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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Friday, December 28, 2012

The ten and the one 2012

Last year at this time, riverini from EVE News 24 was asking a bunch of people who we thought the most influential EVE player of the year was, and what the ten most important events of the year were.  And it was such an interesting mental exercise that I think I'm going to make it an annual feature around here.  Here's my list for last year, if you want to check it out.

Picking the most influential EVE player was much tougher this year than last year.  It wasn't Mittens.  Mittens was certainly important (see below), but he wasn't influential.  After Fanfest he kept a pretty low profile, in fact.  And it wasn't anyone on the CSM, and for the same reason.  Had eveiseasy.com been successful, then its developers would have been an easy choice.  Likewise, if there was a public face behind somer.blink, that person might have been a good choice.  It also might have been tempting to pick someone from among EVE's "media" presence -- it was tempting to go with Marc Scaurus, for instance.  But as with all questions of this type, once you find the answer the answer becomes self-evident.

This year's most influential EVE player was Raivi, formerly of Pandemic Legion, now known as CCP Fozzie.

Is that cheating a bit?  You betcha.  But it's the truth nonetheless.  Raivi was already an important presence in EVE's player community when the year started, both for his influence on early-year ship re-balancing on the forums and acting as a commentator at Alliance Tournament 10.  One of Raivi's strengths as a player is that he's been playing the game for many years, but he's still able to put that aside and easily and clearly explain the most basic EVE concepts to new players.  But he also has the skills and the knowledge to argue very esoteric points of EVE mechanics with veteran players.  Though he doesn't have the encyclopedic knowledge of EVE's ships that his former corp mate and CSM member Elise Randolph does, he has shown the ability to look beyond the stats to where each ship fits in EVE's overall game mechanic.

Nowhere was this shown more clearly than in three things Raivi wrote about once he became CCP Fozzie:
  • the re-balance of EVE's electronic warfare cruisers just before Retribution's launch;
  • alchemy for technetium; and,
  • the trampling on heavy missiles and the Hurricane in September.
There was also ample evidence that Fozzie took a look at CCP's long-term ship re-balancing plans and seems to have almost single-handedly altered their course in May and June.(1)  Whether you agree with these moves or not,(2) you can't argue that Fozzie didn't take a mix of things that players wanted and things that CCP wanted and struck a great balance with getting those things pushed through.

EVE PvP combat has been benefiting from this since.  We don't have access to CCP Diagoras's stats any longer, but I'd be willing to bet a large sum of ISK that they would show a very large upswing in PvP combat since Retribution's launch.

The top ten events of the year?  As with last year, the top five events are going to have continuing impacts on the game well into the future.  The bottom five were important events, but not so influential as the top five.

