A Box of Goodies for Christmas

HolidaysChristmas is once again upon us, and the giving spirit of CCP has emerged from its gross cocoon to terrorize the universe once again. This time the festivities are spread across the next couple of weeks.

Just in time to ring in Acadian Remembrance Day, you’ll be able to log in and smack the Redeem Items button. Your reward for doing this will be a brand new snowball launcher and a pile of snowballs to use with it. Anyone who was around the last time CCP did this knows that this is a terrific tool for fun AND griefing of the unsuspecting. In other words, perfect for EVE players.

Hilariously timed to interrupt the festivities of International Human Solidarity Day, arrives your mystery box. Fuck knows what’s in it, my guess is a new ship, however others have thought it might have something to do with all the Special Edition Assets items visible on the Market these days.

Finally, celebrate the creation of the Constitution along with the citizens of North Korea with the final gift from CCP. The description suggests we will be gifted with some fireworks to mess around with, items which have also recently appeared in the game’s Market. As fun as fake explosions are, the real ones are always more fun. Hopefully using these in densely packed areas of the game leads to someone’s demise.

All in all, CCP has a lot planned for us this year now that Retribution is live. If the campaign banner is any indication, space will be sparkling like a Cullen in the sun.


Ship Balancing for 2013

Now, when CCP first introduced the concept of their ship revamps months back, I was a bit skeptical they’d be able to pull it off properly.  EVE’s delicious soup of ships allowed for creative fittings to be employed by pilots. This sometimes resulted in some really interesting uses for some ships, and hilariously shit ones as well.

In a shocking feat of organization and forward thinking, a team of monkeys at CCP has been sorting the ship pile into the following buckets:

  • Combat – killing things
  • Attack – killing things… too
  • Disruption – stop killing me and my friends
  • Support – the wind beneath your wings
  • Exploration – finding new places to die
  • Mining – everyone’s dirty little secret

After working their way up from the smaller supporting type ships for the Retribution expansion, CCP’s rebalancing meatshield Ytterbium details their plans for battlecruisers and battleships.  (Yes, I’m getting caught up on oldish dev blogs.)  The major details of this can be found in the dev blog itself, but there’s a couple of parts that bear attention.

Refactoring Skills

Throughout the entire series of ship tier related changes over the past year, CCP has been messing around with related skills. As we get into 2013, these changes start to take form in a really interesting way.

Historically, new players have bitched and moaned about not being able to catch up to veteran players that have years of skill training advantage over them. Truth, as the Vorlons say, is a three-edged sword:

  1. They’re right, it will take them years to acquire the skills veteran players have built up, surely the game must be changed to accommodate them
  2. They’re wrong, because they’re new players and too uneducated in the ways of EVE to understand that the game relies more on player skill rather than character skill
  3. They’re both right and wrong. Because.

CCP being CCP has chosen to run with the third option because it’s their game and can do with it what they please.

  • Make ship progression more consistent over all sizes, instead of having a mix of racial and generic skills
  • Allowing for faster tech2 specialization, and slower multi-racial diversification. In EVE Online, while you as a new player will never catch up with the total amount of skill points a veteran has, you can still be on the same level by specializing. This is precisely what we want to promote here. For instance, currently one needs Amarr Cruiser and Battlecruisers 5 to fly an Absolution, after the change the same pilot will only need Amarr Battlecruisers 5 (on top of the other skill requirements).

This is actually not a bad solution, at least on paper. Everyone currently flying nicer ships can still do so, and anyone getting their asses blown off by a veteran flying a ship can fly that one themselves sooner (in some cases). I’m a big fan of Tech 2 ships myself, and while I’d love to have more people flying them faster, CCP runs the risk of once again marginalizing Tech 1 ships — things they’ve just spent a considerable amount of time and effort making interesting again.

Tech 3 Confusion?

I remember when the Tech 3 ship concept was pitched to players for the first time. It was basically the metaship, the thing you could make into whatever matched your play style, with bojillions of combinations of everything available to you for an arm and a leg, constructed from a totally new and interesting economy of its own. While this is certainly not changed, the focus this time is on bonuses to warfare links.

