Crabs In A Bucket

Plus one.

Eve is real, or so they tell me.

In the real world, the most developed nations hold the greatest territory and control enormous wealth and resources.  With no serious threats on their borders, they use their resources to build on a scale that dwarfs their closest rivals and obtain technology on a scale that smaller nations do not share.   They have powerful militaries and the threat of them deploying them is enough to keep most other nations in check.   They have nuclear weapons, and the threat of deploying them is enough to keep the other super powers in check.

And the world lives in comparative peace.

In the real world, the developing nations struggle to catch up to the developed nations.  They might have nuclear weapons, but they can’t afford to deploy them, else they be annihilated.  They can’t project power, despite having carriers of their own, else that capability be destroyed.  They spend the majority of their time, effort and wealth dealing with conflicts on or within their own borders.  Internal and regional security issues are a real and economic threat to their survival as nations.  India and China come to mind.   But they aspire.  They dream.  They rattle their swords and demand to be taken seriously.

In New Eden, mega-coalitions, such as the HBC and CFC, have no real threats.  With stable and secure borders, they use their resources to build on a scale that is unrivaled.  They project their enormous military power with a network of jump and Titan bridges.  They can safely deploy massive sub capital supported super capital fleets.  They boast Titan fleets, and unlike their smaller rivals, they can afford the risks of deploying them.   They’ve proven that they can take on any a rival coalition and grind them to dust.

The secret to maintaining a vast empire is to have peace inside of your own borders, and control conflict such that it happens inside of someone else’s borders.  That’s why Goonswarm and TEST look for fights outside of CFC or HBC territory.   That’s why the leadership of those coalitions honestly don’t want a war between superpowers.

You don’t shit where you eat.

The secret to growing a vast empire is diplomacy and the judicious use of force is a tool of diplomacy.  Test Alliance could not have grown into what they are today without the support of Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion.   They have treated one another as allies and equals, BFFs on an epic scale.  Breaking that alliance would be foolish.  Despite statements otherwise, wars in the real world are fought for economic reasons.  Wars are ultimately fought for money, territory and control of resources.

Hate is only an excuse.

There is little benefit in a large Sov War between CFC and HBC where systems change hands. There’s just no money in it.  But the benefits of fighting skirmishes, getting bragging rights, and talking smack are great morale drivers.  Good leaders know that motivated troops will follow you to the gates of hell.

In the meantime, developing corporations compete with developing alliances and developing alliances compete with developing coalitions.  They gather resources.  They rattle their swords.  They fight over resources.  They obtain super carriers and titans only to keep them logged off 95 percent of the time.

Well, Pandemic Legion has spies everywhere.

So where does the new player fit into this?  After they decide what kind of Eve they want to play?  After they decide where that play style is going to take them?  Maybe carve out a small safe life in high sec doing research, or PI, or Trading?  Mission run, mine or PI?  Do they go to low or null sec for the opportunities there?  Form a new corp or alliance and try to control their own destiny?  Join an established but still developing corp or alliance with aspirations to be something greater?

If you want to move up in the world, do you try to live in Africa, the Middle East, South America or Asia, where there are opportunities but it can be a hard life, where the governments themselves are so stressed that stability is an absent condition?

Like a bucket of crabs.  Whenever one tries to climb out, another crab drags them back down.

That’s life in most of Low Sec, NPC null and a quarter of SOV.  Unfortunately for the new player, the super empires are already built.  Maybe you’ll just have to be happy with being part of a lesser alliance.

Or do you try to emigrate to Europe (CFC) or America (HBC), where even if you’re poor, at least you’re poor in the richest nations on Earth?

New players sign up for Eve because they think that they can play the way they want in the sandbox.  New players leave Eve because veterans kick over their sand castles and tell them that there is no safe place for a new player to build them.  We have veterans whose sandbox is gathering the tears of the new player, and if the new player quits because of it, well, the veterans didn’t want that new player anyway.

Eve is real.  But in real life, we don’t give six year olds bus fare and tell them to get to school on their own.  We take them to school, teach them what they need to know, and bring them back home safely.  We don’t throw them in the pool and see if they can swim, and if they drown, say we didn’t want that kid anyway.  We hold them by the hand and teach them right from wrong and teach them not to take candy from strangers.  We protect them while they have a chance to grow up, because they are precious.

And if someone harms them while they are growing up, we take action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  So organizations like Eve University who are trying to teach people how to play the game without scaring off the new player, are necessary institutions.

