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...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April junk drawer

Welcome to the junk drawer, part of a series of monthly posts in which I dump all the stuff that I couldn't develop into full blog posts this past month. This month, the end of the month falls right in the middle of Fanfest week so rather than put this post off until May, I thought I'd jump into it a little bit early.


First, let's cover some particularly interesting blog posts that caught my attention this month, starting with this post from croda of marketsforISK. He wrote a really insightful post, digging into the real meat of the CCP 2013 financials that I covered more briefly from a layman's point of view late last month. If all you need is the layman's view, then my post is fine, but for those that want to dig deeper, croda has done a masterful job.

Speaking of financials, CSM8 member mynnna provides a really interesting perspective on the coming industry expansion. mynnna doesn't blog very often but when he does he also provides some insightful stuff. Now granted, a lot of the information about these changes are still coming and granted, mynnna is a big potential beneficiary of a null-sec industry buff. And he has to tread carefully in this post. Hell, half of my challenge being on the CSM the last month is keeping stratight what's been announced, what hasn't been announced, and what's been hinted at in public but not necessarily announced. I think I've done a good job walking the line but damn if I won't be glad when my line-walking ends coming up soon. In the meantime, if you're interested in this topic, give mynnna's take a read.

Nosy Gamer and Neville Smit have also jumped in to good effect.(1)

And that brings me to Kirith Kodachi's excellent post trying to bridge the gaps between all these posts. This is just the sort of post I would have written before I joined the CSM. Kirith does a fine job of it, so much so that I struggled with what to write as a comment. So many of the things I could write would instantly get me into :nda: trouble! So all I could say in comments was "excellent post"... and it is! Go read it.

Helicity Boson used to be on my Must Read Blogs list... then was on my Infrequent But Important blogs list... and due to inactivity fell off both lists. But he's jumped briefly back into the fray with a really interesting post about how to really apply sound and graphics in EVE to give players real tools to make PvP more interesting and more intuitive. Some of the ideas are frankly a little silly or would be difficult or impossible to implement properly. But some of them are really quite good! I'm a particular fan of additional visual rings around spaceships that are attempting e-war against you.

Finally, I do not agree with this post written by DJ Wiggles of EVE Radio, but it's worth a few minutes of your time to go out and read yourself.


So, this came up at the CSM Town Hall yesterday, something I'd never heard of. Freelance gaming journalist and writer, Andrew Groen (most frequently associated with Wired) wants to write a history book about EVE Online. Specifically, he wants to cover the history of the null-sec empires starting from 2004 or so and going through this afternoon. A more niche product, I can't possibly imagine -- and I write an EVE Online blog, I'll remind you... -- but so far 1371 people have contributed some $31000 U.S. to the idea.

It's a tricky concept. He says that CCP is supportive of the idea...
I'm a casual Eve Online player, and have never had any biases or allegiances to any alliance, corporation, or group within Eve. I'm also not affiliated with CCP Games. I've spoken with CCP about this project just to make them aware of it, and we both agreed that CCP can't and shouldn't be involved in editing or approving the content of this book in any way. That said, CCP has been very supportive, and have offered to serve as a liaison to help me get in touch with difficult-to-contact sources.
...but it does involve someone not associated with CCP making money to sell an EVE Online product. That has been shoal water where CCP has been concerned the last few years, as I've covered here.

So we'll see how it goes. He has reached his funding goal -- almost three times over! -- which means he's theoretically committed to the project.


A couple of Elder Scrolls Online items!

This doesn't warrant a full blog post, but here's a page that lists the full effects of the ESO Mundus Stones. For those not into ES lore, Mundus Stones are obelisks located here and there in Tamriel's wilderness that greatly enhance one attribute of the person who touches them. However, you're only allowed to be influenced by one Mundus Stone at a time. So the trick is to find one that grants the bonus that you're most interested in. But THAT has to start with knowing your options, so there you go.

Similarly, I'm finding out how little I know about how to optimally "fit" characters in the standard "tank / DPS / healer / ranger" meta that seems to be the thing in fantasy MMOs. That sent me looking for a guide on how to reset skill and attribute points. That is the simplest one I found. As a bonus, it includes links to how to become a werewolf or vampire, plus a link to the ESO "emote" guide.

The ESO GMs themselves compiled basic "get started" tips into a single place too, which I referred to every day or two during the first week I was playing.