  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry more gang links at once than Command Ships, but with less effect
  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry some gang links while still maintaining some combat capability
  • Command Ships to carry fewer types of gang links than Tech 3, but with stronger effects (specialization over generalization) – if fitted with gang links, they have less combat capability than Tech3 hulls.
  • All Command Ships to have a combat role on the field on top of having the possibility to be fit for a pure fleet commanding platform.

The focus of this particular effort is in battlecruisers and battleships. The fact that Tech 3 stuff is being talked about at all while they manhandle the warfare bonuses of Tech 2 battlecruisers tells me two things:

  1. Tech 3 stuff is so awesome in its current state that they’re more appealing than Tech 2 battlecruisers for warfare link related tasks.
  2. CCP doesn’t know what the fuck to do with these ships.

The reason I say the latter is that with the complexities of Tech 1 and Tech 2 ships alone, it’s a bloody miracle that CCP won’t completely break the game’s delicate balance. Well, Tech 3 ships are designed to be wildcards. In my opinion, they need to have their own separate and well-thought-out attention devoted to them but only after the rest of the ships have had their roles defined and tested to be appropriate.

Anywho, in general I welcome the proposed changes to battlecruisers and battleships. They make a lot of sense with the previous changes, and definitely do a lot to unify ship styles with their overall category and race traits.


New Eden Open

Cash for Kills

EVE Online’s history of competitive gaming is nearly seven years running now. That’s an impressive run for any game, however it’s a hell of a lot more impressive since EVE is a MMO. With each successive outing, CCP has refined the formula, accomplishing two things: a more structured set of rules for players to abide by, and the hilarious player drama which surrounds interpreting them.

Competitive gaming in general has been increasing in popularity recently, migrating globally from its popular roots in Asia and including other games who’s titles do not end in “craft”. The last few EVE tournaments have aligned themselves more and more with the way other games handle these affairs, and CCP are finally offering the most flexible prize of all: cold hard cash, divided up for each of the players in the top teams.

This tournament will have four prizes as follows:

  • 1st Prize – $6,000 plus in-game medal
  • 2nd Prize – $3,000 plus in-game medal
  • 3rd Prize – $1,000 plus in-game medal

$10,000 in total is a nice round figure, and only slightly cuts in to the CCP Lead Designer Ferrari Fund.

There’s also a giant pile of PLEX numbering 375 that will be given out as well. That’s no small amount of game time.

Double elimination brackets, check. Cash prizes, check.  Entry rules, check. The only thing missing is a sponsorship from Razer or nVidia or something. Oh wait… it’s sponsored by own3D.tv.

The whole thing sounds interesting and exciting, however the one glaring omission from the whole affair is the community feel of previous tournaments. May it’s the bitter old EVE vet in me, but a little voice keeps pointing out the fact that this feels like more of an advertisement than a service to the community.

That being said, I look forward to seeing the EVE community take this on as its own anyway, along with all the fun drama that comes along with it. If the match casts are as high quality (ignoring outages) as the last Alliance Tournament, there should be entertainment enough to go around for current and future players.



On Dynamic World Content

I make no secret out of the fact that I play other MMOs than EVE Online.  While they  do not hold my attention as long as EVE, the experience of playing them sometimes reveals some interesting features which I feel could be used to enhance other games. I’m currently loving the shit out of Guild Wars 2, and it reminded me of one of the things I feel has been missing in EVE: dynamic world content.

I’ve written in the forums years back that one of the things that is most lacking within the game is its lore. That’s not to say it is completely lacking, and the developers will be quick to say that the player community provides this in spades.  I wouldn’t disagree 100% with that assessment, and yet even CCP recognized the lack of story driven content when it began — and subsequently shafted — the COSMOS effort. I think now would be an excellent time for CCP to revisit something like that.

Similar to my previous forum post on the subject, I’m in no way suggesting we suddenly have an extension of the current agent system, providing missions in the current normal sense.  I’m pitching the concept of dynamic world content.

