Collateral Damage

Plus one.

I’ve been thinking.

Oh boy.

I understand the jump drive range reduction and the jump fatigue timers are designed to limit power projection.  I’ve done my own math, checked how it all works.  Under current conditions, supercaps stationed in Doril, the regional gateway from Derelik, are able to threaten 398 null sec and low sec systems in 10 different regions.

One jump.  One jump away from bored super pilots dropping a half dozen Aeons on a jump freighter, or dropping 4 pack of Aeons and Nyxes on a bubble camp of frigates and cruisers.  After Phoebe, that 5 LY range shrinks the number of target systems to 33.

Without the jump fatigue timer, supers and carriers can just be infinitely repositioned to get into range of the target system.  For large alliances, it’s trivial to have cynos where you need them and truthfully, for small alliances like Art of War Alliance, it’s not that difficult either.  If you have the character slot, it’s trivial to train up an alt with Cloaking and Cyno 4, dual purposing a character for picket duty and lighting the occasional jump beacon.

I can see how CCP limiting all jump capable capitals to the same 5 LY distance makes it clean.  But the more I think of it, the more I think that CCP needs to leave the jump range on jump freighters alone.

As a byproduct of managing power projection, CCP is nerfing the jump range on freighters.  This makes it harder on the large alliances where 3 guys are in charge of moving alliance assets to support a thousand pilots.  I can understand their point.  It should be more difficult for large alliances to support all of their people.

In figuring out how this affects OUCH, I think that logistics is going from a solo activity to a group one.  My corporation is going to have to work harder to move our stuff in and out of empire.  We will have to mitigate the increased risk of more cynos and more jumps with teamwork.  This is not debilitating because we are already have a team of pilots living in null who are used to doing our own logisitics to support our PvE and PvP.

But.

There are people out there that do not shoot stuff.  They do not want to do this in groups.  They mine.  They build.  They trade.  They ship. They explore.  They haul.  They do these things because they find enjoyment doing this.  It’s their game, just like your game is flying around making pew pew sounds.

There are people who try to stop them from doing these relatively peaceful activities.  I am one of them.  I have never let a blockade runner go when it has landed in my interdiction bubble.  It’s not in my nature.

Uh, pirate?

Right.  In my Eve profession, I’m a null sec pirate, defined by the NBSI policy of my corporation, and a teacher, defined by my role as a coach and mentor for new pilots.  For someone whose profession is moving stuff from point A to Z, successfully avoiding someone like me is their PvP.

Avoiding the gank can be even more exciting than ganking.

But what CCP isn’t taking into account is that for most of those pilots handling corporate and alliance, or in the case of Black Frog, commercial logistics, logistics is their game.  Their fun per hour is measured by contracts fulfilled, whether it’s Black Frog, or a SOV jump freighter pilot working for “The Man”.  It’s not something they do in order to do PvP.  It is their PvP.  And when I say, it’s their PvP, I’m saying it so that lizard brained oh-look-it-moved-shoot-it PvPers can relate.

Listen up folks.  Combat pilots are pretty lucky right now because we have an industry of players who willingly build things for us to fly, and another group that move those things to places that we need them.  The jump range limitations and timers don’t hurt alliances, who can n+1 their way out of these inconveniences.  But the professional jump freighter pilot, whose fun per hour is clearly measured in trips, not jumps, per hour.  They just got screwed, and it’s not right, because they are not part of the power projection problem.

Collateral damage.

Let be clear:  if CCP changed a game mechanic that required combat pilots to make and transport all of our own ships and modules ourselves, we’d be pretty upset.

Oh wait.

That’s coming with Phoebe.

Minus one.

____________________________________________________________

Expanding Universe

Plus one.

Last week, the major powers of Null Sec, Sovereignty, signed a letter to CCP asking for some specific changes to Null Sec mechanics that they felt would improve the game and relieve some of the stagnation that is sucking the enjoyment out of null sec pvp.

This week, CCP published their plans to help improve the game and relieve some of the stagnation that is sucking the enjoyment out of null sec pvp.

Now, members of the SOV null contingent of the CSM seem offended because they feel like they didn’t get a cut, but CCP really is taking a page from Pandemic Legion’s Manfred Sideous’s suggestions on Changes to SOV and Power Projection.  So while it was a shock to us common folk, I’m sure that major powers have had time to prepare for the worst.

