Big Enough for You?

Plus one.

The recent battle for HED-GP left hundreds of capsulers complaining that CCP needs to fix Eve Online so that they can have big battles with thousands of players on a side.  It’s really brought out how CCP has trapped themselves in a loop.

CCP promotes Eve Online as a game with big epic battles where thousands of players fight in ships worth “thousands of dollars” and when these ships are destroyed, reportedly something of value, “real money” is destroyed.  

Well, not real money, but I get what you mean.

They upgrade the servers so that these epic battles can take place.  The players try to make these epic battles even bigger, to the point of overloading the servers.  Then they are angry at CCP for not be able to have the battles that CCP promotes.  

So how far does it have to go?  CCP is in the computer hardware design dilemma:  You make a system powerful enough to easily handle standard x sized programs by making it 2x.  When programmers see your new 2x system, they start writing applications to use 2x worth of hardware, bogging down the system again.

Where does it end?

A week ago, after the Battle of HED-GP, if you had asked me what I would do if I was CCP, I had a simple fix.  It’s my personal belief that CCP needs to just take a deep breath, do nothing, and tell the player base to HTFU.  

If you can’t figure out a way to have the epic battles without putting 4000 ships on one grid and ruining your Eve experience, that’s not our problem.  We know that no matter how big we design for, you will overload it.  We’re waiting to see if you’re smart enough to work around it.  

And today, after the Battle of B-R5RB, I think it’s been proven that the players can fight within the capabilities of the server.  They can have the epic battle without loading everyone on one grid and disrupting the node.  They can spread out their people, coalesce them where they are needed, hold reserves in place and have a battle that spreads fleets out across many systems and still contribute to the final outcome.  

In short, you can have a battle so grand that it makes the mainstream news.

Just like CCP wants.

Minus one.

A Day in the Life

Plus one.

Last night, woke up in station and got in comms, in a private channel that functions as my virtual office.  I have an open door policy but fortunately people tend to leave me alone when I am in my office.  I read my mail, answered a question from a fellow OPS member, forwarded a mail from a student to the training director. 

I brought my Covert Ops hunter home and clone jumped him back to the Caldari-Gallente warzone.  He had been part of a team of five pilots hunting ratting carriers and battleships in SOV.  Income denial to some coalition guys who had gotten our bad side.  They took us seriously after the carrier and marauder losses.

5 pilots in camping 5 systems in covert ops cyno fit recons can change a large  alliances behavior.  They can make an average of 50 thousand NPCs farmed per day reduce to 10 percent of that.  In a week, that starts looking like real money. 

In a month, it starts looking like a recession.

But, we have other things to do that ruin the the day of null sec ratters in nearby sovereignty, so we pulled almost everyone out. I sent my guy back to the Caldari-Gallente warzone.  I’ve got some things I want to try in low sec. 

Do they have require the use of Warp Core Stabs? 

The Chief of Staff and Ops Boss joined me in the office.  They brought me up to speed on what I missed last night when I disconnected.  We made a few decisions and joined the general chat in the lounge.

My industrial pilot left Jita after selling 350 million in goods to some buy orders, and then high tailed it to Rens to check on buy orders there.  When he’s done, he’s got some small market adjustments to do in Berta, then back to null sec to support OUCH.

My wormhole pilot got in his covops and probed for practice.  Cloaked up and watched the hole.  When his corpmates showed up, they jumped in damage dealers and bashed some structures

Checking D-Scan the whole time.

I led Camp Curse for a couple of hours, taking down a couple of Tech 2 Cruisers and a few frigates with my OUCH bros.  I briefed the Operations Department on some small changes going on with regard to our allies.  Discussed how living in Curse, for better or worse, has influenced OUCHs playing style and talked quite a bit about about how making the transition from OUCH Student to Ops Instructor to OUCH FC changes you.
I read the Dev Blogs.  Chatted with DNSBlack about plans for Fanfest.  Caught up with Black Claw, who’s been busy running Haven.  Linked Hawk fits back and forth with TuxedoMask.  Fixed access issues for some students on the forum.  Read a couple of blog posts.  Discussed weekend plans and tactics with my Ops Boss.  Reviewed student records on the forum.  Tentatively scheduled an EWAR class for mid February.  

Restarted my extractors on more my planets and moved materials to keep my robotics production active.  Posted a thank you on the OUCH recruitment thread in the Eve Online forum.  Checked my To Do list.

Early night.  I turned over FC and said my goodnights.  Left my fleets, docked up and disconnected.  

Just a day in the life. 

I think maybe tomorrow I’ll solve CCPs problem with thousand man fleets overloading nodes.

Minus one.

BB52: Enjoy the Ride

Plus one.

There’s this graph thingee.


Got put up for Blog Banter 52.  Eve Online.  Connected accounts.  All time weekly average.

It usually around 30k.  Has been for longer than I have been playing.  Some call it a plateau.  Where it goes next, no one can rightfully predict.

I’m not sure what it’s supposed to really prove.