But organizations like Test and Goonswarm are doing a great job, too.  They’ve made space safe for their people to live and grow in, they’ve made the game fun for their new players to play in.  They’ve established safe peaceful regions where their people can enjoy their sandbox and not worry about the lesser alliances and corporations trying to drag them down.  They’ve brought them into their community and treat them like they are part of a family, even if they are just a number.  They nurture them like parents do their children.  All they have to do is get their new players out of High Sec, and into the indigo glow of sovereignty, before they get chased out of Eve.

And the space that’s left over?  It’s a big enough bucket for all of the crabs to pile right in.

Minus one.

Sard Caid is Back

Break Break.

I pointed out a few months back that Sard Caid of Gunpoint Diplomacy was running a stream on Twitch TV.  Highly recommended for new and veteran players to watch, not just because you get to see excellent solo and small gang fights, but because when Sard streams live, it’s interactive.  He chats with the audience, answering questions and explaining things as he goes about his business.

Killing is my business ladies…  and business is good.

Well, unfortunately for us, Sard took a little vacation from Eve to play Planetside 2.  If I had a nickle for every time I’ve told that to someone in TS, I’d probably have a dollar.

I check Sard’s stream page frequently (If you use twitter, you can follow him there) and patiently waited for him to come back to Eve.  I mean, he wouldn’t just quit right?  All these cool new changes to frigates and cruisers?  Has he seen what they did to the Thorax and the Omen?

Resistance is futile.

I check today and, lo and behold, I find videos of Sard streaming, testing his brand new high end gaming computer last night.  He’s setting up his client and plans to be up running his stream again this weekend.

Yay, Eve!

Welcome back Sard Caid, your fans missed you.

Well, some of them anyway.  I use tracking enhancers.


BB44: If It Ain’t Broke

Plus one.

Eve Blog Banter #44 discusses removal of Local chat.  I’ve got a soap box.  My corpmates really hate when I get on my soapbox.  They will tell you that Bren is completely unafraid to tell you what he thinks.  So the idea of “fixing” Local chat?

I hate it.

I spend a lot of time hanging out with a bunch of really smart guys who frequently dream up really cool ideas that would make Eve better.  We all fly with those guys, right?  But for every great idea that you can dream up, there is a guy who is going to use it to ruin your game in some other way.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to see your bookmarks if they were on grid with you?  Then if someone landed on a gate tactical, near your bookmark, you could wrap in on them and BAM, surprise mother –BOOP-!

Or they could warp in on you.

Wouldn’t it be neat if you could kamikaze your ship into someone else’s and they take damage?

That depends.  How many exploding rookie ships do YOU think it should take to destroy YOUR Cynabal?

Most people with really cool ideas usually don’t like the idea of someone using their really cool idea against them.

So I can sit here and list reasons why losing Local is bad for PvErs trying not to get ganked, PvPers trying not to get ganked and PvPers trying to get ganks.  I can see all three sides of the coin.  I could explain in detail how a 20 man fleet can avoid making a large spike to jump and wipe out a 10 man fleet, who would have avoided them if they could, in turn get wiped out by a 50 man fleet while they are looting the 10 man fleet’s wrecks.

CCP will be happy.  More ships will be destroyed.

Sit in a cloaked ship in null or low sec and watch the gangs fly through sometime.   They’re looking for fights and frequently, 2 gangs will miss each other by one jump.

Could be worse.

Yeah, can you imagine being in the same system and totally missing the other gang?

Where’d they go?

Where’d who go?

Some find the immediate feedback of local a hindrance to their game.  Some find it a help.  But at least everyone has it, it’s even.  It doesn’t discriminate.  The new player doesn’t have to skill up to use it for intel, he just has to be taught what information you can gather from it.

Would you suggest a new player go into a wormhole on their Week One in Eve?  I wouldn’t.  They aren’t ready for an environment like that. But some want to make K-space local chat more like W-space.

You could fly around with Local minimized for a while and see if you really like life without it.

The core reason I’m against removing Local from K-space is the same reason I don’t spend a lot of time in W-space. W-space is lonely and spinning Dcan every few seconds is a tedious exercise in paranoia.

I admit, sometimes, I jump into an interceptor and fly deep into null.  I find it the spiritual equivalent of riding a motorcycle (or driving a car) merely for the joy of the ride.   For a half dozen or dozen jumps:  nothing but stars and space.

Suddenly, there’s someone in Local, and I realize, once again, that I’m not the only player playing Eve.