With the Phoebe release, CCP is nerfing fast, long distance travel. Reducing jump ranges on capitals and supercapitals. Setting jump cooldown for capital and supercapital pilots. Eliminating “death cloning” as a travel option.

Basically, they are forcing everyone to start using gates again. A recommendation that DNSBlack made almost 2 years ago.

And we’re riding a tsunami of tears.

There are a lot of people complaining. People threatening to unsub their capital and supercapital pilots, because the game just changed.  But with all the calls from SOV to reduce power projection, cap and supercap pilots who didn’t see this coming have been living with their heads in the sand.

Power projection is going to go from Global to Regional.  Overnight.

New Eden is about to get a lot bigger.

Now, the complaints I have been really interested in listening to are the ones talking about how this affects logistics. I find the complaints heavy in how this affects personal, not corporate logistics. That is to say, the movement of supplies that one pilot can do themselves, either with one pilot, or one pilot with alts. This is something that has a negative effect on smaller small corps and alliances, where one guy does all of the logistics.

And the commercial haulers?

Yeah, this hampers the operations of the private logistic companies, like Black Frog, PUSH Industries and Galactic Hauling Solutions, where the livelihood of each of their members, as independent contractors, is built not only on how far a jump freighter can jump, but also on how many jumps a jump freighter pilot can make in a day.

Let me explain how this affects OUCH. We, the staff and instructors of Open Uni, live in null sec space. NPC null sec. Curse to be exact. From the point of view of SOV holding capsulers, NPC null sec is irrelevant.

Resistance is futile.

But when drones of the various collectives pass through our systems, solo, in twos and threes, or groups of a half dozen to a dozen ships, we gank them. This is our space, our home, where we hold sovereignty-by-occupation.

In this, we lead similar lives to the small gang and solo pilots who live in low sec. We live off the land. We mine. We rat. We explore. We plex and mission. We build ships locally. We loot the wrecks of our adversaries for their useful modules. What we do not have or cannot make, we buy on the local market. The remainder we bring in via carrier or jump freighter from high sec.

In a month or so, in order to get our stuff out from our high sec staging system in Derelik, to our null sec headquarters in Curse, a little over 14 LY away, we’re going to be a little inconvenienced.

Our members might actually have to do something to get their care packages delivered instead of relying on the one or two guys who do corp logistics, or contracting out to a commercial hauler for convenience. Jump freighter pilots are going to take roundabout routes to get to us, and more jumps means more time, more danger. We might have to station some scouts, grab a few more cynos, and wait a few minutes in between jumps. We might have to scout a carrier or jump freighter through a gate to save a cyno jump or three.

We might actually have to plan and coordinate the execution of our corporate logistics, rather than leave it to one guy to do with a handful of alts.

In other words, corporate logistics just leaped from soloable to a group activity.

And our newbies? Poor newbies. They wont be able to set their medical clones to our null base and then self destruct to travel there anymore.

Uh…

Yeah, you’re right. Our newbies don’t death clone to get into null. They do it the old fashioned way: they use gates. They learn how to travel through null by themselves, flying in a paper thin ship, jumping into the unknown. They have to prove they know what they are doing with a 30+ jump trip though null in a T1 frigate, without losing the ship. Successfully navigating those 30 jumps is an accomplishment that instills pride and confidence to our students.

So how’s this fast travel nerf going to affect OUCH? Our corp logistics guys broke out their personal computers, calculators, and slide rules.  I swear I heard someone using an abacus.  The verdict?  A 5 light year range limit on jump freighters does not make them happy.

Will things be a lot less convenient? Absolutely.

Are they a Celestial Hardship?

Only for the guy trying to fly a jump freighter gate-to-gate through the Curse pipe.

Minus one.

The Best Tournament

Plus one.

Alliance Tournament XII came and went this year without much fanfare in OUCH. I used to make time to watch the entire tournament live. Couple of years ago, I can remember trying to do stuff on the weekend with Yoz and he would tell me we couldn’t do this or that because two really good alliance teams were going to be fighting and we had to be at his house to watch them.

This season, I watched three AT matches. I didn’t watch the finals, or even the quarter finals. The AT was kind of boring and it’s been real nice outside.

Well, thank goodness summer’s over. Internet spaceships is serious business.

I’ve recently been exposed to League of Legends.

There are other games besides Eve Online?

