September 17, 2015

Sympathy for CCP Devil

While many of you were watching the o7 show, I was in a conference call with a vendor at work.  Perhaps I was thinking of what I was missing, but I had a momentary and fractional vision of what it must be like to be a customer-facing CCP Dev.  Mind you, my colleague and I were being a lot more polite to the vendor than your average toxin-zombie on reddit, but as we went over the mockups for the proposed new functionality the vendor was offering I had a thought process that many CCP watchers have experienced.

What were they thinking?  Seriously, how much thought did they put into this?  How much of a priority is our business really for them, if this is what they are offering and on this time schedule?

As we wrapped up the call, I mentioned to the vendor's product manager that I had sympathy for them.  I've seen our own people come out of calls with customers with puzzled looks on their faces that probably are very similar to how the CCP devs leave some interactions with Eve players.

Do they not get how this stuff works?  Did we not communicate well enough why this new functionality is great and will make their life so much better?  Why are they so stuck on their current processes when we're showing them how using this new process will do everything better - they just have to make some changes to do it.  Does that one guy just have an actual steel rod stuck up his ass?

Now back home from work I'm watching the o7 show and skimming over the new dev blogs. Oh man, watching this o7 show on replay via twitch is painful.  Play, wait for it to buffer, play some more.  But at least it matches well with getting the kids ready for bed.  And did all of you immediately know who Mike Azariah was by his appearance even before the name-tag appeared?

That vendor I mentioned was providing functionality related to agile software development.  There's a good analogy there to CCP.  Part of my frustration with that vendor is that delivering the complete package that I want for my users is far away and is only being provided in dribs and drabs.  Little pieces that do as much to frustrate our users at what is missing as make them rejoice at what they're getting.  Sound familiar?

So welcome back expansions.  Welcome back longer wait times to get a bigger big bang.  Will that be the silver bullet that turns every werewolf on reddit back into a starry-eyed newbie in love with the scope and potential in Eve?

Of course not.  I still feel there are some people who are just so wrapped up in their bitterness that there is nothing that CCP can do to turn them around.  The only solution for those people is either to take a break from Eve or for them to try something completely new - and that's a choice that only they can make.

But for the rest of us - there is still a great vision that CCP Seagull is working towards.  The fact that CCP is willing to change the way they are doing things while pushing forward towards the greater roadmap is a great sign.  For those of us not overloaded on bitter-toxins it's a pretty cool future.

And until that arrives, I'll keep enjoying this game and the people I've met in it.

p.s. that Quafe Hyperion does look really sweet...

September 15, 2015

Minmatar Headset

So, my Minmatar style attempts to fix my headset really aren't sitting well on my Gallente head.  Basically the joint that allows the left earcup to rotate so that it curves onto the head is broken, and my attempts to use duct-tape and wooden structural members (aka a popsicle stick) aren't holding up.  Because of the way the joint is built super-glue doesn't work, and I'm not sure I can epoxy it to the right angle... and frankly I'm too lazy to go too far down that path.

So, what recommendations do people have for a good headset for Eve?  I have a single monitor and sit right at the desk, so I don't need anything fancy like a WiFi headset (I think).

September 7, 2015

Mistakes were made

Mistakes in Eve generally get punished.  That's part of the appeal of the game - we just need to learn from them and keep going.  But sometimes it takes some looking and thinking to realize that the mistake might not be what we think... so on with the story.

I figured I'd only have a bit of time, so I was banging around Fliet.  I figure I'll d-plex a bit and maybe find one of the Calmil guys along the way, so I hop in a Comet.  Sadly, the first couple plexes are empty but it sounds like something is going on in a medium plex on the other side of the system.  When I see that there is a Svipul involved I decide the Comet isn't going to cut it and head to reship.  I quickly jump into an old favorite - a Thorax.  Make sure it's repaired (I learned that lesson already) and undock, kick it into warp.  It's now Svipul and Condor, but I've gotten a fellow GalMil from a different corp on a conversation and his Comet comes in alongside me.  The Svipul and Condor run.  Sigh.  The GalMil fellow heads on back on his way.  I figure I'll run down the timer.

