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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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Battle of Caldari Prime

So, that was interesting.

I want to start with the time zone issue.  All things considered, it was probably the least important part of this live event so I want to get it out of the way first.  The event started around 1645 EVE time, and from what I can tell was over by around 1930.  That means that if you're USTZ, unless you took the day off work or school you missed all the fun.  I'm told by sources that I trust that CCP will eventually have something to say in public about this.  I know that the people that ran the event for CCP feel terrible and they feel unfairly criticized over this.  Fair enough.  But it is an issue.  When the event started, I was watching #tweetfleet on Twitter.  David Reid, CCP's Chief of Marketing, had this to say:
hey guys, what's going on? Am I missing some party? #tweetfleet #eveonline #dust514 pic.twitter.com/IIHT2Bk9EA
I immediately responded:
@CCP_Pokethulhu Yes, you and what, about a third of your customer base? 40%? :P ;-) #tweetfleet
That's my issue here.  From live events to dev fleets to mass tests, virtually every interaction CCP has with their customer base happens at 1700 EVE time.  That effectively disenfranchises a solid percentage of their customer base.  If your customer base feels disenfranchised, they can't build up enthusiasm for your events or your product.  They can't tell their friends who are on the fence about EVE, "Hey, go watch this it's pretty cool!"  As a Marketing effort, the budget for this event should have come out of the Marketing department.  If that means overtime so the event can happen on a Sunday and awards and recognition for the CCP employees that sacrifice time with their families for it, then that's what should have been done.  End of rant.

Let's get to the event itself.

First, I'd like to lay down the storyline and lore behind the event for those not familiar with it.  The Caldari Navy titan Shiigeru has been in orbit of Caldari Prime for about five years.  Caldari Prime, the former home world of the Caldari people, was invaded just before that time and conquered despite it being well within Gallente space.  Shiigeru itself was left in orbit as a sort of "insurance policy".  When the planet was conquered, there were still tens of millions of Gallente citizens living there.  These were forced into "containment districts" with Shiigeru orbiting overhead.  The threat was that should the Gallente attempt to retake the planet, Shiigeru would bombard the planet killing tens of millions of Gallente.  The Battle of Caldari Prime was -- in essence -- a surprise attack on Shiigeru by the Gallnte to remove this threat to their people.

As a marketing and storyline event, I'd classify the Battle of Caldari Prime as a success.  The twitch.tv stream peaked at a little under 9000 viewers.  Given that the New Eden Open peaked at about half that, that means this was an unqualified win.  Did the people watching the stream get a good show?  That, I am not qualified to say.  TiDi in the system stayed pretty steady at 11-18% for most of the event, so time was running much slower than normal.  This has the effect of making the game appear less dynamic than it would for the typical EVE player.  But, since the fight shown on twitch.tv was more in line of a Star Trek sort of fight: lots of enormous capitals and super-capitals on field attacking each other viewed at range with little dynamic motion or need for such dynamic motion.  So, to someone unfamiliar with EVE, the event might very well have appeared majestic and epic.  I've been playing EVE myself too long to judge.  ;-)

The only downside to the "epic battle" theory was when Shiigeru was finally killed, it simply vanished off the field without exploding.(1)  Then about 15 seconds later (TiDi, remember), the wreck appeared.  Whoops.

During most of the event itself, the population in system was limited to about 1500 (it started at 1000, was raised to 1500, and eventually raised to 2000).  On the ground, there were about 1700 DUST 514 players involved.  All in all, that's a good number of players.  A lot of players sat on gates trying to get in, but a lot of players were able to participate.

Let's move on.

One of the biggest points of contention of the battle: was the outcome of the fight decided in advance?  And therefore, did player actions have any effect at all?  This is a tougher issue.  The answer to the first question is clearly yes, the outcome of this fight was decided in advance.  Shiigeru was doomed before the day began.  Here's the DUST map showing the wreckage:

I assure you that CCP wouldn't create that without intending to use it.  I also assure you there was not a version showing wreckage of Nyxes or the like to be used if the Caldari had won.

