those higher up. This means that no matter how much the lovely devs want to improve the “Flying in Space” aspect of EVE, there is always that chance that the “space barbie” management will turn round and give them the finger when the FiS team ask for resources. Not a good way to go.

However, I do not feel the whole “walking in stations” aspect is a waste of time. On the contrary, I think WiS is an excellent addition to EVE. What’s fucked up is the amount of resources and development being pumped into it for the relatively small output, whilst the same amount of effort in FiS aspects of the game could produce enormous results.

Regarding the CSM; the guys do an excellent job, and CCP are being idiots for trying to control them and force the CSM to basically not publish anything “bad”. The CSM are CCP’s best medium through which to communicate with their players, and shutting it off is like <insert witty analogy here> and that’s not the way forward. CCP should have realised this, and the fact they haven’t, or have and are choosing to ignore it, is setting off alarm bells in my head and probably others too. CCP are starting to act like a spoiled child who, after being denied their favourite toy, go off and sulk in their bedroom.

I’m ultimately mixed on the subject, if truth be told. I would quite like some interesting WiS features, but right now it seems to be coming at a massive cost to FiS features (all the time while gathering negative publicity and serious player anger) and that is so incredibly dumb I don’t even know where to start.

Frankly, Seleene said it best with the “Reality Check” post, and thats what CCP need to do. They need to wake the fuck up, pull their finger out, and give the playerbase what they’re crying for;

Not a test base for a vampire mmo, nor some macro transaction fuelled barbie game. We want spaceships, politics, wars, espionage, tears and explosions and everything that comes with it.

A fucking awesome game.