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, January 29, 2013


Warning: the following post is ridiculously long.  You have been warned.

Fractals are one of the few concepts in math where the phrase "I'm not sure what it is, but I know it when I see it" applies.  The most famous quality of fractals is that they are "self-similar": a large fractal is typically made up of many -- often infinite -- smaller fractals, each of which looks similar to the whole.  See the fern to the right, where each of the three smaller boxed pieces looks like the whole, as would all of the increasingly smaller pieces.  For this reason, it's also difficult or impossible to measure the outside edge of a fractal: as you zoom in, the outside edge that appears to be straight reveals itself to be almost infinitely long, curved, and complex.

Self-similarity is the easiest concept of fractals to understand.  If I plot the temperature curve for a single day where you live, it will start very low at midnight, dip a bit more as dawn approached, rapidly climb as the sun came up, flatten at the top, then drop rapidly to the point where it began.  If I plot the temperature curve for an entire year, it would behave similarly: in the northern hemisphere, it would start low in January, dip a bit more as you approached the deepest part of winter, rapidly climb through spring and summer, then drop rapidly during fall until winter began again.  As I zoom in on the annual temperature curve, I find that it's made up of a lot of relatively tiny daily temperature curves that look the same as the whole.

The same concept applies in a startling number of other areas: stock prices over an hour will tend to look like stock prices over a day will tend to look like stock prices over a year.  The curves of segments of the coast of my home state of California look like the curve of the whole.  An entire planetary system with a star and orbiting planets looks very similar to a single atom which is a basic building block of all matter.

Got it?  Good.  Let's apply it to EVE Online.

Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, "The Next Decade" session

During this session, CCP Unifex makes one thing clear again and again: EVE "can have a broader appeal without losing the things that make it EVE."  CCP Seagull makes clear that she wants to engage all of us on three levels: as customers, as players, and as characters.  At the middle level, she wants to make sure we all remember that "you can be a solo-playing carebear, and still be part of the overall player community."  Then she adds, "Sometimes we become victims of things that are already in the game, and it becomes hard to talk about higher level things."

I want to talk about two of those things, but not just yet.  Let's get through the rest of this introduction first.

Seagull mentions that she wants to start this effort by looking at two things.  First, she brings up that she sees two important types of players she wants to make the game less bad for, which she calls "instigators" and "enablers".  Instigators are leaders of people and planners of campaigns.  Enablers are the people who make those plans possible, through task management, logistics... and by providing resources.  "We kind of have a history of treating these people like... shit," Seagull says (correctly).

Second, she says (also correctly) we're having a hard time as a community guiding new players into activities that they might find fun:
As a young player, you go on the website and you decide you want to be a pirate, for example, and then you come into the game and you go 'OK, What should I do now?' And we're not doing a great job of mapping people into those things that they can do.
Finally, Seagull wants to engage more with three types of players, who she classes as "lurkers" (solo players), "followers" (people who want to connect to existing small scale communities), and "small scale leaders."  Got all that?  Good, here's the important bit:
This is not a question of this type of things being available only in null-sec. Once you decide what kind of player you are, there are other parameters that affect how risk averse you are and where you decide to place your game play. But in terms of product development, these three design targets apply across [all areas of space.]
Remember, this isn't me saying these things.  This is the Senior Producer of EVE Online Development.  She wants to open up the game to all styles of play at all levels of risk aversity.  I've already made a joke about seagull managers.  Those of you who think she's already started making noise and crapping on things may start blaming her, not me.

But in the meantime, I happen to agree with her: I think there's room in EVE for all types of EVE play.  Even people who insist on being high-sec "lurker" "enablers."  You know them as solo high-sec miners and missioners.  Or null-sec "small-scale leader" "instigators."  You know them as the leaders of small-gang PvP alliances.  Two types of players that EVE is currently "treating like... shit", to quote the poet.

And that's where fractals and self-similarity comes in.

Let's start with the latter group.  Seagull describes their problem with a level of understatement that is impressive: "Right now, politics form an entrenched barrier to becoming an instigator that is extremely high."  Translation?  It's freakin' hard in this game to become an FC.  Then it's even harder to become a corp leader.  Harder still, becoming an alliance leader.  Then it's even harder to build that alliance from a small group of players to a force to be reckoned with in New Eden.  Matter of fact, if you don't have some pretty good sponsorship, you can't do any of those things at all in this game.  I assure you, this is happening no matter how far you zoom out or zoom in.  That's an extremely high barrier, all right.