It's been made clear to me from a number of sources that could participate (and it's shown on the video above) that the players involved were saving the titan.  Its shields stabilized at around 40% and were holding for quite a while.  At that point, additional Gallente Moroses were brought in by CCP to tip the balance.  Those Moroses began sweeping throug Caldari Chimeras and Wyverns destroying one every few minutes before turning on the titan itself.  With the rep ships out of the way and a lot of players involved wanting to get on "a titan kill-mail", Shiigeru became easy meat.

EDIT (24/Mar/2013): CCP Fozzie assures me on Twitter that more Moroses were not brought in but instead they simply switched targets to Chimeras to break the reps.  Thanks, Fozzie!

So, the outcome was preordained.  But in terms of the story-line of the game, is that such a bad thing?  I realize some Caldari faction players are upset about this but realistically, the Caldari Militia kind of got its ass handed to it over the course of a year or more of faction warfare.  That happened because of real player actions.  It can therefore be argued that the death of Shiigeru was mandated by the actions of players themselves!  But yeah, I understand that may be hard to hear.

From my perspective, the most interesting part of this aspect of the battle, the Gallente were clearly victorious in space.  But I'm told the Caldari were victorious on the ground.  But this game has consequences and CCP's long-term goal here is that events in one will affect what's happening in the other.  It would have therefore been very interesting to me had the Gallente Navy immediately turned on the fight on the planet below and began cratering Caldari DUST 514 loyalists with orbital bombardment.

Maybe CCP and DUST isn't quite ready for that yet.  ;-)

Finally, the event was not without its bugs and quirks.  We're apparently not going to see the kill-mails on eve-kill for any of the supers destroyed, particularly the titan.  Since the final blows on these supers were inflicted by CCP devs and since those devs won't provide the API verification of those kills, it's likely they'll never see the light of day on eve-kill.  Perhaps they will appear on battleclinic at some point; perhaps they already have (say so in the comments if so!).

In addition, the mechanic for making the system a free-for-all was not without its quirks.  During the fighting, every player in system was suspect-flagged, meaning that every player could shoot at every other player.  From a story-line perspective, this happened because CONCORD attempted to intervene in the early fight between the Caldari and Gallente navies before the lead CONCORD ship was destroyed by the Caldari Navy.  This caused CONCORD to "throw up its hands" and declare everyone in the system suspect.  However, as CCP became mroe confident in how TiDi was holding, they allowed additional people to enter the system.  When Shiigeru came under attack, the limit was increased from 1000 to 1500.  When Shiigeru fell, the limit was increased again from 1500 to 2000.

But not all of these new arrivals were declared suspect.  This meant that a number of players managed to CONCORD themselves.  Later on in the video, CONCORD ships can be seen on the stream implying that not everyone that died in system died to other players.  ;-)  In addition, anyone hoping to jump capitals into the system or light cynos or covert cynos were out of luck.  You had to get into system in a subcap, and you had to get in the old-fashioned way.

But like the time zone issue, these were relatively minor quirks on what in my view was ultimately a successful event.  All in all, I believe The Battle of Caldari Prime was a success.  First, hopefully we'll see some kind of kick-ass trailer around this... perhaps even something used as a commercial for the game?  And CCP will hopefully learn from the event and we'll see more events like this in the future... hopefully spread across various time zones...  ;-)

EDIT (24/Mar/2013): Footnote: someone got the Shiigeru loot and has the video to prove it.

(1) And certainly without exploding with the required ring-shaped explosion that is de rigueur for this sort of thing.  ;-)
(2) Source library for first image above: http://imgur.com/a/7kLK6
(3) Source library for second image above: http://imgur.com/a/e805j


  1. i moved ships there to "participate in the FFA" when i got there it was over and ppl were just dueling and salvagin the wrecks. i mean if they promise ffa for 23.5 hours by god they should give us 23.5 hours of ffa. i spent nearly 50 million isk in red frog to move the ships into lumi. and now to get them to jita to resell...and i bet i'm not the only one, it was just a big waste

    1. I spent 4+ hours moving ships into luminaire a billion + in ISK expecting to lose it all in fun... I spent 4 hours trying to get my main in and by the time I could it was over dueto the CAP limit :( that part was not fun So with my main 8 hours was wasted.