And that’s the point.  Eve is a multiplayer game.  Whether I use Local to talk, or use it for intel, it’s a clear indication that I’m playing a multiplayer game.  And if I’m not alone, I have to be on my toes, change the way I’m playing.  I have to act, or react in some way, even if I’m a solo pver who never interacts with anyone in game except to buy and sell on the market.  I can ignore it at my own peril.    Whether the guy that I’m playing against is smack talking me to death, giving me a good fight, or saying nothing, I’ve got immediate feedback that I’m paying 15 bucks a month to play a game with potentially 40 thousand people at a time.

Really, where I live, we know all the locals.  When we’re not shooting at each other, we talk:

You guys get anything tonight?

Nope.  Quiet as a church.

Local helps enemies become adversaries and adversaries sometimes become friends.  Friends are a reason to keep playing Eve.

Eve veterans already have friends.   Noobs?  Screw ‘em.

We all know that in order for Eve to grow, we have to encourage new players, right?  We know that new players are what’s going to help Eve grow?  Aren’t Eve players already antisocial enough?  Isn’t Eve the hardest MMO ever?  Why does it have to be harder?

Local’s not broken, so don’t fix it.  Get rid of it, and we all might as well be playing just another single player computer game.

Well, I didn’t want that internet anyway.

Me neither.

Minus one.


LOTB: High Sec is Not Safe

Plus one.

I told a coworker today, who also plays Eve, that our home region of Curse was a dangerous place to live.  He remarked, if it’s so bad, why do you live there?

I told him that it’s a great place to teach people how to survive in null sec.

I took a look at Dotlan today and I was proud to see that Curse is in the Top 10 Most Violent 0.0 Regions in New Eden, as usual.  Frequently, it’s number 1 or 2.

Yeah, have you taken a look at empire lately?


Today, the Most Violent 0.0 Region  is about equal to the number 10 Most Violent Region in Empire, roughly 1000 kills in the last 24 hours.  Approximately 4500 ships have been lost in the Top Ten Most Violent 0.0 Regions.  That’s less than the total kills in The Forge (RVB probably has 1000) and Heimatar.  Null kills are less than a third of the total ships killed in Empire, more than 15000 ships.

High Sec is Scary.

So I remembered a post I put on the OUCH forums about a year ago, passing along some advice to new players and high sec carebears that ended up checking us out.

Minus one.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our pilots often joke about how High Sec is scary. As null sec combat pilots, we’re used to systems being kind of empty most of the time, and if you do see people in system with you, you naturally assume that they are trying to kill you.

It’s not paranoia if they’re really are out to get you.

Now, the pilots of OUCH’s Operations Department have taken to going to high sec once a week where we spend a little time doing a little PVE, shopping at the Mall, and hanging out with the students who haven’t made it out into null yet.

Honestly, it can be a little nerve racking.

First off, there are so many people. You undock from a station or jump through a gate and there are people “camping” there. Your heart jumps into your throat while you spam the warp button. Then you take a deep breath and remind yourself, This is High Sec… no one is trying to kill you here. But then again…

You’re tooling around in high sec, and you find yourself in a quiet system, and there is a ship idling near a gate. He locks you up, Omigod, he’s attacking you!!! You lock him back, and open fire in self defense, and find yourself jammed and nuked by these scary white rats with CONCORD emblazoned on their hulls, and you’re wondering, What just happened?

You jump into a hauler and stack it full of expensive stuff, because you only have a 10 jump haul to make… and this is High Sec, we’re safe here. Seven jumps later, 3 destroyers lock and blast you into smithereens before CONCORD takes them down. You’re in your pod watching in disbelief as an industrial loots your wreck and warps off. They laugh in local. You’re stunned that you just lost half of your total wealth in seconds.

You’re in fleet, minding your business, waiting for the rest of the fleet to get their act together so you can move on to the next event, and an Arazu lands on top of your band of frigates… That was weird, where’d he come from? A minute later, a red flashy battleship lands on your squad and you and your fleetmates go, POP, POP, POP, in the smartbomb field. I hate this game!!

All this is to say, despite all of the high sec missioning, mining, inventing, manufacturing, couriering, exploring, planetary interacting, trading, whatever…

Eve is a PvP game.

So protect yourself. Treat high sec a little more like you would treat null sec. Learn to use Dscan. Set up instaundocks on the stations you frequent. Never carry enough stuff in a hauler that makes it cost effective to blow you up. Fly cloaked ships if you can, fly fast agile ships if you can’t. Don’t use autopilot if your ship or cargo makes a tempting target.

High Sec is Not Safe. Concord does not prevent people from taking your ship. They only blow up the guy who takes your ship.

