Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Fair warning: this will probably the last post around here that talks about Global Agenda.  After putting out a well-received update to the game last fall, HiRez seems content to let the game go into maintenance mode from here on out.  I haven't heard about any further updates expected, though of course HiRez will be more than happy to take your money if you want to play it.  No, their energy and effort is pretty clearly going into the new Tribes: Ascend F2P MMO.

The fact that the Tribes forum has almost three times as many posts as the GA forum seems to both reinforce that decision and confirm the wisdom of it.  Tribes: Ascend utterly failed to hook me, though, so I myself will be looking for another casual play MMO.

In the meantime, I'd like to briefly chat about a very smart move on HiRez's part, and how I think that smart move may be adapted into EVE Online.  Let's start with the latter.

As EVE players know, the last of the major v3 graphical releases was completed this week.  As part of that update, the Minmatar and Minnie-based ships have now been updated.  After some mild complaints from players, the textures for the ships for the other three major races have also been lightened somewhat.  That said, they are still very dark.  As an example, here's what the Amarr Guardian used to look like:

And here's what it looks like now:

Yes, I'm being facetious.  ;-)  The new Guardian is actually somewhat darker than that.

Nearly without exception, the new textures are dark, dark, dark.  Even ships that have previously reveled in their colors such as the Apoc (known for the longest time as the "golden banana" and still referred to as being "golden" in its text description) have been toned far down.  The Apoc can now only barely boast of being bronze.  Gold is a thing of the past.

As I've mentioned here before, EVE is a dark universe, blah blah blah.  Get that.  But these changes seem to take things to too-literal extremes.  The new Broadsword texture, as an example, isn't dark.  It's black.  Virtually the entire ship is unrelieved black from stem to stern, with only a bit of grey to break up the monotony.  It's like a flying charcoal briquette.  One imagines the manufacturing process:
Minmatar One: OK, construction of Broadsword 1135 is complete.  What's next?
Minmatar Two: Now we spray on this brown ablative paste the eggheads came up with.  It's an advanced Nomex-Technetium composite that mitigates heat damage and under laser fire, ablates into crystalline clouds surrounding the ship to dissipate and deflect EM damage.
Minmatar One: As my grandfather used to say, "cool".  What after that?
Minmatar Two: Then we take the ship out and set it on fire for at least twenty minutes.  The manual recommends either an unshielded entry into an oxygen atmosphere planet or a close approach to a G5 type star.
Minmatar One: What?  That don't make no kinda sense.
Minmatar Two: Shut up and do it.
Minmatar One: I thought slavery was a thing of the past.
At which point, violence ensues.

Even more than simply darkening the textures, though, the ship texture colors are also being desaturated.  Any bright colors are being washed out and dimmed, with the result that what color is present is made less vibrant.

And that is what has been bringing Global Agenda to mind recently.  In GA, you play a pretty standard armored space marine.  You are initially given a default armor, which can be replaced with new types.  It also has "dye slots."  There are five tiers of dye available for those slots which can be used to dye three different parts of the armor or weapon textures: base color, details, "glow", and so forth.  The default (free) dyes are very unsaturated blues and greys.  The tier 1 dyes are available in many colors, but color saturation and gloss is greatly reduced.  A tier 1 black, for instance, is not really much more than medium grey.  Tier 2 is satin black, tier 3 is deep flat black, tier 4 is deep gloss black.  The other colors work the same way.  A tier 4 red dye is far more vibrant than a tier 1 red.

At tier 5, additional effects are added: tiger stripes, polka dots, background images, and so forth.  And tier 5 dyes are always, always eye-popping and highly individual.

And each dye tier, of course, is correspondingly more expensive in either in-game money or MT money.  Some tier 5 dyes are only available through micro-transactions.  The custom armors operate in a similar structure, with expensive custom armors showing off the high-tier dyes to their best effect and less expensive armors offering only simple surfaces.  So naturally, as you progress through the game, most players will choose to express their individuality with interesting color and armor choices.