Finally, let's wrap with a graphic.

Glad to see things are getting back to normal after a contentious month...


And that's all for the junk drawer this month.

(1) Though the latter briefly steals my evil twin schtick. ;-)


  1. "... mynnna provides a really interesting perspective on the coming industry expansion. mynnna doesn't blog very often but when he does he also provides some insightful stuff."

    Unfortunately, he is only crunching numbers and missing the fact that the most serious issue isn't the sad old null-sec vs. high-sec lament. He completely overlooks that many of these high-sec industry players are casual, semi-AFK players - most of whom have just as many years in the game as mynnna, and already know exactly how these changes will, negatively, affect their game play style. None of them are saying that they are being forced unwillingly to null-sec; they are simply pointing out that they do not have sufficient RL time to play the game how CCP now wants them to play it.

    If you, mynnna, the CSM and CCP want to write-off these players, that is fine. But, seriously, do any of you actually expect these lost accounts to be easily replaced by a flood of new players, eager to get into industry, after this expansion?

    That is pretty laughable, considering the proven inability of CCP to attract significant numbers of new PVP players, despite the recent series of PVP-themed expansions, designed by devs who are former PVP players and guided by PVP-experienced CSM members.

    A new industry-focused expansion, designed by PVP players... lol.

    I'd really like to hear your predictions on the number of new player subs, after this expansion goes live.

    1. I don't think that's going to be a good metric for this expansion. Hell, it's not been a good metric for the last four expansions. I've already written on that.


      A better metric will be how many lapsed accounts are reactivated by players that want to come back to EVE and try this out.

    2. The drastic changes to industry were not developed by PvP players, but by industry guys, with a very deep understanding of the Eve economy. Unfortunately, these guys were goons, who designed something that benefits the cartels exclusively at the hands of low sec and high sec, (jury is still out on wh industry, which is pretty small, outside of T3 work).

      The guys that designed this have convinced CCP that the vision of a null sec only universe, completely controlled by players (read as the top 100 cartel people swimming in huge RMT streams), will at the very least maintain , if not grow the sub base.

      Of course, the ultimate irony is that they are the very same people who took full advantage of the game mechanics and created a blue null sec that freezes out any kind of unsanctioned new blood into null. And that frozen null sec is the reason that subscriptions are at best, stagnant.

      If goons, pl, and the russian rental lords were serious about "saving" the game, this release would not be about increasing their personal revenue streams at the expense of everyone else. It would have been about changing mechanics that would decimate their own empires, but would allow for a surge of ambitious players to venture into null and carve out their own small piece of space.

    3. mynnna's post was badly written. Once the "there is too much goods to transport" notion was taken apart by Nosy Gamer, mynnna's post deflated. I pointedly pointed this out to him (ha) and he said that there was soo much industry going on in high sec it couldn't possibly all move to null.

      ... which is a bit incoherent with some of the messaging we have been receiving (from you and others) that this is where pilots should move.

      It's too soon to quit. It's too soon to panic. 4 more dev blogs are coming. But this whole episode has been very frustrating.

    4. CCP reacts to falling subscription numbers. We saw solid evidence of that 3 years ago during the Summer of Rage. Personally, I don't think these industry changes are going to result in a lot of unsubbed accounts. I could be wrong about that. I invite every indy toon to unsub sooner rather than later so we can find out for sure. Remember, CCP is watching what the players do, not what they say. So do it already or shut the fuck up.

    5. You should have a read here too: http://stabbedup.blogspot.de/2014/04/only-you-can-save-universe-ccp-seagull_26.html?m=1

      I think it is a very good Look at the actual state of Eve. Very worth reading.

    6. Jester: "A better metric will be how many lapsed accounts are reactivated by players that want to come back to EVE and try this out."

      You can't grow a business by hoping that customers who used to use you but got bored might come back. If nothing else, it's a finite pool.

    7. Heh didn't notice when I posted that the reply before mine was a plug for my blog.

      Thanks Anonymous!

    8. "A better metric will be how many lapsed accounts are reactivated by players that want to come back to EVE and try this out."

      I think that if CCP is relying on this to keep the company alive and growing, they are in big trouble.

    9. "The drastic changes to industry were not developed by PvP players, but by industry guys, with a very deep understanding of the Eve economy."