Guild Wars 2 builds on the public quest concept that was front and center in games such as Warhammer Online, allowing players to collaborate on quest content by going to an area and taking part in it without explicitly joining a party or zoning to a special instance. GW2 basically replaces the typical quest log with this concept, allowing for a more open approach to questing and quest activities. Additionally, and more in line with this discussion, it brings us branching dynamic story quests which require player interaction and often lead to an escalating — and still public — quest line. Players can come and go as they wish, be rewarded appropriately for their actions, and can even end up in the middle of a ridiculous boss fight to end the story.

I’m not suggesting CCP copy the concept word for word, however imagine the possibilities here if we apply an EVE-style mentality to the approach.

You undock from a station, and the new mission log UI shows flashing as you get a notification from a convoy that belongs to some NPC corporation. Its escorts are late, its supplies are needed at a station four jumps away, and it needs some security that it will make the trip in one piece.  You expand the log UI, it shows a planned jump route to you so you know its next destination and a countdown to when the convoy will warp to the first gate. You decide to tag along.

As the convoy warps off you warp with it.  It arrives at the gate 10km away and makes its way towards the gate, jumping through.  You follow. On the other side one of the ships is having a problem aligning to the next jump. Two minutes appear on the clock in the mission UI, and a few seconds later red +’s appear as a group of NPCs warp in to try to destroy and loot the convoy.  You begin to engage, attacking the enemies as other players who were warping to that gate decide to join in the convoy defense as well. With the additional help to defend the convoy during this encounter, the enemy NPCs call in additional reinforcements to balance the engagement. Suddenly there’s a much larger firefight on your hands, and still three jumps to go…

Rewards for players would be bounties on the NPC kills, loot from their ships, and loyalty points for the faction who’s convoy you helped. The event could even be extended by maybe a combat fleet at the station where the supplies are delivered asking for your assistance to help deal with the enemy NPC’s base of operations in that sector. You can help if you want, as much as you want, and be rewarded appropriately for your involvement.

An initial basic form of this could be done with simple encounter stages created like building blocks, that can be added to each other dynamically by the game depending on general randomness, player involvement, and level of success with the event stages.

And if we really wanted to add an EVE spin on the concept — and why the fuck not? — then allow for players on the NPC’s side to join in the attack on the convoy. This may require some sort of opt-in mechanism for the duration of the mission to allow you to be attacked and to attack people involved in the event, but imagine an empire space with this kind of dynamic content AND with a PVP element thrown into the mix?

So you’re there defending against the NPC enemies because that’s all you can shoot at, suddenly some players show up and begin shooting the convoy you’re trying to defend. You want to win this, you have enough friends on your side, so everyone clicks the button in the mission UI that lets you engage players who have clicked the same opt-in button for the enemy side and suddenly you’ve got a real fight on your hands with all the rewards that come with it.

This could be just one more way that time spent in EVE can be interesting and rewarding. Instead of grinding missions, you could go on a patrol through your home constellation for events kicking off, and take part in them as you see fit. CCP can weave in as much or as little lore in each event as they like, with the region or even constellation adding its own flavors to the party. Border zones between factions could have you attacking say Caldari ships, affecting your standings with that side. The results of faction warfare in the area maybe plays into things as well, even economic variables could be used — there’s no end to the amount and types of modifiers CCP could add to this over time.

In the end, the content is still primarily affected by the players who take part in it, and with a PVP element thrown in for fun the concept will still stay true to the roots of the game.



The Plan

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but for whatever reason haven’t got around to it until now. Basically put, I wanted to outline my plan for the site and its content.  There are a lot of ideas I have to improve the experience here a bit, and hopefully to provide a better service overall to folks who visit both regularly and intermittently.  This may even be of interest to folks who might be interested in seeing what analytic tools can tell about site visitors. Lets get into it.

New Theme

Overall I’ve liked the layout of the site myself, but I recognize it has certain shortcomings. For some it might not be the easiest to read or navigate, so in the coming weeks I hope to roll out something better.  Something that’s not only beneficial for you as a visitor, but also me as the site’s manager and content creator.

I’ll touch on some more specifics as we go through the post since some topics are related to this.

Content, Content, Content

Expect more regular editorials on things that go on with EVE, its community, dev blogs, etc. This is more of a challenge than folks think, since not every bit of news is worth dwelling on. For instance, there’s no real reason to soapbox about a patch to the game that doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot. So it’s going to be a balance of providing something of interest to read, while doing so about topics that people give a shit about.