But none of it has any in-game impact whatsoever.  You get absolutely no benefit from using highly vibrant custom dyes.  In fact, doing so is a disadvantage on some PvP maps because you become more visible.  A lot of GA players would keep two dye sets: their public out-of-battle or PvE dye set of highly vibrant tier 4 and 5 colors, and a much more muted camouflage PvP set based around drab tier 1 and 2 dyes.  But again, the game didn't care if you used the default armor in the default colors; your weapons, defenses, and abilities worked just the same.

It kind of makes me wonder if CCP is going the same direction for EVE.

We all know that customizable ship skins are coming sooner or later.  And it's a pretty damn good bet that when they do hit, Aurum will be a factor.  I don't think it's any coincidence that additional clothing was added in the latest Inferno release, nor do I think the price points for some of those items are a coincidence.  I'll have more to say about that later.  But with the v3 ship skins in place and the fact that guns now pick up ship colors, it doesn't seem like much of a step to add player-selectable skins available for purchase next.

And if those skins happen to offer more vibrant colors than what's currently available, will players have any basis for complaint?  After all, you won't have to use them and they won't confer in-game advantage.  And you did say that you didn't mind CCP adding micro-transactions for EVE as long as they were for cosmetic changes only...

But if you don't, you'll be flying a desaturated Guardian that has lost its cheerful bright red-and-gold color scheme, or a charcoal briquette Broadsword that you can barely see when you zoom in.  In short, I could be completely wrong.  But it sure seems like CCP is skewing the odds to their favor that once customizable skins are available, you'll want to use them.


  1. There was in fact talk about ship skinning for aurum around the forums, though no clear official word I can remember reading, this was a secondhand statement.

    1. The new customer survey asks what you think about paying for ship skins with aurum

  2. Hrrm as a PvP pilot I know I wouldn't mind buying a color palate to paint ships with. But to buy a skin for each ship would....well be retarded since they all blow up in a matter of days for cheap things to maybe a month or two for the more resilient ship.

  3. The reason everything is so dark now is that CCP has yet to deploy the new lighting system so the lighting makes everything dark unless you are bouncing the color right off the sun.

    I think there was a devblog about them adjusting some shaders on Amarr ships after Min got their V3.

  4. CCP should just go there and make EVE completely monochromatic gray scale. Aurum purchase required to have any color whatsoever in-game.

    1. While they're at it, have them charge for sound as well...

  5. Karbox DelacroixJune 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    It puts the ashes on its skin or else it gets the bat (nerf) again.

  6. The cynical way of saying this is: it looks like CCP is preparing to make us pay extra to have our ships look the way that they used to.

    1. haha...ironic in the light of Oscar Wilde's opinion of a cynic: "A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

      *shrug* I wouldn't mind paying aura for a cosmetic facelift to a ship...I'd love to have the kind of paint scheme Homeworld had for "hiigara" (a sort of TTA motif)

      This is all speculation, of course, and banks on paint schemes being rather cheap (say 100 aura for the above mentioned tiger stripes) but alas we all know what happened with incarna...I don't have much hope CCP has learned anything about how not to be ham-handed from incarna. I figure they're just the sort to put their hand back on the oven burner all over again.

    2. Yeah. Seems so. I hope the paint jobs are at least destroyable unlike the barbie items we have now.

  7. Will I be able to buy a frill for my vaga?

  8. As I said in TVP the other day; soot is just the best thing CCP could think of when "T2 rust" was written on the whiteboard.

  9. I don't get it ... CCP spends a whole lot of resources to add texture to the ship and we get ships that are barely visible against the blackness of space? There has to be a money angle in it somewhere because the new v3 skins do nothing to enhance the game.

  10. I seem to be in the minority, but I actually really like the new ship skins with very few exceptions. The old colors seemed to be a little cartoony to me, these seem more like how a spaceship would be colored. I do hope though with custom skins they don't allow polka-dot or other absurd color schemes. I don't want ponies on spaceships!

  11. Melkore is spot on, I've heard this numerous times. Goes hand in hand with the drama surrounding the circumcision of a certain ships frills.

    Just like some software patches require a roll back to raw bare-bones before updating to the latest and greatest. CCP has just placed the foundation for what they are doing (which of course includes customization of skins) and then they will bring back to one degree or another the colours and accessories we have all come to love and adore.