I don’t actually know anything about League of Legends. I don’t play it. I’ve just been watching some of the tournaments over my sons shoulder. After watching just one match, I figured out that it’s objective based PvE and PvP. Each side fights to capture points on a map and gets points to kill the other guy. Reminds me of Heroes Ascent or Guild versus Guild battles in Guild Wars.

But the big thing I learned is that League of Legends Tournaments are exciting.

The commentators are exciting. They call the fight like it’s a football match, where everything is on the line. They know the contestants, how they play, why they play the class or role they are playing, what that individual player brings to their team. To the audience, the players are not faceless names on a screen. They travel to one location and play against each other in an arena. The computers are all the same room. Cameras capture the contestants intently playing their game. And they have local spectators, cheering in the stands, not just making inane comments on some stream chat.

You don’t get that watching the Eve Online Alliance Tournament. Hell, League of Legends teams have out-of-game sponsors. One of the teams I saw the other night is sponsored by the Korean company that built my cell phone.

Well, in CCP’s defense, it’s impractical for them to an Alliance Tournament like that.

I agree, but you know what? Every year, hundreds of Eve pilots fly to Iceland. They have a PvP room at Fanfest. 20 computers. Throw a tournament. Regulate the team fits to make it even. Put some more chairs in the room for spectators. Get some commentators in there, give out some big prizes instead of pirate rookie ships. Stream it! People are paying a couple thousand bucks to come to Iceland anyway, make it more memorable than ever.

Think about it. It’s hard to get excited watching the AT, watching brackets and a map as pilots play guns versus EWAR. You start to just focused on the Attack, Defense and Control lines underneath the fight. Bump that. Make it an event. Get faces on the screen. Not just the commentator, but the competitors and the spectators supporting them. Make it fun. Make it exciting. That’s what’s going to make spaceship combat interesting to watch on a stream. The audience doesn’t even need to know the difference between a Vindicator and a Vengeance, as long as they can get caught up in the spectacle. Pump up the local audience and the home audience will get excited because they will see real people enjoying our game.

Like everything else, it’s not about the spaceships. It’s always about the people.

Minus one.

Be Excellent to Each Other

Plus one.

I’ve been reading.

I’ve noticed a thing, anonymously posted in the comments of a few Eve blogs. I’ve seen it twice now on Sugar Kyle’s blog.  It’s a comment that goes a little something like this:

I used to try and do good. I used to try to just do my own thing and have fun in Eve. But I was scammed, ganked, or otherwise robbed of my enjoyment. I was treated poorly by my fellow gamers for their amusement.

This game is a “sandbox”, where the game designers do not intervene between players. Bad behavior is encouraged. I am powerless to get justice against the people that did these bad things to me.

And since they will not give me justice, I now prey on their livelihood. I treat the new player as I was treated. I want to stop them from wasting their time supporting this game.

So you become what you hate.

I don’t understand.

Me neither.  I want to understand, but I don’t think I can.

I’m going to give a little more thought to this. But I think I am going to pull the string and it’s all going to go back to the same simple point:   We’re all not playing the same game, and too many of us don’t respect 90 percent of the player base that is not playing our game.

I just sometimes wish Eve players could be a little more like Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan.

Minus one.

 

A Little Cynical

Plus one.

If you’ve read through my posts here, you’ve figured out that I am a newbie lover and a bitter vet hater. I have said on more than one occasion that I believe the biggest hurdle that new player have to overcome in New Eden are Eve Veterans, who by ignorance or design, just stand in the way of the development of new players in Eve Online.

Sugar Kyle is working on a few projects, one of which is a plan to help new players who have reached that crossroads where they are considering quitting the game, because it’s just too damn much for them to deal with.

Now, I love me some Sugar Kyle and you know what, I’m a fan of helping new players. So I made some comments on her blog.

You might have been a little cynical.

Man, did I get some feedback. It was so awful that I even got Sugar thinking that I was against her proposals. I hope that after my explanations yesterday she understands that I want her to succeed, and I am just I’m cynical about the recent fervor that all of the ‘vocal minority’ are putting out lately in the Quest to Save New Players.

Kaeda Maxwell, whose blog The Wild Rose of Molden Heath is a favorite of mine, commented on one of my posts on Sugar’s blog, Low Sec Lifestyle. I started to address it there, but I realized it was getting damn big that I could probably better place it here.

