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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fanfest Day Three: Close quarters

There were some funny pictures last year of Fanfest attendees standing four deep in some of the more popular sessions, like the Null-sec roundtable.  Last year's Fanfest has nothing on this year's Fanfest.  ;-)

Fanfest itself is divided into four areas scattered around the Harpa venue.  The first area are two large theater-style auditoriums, labeled Singularity and Tranquility for Fanfest.  Singularity is a pretty typical theater style arrangement that can accommodate about 700 people.  Tranquility is where the EVE Symphony Orchestra performed.  It's a vast space able to seat about 1600, the entirety of the Fanfest attendees.

Next up are the Round table rooms, of which there are four this year, two "big" and two "small".  The big ones can seat perhaps 70.  The small ones, about 45.  Yeah, go ahead and raise your eyebrows now.

Next up is the PvP arena that can theoretically seat several hundred people but is obviously set up for its stated purpose.  I haven't been in there yet.  Thursday was too busy and today will be too.  I'll be checking it out Saturday.

Finally, there's an extremely large "gaming area" and associated food court with lots of tables plus three or so EVE console video games including an absolutely hysterical EVE side-scroller.  I can't help but laugh every time I walk past it.  But there are also gaming tables for poker, sci-fi related board games, and the like.  What's happening in practice is that from time to time, the round tables are spilling out into this area.  Most prominent among them was the Wormhole Round Table, which was scheduled for one of the smaller Round Table rooms.  I conservatively estimate some 120 people wanted to attend, about three times the capacity of the scheduled space.  I didn't attend that one, but apparently those that did were happy with what they heard.  ;-)

CCP has a terrific mobile version of the schedule which makes it really easy to find the sessions you want.  I didn't really commit myself to many of the sessions except:
  • PvE in EVE session.  This one was dominated by hard-core solo player care-bears, plus a few null-sec bloc care-bears and their concerns.  I attended because PvE in EVE is clearly one of the most broken things in the game, but absolutely nothing got settled in this session.  I think my amusement level peaked when a guy who lives in Pure Blind started complaining that his space is really bad for making money.  To his credit, the dev who took the question made it clear that Pure Blind isn't the problem.  ;-)
  • Null-sec session.  This one was dominated by the blocs, obviously, including a rather humorous and presumptuous Dabigredboat.  He kept trying to sit behind the table since "I generate most of the null-sec content!"  CCP Greyscale wasn't amused.  Someone trolled him right into the ground by joking that DBRB hates targets that shoot back.
  • Retribution Roundup.  This one was held in the main Singularity hall and it was here that I stepped up to the mic and asked my first question of CCP Explorer, CCP Greyscale, and CCP Seagull.  When I said who I was, the latter shielded her eyes from the stage lights to get a look at me.  ;-)  The session was mostly about application development project management concerns in Retribution and how CCP goes about measuring their workload.  My questions, in essence: "In the past, CCP has said the art team is a bottleneck.  In a project management sense, how does CCP manage such bottlenecks?" and "Again from a project management stand-point, is there any team concerned with the documentation of new features?  While Crimewatch is fantastic, I've explained it to literally hundreds of new and returning players who don't quite get it."  IMO, Explorer dodged the first question and Greyscale made it clear that they look to their players to solve the second.  I thought that was kinda interesting.
The other sessions, I drifted in and out of, not really committing myself to any one so I could get a sense of what the players in each were thinking.  In this way, I checked out "UI of EVE", "User Experience", and "The Art of EVE".  By mid-afternoon though, the close quarters of the Round Table rooms had caused me to have some kind of allergy attack.  More on that in a bit.

While I would wander from session to session, this was a great time to meet EVE players and in this way, I met CSM members Hans Jagerblitzen (as well as Trebor), CSM candidates Roc Wieler, Korvin, Greene Lee, and CSM candidate interviewer Xander Phoena (in a kilt) as well as dozens of others which space precludes me listing.  It was really great to put faces and voices to the names of people that I've chatted with in various fora!  And by the time it got around what I looked like, people were stopping me here and there to say hello, which I really appreciated.

The back half of the day, I spent in the Lowsec PvP/Crimewatch session and the Emerging Economies session in the Singularity secondary hall, followed by the DUST 514 keynote in the Tranquility main hall.  I must admit the latter did a great job of selling DUST 514!  I suppose it's now OK to let this out of the bag: during closed beta, CCP realized they were only using half of the graphics memory that the PS3 supported.  If you stopped playing DUST because of "ugly", you might want to have another look.  It now looks pretty freakin' gorgeous.  In addition, the new player experience and skills system "will probably make EVE players jealous."  Yep.  The new DUST 514 map of New Eden is also miles superior to the EVE map.