If you carry more than 20 million in untanked industrial ship, expect that a high sec pirate can gank you with a Destroyer and make decent profit. For a well tanked one, 50 million might be the limit. Depending on how expensive the cargo, some will go overkill with a cruiser or battlecruiser to GUARANTEE the kill. They scan your ship with a passive scanner, see your cargo and do the math. If your cargo is worth enough for them to pay for their ship and break even, they will try.

Sometimes they do it just because they can.

If you’re flying around in high sec thinking that you’re safe, that you’re not playing a PvP game, that you’re just minding your business, playing your Eve, it’s just a matter of time before you learn that you’re absolutely wrong. Don’t let the lesson come as a shock to you. Be prepared.

If you’re going to wear a pork loin jacket, you should expect to get eaten by wolves.


On the Bright Side

Plus one.

Proposed Battlecruiser changes generating a lot of churn on the Eve forums and Eve blogs:  the Hurricane is about to be totally kicked out of its spot as Best Small Gang PvP Battlecruiser and the Drake kicked out of its spot as Best Large Fleet PvP Battlecruiser.

Overall, CCP is nerfing the Drake and the ‘Cane a little bit and buffing the other t1 and t2 (tier not Tech) BCs a little, and the tears are flowing.

A lot of people are emotionally attached to their ship of choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Drakes and ‘Canes too.  When CCP made changes to heavy missiles, I was more than a little PO’d.  But my problem was that I was witnessing a change to a module that really was a nerf on a ship that, to be honest, wasn’t even considered a good ship for PvP.

Well, at least until the CFC and HBC started putting hundreds of pilots in them.

When I started Eve three years ago, I chose Caldari.  I just liked their lore and loved how the ships looked.  I was told by my friends to get in a Drake for PvE and use it to make money to afford my ships.  I spent a lot of time in Drakes doing missions and farming rats.  Then when got into PvP, I was told that my Caldari ships really didn’t make the cut.

 Caldari or PvP:   Choose one.

Exactly.  I was told that I needed to fly Minmatar and get into Rifters, Ruptures and Hurricanes, because missiles were terrible for PvP.  I needed projectiles.  Even my trusty Manticore was substandard to the Hound.  So I did.  I never got my T2 hybrid skills, I just had missiles and projectiles and they served me well.

Funny thing, Bren, you seem to fly a lot of Caldari ships.

That’s called “irony”.

Eventually though, I started running out of stuff to train, or I wanted to fly this ship or that ship, so I started to complete my cross training.   This winter, I finished cross training into Gallente and Amarr ships.  And with Retribution, I finally had a reason to train T2 Heavy Assault Missiles.

Right on time.

Absolutely.  I like having choices.  2 years ago, if you wanted to fly a battlecruiser and be competitive, you had to fly a ‘Cane, flavored Nano, Arti or AC.  Then players figured out that a ship with medium damage that is hard to take off the field works for PvP, too, and the Drakefleet doctrine was born.

But that’s just two choices; you should be able to fly anything you want.

I just don’t understand all of the crying, especially from the veterans.  They’re acting like the sky is falling because they can’t use the Hurricane as a one-size-fits-all ship anymore.  CCP is taking away some of the Hurricane’s versatility and flexibility:  the things that made it a superior ship.

The things that made it Overpowered.


If you fly smaller stuff, you’ve seen this already.  The Rifter and the Rupture lost the top spots in their classes, too.  Ship balancing means leveling the playing field, and in the interest of the bigger picture, you can’t balance by just boosting the weaker ships.  There has to be a balance between the factions, true, but there also has to be a balance between Cruisers and Heavy Assault Ships, Heavy Assault Ships and Battlecruisers, and Battlecruisers and Command Ships.

Sniff.  So no more Winmattar?

The Stabber’s a winner in my opinion.  I’ve been flying Moas, Stabbers, and Thoraxes more, they’re that much better.  One of our pilots has fallen in love with the Omen.   I remember trying to build one a year ago.  I ended up repackaging it and putting it back in a can of unfit ships.  Now, I’m looking at lasers again.

They are kind of sexy. Rowr.

For the new player, ship balancing means that you can stay with your starting factions’ ships and still compete.  You don’t need train for a Rifter if you can already fly an Incursus.  You don’t need to train for a Rupture if you can already fly a Maller.  And soon, you won’t need train to fly a Hurricane (or a Drake) if you can already fly a Brutix or a Harbinger.  You can just fly what you like.

For a guy like me, with T2 medium turret and launcher skills across all factions, and the ability to fly all BCs with T2 fittings, it’s even better:   6 more ships just got added into my toolbox.