1. Faction warfare button orbiting
This one had an enormous impact on EVE's economy, PvE, and new player expectations.  It's still reverberating around the game and is going to continue to do so for years to come.  Trillions of ISK were transferred into the hands of newer players (and into ISK sinks) through this mechanic, which ought to be a good thing.  But sooner or later, all of that money is going to run out and all of those players are going to be stuck with EVE's remaining PvE options... which aren't nearly so lucrative.  What happens then is going to be interesting (and probably alarming) to watch.
2. Alliances become coalitions
First, there were corporations.  Then there were alliances.  Then there were agreements between alliances.  And now we as EVE players don't even talk about alliances any more.  We talk about the Clusterfuck Coalition or the Honey Badger Coalition or the "drone Russians" (many of whom are not) or a half-dozen once-active-now-dead coalitions of alliances.  I've been chatting with a couple of old friends from the CFC, both of whom are bemoaning the fact that they are quite literally running out of things to shoot at.  This one can't help but have a massive impact for years to come.
3. The Mittani at Fanfest
Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode called "Darmok" about an alien species that communicated entirely in metaphor.  If you knew the story behind what the person was saying, you didn't need to have its impact or implications explained to you.  For EVE players, the phrase "The Mittani at Fanfest" is going to be just this sort of metaphor.  If you know the story, nothing more needs be said.  I doubt anyone can argue that CSM7 would have been an entirely different entity with Mittens at the wheel from the CSM we've actually had.  This one can't help but have an impact on the next couple of CSMs and the influence they can have on CCP.
4. RIP Vile Rat
And that starts right here.  Mittens had reportedly already chosen Vile Rat to be Goonswarm's representative to CSM8, which effectively means that had he not been killed in Libya, Vile Rat would have almost certainly been Chair of CSM8.  Whomever is eventually selected, whether it's another Goon (perhaps Mittens again) or someone else is therefore going to owe his position to this event.  That can't help but have a marked impact on the focus of the next CSM.  Just as important, VR's loss as the CFC's chief diplomat is still having an impact on the CFC and their actions (or lack thereof) late in the year.
5. The clash of EVE player media sites
We began the year with five functional -- if not always frequently updated -- EVE news websites.  We end the year, for all intents and purposes, with two.  Likewise, we've lost a number of bloggers and other important voices in the EVE player community this year, several of them to arguments with other bloggers or with one or the other EVE news website.  In addition, the two "EVE news" websites make no secret of their intent to expand beyond EVE into covering other MMOs.  It's been interesting to watch which ones will carry stories about important events in New Eden and which cover what is going on in other games instead...  The impact to the EVE community will be felt in the years to come.
6. Burn Jita
Once removed from the CSM, Mittens for a while set out to become the best Goon he could possibly be, and that started with this breath-taking attempt to shut down major trade in EVE's largest trade hub.  It became an event that lasted almost 100 hours in total and had a remarkable impact on both the players and CCP.  The latter -- for the first time ever, so far as I can tell -- issued a public player warning not to travel to one of New Eden's systems unless you had to.  And the former learned -- for a couple of days at least -- just how fragile the bedrock the EVE economy rests on is.  This one, however, did not have the lasting impact that it potentially could have.  Mittens said further events would follow to attack EVE's market hubs unannounced, but those events have not materialized.
7. The fall of Red Alliance and -A-
I wrote a good bit about these when they happened, and like the fall of IT Alliance in 2011, showed that nothing lasts forever in EVE.  But these events really showed the impact of the coalition in the new EVE meta.  Red Alliance started the year as one of the game's most powerful and resilient entities, with 70 outposts, sovereignty in 150 systems, and more than 2000 members.  They'd been on the map for so long that it was tempting to call them a permanent feature.  But they were relatively isolated and relied more on persistence and pure grit than "having friends".  That cost them, and it presaged the fall of Against ALL Authorities late in the year for the same reasons.  Whether either will ever recover remains to be seen.
8. Peaceful transitions
However, these falls were the exceptions and not the rule.  Most of the sovereignty changes this year happened peacefully, even between enemies.  As I've said a few times this year, null-sec is not "stagnant"; it is changing all the time.  But much of that change happened not through open conflict but through back-channel dealings that have become the norm for null-sec diplomacy.  In several cases -- notably Querious in the south and Tenal in the north -- whole regions were invaded, conquered, and parcled out to new owners in the space of only a handful of days.
9. CCP slays the incursion community
One of the most important events of 2011 was the creation out of whole cloth of New Eden's first true integrated high-sec community.  This block of players, in terms of size and common goals, was nearly equivalent to the size of a null-sec alliance and could have potentially had the same impact in terms of influencing CCP or selecting a CSM delegate to represent them.  Then CCP came along and drove a spear through its heart with the game's first quadruple nerf.  The community has spent all year trying to recover.
10. The New Eden Open
I choose this one provisionally.  Certainly, it was an important event from CCP's perspective and their first toe in the water of eSports.  CCP shows every sign of wanting to continue tournaments into the new year and patiently push this initiative through.  I think it has a lot of potential.  But at the end of the day, only about 4000 people watched any part of this, only 27 out of 32 potential teams joined, and it's arguable that few or none of the teams put their full effort into the enterprise.  But in an interesting sort of way, even if this effort is ultimately unsuccessful, that has an influence all its own, doesn't it?

That's my ten and one for 2012.  Anything that I missed?  Discuss.


(1) "You will also see that the direction we're going with these frigs means that our plans have changed somewhat since the dev blog a few months ago," the ship-balancing dev-blog from June says, rather blandly...
(2) I myself think in the aggregate, all of these changes were positive steps.

26 comments:

  1. While the Incursion nerf did more than DECIMATE the HI SEC Incursion numbers it pretty much absolutely destroyed the NULL/LO SEC numbers. Not a single NULL/LO sec MOM site has been finished since the Escalation NERF

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ravi was my favourite AT commentator.
    I hope he is still out there, flying solo, theory crafting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Mittens said further events would follow to attack EVE's market hubs unannounced, but those events have not materialized."

    Post Burn, the Goons ganked a lot of freighters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goons don't need an announced event to do that.

      Delete
  4. Here in the HBC we have nothing to shoot.
    The CFC also have nothing to shoot.

    I'm honestly hoping that we start having a few more fun fights with the CFC. The only good fight I've had in the last month was a t1 crusier battle between us both.

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  5. Burn Jita really didn't effect the economy. Other than lagging the system and forcing to you to wait to jump into Jita at times it was business as usually for most traders and haulers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. The Goons are great at overestimating how important they are. Burn Jita was still one of the most memorable events of the year, but its overall impact on the game, even in the short term, was pretty negligible.

      Delete
    2. What was Burn Jita? When did it happen?