My original plan afterward was to get dinner then head to The Celtic Cross to meet more EVE players that I haven't yet had a chance to say hello to.  Unfortunately, by that time my allergies were really making me suffer.  In addition to having trouble breathing, I had an impressive headache.  The idea of food was repugnant.  I got back to my hotel room about eight, napped for a few hours, sketched out the four blog posts you'll be reading here today, then went to bed.  We old men need our oxygen.  ;-)

Other highlights of Thursday:
  • Roc Wieler telling me I have pretty eyes.  I told him not to get any funny ideas.  ;-)
  • A CCP dev made it said there are higher resolution skins for most ships but they haven't wanted to release them because of concerns about client size.  When he asked "If these were optional downloads, how many of you would download them?" virtually every hand in the room went up.
  • I met CCP Greyscale on a staircase... and absolutely nothing happened.  I'm getting soft.  ;-)
  • This bit was a tiny bit unclear, DrEyjoG and DUST's economist (whose name I didn't catch) said that there have been 600 trillion ISK of market transactions in DUST 514.  The number for EVE: 650 trillion.  The part that was clear was whether this meant "in total" or "since DUST started".  Either way, that's an enormous number for DUST.  I've been worried that EVE ISK might overwhelm the DUST economy.  Clearly, the concern might be in the other direction.  Everyone's been very careful not to say how many DUST players there are, but it's clear it's a big big number.
  • The DUST 514 TV commercial, I found really underwhelming.  IMO, DUST should market to its strengths and the fact that you respawn isn't one of them.  Every FPS MMO has that!  The commercial didn't show anything of the new graphics or the deepness of the game so I get the impression that the gaming community response to the TV spot will be "so?"

Tomorrow (today), Friday, Fanfest Day Four:
  • Most of today in the Singularity hall, with:
    • CSM Panel
    • Alliance Panel
    • Art Panel
    • Game Design Live Session
  • Probably not gonna risk the Round Table rooms today, but we'll see
  • Pub Crawl with the Devs
Day after, Saturday, Fanfest Day Five:
  • PvP Finals: Hydra Reloaded/Rote Kapelle versus Pandemic Legion!
  • Find out who won that whole CSM thing

11 comments:

  1. This needs to be more of a photoblog, seriously. :/

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    Replies
    1. Hee! I'll see if I can accommodate you a bit more tomorrow.

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  2. "Roc Wieler telling me I have pretty eyes. I told him not to get any funny ideas." Careful Ripard, next he'll be asking you out for dinner:-) Great posts - keep it up.

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  3. Dr E & CCP Anal's ( thats what I heard his name is? :) twitch feed got nuked at the end... did that delay the Dust keynote for an hour in Iceland too?
    Where there any good questions becaue that part of the feed has not been edited & put up yet in the HD feeds :'(

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    Replies
    1. It was announced in the main gathering areas that the stream was down and the DUST keynote would be delayed because of it. It also caused two EVE TV interviews to be postponed, Bacch and Roc Wieler.

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    2. BOTH THESE PRESENTATIONS:
      25TH 17:00/10:00 (e)Merging Economies
      GMT/PST Friday 26th 11:00/04:00 EVE Economy: A Decade in Review
      Had recording issues, the Dust one's stream died during the Q&A in the last 15 minutes & the first 15 minutes of the Eve economy presentation was not recorded :(
      Both are not posted up of the official twich CCP site but I was able to find this:
      http://www.twitch.tv/ccp/b/395861983
      which shows the Eve economy discussion with the first 15minutes cut off. I wonder what Dr E said in the first 15 minutes?

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  4. Hey Ripard, you handsome man. How could anyone miss those eyes? ;) So sorry to hear about the allergies, but boy do I sympathize. I travel halfway around the world once a year just to enjoy an allergy free environment.

    Please spill all of the Fanfest info, oh and good luck tomorrow with CSM. Please tell all before the NDA.

    http://nosygamer.blogspot.com/2013/04/fanfest-2013-day-1.html#more

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  5. There's no reason they can't have a High Resolution pack of textures for download. Many games do this, by having a high resolution client download and a smaller one for person more concerned with client size.

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  6. Please when you become CSM. Plz have CCP redo our starmap thank you.

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  7. I think the number for Eve (650 trillion) was current cash accounts in all corporations and individual wallets, not transactions, so the numbers weren't entirely comparable.

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  8. IIrc Ulphus is correct. The EVE number given was liquid isk across active accounts' wallets. My guess on this play of numbers is that this was a (poor) attempt at making Dust's economy seem bigger than it really is.

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