March 24, 2017

Preparing for Iceland and Fanfest

So my time and Eve has been shortened lately. And it's going to be even shorter over the next week as I prepare the final details of visiting Iceland for FanFest.  Appropriately enough as I finish up writing this, CCP Falcon has posted the Eve Fanfest 2017 Megablog.  So let's talk about seeing Iceland, and not just the inside of the Harpa and nearby pubs during Fanfest.

I'm going to be arriving early so I can do some sightseeing around the beautiful country. I am an amateur photographer so I am very much looking forward to the fantastic geography that Iceland provides. Honestly, the beautiful images I've seen are intimidating - the place looks so beautiful I would hate to take photos that don't do service to it.  I'm not going to be trying to haul too much in the way of gear.  I think that the real trick for packing will be getting the tripod along without having to pay for another bag just for it. 

From Aurora borealis over the Snaefellsnes peninsula, western Iceland, March 2013
We'll be just at the end of the time period for aurora borealis, as I understand it, but it would be a nice bonus.

For all that I've heard about Iceland being well ... icy ... it amuses me that it is warmer there than it is in my home right now near Boston Massachusetts.  Of course I've also heard that the Iceland climate is highly variable so it's best to plan for it to be colder.  I can only imagine what the wind coming in off the North Atlantic is like.  I've heard some negative comments about tourists trying to hike over glaciers in their jeans certainly so I'll make sure to bring some heavier clothes and snow pants.  A layer of thermals sounds like a good plan too.  If it is so cold that thermals, flannel lined pants, and snowpants doesn't cut it then I probably shouldn't be outside anyway.

If you're considering getting some sightseeing in while you're at Fanfest, and not just the CCP scheduled Sisters of Eve tour, I'd recommend checking out the blog I Heart Reykjavik.  It has a nice sense of humor about it along with some very practical, non-salesy information.  There are a lot of options for seeing Reykjavik and Iceland, particularly since tourism has been a huge part of Iceland's recovery from the banking crash that practically took out the country.  Unfortunately it sounds like tourism has been so popular that there is a bit of backlash (see "Is Iceland Overcrowded with Tourists").  If you've ever lived in a tourist spot, you probably know how they feel.  So, my fellow Fanfest attendees, please represent yourself, your country, and Eve players by treating Iceland and it's people well while you're there!

I'll be arriving on Saturday 01 April (no joke!) and then leaving on Sunday 09 April.  I'll be renting a little 4x4 from Cars Iceland for the touring part of the vacation prior to Fanfest.  The first day I've got a walking tour of Reykjavik lined up with I Heart Reykjavik, and i'll be catching How To Become Icelandic at the Harpa at night, which sounds hillarious.  Then it's off to the south coast to Vik, then Hof (note: not the same as Höfn - made that mistake during planning at one point), and the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon.

Image from

Wow, right?  All of these places are theoretically only two hours or so apart from one another on the highway.  (yeah, "the" singular highway)  However, there are so many cool things along the way that it's going to be slow forward progress really.  Add to that the possibility of weather issues.  Check out this google map of places to see on a southern route, courtesy of I Heart Reykjavik.  I'm really back and forth between a tendency to want to plan all my details of each place and playing it by ear.  The fact that work has been really busy has helped discourage me from too much overplanning though.

If you're planning on sightseeing prior to Fanfest, feel free to drop me a line.  I'm fully planning on enjoying doing this solo as a decompression prior to the chaos of Fanfest, but I'm all for sharing notes or getting together for a coffee / beer / brennivin.

March 13, 2017

CSM 12 - That snuck up on me

I'm not sure if the period from the opening of candidacy for CSM to the actual voting opening was any different this time, but it sure felt that way.  Most of that is how busy my RL has been, but it's also because my podcast feed wasn't full of CapStable interviews.  Crossing Zebras has taken a shot at it between Ashterothi's interviews and the Declaration of War panels (yes, the tags on CZ weren't consistently applied, so just look around), but it's definitely no replacement for the massive amount of work that the CapStable guys put into this in the past - and which probably burned them out from doing it again this time.  A big thanks to all of the media folks who got CSM interview information out there.