I just love the idea that we have choices, and CCP is making it so you don’t have to sacrifice performance to make that choice.

Now, where did I leave that Prophecy?  I got a stack of T2 HAMS that are going to need a home.

Minus one.

Doing It the Hard Way

Plus one.

Day 1:  We accept a new pilot into Open University.  He has limited PvP experience.  That’s normal.  OUCH pretty much accepts anyone that understands English.  Last year, we had a student from the PRC that was playing Eve and learning English at the same time.  That was interesting.  One of our guys could speak a little Mandarin, but the student would have none of that:  he wanted to practice his English.  We made do.

This new student chatted us up on OUCH-UNI, our public channel.  We’ve got a link to our forum there that has plenty of information about our program and the corp rules.  He seemed nice enough and we’re pretty newbie friendly, so he decided to join.

Since OUCH expects to recruit students who have very little Eve experience, we send them a detailed Evemail with the things to do to get them set up in OUCH.  Our Welcome Mail details a list of things that the student should do to get into corp, into TS and into classes as quickly and seamlessly as possible.  The beginning of the Welcome Mail is posted below:

You can’t wait to get started. We understand that. However, you’ll find that OUCH is a very carefully managed training experience that requires a good amount of reading BEFORE you do anything else. Take the time to digest the way we do things, which you will find detailed on our forums, but first read and abide by the following rule (we will assume you have done so):

Rule 1: You are NOT allowed to be in lowsec or nullsec (0.0) or engage in any sort of PvP until you have reached various stages in your OUCH training.

Until you have read the regs in the forum you can assume only ship you’re allowed to fly is a T1 frigate.

Then we ask them to register on the forum and request student access, read the rules and regulations of the Training Department, create a Student Folder where we can track their progress, download and set up Teamspeak, move to our High Sec headquarters and build training frigates and review the training schedule.

When they get into the forum, and read the regs, they learn that the T1 frigate restriction is only for null sec and low sec.  We aren’t trying to make them mine and mission in T1 frigates.  Our rules are only in place to minimize the student’s losses while we teach them the tools we think they need to survive in null and low sec.

Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Of course it does, but that’s cause you’re a reasonable guy.

Day 2:  The same student logs 15 minutes before a training session, and asks in Corp Chat where training is going to be.  They tell him.  He’s 20 odd jumps out, but he’s on the way.  The instructor tells him that that’s fine, they will wait for him, just get into Teamspeak.

What’s Teamspeak, he asks?

Did you read the Welcome Mail?

Yeah, I did, but then I went out 15 mins later.  I haven’t had a chance to do the stuff in the mail.

So the guys walk him through and get him into TS and into the first class as painlessly as possible.

Day 3:  New student logs into game and TS and tells the instructors online that he is on his way out to null sec to join the fleet.  They remind him that he has to finish the next class before he can come out to null.  He tells them that he just wants to shoot stuff and heads on out anyway.

He was a little obnoxious.  He may have been drinking.  Who knows.

Surprisingly enough, he makes it out to the training system.  He is patiently refused access to the fleet and told to go back to high sec.  He tells them that they are being unfair.  While his instructors are trying to talk him down off the ledge, a not-so-friendly Incursus pilot comes by starts to go for his Rifter.  The student is told to go to a safe.

What’s a safe, he asks?

Then he’s scrammed and webbed and the Incursus pilot helps him out of his Rifter.  Rinse and repeat for his capsule.

9 million for the ship.  22 million for the capsule.

Now he’s angry.  He tells the instructors that he’s coming back out in a Hurricane to go after the guy that got his ship.  One of the instructors tries to salvage him and reminds him again that he is not allowed to be in null sec until he’s completed the next session of his training.

Then the OUCH Chief of Staff logs in.  The instructors fill him in.  The offending student is expelled from the program.  That simple.

Fifteen minutes later, the pilot loses his Hurricane and his pod in Hemin.

68 million for the ‘Cane.  At least the pod was clean.

Rumor has it he paid 15 billion for that account.

So I’ve been told.

Look, OUCH will train anyone that asks to be trained.  We provide this service because we like to teach.  We hope that we’re encouraging people to come out to null sec and try out PvP.  It’s a free service.  We just ask that people follow the rules of the corp during the short time that they are with us.  After a student completes the course, they’re free to blaze all the trails that they feel the need to blaze.

But to play with us in null, you have to actually take the training.  I mean, if you want to do it on your own, without teachers and mentors, why join a training corp?

You could do it the hard way from an NPC corp, know what I mean?

Minus one.