    Is it just me or does the wide player base of all games (especially Eve) love to troll and jump to conclusions BEFORE doing any research......

    Just as bad as the media.

  12. Hello I'm Caldari. What is this color you speak of?

  13. So what if CCP would like you to pay for a pretty ship. It would make no difference to your ships performance, and about the only time you would see the Pretty is when in Station or making a close up video.
    Use that Free Aurum the keep giving you

  14. Can't say it matters much to me, always rated function over form in EvE.

  15. Eeeeeerm, the Guardian looks nothing like what you say it looks like. The Guardian is only that dark because it gold platings were reduced to mere trimmings (the now gold is actually far better than the old bleach-gold of Carthum ships), while a horrible red became the main color of Carthum ships (especially bad on the Paladin). CCP should either re-swap gold and red on Carthum ships, ore give them a bright, vibrant red ... these things are the pinnacle of Amarrian warfare philisophy after all, they should boast about it. ;)
    T1 Amarr looks great since Inferno 1.1, no more need to bitch about it. Viziam is a bit cheesy (mostly looks like T1-amarr with a green hue thrown in), and i quite like Khanid.

    Minmatar T1 is actually far too bright, Boundless Creations rocks, Thukker sucks (CCP, my Vaga wants its dragonears back), Core Complexion sucks too.

    But the worst offenders of v3 are the former cool-black ships (Nighthawk, Noctis, Widow), none of which are black anymore.

  16. All this talk about Aurum this or that makes me uncomfortable. Right now a lot of people in Eve play because they write Eve history. Yes, CCP charges an entrance fee, but once you get inside the world is yours to shape. Once CCP starts twisting the world to squeese maximum cash out of you, this feeling of joint ownership dies, even the total amount of cash you pay remains the same. You feel you are a farmed vegetable.

    God should not run the universe as a for-profit enterprise.


  18. But again, why would we want to pay for something that we had in the past? And why would anyone want to pay for cosmetics with RL money in a subscription based game? How many skins do we have?

    1. So do what everyone else does, don't spend a penny, buy your Aurum with ISK.

  19. This new V3 skin for the Amarr and the Matar is just a piece of */%ß. In all honesty I cannot even fathom who on earth could even approve such a bad move!

    I just wrote in the newsletter survey that I miss the GOLDEN tone... hope they'll heed my warning.

  20. Ship skins that look good:


  21. I agree with the assessment that the darker ship tones will serve as a canvas for player-selected customization. I am not sure that it really feeds into the Aurum market - and if it does, I am fine with it. It also may be an interesting way for alliance logos to be displayed and of course for 3rd party advertising. So, if I was Colgate Inc, I can buy from EVE the default slot on - say - all Iteron 4's. If I was the US Potato Industry Association, I could advertise on the Dominix. For the Thorax.... hmmm. You get the picture.

  22. I would have no problem paying (within reason) for a corp colour scheme, but as someone else has mentioned has to be per corp, not per ship as they die to frequently.....

    I would also have no problem paying a token amount (say 10 AUR per member) per month to keep that privilege too.

    Diversity is a good thing, but as long as the charge scale well and are not overpriced, then I'm all for it.

    Also like Melkore, I have also heard from a couple of reputable sources that the current darkness we have is the result of the new lighting system not being deployed.

    This system is increasing ambient and point lighting and using specular maps to give a more realistic and improved lighting system, but in the mean time.... lol.

  23. To be honest this doesn't really bother me. I spend so much of my game time zoomed out that I can't see my ship anyway.

    When I dock I have so many windows open that I still can't see my ship anyway.

  24. Karbox DelacroixJune 28, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    The Amarr ships look like they hit puberty and spent all of Grandma's birthday money at Hot Topic.

  25. You can have your ship in any color you want, so long as its black

  26. If they made everything colorless in order to lay a foundation to give us skins/color options, that is fine. But the old skins better be offered to us for free

  27. i hope we'll have the choice to buy some custom color x10 for cheap, as for pvp ship we'll need that or then we'll never use the option

    we really need a quantity or time option for custom skins... or this long awaited feature will bea terrible waste...


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