Comics have been the reason this site exists in the first place, and I’ve been getting back into the swing of that lately. Expect that to continue.  What some may or may not know is that I’ve been doing comics for EON since issue #1, but so far they’ve not appeared on this site at all. Soon they will be, with the latest appearing after a modest delay out of respect for folks who pay for the magazine.

Podcasts have been a LONG time coming, and for that I apologize. Rest assured I’ve not abandoned them, and I have a few tweaks to the hotdrop formula that I think folks will enjoy a lot. The only thing I can’t speak to right now is a timeline for when regular podcasty goodness will return.

Gallery Support

The way blogs handle multiple image posts leaves a lot to be desired. For example, there’s no one-stop-shop to view all the comics at a glance in some sort of awesome gallery and pick the one you want to eyeball.  Adding some sort of proper gallery for these would make life easier for a lot of folks who want to check out older comics at a glance.

Mobile Support

If there’s one thing that’s changed over the last couple of years it’s the types of visitors who frequent websites. Gone are the days when you only needed to support the desktop. With tools like Google Analytics, we can see the stats for visitors coming in from mobile browsers continuing to grow.

Instead doing some weird theme swap when a mobile browser’s detected, I figure the best thing to do is to keep this in mind when picking a new theme for the site. That means something that reconfigures content dynamically depending on the size of the browser. Lets face it, things shouldn’t look like this when you come here:

This has benefits for desktop users as well, since the site will still work just fine if you do something weird like tile your browser windows, or just prefer a smaller window size.


All of this, along with general improvements to the art assets used throughout the site, should make things a lot more livable and interesting around here for both myself and those of you who frequent the site.

As this is a site which is for the EVE community, I have always welcomed feedback from people who wish to suggest improvements to things.  As the site’s consumers, please feel free to do so in the comments below.

More Frigate Love On the Way

Details are emerging about upcoming changes to more frigates, part of CCP’s ongoing effort to refactor and rebalance ships in the game. There are some interesting changes from the original theme put forward in an older dev blog on the subject, so here’s the proposed updates to the Kestrel, Tristan, and Breacher being debated.


Frigate skill bonuses:
5% Bonus to Missile damage per level
10% Bonus to Missile velocity per level
Slot layout: 4 H, 4 M (+1), 2 L, 4 launchers
Fittings: 45 PWG (+15), 180 CPU (+30)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 500(+109) / 350(+37) / 350 (+84)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 330 (+80)/ 165s (-22.5s)/ 2 (+0.667)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 320 (+24) / 3.27(-0.6) / 1163000 / 3.56s (-0.65)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 50km (+10) / 620 (+155) / 5 (+2)
Sensor strength: 11 Gravimetric
Signature radius: 38 (-9)
Cargo capacity: 160 (-145)

Frigate skill bonuses:
7.5% Bonus to Hybrid Turret tracking speed per level
10% Bonus to Drone tracking speed and hitpoints per level
Slot layout: 3 H (-1), 3 M, 3 L, 2 turrets, 0 launchers (-2)
Fittings: 35 PWG (-3), 130 CPU (+5)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 350(-41) / 450(+20) / 550 (+167)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 350 / 175s (-59.38s)/ 2 (+0.5)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 310 (+4) / 3.44 (-0.21) / 1106000 (+100000) / 3.56s (-0.02)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 25 (+20) / 40 (+35)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 40km (+12.5) / 600 (+10) / 5
Sensor strength: 9 Magnetometric
Signature radius: 41 (-1)
Cargo capacity: 140

Frigate skill bonuses:
5% Bonus to Missile damage per level
7.5% Bonus to Shield boost amount per level
Slot layout: 3 H (-1), 4 M (+2), 3 L (+1), 3 launchers, 0 Turrets (-1)
Fittings: 35 PWG (+4), 180 CPU (+45)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 500(+149) / 350(+37) / 300 (+50)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 300 (+112.5)/ 150s (+9.37s)/ 2 (+0.667)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 350 (+16) / 3.16 (-0.62) / 1087000 (-100000) / 3.21s (-0.99)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 10 (+10) / 10 (+10)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 35km (+2.5) / 650 (+75) / 4 (+1)
Sensor strength: 8 Ladar
Signature radius: 36 (-5)
Cargo capacity: 175

Perhaps change that stands out the most (possibly due to my Gallente nature) is the bit about the Tristan losing its launchers in favor of drone bonuses and added tank. This seems to be the general philosophy at work here, with the Breacher losing its turret slot and the Kestrel becoming Kestrel+.