For example, try taking an existing small alliance into null-sec and taking some sov.  If you're not sponsored by one of the already-established players, you're going to get absolutely stomped.  The other night while talking on Declarations of War, I mentioned that null-sec should look like a current world map:
  • big enormous players like the United States, Russia, and China; then,
  • medium size players like Germany, France, Venezuela, Egypt, Israel, and Brazil; then,
  • small scale players -- some of whom are rogue nations and some of whom are not -- like Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Poland, South Africa, and Costa Rica.
There should be a hell of a lot more members of the bottom two categories than of the top, and they should all be free to operate independently.  What we have in EVE today isn't anything even remotely like that.  How do we get there?  I haven't a clue.  But what we've got today is the United States and countries like it owning (say) all of North and South America and parceling out little scraps of land to favored (and ever-changing) toadies.

The stupid un-fun "everyone is blue" mess that results in much of null is the result.  When Rote Kapelle roams, I want to cross 50 borders over the course of a small-gang PvP roam, not two.  And I want to encounter the small gangs defending those borders.  And there should be the possibility that Rote Kapelle and all these other little groups can set up our own rogue Yemen-like state somewhere...
  • without having to make a sign of obedience; and,
  • without getting hilariously instantly monkey-stomped by the big brother next door; and,
  • without going through the horrible pain that goes with claiming, holding, and attacking sov.
Again, how do we get there?  Dunno.  Haven't a clue!  But the null-sec game isn't gonna be worth a damn soon if CCP can't figure out a route.  It'd sure be a hell of a lot more fun than what we have today.  The big players could still have their massive wars, but there would be room for people who don't want to play EVE that way, too.

Ever seen the EVE Chinese server Serenity's sov map?  It has seven colors on it.  We're getting there.

So players end having to join a monster coalition, where it takes forever to be a corp leader or an alliance leader or an FC... and then these monster coalitions wonder why no-freakin'-body wants to venture out of high-sec.  Here's a thought: you have set up an "enormous political barrier" to them doing so.  And it exists at every level from the micro to the macro.  Individual players can't join without 10 million skill points.  Corps can't join without a solid kill-board record.  Alliances can't join without making the sign of obedience.  Zoom in, zoom out, it all looks the same.

Let's move on to the other group, the lurker enablers.  Here's what CCP Unifex has to say about them:
Unifex reminded the CSM once again that this group, the lurking single players who are already subscribed, are the majority of characters on Tranquility.
Read it again, 'cause I'm pretty sure you didn't understand it the first time: there's a hell of a lot more of them than there are of us.  And we're treating them like shit.  As I've already mentioned, the "level 80s" are preying on them, but that isn't even the worst thing.  The worst thing is that we're not even giving them the option to play this game any other way.  As a new player in EVE, you've got three choices of you want to keep playing this game:
  1. Join a monster low- or null-sec coalition as a "pubbie scrublord."  These will spend the next couple of years being told just how bad they are.
  2. Join a whole corp of "pubbie scrublords" in a high-sec corp.  These will spend the next couple of years being preyed on by level 80s.
  3. Try to fly solo under the radar and let this game try to almost literally strangle you in your crib.
Any of those options sound fun to you?  Yet thousands of new EVE players are stuck on the horns of this dilemma.  I hear from an absolute ton of new players every week asking my advice on what path they should take.  Fortunately, there are a few "none of the above" options, but not many.  Unifex mentions a couple, then makes it clear he has our number here, too: "the vast majority of corps in EVE are simply off-limits for various reasons," before adding "CCP wants to turn this around, he wants to turn this around by creating more things that corporations would want players to help them with."

And again, this exists at every level of the game, from the micro to the macro.  The people who started down one of these paths and escaped it somehow become the level 80s preying on the new generation.  "I paid my dues, now pay yours," they say, as Forbes magazine puts it when describing the habits of corporate bullies.  Then the big corps say that to the little corps and bully them.  Then the big alliances say that to the little alliances and bully them.

