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...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to take some time this week and wrap up some posts about the controversies that plagued EVE Online in 2013 with an eye toward next year. The one that I'm not going to take on (yet) is the whole issue of how CCP should support community websites. That one is going to stretch well into 2014, into the CSM Winter Summit and beyond. So there's going to be lots of time to talk about that one.

But I do want to wrap up my thinking on the ghost site live event that took place in early November. My original piece on this event was one of the most widely-read posts on the blog this year, and was also one of the most commented-upon pieces I wrote this year, garnering hundreds of comments both here and in my Twitter feed, EVE mail, and e-mail. I read every single one even if I didn't respond to very many of them -- what I would have said in response to most was covered in my original post. And opinion on my post was just as sharply divided as the opinion of the event itself was.

But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself so let's back up a bit.

In the aftermath of the event, lots and lots of other people weighed in on it. I was particularly intrigued by this take from a RAZOR player (FC?) in Doril from the "defender's" point of view and this take from Mangala Solaris of the CSM (who FC'ed a fleet that crashed through Doril) on the "attacker's" side. Not too surprisingly, both had a lot of fun with the event -- likely because they represented the most organized responses to it. And since my own take was rather negative I got a number of direct or indirect versions of the question "couldn't you have been more positive about it?"

And that's probably a fair criticism. So real quick, here are some things that I think were positive about this live event:
  1. The build-up for it was handled really well;
  2. the idea of splitting it in two in an attempt to prevent null-sec alliances from overwhelming it was a good one in concept; and,
  3. I did appreciate that theoretically, the outcome of this event was something that would depend on player action.
We have that last from CCP Goliath, who organized the event and did his own wrap-up post about it a week after it was over. I have absolutely no reason to doubt his sincerity, though I noted with amusement in his piece he expected the high-sec "attackers" to win. In one of my earliest pieces on this blog, I wrote about a conflict in 2011 between high-sec and null-sec players. I can't find the piece today, but one of the responses to it has stuck with me since then: a prominent PL FC called it "charming in its naivete."

Yeah. That. ;-)

So yeah, I was mostly unhappy with the event (after being quite happy with the Luminaire one), but it did have its positive aspects. I certainly wasn't as negative about it as, say, Gevlon was. But my original piece, nor any of what's above, didn't address the main point: was it any good?

To my mind, a good EVE live event has to simultaneously address three issues:
  • it has to in some way advance the EVE lore;
  • it has to be memorable; and,
  • it has to be fun for the participants.
And while I didn't make this point clear enough in my original piece, I don't think this event qualified on the first or last fronts -- though it was certainly memorable! Yes, some of the most organized EVE players involved in it had a good time. But the majority of players involved did not. And now having given it a month of Rubicon's release to breathe and to see some follow-up efforts, I don't believe this event has significantly advanced the EVE lore. Remember, when this event was originally pushed, it was as a major event, the first cooperation between all four Empire factions in years. In the Rubicon trailer(1), we have CONCORD pretty much specifically ordering capsuleers to stay out of the ghost sites. In short, we should feel like we have one of those "common enemy" situations on which many many stories over the years have been based.

Do you feel that way?

After the Incursion expansion dropped, we had a whole series of live events supporting that expansion. One was big enough and important enough that it caused one of the biggest spikes in the PCU count in EVE history. As I've mentioned once before and will probably be mentioning again, in a lot of way's CCP Seagull's vision of capsuleer ownership of space is potentially the biggest change to the lore in EVE's history, far outstripping incursions and the faction wars. In a very real sense, we're all going to be dragged into EVE's lore whether we want to be or not.

This is therefore a big opportunity for the Community team to put together some really fun, memorable live events in support of the next few expansions. I continue to believe in 2013, they went one for two on this effort. Let's hope the score improves in 2014...

(1) Not a fan of it, BTW, but that's a topic for another time. Short version: "Play EVE! Succeed at your efforts! Die anyway!" 8/10 for style, and the visual of the Sentry drones was fantastic, but it's not exactly a game-seller.