Some say that Eve Online is dying and this graph is a sign of stagnation.  Many of these claims are from people who have been playing for longer than I have, who want more from their Eve because they have “been there and done that”.  Every new feature or change to the game results in their quick and expert assessment that this feature is good or bad, and frequently enough, complain that CCP shouldn’t waste their time when there is this other thing that needs to be fixed to make their game-play more exciting.

I still can’t believe they nerfed the Hurricane.

I don’t know why, you don’t even fly them.

These same players look at the some changes and wistfully wish that we could roll back the clock to a time where Eve was better.  A time so many expansions ago.  They rate expansions against Apocrypha.  Better than, worse than.  They wait for the expansion that will be better than the last, and revitalize their Eve.

They’re spoiled children.  

They are playing Eve Online, which is a great game and has been a great game for 10 years, and familiarity breeds contempt.  Eve has been around so long, our veterans believe that new players can’t possibly want to play a game that they have been playing for 6 years,  8 years, 10 years.  There are lots of newer games out there to grab other people’s attention.

It’s as if they believe that everyone that wants to play Eve is already playing it.  No new generation of people could possibly want to play a ten year old spaceship game.

I started playing Eve more than four and a half years ago.  Right before the Dominion launch.  It was a 6 year old game.  That’s pretty old in a media sense, you know.  But Eve online was new to me.  It was a complex, vast, vibrant and beautiful universe.

News flash:  It still is.

Every month, Open University of Celestial Hardship gets new pilots.  Many of them are brand new to Eve.  They come and start playing a game that has 10 years of history.  Ten years of expansions.  Ten years of tweaks and balancing.

That puts us well past Beta, don’t you think?

The new player today is starting a game that has 10 years of improvements.  The Eve Online that I am playing today is much better than the one I started playing almost 5 years ago.

Maybe we’re in equilibrium.  New players come and go, some to never return.  Same goes for some of the veterans.

That’s just the way it is.  

But maybe, 30 thousand connections is what it takes to keep it all moving forward.  Maybe 30 thousand connections is enough.  Maybe we need to understand that while this is our game, it’s also CCP’s business.

I don’t think they plan to fail.

Maybe some of us just need to have more realistic expectations, acknowledge consistent improvement and stop feeling that the number of players reflects the success of our universe.

Like, maybe we need to just enjoy the ride.

Minus one.

Reflections 2013

Plus one.

A lot of people pass through Curse and they see Art of War Alliance camping the same small warp disruption bubble that we’ve been camping now for three years.

Three years?

They think we’re pitiful and lazy, stupid or crazy.  They tell us that we need to roam.  That we need to stop being so over reliant on EWAR.  That we need to fly bigger ships.  That we need to stand and fight.  That we need to use Logistics instead of ECM.

We try not to dissuade them of their opinions.

We know they don’t realize that Art of War Alliance is Open University of Celestial Hardship, and PvPing with absolutely inexperienced pilots and helping them grow is a big part of what we do.  To them, we’re just a bunch of newbs ganking rookie ships and shuttles, using ECM on everything that moves and running away from perfectly good fights.

They don’t see the billion ISK kills or the two minute long fights where your heart is pounding in your ears, where you can’t see straight from all the adrenalin that’s pumped in your system because you can’t actually run away or punch someone in the face to relieve it.

OUCH has built its sandbox in central Curse.  We build our castles, and while sometimes they get knocked down, we’ve learned that we can always rebuild them.   We don’t hold Sovereignty, but we have a home.  We find enjoyment in taking the time to teach people that you can make a life living in null sec and you don’t have to lose a lot of ships learning how.

As PvPers, we teach the secrets that all veteran PvPers learn over time:  take the fights you want to take and don’t take the ones that you know will go badly.  We show new players that undocking does not mean consent to PvP and that situational awareness beats tank or gank more times than you would believe.  By flying frigates, we prove you don’t need billions of isk to have fun playing Eve, or learning to PvP.

We make it exciting by believing that every ship counts.

We are very good at small gang camping.  Our kill records reflect it, but that’s not all we do.  Our blues are experts at roaming and black ops and flying with them, we have an opportunity to enjoy both of those styles of small gang PvP.  Many of us have alts; we do Faction War to work on solo skills while living in low sec.  Others live in wormholes or squat in Sovereignty null sec to farm those fields in neutral space.

But Curse is our home, where we live, where we make our living, whether  mining, ratting, plexing, or exploring.  It’s heavily influenced our corporate culture, made us hard and cynical killers who treat bitter eve veterans harshly and on our terms.  In Curse, people come and go, corporations, alliances and coalitions rise and fall, but OUCH and our allies remain.

It’s not the Eve that CCP sells.  It’s not epic tales of great wars.  It’s not the destruction of a major corporation from within through espionage.  It’s not the Queen of Marksbury Rules that you find in tournament Eve.

It’s just a bunch of guys and gals, playing Eve Online, living and learning in null, paying it forward.

Minus one.