      I was able to sneak past the CAP limit with my ALT in a way I will not repeat here how so others do not copy it if this thing happens again. I got 31 kill mails with a Disco Domi THAt WAS FUN :)

      I think it was success but the CAP limits really sucked hardcore for the thousands trying to participate but couldn't. I hope it will be viewed as n learning experience & CCP has in the future contigencies for multiple systems to get involved in such live events so the reinforced nodes can support thousands more wnating in

  2. FW domination by one faction or the other has only ever resulted in some chronicles that usually never lead anywhere.

    Im not sure where you get the idea that the Titans destruction had anything to do with FW. CCP Falcon a former Gallente/Gurista rper has had it out for said Titan (and Tibus Heth, expect him to die soon) since forever.

    All this is really a sort of twisted EvE version of how Blizzard Dev Chris Metzen projects himself onto the Mary Sue character Thrall (Green Jesus) in WoW

    1. Pure role-playing angle, not anything that was said. From a pure RP angle, the Caldari getting their butts kicked across space for many many months on end would make the Gallente more likely to call the CN's largest bluff, no?

    2. From what I saw of the event the titan blew its doomsday on a concord battleship flown by a dev actor. So the Gal Navy didn't have to worry about the civies on the surface and could take the opportunity to kill the titan. Though I suppose it crashing into the planet killed a bunch of people anyway *shrug*

      Of course thats all in lolrp terms it didn't actually fire anything, and CCP made sure to bring enough caps to kill it no matter what.

    3. Yes ... but they needed to pull a second Moros fleet out of their asses to get that result.

      And then turn CONCORD back on to weed out the goonfleet who had declared for the Caldari.

      The Titan wasn't going down, the Caldari supporters had stabilized it's tank, and the Galfed was starting to get blapped.


  3. I was there (tm), and I can add a few observations.

    When the suspect flag was initially applied, there was no or very little TiDi going on. Stll, you could see the "wave" of people getting flagged moving across the field; not everyone got flagged at the exact same instance. The suspect flag was the standard 15 minute counting down type. When mine was gone, there *was* a significant amount of TiDi happening, and it took a (real-time) minute or two for it to be reapplied. So I guess that during the time window of the flags dropping and getting reapplied, people (not paying attention and\or affected by TiDi) managed to get themselves CONCORDed.

    In all, I think it was a success. Some people didn't like that the titan was scripted to go down. Apparently, there were Goons being Goons (no idea how many exactly). Apart from the CCP-flown ships, there also were organised *player* Gallente and Caldari fleets (organised with the help of CCP, I think). Oh, and TiDi and (I think) smartbombs had the interesting effect of removing my ship from around my pod without any signs of damage in-between (going from "scooping loot from a wreck" to "hm, why am I in a pod, let's warp off!").

    I hope CCP got info on what works well and what works less well from this, so the next event will be even better.

    1. The Gallente and Caldari fleets were both player organised. Trust me I was in both.

  4. " That means that if you're USTZ, unless you took the day off work or school you missed all the fun. I'm told by sources that I trust that CCP will eventually have something to say in public about this. I know that the people that ran the event for CCP feel terrible and they feel unfairly criticized over this. "

    They've been told about this for some time & TBH I think in EVE we should just expect to be as a timezone expecting to be given the short end of the stick especially on the Pacific coasts.

  5. "But not all of these new arrivals were declared suspect. This meant that a number of players managed to CONCORD themselves. "

    You can bet that PO'd the Goons wanting to ruin it for every1 else to no extent that they couldn't BLOB it

  6. "All in all, I believe The Battle of Caldari Prime was a success."

    I agree it was a success.... & hope it was a great learning experiece for all involved especially CCP ino making the next HUGE event a greater success :D

  7. I moved in my two accs with ships right before DT and logged them off in space, expecting all hell to break loose after DT..which didn't happen. I then had to wait hours upon hours for something to start happening (20km long Gallente fleet train did make it interesting a bit).