Generally each race had a tech 1 frigate that was a bit of an odd duck, able to wield alien weaponry from other races. The intent was to add flexibility, and it generally did so along with a heaping teaspoon of confused self-image. These changes may initially look like ships are becoming more homogenized, however the other subtle tweaks to things like targeting and fitting capabilities speak to a higher purpose for these frigates: flexible fitting options.

A post in the thread about this from CCP Fozzie shines a light on that point:

One of the great features of the design is that you can actually build one setup that can adjust its engagement range very well based on what it is facing. I have very good success in play tests with a AB/Scram/Web buffer tank fit using blasters that could either kite at the edge of scram range against a close range opponent using the tracking blasters to kill opposing drones, or move in for the kill against longer range frigates.

In the end, we could get a tech one frigate per race that gives a cheap-as-fuck option for combat frigates that aren’t tech 2, each providing a flexible canvas for fitting experimentation. If they can pull this off, it would be quite beneficial for new and old players alike since new players can mess around a bit more and learn fundamental fitting mechanics, and older players can have cheap, solid alternatives for support fleets.

It’s definitely getting interesting to see what final tweaks are in store for ships in the winter expansion.

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The Mittani: The Site

EVE is one of those games which tends to unleash the inner soapbox in people. Often the result of this is ends up being something best avoided entirely, lest you waste what precious time you have in this life on what amounts to little more than random keyboard mashing.

The Mittani is one of those who you want to pay attention to.  As a long time EVE player and CSM legend, Mittens has been afforded the rare opportunity to not only work closely with people in EVE but also the people who build and maintain it. This isn’t some random occurrence however, it’s based largely on him being a pretty smart guy who has smart opinions on things, and has a way to deliver that opinion in a way that doesn’t make him look like some knuckle-dragger.

Enter his new and improved site, which bills itself thusly:

Our goal is to create a combination of news and commentary for you that is both up-to-date and insightful, and one which combines old-fashioned fact-checking with a broad range of contributors in order to provide an authoritative source of updates for Eve Online and everything that interests Eve Online players.

“Insightful”, “fact-checking” and “Eve Online” in the same sentence?  What the fuck?

If someone had told me that someone out there in EVE had some up with a news site that did this I’d tell them they’d been smoking were smoking their own bullshit, but Mittsie has apparently been successful and getting things off to a great start. Timely news, featured articles, and even book reviews presented in a nice and easy to read package, written by people who … well, can write. In a word: refreshing.

There has been a lot of EVE news sites in the past that have tried to do this kind of thing, but end up getting mired in their own bias so deep they choke to death on dwindling reader statistics.  If Mitts can keep a strong hold on the reigns to ensure continuing quality, the new site will be one we can all enjoy going to for years to come.

Unless he puts up a Fifty Shades of Grey book review up, then I take all of this back and Mittens can go fuck himself. :)

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Inferno 1.2 Patch Notes

Today CCP bequeaths upon us a grand update to EVE Online, Inferno class. With update 1.2 there’s quite a few items of interest in the patch notes, so lets jump in and speak to a few of the items worth additional attention.

Module Mouseovers

Module mouseovers seems like something that should have been in the game from day one, but I’m happy to see them now.  Basically put, all the most interesting information you would probably want to see at a glance now can be seen at a glance rather than playing the Menus Online minigame to get to it.

Knowing right away what your your stuff is going to do when you push that button is a handy thing.

Mission Overlay

We all love doing missions (… right?), but isn’t it annoying to have to hunt down your Journal and find the tab with the information about what you should be doing?  Sure is, but not for long.  How about a nice GUI overlay available to you so you can get relevant mission information at a glance?