Kaeda Maxwell said:

There’s a difference between being against the reduction of overall risk in EVE and being against taking care of newbies.

I am all for taken care of our newbies as well as we possibly can. They are the future and the sooner they’re up-to-speed the sooner they create meaningful content for us grumpy veterans and themselves.

I am also vehemently against making EVE safer however as the constant risk is at the very heart and soul of EVE. And I think many veterans see that more clearly exactly *because* they’ve been around long enough to get good feeling for what makes EVE tick.

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive :) Not sure if you were mixing anything up, but never hurts to clarify either way :)

I read Kaeda’s stuff, and I agree with him more than some might believe.  In fact, I think we might become friends if we can get into TS with each other sometime.  But I have so many issues with the current trend of Veterans discussing Newbies and Risk.  I think that it’s easy for the Eve Veteran to beat the “Eve is about Risk” drum at the newbie… Veteran’s have already learned to mitigate risk with ISK, SRP, or target selection.

For the New Player, Risk is Real. Their wallets are not large, losing an expensive ship can be a true hardship. A single loss can make the difference between sticking around and enjoying Eve, or never playing this stupid game ever again. We veterans need to somehow encourage the new player to take risks, while not making the consequences of failure so debilitating that they quit playing.

We need to coach every single new player we can get our hands on.

If Eve is Real, then newbies are our children. It’s our responsibility to take care of them, educate them, and help them grow.  If we luck out, they stick around and become useful members of our community.

Unfortunately, for the past ten years, Eve veterans have been content to hand the kids knives and send them outside to play.

And then use them for target practice. HTFU. 

My fear is our veterans will beat the “Save the Newbie” drum a bit and then go back to their evil ways. The benefits of teaching new players how to play the game will not rapidly reveal themselves and the Eve veteran will be miffed that they wasted their time. They will eventually complain that it’s CCPs job to retain players, not theirs, and return to the status quo.

But I have hope.  I hope our Veterans they read this and posts like it on the various blogs and and feel ashamed that they have spend the first decade of Eve Online killing the goose that laid the golden egg:

Newbies grow up and eventually provide content as opponents. 

I truly do hope that the Eve Veterans can change.  That they can be sincere in their desire to help new players, even part time. I hope that they come out in force and support the initiatives that both CCP and the player base are working on to help Eve grow. I hope that they take off the blinders that has them focused on their little neighborhood of low sec, high sec, sovereignty, wormhole space, etc and start looking at the community as a whole.  Because, and I have said this before too, neighborhoods do not make a community.

I don’t play this game just because I love spaceships. I play this game because I have the privilege of playing it with some really great people.

Some I teach, some I talk to, some I fight.

So long as I get enough pleasure from all three, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

Minus one.

Making Contact

Plus one.

Let me point out one of the things that annoys / amuses me to no end.

RandomStudent75 has added you to their contact list with excellent standing.

I’ve been playing these silly internet games for a while. I understand the concept of a contact or friends list. Something to provide easy access to communicate with your friends in game. That’s cool.

Here’s the problem with RandomStudent75 adding me to his contact list with excellent standing:

You’re not friends?

Worse. I’m a PvPer who doesn’t set individuals to excellent standing. I am not going to reciprocate and place him on my Contact list with excellent standing. I am going to leave him alone, in the default “No Standing” condition.

As a stranger without standing, he’s what we commonly call a “neutral.” My band of pirates fights neutrals. If he shows up in my neighborhood, me and mine are going to try to take his ship and his pod. Then, the next thing I expect to see from him will be:

RandomStudent75 has added you to their contact list with terrible standing.

So for those of you thinking that you’re playing the same old game you been playing, listen up. In Eve Online, you don’t have a Friends List. You have a Contact List and how you manage your contacts is important.

Unlike all the other games we might play, the Contact List in Eve Online is a tool to help manage Rules of Engagement by setting standings. The same Contact List that some of you are using to collecting buddies on Spacebook is used by other players, corporations and alliances to control who is in their fleets and on their Overviews.

NBSI. Not Blue Shoot It.

“Blues” aren’t necessarily friends either. They are just the people you help. Or at least, they are the people you do not harm.

Unless you like making work for your Diplomats and CEOs.