      Jita seems to be the same old boring high sec place of endless local spam, as it has been for the past several years.

      Delete
    3. Burn Jita happened during the last weekend in April, from Thursday night U.S. time (the 26th) through Sunday afternoon U.S. time (the 29th).

      Delete
  6. Err...you seem to have forgotten about the complete removal of heavy drones as a PVE platform, and the huge nerf to small drones in PvE. Entire ship classes are finished.
    Though the changes have only kicked in the last couple weeks, we are already seeing the impact as certain LP based modules skyrocket in price as the tags required become more scarce with less mission runners, plus less LP available to buy said items. And we can only imagine what the sub base will look like 6 months from now, thanks to the null sec cabal within CCP being allowed to decimate mission runners.

    But that will be a pittance to what you will be writing about in 12 months: the obliteration of high sec industry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't forget. L4 high-sec missioning was already all but dead anyway. Retribution was just the final nail in the coffin. So compared to the ten listed, it just wasn't all that important, sadly. But you're right, it makes a good honorable mention.

      Delete
    2. I've found myself making crazy brawling Proteus fits for heavy drones, where the main point is to stay *close* to them for recall (or even repair).

      That said, I run missions purely for tax evasion purposes, I make my money with trade and refining. I can afford to dick around instead of having to make 'best' use of my missioning time.

      Delete
    3. High sec industry was already obliterated, with the death of T1 module manufacturing.

      All part of CCP's plan to eliminate high sec players, to make room for all of the anticipated DUST players....

      Delete
  7. hey Jester, Goons have already decided on Mynnna as their CSM candidate in mitten's place.

    Just something intresting, although some reservations exist regarding whether his FW hijinks in may would DQ him from running for CSM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have a source for this? In one of Mynna's CSM articles, he(?) said he(?) was not interested in running. Though I'll grant you, the articles seem to indicate otherwise.

      Delete
    2. He made an announcement on Something Awful, his wife heard about the CSM and encouraged him to run, something about it would be cool to visit iceland and stuff.

      Delete
    3. interestingly enough, he informally announced his campaign on TheMittani.com it's in the comments of this article.

      http://themittani.com/features/its-time-nerf-highsec

      Delete
    4. Thanks. That isn't exactly a statement of intent to run yet, though.

      Also: dear Heaven is that a terrible article. For the record, I wrote about the same topic back in September:
      http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2012/09/cogs.html
      http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2012/09/volume-discount.html

      Conclusion: CCP could raise the prices of manufacturing and selling goods in Empire by FIFTY times and on a percentage basis, it would only result in a tiny change in the costs of goods sold in Jita. It wouldn't change a thing about how the markets operate. People would still manufacture stuff in high-sec stations and pass the cost along to the consumer.

      Mynna's article is interesting, but isn't based in the reality of market forces.

      Delete
  8. RA recently took control of CJ. As part of a conglomerate to be sure, but thankfully the alliance is far from dead.

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  9. Let's not forget CCP's war on anyone or anything not so mainstream.

    Yes, it started with "3. The Mittani at Fanfest" but ended with the behind the scenes slamming of players who try to hold CCP to account, the end of the EVE-O forums as an extension of game play and anyone standing in the way of the new shiny corporate veneer.

    Sad to see the year ended with the foundations for DUST 514 damage control already being put down before it's even got a chance to flop.

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  10. NoTec vs OTEC, much?

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  11. The NEO isn't going to happen again, at least not in its current form. Player participation and viewership were both considered to be poor, esp. given the cost in time/resources.

    "Disappointing" was the official word, and someone almost got "let go" for inappropriate public behavior. Game media response was neutral, at best, and feedback on the blogs was not generally favorable.

    On the plus side, the subpar results of the NEO aren't likely to taint the AT, which CCP still considers to be relatively successful and plans to continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm all for the NEO, but not for keeping Michael BoltonIII (aka CCP Dolan) on a commentator. He might actually have some decent knowledge/insight of/into the game, but it is impossible to see through all of his acts of on-air stupidity.

      Delete
  12. 1. Faction warfare button orbiting:

    "But sooner or later, all of that money is going to run out and all of those players are going to be stuck with EVE's remaining PvE options..."

    Let's see... I made over 800B ISK farming FW and I currently lose about 1-2B per month in PVP (yeah, I'm not so good at it). I wonder how long it will take me to run out of ISK. :)

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  13. You know, I'd love to say that Red alliance was getting back on it's feet, but it's on really shakey ground. Their respawn to their former homeland was going well for a while... Then Imperial Legi0n and SOLAR fleet started to fight back. At the moment, the campaign seems to be on pause, with neither side having any major wins or losses as of late. As a sov holder in Scalding pass, I can safely say that they will still defend their few friends, no matter their own state.

    ReplyDelete

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