Angel Cartel Graphics Updates

Ships sharing lineage with the Angel Cartel will get some cosmetic surgery with updates to their visual assets. While in and of itself this is not earth shattering, it’s part of CCP’s ongoing efforts — and dare I say successful ones at that — to push the game’s visuals to even more impressive levels.

As someone who takes frequent screenshots I’m OK with this, but in general it’s always more fun to blow shit up if it looks awesome to begin with.

Attack Frigates

CCP is waging war on ship tiers, taking stuff like Tech 1 frigates and making them more effective in the game. For this patch, tier 2 frigates such as the Atron and Executioner are getting makeovers. The end result will be tech 1 frigates capable of being very effective at dealing damage and tackling.

This basically turns them into cheap baby interceptors, which is not a bad thing at all unless you see a shitload of them coming at you.

Self Destruct

One of the more interesting changes, and one which is a long time coming, ensures that those who choose to suicide their way out of combat will provide their attackers with delicious loot. Previously this would be used as a mechanism to rob one’s opponent of spoils if you know you’re going to lose, but no longer.

This will especially piss of people who fly big expensive ships, ships with juicy faction modules, or combinations of the two.  But that’s ok, because the change will also make a lot of people very, very happy.

Making Sense of Implants 

Anyone who’s ever looked at the hardwiring implant section of the market has at some point wondered whether the folks responsible were grinding up and snorting the old classic CD-based copies of EVE. This area is a total mess to deal with, and requires far more time out of your day to figure out what the hell you want to buy and why.

The good thing is that’s changing, with that area of the market being overhauled to be more descriptive instead of baffling.

Music Triggering Properly

In what is probably the most important fix in the entire set of patch notes, activating acceleration gates will now trigger music to begin playing properly.

Imagine that moment of utter confusion, wondering why the fuck aggressive techno suddenly started blasting out of your speakers as your ship hurtles on to its next destination. Then, subsequent moments tabbing back to the client after checking other applications for the source of the music, realizing you’re now well under attack by god-knows-what. Surprise!

Actually, now that I think about it, the uneasy silence of it NOT triggering was probably more freaky.

There’s a big giant pile more changes at the link below, so go check it out. CCP has taken a great deal of effort to clean up some of the dumb small oversights throughout the game, as well as providing larger changes to keep things fresh.

Update: Barges!

Ok, so people were wondering why I didn’t put anything about the changes to mining barges, and the main reason was that I felt the discussions elsewhere covered off all the major points worth discussing. But ok, fuck it.

Prior to this update, barges followed the usual ship progression where more training and cost got you a ship which did a generic job better than the previous tiers. Exhumers were specialized with bonuses for particular types of mining (ice, mercoxit, etc.).

With 1.2 this is all different, with the ships being clumped into two tiers consisting of three variations boosting stats in the areas of defense, mining output, and ore hold capacity. If you want to specialize in one area similar to exhumers of the past you can, but you will need rigs to do it.  Throw in considerable changes to the overall cargo capacity, tanking, and mining abilities of the ships and you have a recipe for carebear rage.

Is this good or bad?  Well, it’s certainly different, and has some potential to fuck over people who trained to specialize in one way according to the old rules. It also means if you want to continue to specialize you will be either swapping rigs or buying another ship to fit out for each method of mining. That cuts into profit margins, which you may see significantly reduced anyway since your favorite mining vessel may now be the worst for your needs.

When they first announced they were going to tromp around the yard messing with ship tiers I knew there was going to come a time when CCP would step on a rake. In my opinion, this is the first time of several coming for them, and since it affects the economy of EVE it will be a particularly interesting change to watch post-release.

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Blog Banter 38: Tweaking the Machine

Another blog banter?  Alright then, lets see what Seismic Stan has for us today:

“In his recent “That’s just the way it is” post on Jester’s Trek, blogger Ripard Teg posits that the established EVE player-base has come to accept many of EVE’s design idiosyncrasies, rarely questioning their purpose or benefit. Conversely, he also suggests that new players might not be so forgiving of these “quirks”. In an interview with Gamasutra, Senior Producer CCP Unifex describes EVE Online’s developers as “relatively hands-off janitors of the virtual world”, underlining that he has only four content developers but “a lot” of programmers and engineers.