      Right. Let's look at the authors of these recent and upcoming industry devblogs more closely:

      "Reprocess all the things" and "Building better worlds" written by Ytterbium. Greyscale will be talking about revamping ME/PE and copying, and changes to the job installation process & costs. SonicLover will be talking about teams and new industry workforce.

      Yeah, great - Ytterbium, Greyscale and SoncLover - arguably (but not much) the three worst devs at CCP, none of whom have played the game in nearly 10 years, except for the occasional dev roam in null sec.

      I get that warm and fuzzy feeling of being kicked in the nuts just thinking about these clowns wrecking yet another part of the game.

    10. @Jester - "A better metric will be how many lapsed accounts are reactivated by players that want to come back to EVE and try this out."

      Well, ok. So, what's your prediction of how many lapsed accounts will be reactivated by players who want to come back to EVE and try out the new changes to industry?

      I'm willing to bet that the number will be much, much smaller than the number of high-sec industry accounts which are unsubbed by both high-sec and null-sec players.

    11. You got to be shitting me. Your metric for success of this expansion is how many people come back to the game? Were you drunk when you wrote that comment?

    12. Well, Jester, the latest dev blog on the changes to ME/PE research will pretty much kill your metric.

      No one who used to do industry is going to come back to the game now that their investment in high ME/PE BPOs has been erased.

    13. These comments read like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch of Monty Python.

      First, you complain about the game being too complicated and unable to attract new players... then when the game is made simpler, you complain that the new players don't have to walk five miles both ways in the snow with tacks in their shoes, and it's devaluing the pain that you had to suffer.

      Players are change-adverse little shits, simple as that.

    14. "A better metric will be how many lapsed accounts are reactivated by players that want to come back to EVE and try this out."

      None of mine, I tell you. And as some have said, if that is what CCP tries to accomplish with expansions, then they're really fucked.

    15. That explains basically where I stand now. I've played since 2005 and have 4 accounts, all of which I use primarily for industry that I"ve built up since 2007 or so. I don't put much time into the game any more, but currently with the time I do have i can still make some progress towards my goals.

      Every year I play slightly less than the year before, as the rest of the game just doesn't excite me that much. Each year I have to make a choice. Is this really worth spending ~50 CD a month on? Or should I just use that 50 bucks a month on steam sales and play even more non-MMO games than I already do. Every expansion I hope something in it will excite me, but I am always disappointed. When I heard this was going to be an industry expansion (finally, i've been calling for this forever and disappointed since the last touted "industry" expansion of Quantum rise was basically a joke in that regard).

      Then the industry expansion finally arrives and its... not an expansion, its a rebalance. And its one that basically nerfs the only play style left in eve that I still enjoy AND have time for to justify my 4 subs. Disappointed doesn't really describe it.

      Are they decent changes overall? Perhaps they are, especially if they were made back in Quantum Rise. If they were made back when the game was still growing and attracting lots of new players, it would have been pretty great I'd bet. But now the same industry system has been around for 10+ years. Players have spend that long building their industrial empires on those rules. Did I WANT to spend money on multiple accounts for almost a decade just in order to work with the system at hand? Not really, but its what the game design requires you to do to compete.

      And after all that commitment, CCP is about to rebalance me out of the game, without giving me much back in return. The UI changes are fine, but the rest of the 5 blogs are simply a sideways nerd to high sec casual players. Here's an idea CCP, how about on top of removing slots from stations, you remove skill limits to the number of build/research jobs from characters? Why are you still forcing players to own multiple accounts to run any significant number of industry jobs? I know the answer ($), but fuck, at least that would make staying a casual player a bit more palatable... but ya know what, I just don't have any give a shit left in me.

      After looking at 5 of the 6 blogs now, this choice becomes even more stark. Do I have and/or am I willing to spend the extra time it would require to make my casual industry profitable enough to worth my RL time and dollars? In the end, why should I continue to support CCP when they don't want to support my play style?

      So as it stands, no, I don't think its worth it any longer and have stopped all my 6 month subs. One has already ran out, two more over the next two months, and unfortunately one just resumed a month ago so its got a bit to go before its all over. I'm sure I'll never be able to quit the EVE meta game entirely though, even if I never step into the client again. I've played and invested too much time into the game/community to do that.