My friends in Eve? I have them on my contact list, but they are set as Neutrals. We all are in separate corporations and alliances. Our corporations and alliances determine who we do or do not engage. If I end up on their overview, or they end up on mine, our personal standings will not prevent us from supporting our respective fleets and engaging one another.

There are no enemies, only adversaries.

So Sugar Kyle? Neutral. Greygal? Neutral. TuxedoMask? Neutral. Alekseyev Karrde? Neutral. Real and Space friends alike. I will try to take their ships if I can.

And they never have to tell their fleetmates,

Sorry guys, I can’t engage Bren Gnezan. He’s blue to me.

Minus one.

The Glass Is Half Empty

Plus one.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the New Player Experience.  Since CCP Rise spoke about the NPE, everyone seems to have an opinion about what CCP needs to do to make help retain the new player, with an overall goal to help new players become part of the community.

What community is that?

I’m not sure how to answer that.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who are most vocal about everything in Eve are in PvP corps, small or large, and the majority of them seem think that PvE is the necessary evil that you put up with in order to PvP.  The problem I have with the whole conversation is that the vocal minority seems to refuse to understand that they are all playing a different PvP game in Eve.  

Solo.  Micro Gang.  Small Gang.  Large Gang.  Small Fleet.  Large Fleet.  Mega Fleet.  

High Sec.  Low Sec.  Low Sec (Faction War).  Null Sec (NPC).  Null sec (SOV).  Wormhole space.

Frigates.   Destroyers.  Cruisers.  Battlecruisers. Battleships. Capitals.  Supercapitals.

I think that there is an argument for 300 different types of PvP, based on just ship type, system security status and fleet size alone.  Don’t buy it?  How many players do you know are lamenting that Solo Battleship PvP in Low Sec has been strangled by Small Gang Cruiser PvP or by Small Fleet Capital PvP?    That Small Gang Cruiser PvP (less than 20 ships) has been killed by T1 Logistics, morphing into what I consider Large Gang (greater than 20 ships) Cruiser PvP?

So CCP has a problem.  They are trying to get us to encourage people to stay subscribed and they are being influenced by the vocal minority, mostly PvPers, to think the way to get people stay subscribed is to become involved in a corporation.  That corporation is more than likely, one that PvPs.

Solo.  Micro Gang.  Small Gang.  Large Gang.  Small Fleet.  Large Fleet.  Mega Fleet.  

The community is not all inclusive.  The community is diverse and divided on the fundamental nature of Eve Online.  The community has a negative attitude with respect to that diversity:  every member of the vocal minority believes that their way of playing in the sandbox PvP is the right way and everyone else is doing it wrong.  Heaven forbid you lower the power grid on one of their favorite ships, but they are all for anything that will force a PvE player to venture into low sec or null sec.

Welcome to my neighborhood, noob.  

This is why I am concerned about CCP and the CSM trying to figure out how to retain players.  We players can’t make up our minds how to play together in the sandbox.  With a few exceptions, the vocal members of the community are not the players peacefully playing the game, making isk and buying PLEX to fund their mining, missioning, industry or exploration habits.  The vocal minority are PvPers who are attempting to influence CCP with the ultimate goal of forcing the Solo Miner High Sec, Solo Missioner High Sec, or Solo Industrialist High Sec to play our gameOr at least, play their game in our sandbox where we can mess with them.

You’re not going to retain players by making them play a game that they do not want to play.  They will just play a different game.

I’m still not convinced that CCP knows what kind of player they want to retain.  I’m still not sure what playstyle CCP is trying to cater to.  They sell the large fleet battles to people, but it’s unrealistic to think that 1000 ship fights happen everyday.  They know you have to do something else to keep people interested between big SOV battles.  

The SOV battles that 90 percent of us do not participate in.  Low Sec PvP that 90 percent of us do not participate in.  Faction War that 90 percent of us do not participate in.  Wormhole PvP that 90 percent of us don’t participate in.  Solo PvP that 90 percent of us do not participate in.

Neighborhoods do not make a community.

Ripard Teg understands that.  As one of the most popular bloggers in Eve Online, he learned that if he wrote a well thought out and well supported post on any subject in Eve Online, 90 percent of the people would disagree with him and act like he just fired the first shot in a war to the knife.  Any wonder why he retired from blogging?  

He’s tired of tanking the community.  

I don’t blame him.  If Eve Online vocal minority doesn’t come to some kind of consensus and look to the needs of the community on a whole, and not just the neighborhoods we each live in, I’m pretty sure we’ll all be looking for a new game before the 20 year anniversary.