And just like how many null-sec residents simply can't understand why high-sec players want nothing to do with their style of play, members of massive null-sec coalitions wonder why NPC null-sec or FW low-sec residents in small-gang PvP alliances don't want anything to do with theirs.  But then both groups shrug, describe them as "bads" and go back to their business.  The superior players regard the inferior ones as sub-human and say their style of play should be nerfed until it's impossible to enjoy.  "CCP, force these idiots to play the game my way!" they say.  Zoom in all you want.  Zoom out all you want.  It all looks the same... a self-similar fractal.

OK.  Deep breath.  In the Reddit thread and argument that's forming about "Ripard said what?", maccabeus posted a fantastic, fantastic response (edited slightly):
This is EVE. You are immortal, and you have infinite potential. You have limitless technology at your fingertips, and limitless power to earn.  Whether you PvE or PvP, you are only playing the game wrong if you are content to never improve.
Seagull again: "We should be able to say we're now looking at shaking up the stale experience of instigators and enablers in this area of the game, and we'll tie that into the theme of whatever we're doing.  These are the types of conversations we should be able to have."

That's why I'm bringing this up.  We should be able to talk about this and ask the question: are we happy that this is how EVE is?  Even if the eventual answer is "yes."

Oh and by the way?  Asking these sorts of questions and getting the perspective of players and then taking those perspectives to CCP is why I'm running for CSM8.  Just in case you're curious.


  1. Excellent Article Ripard...you got my vote!

  2. You have my sword.

  3. Great post, although a bit black and white. But then again it is election season....

    New players have many, many opportunities to find a fulfilling online computer _game_ available in EVE, even without the theme park that other games provide. They just "have to" get out there and talk to some people, knowing that some will be scammers, some will be useless and some will be the best friends you will ever make online. If you don't accept that, if you are really that lurking solo player, then, I am afraid you are better off playing Skyrim. No MMORPG should allow players to be entirely insulated from other players.

    Now back to topic, new players need to make choices based on information and that is where EVE falls down drastically. Other than blogs (like this) there is no useful information available on this complex game. But once you venture outside the game border to explore the metagame, you realize that the game stretches far outside the space ship realm, more intense and more fascinating than any other game known. People get that and plot their course accordingly.

    And while I am at it, there are solid corps dedicated to train new players. EVE Uni, the goons, TEST, even my alliance (IOS) has a newb-friendly Wormhole. Sure you have to find and talk to us. Its not Skyrim.

    Lastly, you say many things that are true about nullsec - but we all agree. The stagnation of nullsec seems real and while the majority of the players don't care (after all, they are lurking single players, right) it sets the tone for the rest of the game. How to fix it, I do not know. But I do know what can happen when a stable oscillator gets out of whack by a sudden impulse. It moves vigorously and seemingly chaotically, then slowly resumes order and stability, likely at a very different frequency. I have great hope that some cataclysmic internal event will unhinge all of nullsec and cause chaos before it settles again, self-similar and predictable (Bob?)

  4. I can think of a way to "[shake] up the stale experience of instigators and enablers";


    1. Which is why CCP are fixing it. On the other hand they don't think it's going to affect enough instigators and enablers to be a good thing to focus an entire 6 month expansion cycle on all by it's self, which is why it's going to be iterated on continually over the next few cycles. There should be some improvements coming with the next expansion, tied to whatever theme gets chosen somehow.

    2. Fixing the POS system will do nothing about the big blue situation.

  5. Mangala Solaris has my three votes, because he's more fun than you, but I hope you get there too. Thanks for sticking up for the little guy.

  6. "We should be able to talk about this and ask the question: are we happy that this is how EVE is?"

    We should be able to talk about this. Why cant we talk about this? Why is this topic so taboo? Is because so many people fear that the answer will be no?
    Because if you ask me then the answer is no. No I am not happy with the present state of affairs in EVE. No I am not happy with the status quo.

    There is so much content in EVE I would love to engadge in, Sov warfare, nulsec, super cap fights and more. Yet I wont because the barrier of entry to these things is either too high or the actual content is to put it bluntly, shit.

    I don't have an answer for these problems, but the first step to solving any problem is to recognise that there is one.
    So no, I am not happy that this is how EVE is.

  7. You've got my vote. And, if you'll give me a moment, when I log in, I'll send a donation to the campaign fund!

  8. Damn.

    That, sir, was a hell of a blog post.

    My answer to your question? No. At least, I'm not. Which is why Seagull makes me excited for where this game is going for the first time in a long time. So much so that I've tried to hook several of my friends into it (again)- and hoping that they can get past that first rough period where they are in the highest danger of strangulation.