    And when it did start, we were just banging at the capitals whose shields were orbiting 40% and were only able to kill them ONCE they turned off hardeners (until they did my volley dmg was 300, and afterwards it was over 1k). But there were also examples of direct interactions between us, the players, and CCP actors in FN/CN roles, like Fed Navy thannies repping our fleets FC.

    To sum it up, I had a great time during this event. It was my first fleet engagement and I'd really like to take part in more of those. Another great thing about these events that nobody seems to notice, is that they introduce risk-averse carebears, like me :), to PVP and other various gameplay elements found all across EVE, showing us that there are fun things to do even outside the High Sec.

  8. http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/36570910.jpg
    I'm gonna whip this out every time you post about CCP not catering to the US timezone.
    It makes me chortle every time... then die a little more inside :'(

    1. This is why I'm always very careful to say CCP despises anyone who lives within 500 miles of the Pacific Ocean. That's California, the U.S. and Canadian northwest, Alaska, all those new Japanese players, any Korean players they ever hope to get, plus (most of) AU and NZ. ;-)

      Even includes some Siberian players, though they don't seem to suffer as much or they're just less vocal about it.

    2. I personally have spent more than a few hours at the ol Titan... first time I saw it was over 2 years ago... I used a for of drone aggro that allowed players to take down individual CalNav ships one-at-at-time for Lootz and Salvage... plus I spent a lot of time in the unofficial Ninja Salvage fleet there... a lot of guys would try to salvage the wrecks before the players killing them... made quite a bit of ISK there in my early months...


  9. Be glad you live in a teamzone when events will conceivably take place in future. Us poor Australian & East Asian pilots playing in Eve's dead time are just screwed.

    I hope they find a way to start doing dynamic events of this nature without CCP staff intervention. Then perhaps we will.

  10. From an strictly RP point of view, this event made no sense at all. Caldari Prime and it's orbit must be viewed as space of the Caldari State, and thus the Federal Navy's assault on the Shiigeru was a clear violation of the CONCORD Agreement. Considering that the last time it took a capital fleet nuking the CONCORD HQ to allow the empires attacking each other, and even then CONCORD was able to regain control of the situation within mere hours. As the DED was fully operational this time, I find the total lack of any response by CONCORD more than suspicious.

  11. Something about the population cap that people haven't really discussed: it really cut down on the number of people supplying positive word of mouth, and word of mouth is so huge. Think of Asakai: approximately zero non-eve-subscribers saw a stream of THAT, but it was a huge boost. Yes, it gets a lot of bonus points for being emergent*, but also because it involved a ton of players...on a shitty unreinforced lowsec node.

    CCP shoulda put max effort into getting as many people as possible involved (obviously reinforce node to hell and back, but also spread fights across the constellation) and worry less about a good stream--which had I've heard ~50k unique viewers, but how many were non-eve-subscribers?

    *while I think CCP should carry on fixing the rest of the UI, the jump/bridge menu items should not only remain next to each other, their order should be randomly chosen each time you open the menu.

  12. CCP really should announce an intent to host more such shoot-'em-ups across more time zones and more systems, for greater participation.

  13. Hello jester, would like to add the goon perspective here if it means anything.

    We had formed up a full alphafleet to kill some moro's and generally everyone else in luminaire. We bridged into lowsec, and made the jumps to luminaire, only to find the gate was locked. This means that session change invulnerability was not given, and anyone with bad gallente standing or sec status got blapped on the gates (so any member of the caldari militia that tied to get in would be unable to). As the maelstroms sat on the gates, killrights were activated on a good number of them, and we had to deal with getting shot at by people we can't shoot back at, and the gate was locked so jumping through to evade was not a option. In the end, when we finally did get through, the FC called a primary, and immediately Concord showed up. At this point everyone was instructed to get safe then dock up.

    To summarize, we waited for an hour on a gate losing people to arbitary causes, and jumped in to get concorded. CCP's behavior in this situation reeks of those bad GM's who run completely railroaded campaigns , the kind that yells "rock falls, everyone dies" if the players try to poke holes through their poorly constructed plot. Think about it, members of the opposing militia were basically not let into the system, infinite gallente ships were spawned, and Organized fleets, the only thing that might change the outcome, were blocked out as well (we had a fleet, so did NC. And razor, only razor actually got to the fight). What CCP had was a thunderdome of unrelated ships shooting at each other with some pretty pre determined NPC backdrop.