Minus one.

Test Flight: Valkyrie

Plus one.

So I went to Fanfest.  On the last day, I was beat.  Many miles walked, many bottles emptied.  We were at the Harpa and I was hanging with the boys in the PvP room farming pirate newb ships and I realized that the New Player Experience Roundtable was in progress, so I left the gang and roamed down to the session.

It was packed.  Crap.  I was in no condition to squeeze into the hot box, so I started to head back to meet up with the fleet, but they jumped in system.

They came down for Eve Valkyrie.

The line was short but I was in no mood for lines, and I am not really into first person shooters or flight simulators, so I sat down to wait for them.

You know, if you don’t try this out, someone is going to ask you about it and you’re going to be pissed that you didn’t at least try it.

Yeah, yeah.  So I got in line.  I hate lines.

When we finally got to the front, the Valkyrie Dev gave us a brief of the controls and told us to enjoy the flight, don’t break anything, and please remember to move your head or you will not get the full effect of the VR experience.  He pointed out one woman, facing straight ahead, moving only her fingers as she flew.

Don’t fly like her, he said.

I get to my seat and the pretty lady helps me fit my visor and my headset.  Looks okay.  I syncronize the unit to the sensor four feet in front of me.

I look left.  Cool.  I look right. Cool.  I look up and down.  I seem to be in a cockpit.  This is alright, I guess.  I lean forward.

Holy crap, I really am in a cockpit!

We launch.  I feel like I am in my Viper being catapulted off the Galactica.  I look to my left and watch the beams in the tube flash by.  Then I am in space and heading toward some asteroids.  I hit the booster and the ship shoots forward.

I’m looking.  I’m looking in all directions.  I head for the asteroids and structures and try to thread a needle.  I’m boosting, not continuously, but frequently.  I’m just cruising for a minute or so.  Just flying, checking out how the ship responds.  Seems to me it should be more responsive for a fighter.

Then my displays light up and an alert tone beeps. Someone is locking me.  I go to afterburner and start looking around for the bad guys.  I don’t see them.  Under boost, I make a turn to port and I am looking up over my left shoulder to see where this guy is.

I’m still turning but the ship isn’t turning fast enough.  Wait a sec, didn’t they say there was a brake?  I look down at the controller.

There is no controller.

This is VR, Bren.

Okay, okay.  This isn’t my first freaking rodeo.  The brake is the square, the square is here.  I tap it and the ship turns hard to port.  I release and hit afterburner again.

Let’s see some of that pilot shit, Bren.

I think I spot him.  I hit the brake and throw the ship to starboard.  My head snaps around to the right and I turn the ship around right to face my adversary.

Bandit at 2 o’clock high! 

Guns?  Guns?  Triggers!  I pull the right trigger and my target lock aid pops up on the HUD.  I track the target with my eyes from right to left across the screen.  Like riding a motorcycle, my hands follow my head and the ship turns left moving me behind him.  I get a lock, release the trigger and a missile salvo rips from the ship.

Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh.

But someone else is still on me and stuff in the cockpit is flashing red, alert tones beeping continuously.  I go evasive, snapping the ship around.  I turn left, brake and pull up, always looking for my guy, but it’s too late.  My ship explodes.  I cry out.

Whoooh!

And I am launching again.  This time I think I know what I am doing.  I’m back in the game and looking for a bandit to splash.  I shoot at one guy, break off and go for another.   I am enjoying the hell out of this thing when it all comes to an end.

The pretty lady takes off my headphones and I take the visor off.  There are three guys sitting in front of me with the biggest freaking grins on their faces.

This is freaking awesome, I excitedly tell them, Don’t forget to move your head!

Hell, yeah, they yell back!

I get up.  Grab my stuff.  I’m pumped.    I want one.  Now.

Best Demo Ever.   No doubt, the best five minutes I’ve spent playing any flight sim.

And I’m pretty sure that the Valkyrie Dev told the next group, Make sure you fly like that guy.

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Minus one.

Coaching Them Up In New Eden 2014

Plus one.

A few months ago, I got into a conversation with DNSBlack of Dirt Nap Squad about the New Player Experience and coaching, and he asked me if I was going to Fanfest.  I said, Yes, I am  Black, in a very DNSBlack fashion, got very excited.  He told me, I’d like you to speak at the Coaching It Up In New Eden seminar, and gave me the link to the 2013 seminar.