By the time I realized it was well underway I wasn't going to do my usual summary of the candidates (all 64 of them), particularly since information was spread over the meta.  I don't have as complete a picture of the candidates at all, but it's time to get that voting in.  I hate being under-informed about this, but I realized this was going to have to be a time-boxed exercise.  So here are my top five candidates - arguments are welcome and may sway my vote by the time I get around to plugging them into the interface.

Scylus Black: I'm glad to see him getting out the word about factional warfare.  Even if FW isn't coming up soon on the roadmap, having someone to advocate should help CCP understand the impact of their new features on FW.  Perhaps it will even help get FW on a  future roadmap.  I'll be at Fanfest, hoping to hear good news.

Steve Ronuken:  Look, does anyone ever doubt this guy should stay on CSM as long as he can stand it?  He's probably the one CSM everyone agrees on.

Commander Aze: I didn't rate him highly last time around, but he's stuck with it and has been improving his message.  I'm also feeling a lot of sympathy for the highsec folks, while feeling the nullsec bloc folks don't need my vote.

Jin'taan: The exception to that preceding sentence.  I've been hugely impressed by his work to improve the communication coming out of the CSM.  As a members of the Declarations of War podcast he has consistently asked candidates what they will do to make the CSM better.  This is the change in mindset that we need and I'm hoping he'll continue to help make happen.

Suitonia: He's clearly got a great understanding of the details of ships used in small gang work (which is where I like to play).  Having at least one such CSM is probably good, though it sounds like he's been able to make a lot of contributions via direct contact from CCP as well as the focus groups.  One note though - if you're going to link your blog from your candidate page, it's probably best if you've actually posted within the past twelve months.

After I get through those five I'm not really finding many other candidates on the list that compelling.  Maybe Vic Jefferson (3rd time running, not much new info from my negative review last time)?  Maybe Kalen Tsero (he wants to support lowsec but doesn't know FW mechanics and people?)  Who else am I missing?

March 3, 2017

BB80: Is it feasible to have a FW representative on CSM 12?

BB80 asks if CSM12 will be dominated by null-sec with no voice for hi-sec, low-sec, and WH players.  I think there’s a chance for low-sec this time around if FW can show that it pulls together and votes in a candidate such as Scylus Black. But how good is that chance?

CCP Seagull encourages you to get involved in CSM12 and put your name forward to be a Space-Politician. On his blog Neville Smit noted that CSM11 had done a good job with minimum of drama. However he said he’d not be covering CSM12 like he has in previous years as he sees no point. The power-blocs will vote on who they want and unless Steve Ronuken manages to get on CSM12 it is almost certainly going to have every seat taken by the big null-sec blocs.
Is Neville right? Is the CSM moving more and more into just a voice for 0.0? Is this a bad thing? Are the hi-sec, low-sec and WH players going to lose out badly or is it really not an issue as it's the same game? Could a totally null-sec dominated CSM 12 give a balanced voice for everyone?
I’d like to agree with Kirith that it is possible for a FW candidate to make it onto the CSM.  Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.  According to some analysis from Fuzzy Steve the threshold for getting on the CSM is at #voters divided by seats plus one, plus one.  If we have about the same number of voters as CSM 10 (i.e. before the big disappointment of that CSM), that threshold is about 3364. If we stay at the historically low number of voters that voted in CSM 11 then that threshold is about 2045. So how many Faction Warfare players are there that are engaged enough to vote?

I’m going to stick my neck out and say that if you’re in FW but you aren’t active enough to be considered an active PVPer by zkillboard, then you’re probably someone’s farming alt or not engaged enough to vote.

Total 3,936

Ouch on those numbers for the Minmatar.

So that’s not terribly promising.  We have enough people in Faction Warfare that if all of the active PVPers voted their #1 slot for the same FW candidate (such as Scylus Black) then they’d get on the CSM, assuming turnout numbers like CSM X.  On top of that, we have to discount those numbers by how many people in Faction Warfare are Alphas, and thus ineligible to vote.  If turnout was down to CSM 11 numbers, then we probably should discount our raw player counts for the same reason. We could hope that FW players have more than one active account (and thus more votes) but that may means they have more than one active PVPer in our counts as well. Those are some pretty big IFs.

That tells me that Scylus Black not only needs to make the rounds with all of the Factional Warfare corps, but also needs to broaden his pitch to include other lowsec residents (aka pirates).  The good news is that we in FW are already pretty well acquainted with them via the vigorous pew pew that happens every night.

But he’s got his work cut out for him.