      @Jester Regardless of everything, I'm still glad that I voted you and Mike Azariah in for CSM. You both have done a fantastic job and am proud to have voted and convinced other high sec players to vote for you both last time and Mike again this time. Your dedication to trying to make EVE a better place was truly appreciated and your level of communication and insight into CCP was next to none in my opinion.

      Thank You.

  2. I think I'm with you on your take of DJ Wiggles' post. But I don't think anyone can argue with him when he says, "CCP Games need to track back into their groove and make Eve Online Epic once more." Everyone knows CCP has been extremely fortunate to this point that there is no real competition in the space/scifi MMO genre. It might be working to their advantage right now. Other companies see CCP run a game for 10 years and hit a wall with subs, they think "Oh look, this is a niche with limited growth potential," and they move on to more WoW clones. CCP should embrace the niche. It is what it is, and neither Dust nor Valkyrie is going to gain them millions of additional paying customers beyond what they've already got.

    One thing is for sure: EVE needs to be epic again, and right now it is dull, static and phenomenally boring. Unless you LIKE fighting in TiDi. Unfortunately there are a lot of retards who are fine with TiDi the way it is.

    1. eve was epic because it felt big.
      Nullsec was hard and there was a real sense of adventure in exploration.

      Now thanks to the Donut and B0tlords the epic has gone.

      Personally I think the only real expansion to help eve at this time would be a real expansion of space known space - new regions with that feeling of true exploration.

      Another idea would be mapped wormholes, but more about that in a F&I post

    2. Wouldn't help, the moment new space opened up the existing Null powers will land grab it and install renters.

      It's almost exactly what is going to happen to CCP Seagulls "New Space" as only the Null powers will have the industry, resources and manpower to build and defend these new star gates.

      Access only to the loyal and devoted followers or high paying renters is a given.

      So instead of a "New Vision" what we will get (unless there are some radical changes in Null which there are no signs of ever happening) it will be the exportation of the same old stranglehold by the same few groups into new areas.

      Most of EvE's population will hear about but never experience this new space unless they are willing to sell themselves to one of the monolithic power structures now entrenched in Null.

  3. I always see people referring to "unsubbing" accounts. Can you actually do that? Will CCP reimburse you if you "unsub" an account which you paid 6 months up front?

    1. No, They mean cancelling the recurring subscription.

  4. Ripard - hey, my post may have felt similar to your style of Garth posts, but my alter ego is an evil HALF-BROTHER, while yours is an evil TWIN. Totally different thing - obviously. And much better, clearly. :-)

    “That great poets imitate and improve, whereas small ones steal and spoil.” - W. H. Davenport Adams

  5. "...but it does involve someone not associated with CCP making money to sell an EVE Online product."

    Sort of, if you consider reporting on things that happen in EVE to be an "EVE Product." That is not an easy line to draw. People make money reporting on EVE every day. Is the EVE Evolved column at Massively and "EVE Product?" Would it somehow become one if AOL decided to compile them all in book form?

    I do not know how things roll in Iceland, but in the US, so long as you do not misrepresent the book as being from, or endorsed by a company, take care with trademarks and copyright information, and don't write anything libelous, you are pretty safe. There is an Everest-sized mountain of precedent for this.

    CCP could make it difficult for MG, but not without being dicks about it. (See the history of Scientology's relationship with the press.) That probably wouldn't further their agenda in any way, and would probably create a CCP-hating journalist at Wired along the way.

    CCP's best play in this is probably to contact MG, offer whatever help they can, and ask very nicely that the book include whatever disclaimer they think they need to protect their intellectual property.

  6. I supported that Kickstarter and hope to see it come to fruition. Having seen a couple of devs post enthusiastically in favor of it, I have to assume he got his ducks lined up with CCP before launching. But there is no real recourse if he all of a sudden reported that CCP put up a roadblock after funds were disbursed. We would just be out our money and he could pocket the proceeds. KS might step in but they are kinda hands off with that. Would be a good scam, eh? (For the record, I think the guy is legit but it is kind of funny to think about.)

  7. One of the best things that ever happened to the company I work for was suddenly finding itself with serious, deep-pocketed competition. There was angst and "OMG, we're doomed!" along the way, but ultimately we got smarter and tougher. The big winner in the whole thing was the customer because we had to bust our asses to find out what worked for them and do it better than the other guy whenever we could. Although won't ever be perfect, we fixed a lot of stupid shit because we had to.

    I think competition (or even the hint of it) will be a good thing for CCP and for us.

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