  1. I swiped 4 of those Blue Boxes from the wreck of one of the RP Daredevils, so it was worth it for me!

    Still not sure what they're going to do though - that is if they even will do anything.

  2. Best comment on the whole debacle... and the way I feel about it. I din't even try and go once I saw (1) CCP was FCing and (b) they were leading the Empire Fleets (LOL) to nullfun... I knew all that was gonna happen was a slaughter... Well, that and I play in hole so meh... but, still, this is the best and most concise comment I have seen to date.

    AnonymousNovember 8, 2013 at 1:14 AM
    As Baarhyn over on FHC said "Wow, way to make people reject the idea of PVP forever in one single action". Well put.

  3. Ghostbusters YAY!!

  4. The event did succeed at something.
    It's the perfect illustration of how the null-sec irresponsible 'me, myself and I' attitude can lead this game to complete oblivion.

    CCP did fail to anticipate the huge players turn out (TiDi) and did have particularly incompetent people handle the event (who did not anticipate Null-sec reaction to it).

    But the way the clue-less high sec players were ambushed using every possible means including spies, awoxing and gate-camps can't be blamed on CCP.
    The 'null-sec community' reaction to this event was just disgusting.

    "Let's trade 20 mins of 'skill-less lambs slaughter' in exchange of hundreds (if not thousands) of players that will never again be interested in the PvP or moving to null-sec, assuming they didn't go straight to unsub.
    Let's show these new clueless players how pitiless, selfish, retards and short-sighted veteran Eve players can become; by making sure that, in a situation where all the odds are already against them, we take all the extra steps to ensure they get podded without firing a shot.
    That's surely how we're going to get more people interested in Eve PvP."

    The same idiots will be crying 'null-sec is dead' soon enough and that's quite exactly what they deserve: a boring static sandbox slowly emptied by attrition without new players replacements.
    They worked hard to get there and eventually they will.

    Sometimes wickedness is smart and funny, that time it was incredibly short-sighted and stupid.

    One can hope that they will learn the lesson and take their part of the blame.
    Most likely, it will sounds like 'HTFU carebear', as usual.
    Greifers are notoriously bad at taking responsibility for their actions.

    1. I laugh every time I hear "null is dead" "null is empty" blah blah. Come to provi you might find a few folks around. In fact come in through assah in about a 20 man cruiser gang around 0200 or so give it about ten min before jumping into G-5. We should have some folks ready to say hi. lol

    2. Let me turn that around on you. Would you rather that we went easy on high sec players, giving them a false experience? We could argue that we represented the organization, efficiency, and content generation abilities of null sec. "Join us, and you can have this too." If a player is going to fixate on the loss they suffered, rather than the opportunity to join the organized, I question whether they got out of the event something that would suggest an affinity for the type of content you get in null sec.

    3. Probably not.
      Hard to tell what that event was about but I'm not sure it was planned as a poster for null sec organized experience.
      I don't think either that any players expected to get through unscathed but there is a big difference between losing a ship as part of thrilling high adrenaline PvP fight and getting camped out of your pod without having the chance to figure out what's going.

      As a matter of fact, Yes! I'd rather have you go easy on the high sec players. For your own sake.

      Let's give you an analogy.
      Assume a NBA pro team was to be involved in a basketball initiation game with young kids.
      Would you expect them to be nice to the kids? Or would you have them bully them around without letting them touch the ball once, all in the name of "giving them a real experience of what a NBA team can do"?

      How smart, in term of creating good relationships with the fans and inspiring them to keep playing the game, would it be for the dickish NBA players to behave like pricks?

      How smart is Provi Miner's answer above?
      Doesn't he sounds like "Plenty of players still in null sec so we can ignore attrition and be as short-sighted as we want. Come around and we'll blast you out to prove that point"?

      One day, null sec folks will be back to crying that it's too easy to make PvE ISKs in high sec (risk vs reward debates) and that we need to find ways to get carebears to at least try the PvP experience and move toward low-sec to be "content creators" like the null sec community are.

      Well you just had a way served to you on a silver plate and you blew it, big time.

      You might not feel the loss tomorrow, but eventually, you will.