Has a culture developed where CCP has started to take player effort for granted – expecting the “social engine” to fulfill tasks that might otherwise be CCP’s responsibility? Or should this culture be embraced as part of “emergent gameplay” with these quirks accepted as the catalyst for interaction?”

Player effort has always been central to EVE, from the very beginning. CCP deliberately made this the core of the game from the get go, providing the complicated-but-barren-landscape sandbox we all jumped in to.  The lure of the blank canvas, as I like to say.

There was a time when CCP was fucking terrible at servicing the community, and its players picked up the slack in spades. Chribba alone provided EVE its own micro-Google in the form of EVE Search, and EVE Files gave us cloud storage for our EVE related content before cloud storage was a thing. I’ve never seen a game where a player has set up a data center to support a free service to a game’s community before.

The renaissance came when CCP finally realized how powerful APIs are, and externalized large chunks of data for use through them.  The community has been dry humping the concept ever since, with incredible efforts like automated killboard operations, Dotlan maps — effectively the Google Maps of EVE, etc.  CCP’s half-baked effort EVE Gate brought some exposure of the game’s data to the masses, letting us view our mails and see some calendar stuff outside of the game, but they failed miserably to iterate on the initial concept.

This iterative thinking is an awesome concept when it comes to applications, but with a game as complex as EVE with as many creaking, sometimes-moving parts as it has it can become challenging to take features which blow and give them a nice polish. This is one of the reasons why there are little things in EVE which suck for no reason at all (the aforementioned “quirks”).

I don’t think CCP is blind to this though.

It’s long been thought by some that even though EVE Online is a fantastic and unique online gaming experience, the UI is a horrible, disgusting mess.  Granted some of those folks think everything would be solved by having an ability bar and the capability mod the interface (go back to WoW), but I think a happy medium is achievable by CCP without compromising the design it has worked so hard on.

This effort is not only happening, but has been in progress for quite some time now. The fruits of their labors can be seen throughout the current-state EVE client, with streamlined dialogs, useful keyboard and mouse shortcuts, UI scaling, and other goodies.  I mean the Jump button being your one-click-stop for warping to a gate at zero  and jumping through is so awesome and painfully obvious I’m shocked it wasn’t there from the beginning.

I know, I’m dancing around a point, so lets get to that: CCP needed to lapse back into janitorial mode. It needed to take a step back and start looking at the current engine of the game and make sure it was running smooth.  It needed to make sure the front end of the game was less intimidating to new players but still have the power advanced players needed (no small task, I imagine).

In order to do that, you have to hand other responsibilities to a different custodian, so liberating game data through APIs allows the all-too-willing playerbase to pick up that slack. This goes beyond the simple “emergent gameplay” phrase kicked around. Emergent gameplay for some in the industry is having Twitter notifications of achievements. EVE is a so far beyond the bleeding edge in this regard it’s not even funny, with CCP intimately collaborating with its players to ensure the in- and out-of-game experience is what they want.

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LoxyRider Leaves CCP

CCP LoxyRider is leaving CCP. While every company deals with turnover at some point, and everyone who works for an organization contributes in one way or another, Loxy’s one of those guys who has put an enormous amount of time and effort into EVE, to the benefit of its community.

I’ve had the benefit of flying with Loxy when he was part of Body Count Inc., prior to him joining CCP’s EVE TV initiative.  At that time he was already responsible for some of the most amazing community-produced EVE videos, having a knack for pairing eye-catching scenes with epic soundtracks.

Put simply, the results were fucking amazing. It’s not surprising he caught the attention of CCP, and has since directed EVE TV into a fully competent production, and helped churn out some of EVE’s most fucking amazing trailers.

As a tip of the hat to everyone on his way out the door, Loxy leaves behind a brand new video called This is EVE III.  Check it out at the link below.

Please join me in wishing Loxy luck in his next endeavor, and hoping that Loxy he is able to find time for EVE as a player once more, continuing to produce videos that show off the true spirit of the game.