    FWIW I realize that this live event was much more involved and complex than what CCP has been able to run in the past. They made an error in only trumpeting it so much, and then only letting 1500 players get in on any of the fun, letting the rest of us sit on the gate looking at the stream taunting us like oliver twist looking at fresh bread through a bakery window. Except that in this case oliver wanted to break the window, urinate on as much property as possible, and run away cackling with as much bread in his arms as possible.

    1. Isn't this ironic, don't you think?

    2. heh, i get what you are saying, but the difference is getting urinated on by other players and getting urinated by CCP. They both leave a bad taste in your mouth, but there's a pretty clear difference in flavor.

      what i would have loved to see is the entire constellation being turned into lowsec. more nodes would have let more players into the systems, and the people who do want to make a difference at the capital fight would be able to make a difference, the people who are there to shoot random people would be able to shoot random people, but more importantly more people would get to have fun.

    3. "and we had to deal with getting shot at by people we can't shoot back at"

      Thats not how kill rights work. You can always shoot back at people shooting you

    4. The situation was that killrights were activated, and individual maelstroms were made suspect, the rest of the fleet could not help fight off the people shooting them. Considering the amount of bored people being stuck on the gates, most maels went down in a handful of seconds, the most the rest of us could really do is whore on the mail.

    5. Working as intended

  14. was the titan really in orbit this last 5 years

    1. That's according to CCP Falcon during the stream, who I would expect to be in a position to know.

    2. The titan LCO was introduced during the extended downtime introducing the patch with Factional Warfare (Empyrean Age?). So do your own math, but it sounds about right.

      The weekend after the patch a few hundred players (me included) spontaneously went to shoot it and got it to 1/4 shield or so before DT. We calculated it might barely be possible to kill it if we get enough people to shoot it for the next hours. However after DT (the LCO having full shields again) we barely made a dent and people said the resistances had been buffed - I didn't actually record the damage I was causing before and after. The Caldari supporters showed up with shield reps and killing the thing became totally impossible.

  15. Players being unable to shape the story is unfortunate, but necessary. If players would have any word to say what shall happen, they would somehow figure out how to shape the things to look like a penis with the word nigger written on it.

  16. A strange thing though that only the US time zone think the timing is a problem... . You never hear them complain whenever the timing is bad for other timezones... . Release of other games are generaly in us time zone but never ever is there any complaining about that... .
    Now you know how it feels... . Fun isn't it?

    1. OK, when has anything in this game been a bad fit for other TZs? I can count the number of LEs I've been able to attend in five years of playing EVE on one finger. That was a Sansha LE about 18 months ago that took place while CCP was demoing EVE at a US gaming convention.

      And even that one took place pretty early in the morning for me.

    2. You've got to remember that CCP are mainly based in the EU timezone... Other game companies base themselves out of the US, hence why the US MMO population like to cry so much that the EU guys get the live events... Eve time is EU time (GMT time at the moment) which means putting on a live event for the US would mean that a large amount of CCP would need to be online at 1am+... Then up for `business as usual` the next day. Sorry US guys but this is the one single game you won't get what you want... Such is Eve!

  17. The TZ blindspot is particularly funny when you consider that nearly half their playerbase is in it.

    They had a slide of players by country at the last Fanfest. US and Canada combined account for just under 50% of Eve's player base. (UK had 12%, Germany had 9%, Russia 6%, Australia 3%. Smaller European countries summed up to ~11%. The "other" catchall was 9%.)

    1. Food for thought indeed.
      I am just grateful that I have Dust 514 and jumped on that. One thing that pissed me off however was some times it would put me on the wrong side... allot 1/4 of the time. and the banner of who you where fighting contradicted the contract party. I almost felt that the battle for the planet side was a scripted and poorly too. Though I am glad when we switched from attackers to defenders for Caldari Prime.


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