    4. Your example is flawed. High sec players aren't children. In many cases, they've played the game longer than many null sec players.

  5. The really enlightening thing to come out of the event was how it showed that just because you are a Dev doesn't mean you need to be smart or have any ability to think things through.

    Devs get a lot of crap thrown at them, but in this case its pretty black and white. If CCP Goliath honestly couldn't see a problem with the following, then I doubt he should be put in charge of making the Tea as he can't be trusted to know that pouring hot water on people might hurt.

    1/ Getting thousands of people to jump along unreinforced nodes
    2/ Getting everyone to start jumping through before the fleets had all arrived
    3/ Having the entrance system be the main staging area for a 0.0 war
    4/ Have pretty much zero CCP communication ( mystery is one thing, expecting people to organise while not telling them what for is stupid)

    I honestly thing there isn't a single player in Eve with any experience at all, who would have thought those 4 points above were good ideas. This isn't heindsight, its just sense.

  6. I still think it was a simi successful test of hardware/software. 10% tidi the whole way there (even with reinforced nodes) yet the main system never cracked 50% tidi despite obviously having the numbers to induce a 10% tidi. Then again I have always been an optimist sooooo who knows (well I am sure you do but you can't tell us:).

  7. Almost immediately after this event, null sec players with very limited information started spinning this as a bunch of high-sec players going to null-sec with unrealistic expectations.

    It is important to remember that the anger following this event was caused by bad planning from CCP, and is not directed at null-sec alliances. Empire players were directed to travel through multiple systems in large numbers, causing TiDi, so that most of these players did not arrive in time to participate in the event. Both the plan and the server preparation were under CCP's control.

    To add salt to the wound, CCP used NPC FCs to command the Empire fleets to jump into the gatecamp before half of the Empire fleets had even arrived at the staging system.

    Titan bridging was introduced as a mechanic to solve this known problem, and using NPC titans to bridge the Empire fleets through hi-sec would have solved the issue. Not doing so was simply incompetence from CCP.

  8. Far from being 'dragged into EVE's lore whether we want to be or not', the storyline that Rubicon seems to be starting is actually driving me OUT of the lore. I've been deliberately only half following the story, because I'm reasonably sure that the only rational explanation of it is going to be 'everyone in the upper ranks of CONCORD and the four Empires is completely and utterly incompetent'.

    The current lore is hinting at some sort of capsuleer rebellion against the Empires, but CCP absolutely cannot allow a 'proper' war between players and NPCs. When what-ever-it-is that's coming actually happens, there won't be any effective resistance to it ... because if the Empires suddenly decided to start acting like a semicompetent government, they could actually really hurt us.

    They might not be able to win (although they might have better odds than you'd think), but imagine the fallout from, say, cancelling all rat bounties and overseer's effects payouts*. Or shutting down the market in Jita and confiscating everything for sale. Or launching a suicide-gank of any freighter detected carrying 'outlaw goods' (read: moon minerals) into Empire space.

    And that's not even considering what someone like the Black Eagles could do with access to the cloning system - remember, a capsuleer is only 'immortal' as long as everything works correctly ... and most of that 'everything' is under NPC control and therefore subject to 'accidents'. If being pod-killed suddenly meant perma-death, I expect any 'capsuleer rebellion' would implode in very short order.

    But none of that will happen, because fighting a war against someone who can actually permanantly hurt you is no fun and it would be pants-on-head-stupid for CCP to start driving away their playerbase like that. So instead we'll continue to get the 'interstellar empires' whose preferred method of keeping capsuleers out of ghost sites is a single video saying 'don't do it' (which not everyone will have even seen) and whose contribution to a 'massive, sustained assault on high-priority targets' was (from what I can tell) four ships, no logistics (of either sort), no intel, and no leadership.

    So you might be right that CCP's intention was to get more players involved in the lore, but what they're actually achieving is to completely destroy my suspension-of-disbelief.

    *If the answer to this one is "but we need capsuleers to keep helping us keep the Angels/Serpentis/etc under control," then the 'capsuleer threat' is less dangerous than the pirates that the Empires have been successfully holding off since the servers went live. That's not exactly an existential threat...


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