Into local comes a familiar name: hellokittyonline, who I met when I was in Rifterlings.  I pop a quick o7 in local for him and a few moments later he dives into my plex in a Stiletto.  Now I know that hellokittyonline is good - really good.  I don't think I'll get lucky enough to slingshot him in a Stilleto with me in a bulky Thorax.  I keep my drones in so he can't pick them off early and I start loading Null to test him a bit.  Right about then his buddy in a Confessor lands.  Oh, I'm all about that - switch back to antimatter.  I'm on top of the Confessor in a moment and have him scrammed and webbed, drones out and blasters running..  I don't know if he flipped into Defense mode, but it doesn't look like it's helping him.  Meanwhile my AAR is handling his dps fine.  All this has pulled down my cap, so I start up the cap booster.  I still don't know how I'll take care of the Stilleto, but he won't be able to get through my repper either.

Then my web and scram drop.  What?  I look around for the ECM jam symbol, but there is none.  However, my cap is empty - I apparently missed the voice warning.  I punch the cap booster - which has nothing loaded in it.  Oh crap.  I hopped into the Thorax without making sure it had any cap charges other than what was loaded in the booster.  I get another cycle off on my repper, but without my MWD the Confessor is pulling range which means I can't burn through that last armor of his.  I swing away in case he gets sloppy and drops his point, but it's very unlikely that hellokitty will make that mistake.  I watch the ship go down, frustrated with myself, but keep a gf in local.

What I thought I learned: I need to not leave ships in hangar in anything other than a fully-loaded state.  It's too easy to forget that you have a module that needs a script or cap charges, or enough ammo for your guns.  All those things are relatively cheap.  The one part of that which will be hard is keeping a full drone load in place, since I tend to shift around drone loads based on needs.

Then when you look at it: But when I look at my own killmail it's right there: 10 Navy Cap Booster 400s.  Five cycles should have been plenty to kill that Confessor.  Granted, I use 800s more these days, but this is an older ship.  I can only think now that I had the cap booster auto-reload off somehow.  That's not something I normally do, but I do keep the AAR off of auto-reload.  Perhaps the setting carried over from a previous ship which had no cap booster?  I jumped to a conclusion mid fight and didn't think to right-click to try to find the reload.  It disheartened me enough that I didn't keep looking for ways out, which was bad - I shouldn't have given up.

Afterword: Apparently that Svipul came back in just after I died and finished off the Confessor.  Since he still had damage from me I was listed on the killmail.  He was beam fit, which is why I was able to take him so well from close range.  Even stranger - an afterburner beam fit.  Doubly frustrating then because I feel I would have wrecked him.

September 2, 2015

Dabblers Delight: Income generation in Eve

I'm a dabbler in Eve and in other aspects of life.  It means I'm not likely to be the ace pilot in my group since I'm not solo PVPing exclusively, but I get a number of things going.  Eve seems to reward that, and it also helps avoid burnout to keep some variety going.  This dabbling comes across in my income generation in Eve as well.  So if you're looking for a way to make the ISKies, dear reader, perhaps one of these will appeal to you.

Industrial Wage-Slave (smiling to the bank)

My main income generation right now is via the two alts on my main account doing work for Aideron Technologies.  This is not to be confused with Aideron Robotics, which is the FW corp that Jakob is in.  (The two were linked but are now independent).  The concept is simple: queue up jobs as requested using the mats and datacores provided and get paid for it.  You don't need to worry about the logistics or babysitting any market orders - that's all done by the corp officers.  This is coordinated by the impressive LMEve web application developed by Lukas Rox (blog: Torchwood Archives).  In fact, if you check out this LMeve dev blog entry you'll see some screenshots of what it's like to use this app.  There's also a reference to a player earning 837M ISK in that month - that'd be me, and that was before my second alt was fully skilled up.  Some summer slowdown and logistics issues meant that last month wasn't as good, but I'm hopeful we'll be up and churning out the goods at an even higher rate soon.  So again, all you need to do is log in, fly to the POS, queue up the jobs, and log off again.  Or go on to do other dabbling things with that same alt.