Make a 15 minute presentation, he said.   3 or 4 slides.  Take 15 minutes and talk about how you help new players learn that null sec is not scary.

Sounds easy.  You like to talk.

So two months later, with TuxedoMask asking me almost daily, How’s your powerpoint doing?  It’s fine, I say.  But I am at a loss. I am on revision 4.  I think it’s terrible.  I’m not sure what to do and I have 2 weeks to go before Fanfest.

Deep breaths, Bren.  Work smarter, not harder. 

Right.  So I do my presentation in Teamspeak to a dozen OUCH instructors and asked each of them to give me feedback.  They were awesome.  Gave me a lot of great advice.  I took a page of notes and refreshed, I started to write my slides once again.

And they sucked.

WTF???

So I reassess.  I write pretty well.  I blog.  I write long posts on my corp forum, clearly and concisely.  I speak pretty well in front of people.  Why am I all tied up about this?  Why can’t I make this stupid presentation?

A week before Fanfest, I wrote my presentation like I was writing a blog post.  2 pages long.  I spent the week rereading it over and over so I got all my points.  I sent a copy to Jak so I would make sure I had a copy if my luggage got lost or stolen.  I was ready.

Sitting on the stage waiting for my turn to talk, I pulled out my speech for one last review.  I was pumped.  I was ready.  My left hand was shaking.

Better not hold the paper in your hand.

Right.  DNSBlack introduces me to a room of about 200 people.   He tells me I have 10 minutes.  I have 15 minutes of material.  No pressure.  I stand , I smile.  I introduce myself.  My presentation goes out the effing window.

I talk.  I pace back and forth like like a tiger in a cage.  I am so full of adrenaline that I will explode if I stand still.  I tell people about my corp.  My fraternity of guys and gals who teach people that null sec is not scary.  My fellow pilots in OUCH who mentor and coach new players everyday.  I sell my corporation and ask every pilot in Eve watching me to do what we do.  Help CCP increase the player base by not being so hard on the new guy.

I have three points I want to cover, about what it takes to be an effective mentor.  Black tells me I have two minutes left and I’ve only covered the first one, which was kind of two points, Have a high level of knowledge and share it.  Don’t keep secrets.   I skip my second point, which is have high standards for yourself and your proteges.  I finish with the major point.

In order to be an effective coach, you have to care about other people.  I know it’s contrary to the HTFU attitude that the player base kind of promotes, but it you care about other people’s development, you can help me, you can help CCP, you can help us all.

And I end it there.  Put a fork in me and I am done.  I smile.  I wave.  The crowd applauds politely.  I walk back and take my seat and I hope that I haven’t totally embarrassed myself, my corp or DNSBlack, who gave me this opportunity to speak.

Coaching It Up Them New Eden Fanfest 2014

We’ll see.

Minus one.

Jet Lag

Plus one.

I went to Fanfest.   Stayed on East Coast Time the entire time, which is easy because the Icelandic people do not sleep.  I saw a little girl riding one of those 2 wheel Razor scooters. Zipped past me at 11 o’clock at night.  9 years old, if she was a day.

No kidding?

But it was me and 7 of my corp mates roaming in Reykjavik, gate camping the occasional restaurant or bar and then roaming again.  Miss Teri, Jak Reacher, Zurakaru Ze, QINTAKI, Merlin Aesir, Roi Defenestre and Metzorp.  We picked up 2 new recruits on the bus in from the airport and they hung in there too.

Had a great time.  Ate lamb and fish and then waffles at 1 AM.  Drank like Sailors.  Flirted with the local women.

Partied like rockstars?

Retired rockstars, maybe.  See the line where I said that Icelanders don’t sleep.  It’s ’cause it’s kind of hard to sleep when you go to bed after sunrise.

I’ll talk about a couple of specifics in a few days, like speaking at the Coaching Them Up seminar with DNSBlack, doing 5v5’s in the PvP room and playing 5 glorious minutes of Eve Valkyrie, but the truth be told, the best part of Fanfest was hanging with my fraternity of OUCH instructors.

But really Bren, how was the trip?  Was it fantastic?

It was cool.

Will you go again next year?

Ask me that again after Eve Vegas.

Minus one.