Market Making (and promoting conflict)

I'm posted before about trying to bring our home of Fliet up as a market that players can consistently fit ships from.  Thanks to Sugar Kyle for her excellent blog posts on her work to do this in Bosena and Sujarento that inspired this effort, as well as her advice outside of the blog as well.  We're helped out in AIDER by our excellent corp JF services as well.  Market making has gotten easier to do in two ways recently.  Firstly, a number of other guys in our corp are now helping to stock it too.  We've split up areas of the market so that we can try to cover more ground without stepping on each other.  This was particularly important for those of us without a lot of market slots via trade skills.  If each of us only has 53 slots, we need a fair number of people to cover a wide range of ship fits.  Secondly, I burned my Aideron Technologies paycheck to score a PLEX to multi-train my alt and thus got my own number of market slots up so I can cover even more.  So I think we're getting close to covering a nice chunk of common lowsec fits, particularly on the cruiser-down scale.  The bonus here is also helping both our friends and our local pirates get into ships means more content for everyone (squiddies can't dock, so they have to go home to get their fits). There's still more room to go, but a lot of that is going to be driven by requests so that we know what to cover next.  For instance, when doing exploration recently we realized that we didn't have any  Salvagers on the market.

Exploration (killing Serpentis and Sleepers)

Speaking of exploration, I've been learning more about combat sites and WH diving from corpmates and allies.  This has been a good way to hang out with friendly chaps and talk about how things are going while plugging at red triangles, and an eye on local and d-scan.  With our area being as active as it is, no exploration running is going to be a semi-AFK activity unless you want to lose your ship.  We also tend to have combat-fit ships kicking around, so swapping over to PVP can happen pretty quickly should some of our FW enemies come running through.

Factional Warfare (oh yeah, that)

You might have thought this would be at the top of my list.  While there certainly are times to get LP from plexing, and then turn that LP into valuable assets, that's not what I tend to do a lot of.  If I'm out and about I tend to be looking for fights more often than farming.  The fact that these two can cross-over so easily, particularly if a system is being contested, is really a beautiful part of Factional Warfare.  Of all the complaints from the nullsec folks out there, I understand how it could be frustrating to not get compensated for fighting for control.  I see that nullsec is more of a player-driven sandbox than FW though, so if there was such a payout I'd see it coming from the playerbase itself.  But I digress.  If the proposed changes work through to increase the payouts for killing enemy militia ships then that'll be a nice change on the LP front as well.  I don't tend to turn LP into things to sell in Jita (though I just did that recently), but instead turn Incursi into Comets and Vexors into VNIs for my own use.

Meta-Eve, or Welcome to Crossing Zebras

My most recent addition to the dabbling of income is via the meta-game.  After I made a bunch of editorial comments on a draft article that Ashterothi was writing for Crossing Zebras, I ended up getting invited to join as the newest, greenest editor there.  One thing I'm particularly liking about this gig is hearing more from the guys in nullsec about what their experience is.  For instance, I edited the recent Sarin Goes To War article which gives the POV of a new capsuleer to the recent Providence war.  I'm glad to hear they're having fun, particularly since it feels like there has been so much bitter coming from that part of the game.  Just as I like having lots of things to do, we need Eve to have lots of ways and places to play - each with their own dabbling opportunities.

This little list of dabbling is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do.  I still need to try out more FW missions, which would give me more LP that I'd probably want to turn into saleable goods.  Maybe an upcoming FW rebalance would make Gallente missions more in line with the ease at which people can do the other factions - honestly I'd rather see theirs get more difficult and ours get a bit easier and meet in the middle.  In the exploration world I don't do Data and Relic sites, so that's another whole potential.