    You'll have my vote come election season. Go get 'em.

  9. Excellent post. Our image of what Eve is is defiantly worth some thoughs

  10. As a new player in EVE, you've got three choices of you want to keep playing this game:
    4: Wormholes

    Relatively low skill requirements; Non trivial home ground advantage; Plentiful PVE; ready access to pvp roams (especially you have a c2 static). Room to grow. Small chance of big neighbour but not common; and even then roflstomping is restricted by volume of ships allowed in.

    Yes, I am trying to fly under the radar. Yes POS security restrictions will limit my corp to 6 or 7 players (no NPC stations to grant secure personal storage ). Yes I am sucky at PVP.

    Doesn't matter; It's a place to build a corp up; and not highsec.

    1. Define 'relatively low'. Because from what I've seen, most WH corps don't want pilots unless they can fly a t3 ship with full t2 weapons and mods, which is several months' worth of dedicated training right there - more, if you include general support skills and non-t3 skills. And most players aren't going to wait several months to start meaningful play; they'll either find some alternative or move on.

    2. This discussion takes a little sidestep but for our corp living in C3, it's enough that you can fly some BS with t1 guns and you can fit decent tank to survive anoms. Basically you could start even earlier because there are enough tasks which you can start with only a few week skill training.

    3. Our corps suggested skill list:

      Scanning abilities; There are 4 skills for astrometrics; have these as least 2 and preferably higher. As a side note; I am very happy to provide free replacement t1 scanning ships with probes. If you scan; I will provide.
      PI: (any) Racial Industrial 3; Command Center 3; Interplanetary Consolidation 3. Sure better is better; If you are going to do PI; this is probably your minimum
      A cloak. Any cloak. Just do it.

      I am sure there are WH corps requiring T3 pilots; In that other game, there were always raids looking for hardmode players to run obsolete content.

      Building up such a corp is well within the reach of a young account.

    4. I'll +1 the Wormhole concept as well. I also believe that I have a pretty good grasp on why this is:

      1) Due to the shifting nature of wormholes, it is nigh impossible to expand beyond one system with a limited number of pilots. There are no bottlenecks, there are no borders. You can't have 3 relatively uninhabited systems kept safe by one heavily defended border system.

      2) There is a lot of 'space' out there (no pun intended). An easy fix to alleviate some of the null pressure is to introduce significantly more systems that border as many existing systems as possible.

      I have not been playing long (since the end of September) but I run my own wormhole corp already. Retribution was HUGE in allowing us to do what we do, but I'm afraid that more and more people will move into WH space and create a crowded mess, so fixing Null is a pretty important factor for tertiary reasons.

    5. Actually after reading this you might just get one of my votes this year. I heard you speak on Declarations of War twice, the first time you sounded unnecessarily peevish, the second time was much better and very constructive. This piece is like a continuation of that.

      Also, the way how you fit your own ideas seamlessly with the ones of Seagull has the potential to make you a very good CSM member i.e. someone who wants to work with CCP instead of just kicking against their shins.

      The fact that you are a member of an independent in-game entity is another bonus point as far as I am concerned.

      There is only one thing in your whole article I disagree with: Not everyone declares others as subhumans, it's actually mostly the large nullsec empires who do. Starting with BoB being aloof pricks, going on to Goons with their us-against-them mindset, calling everyone else "pubbies" up to the "You don't talk back to Triple A" mentality.

      You don't hear the carebears, solo-pvp'ers lowsec pirates, FW players and wormhole settlers constantly putting everyone else down.

  11. And my axe. You have been a great communicator and have a lot of love for Eve. Never change.

  12. Another great article. And to answer the question: no, I'm not happy with "The Way Things Are."

    I'm not happy when someone asks how to gain sov in a single system and I have to turn and preface sov mechanics with a "You can try, but HBC/SOLAR/CFC are just going to grind you into dust."

    I'm not glad when I explain that no, those Exploration posts on reddit aren't really possible because you need a pimped out T3 to even think about beating these guys to the signature.

    I'm not satisfied when I have to explain that POS's are only worth it when there is no easy way to get to an NPC station with infinite and perfectly secure storage for almost anything.

    I'm not even remotely thrilled when I explain that to get into manufacturing, you have to have billions of ISK or a good 6 months to even start on a single item, and even then you're most likely going to be better off buying from the market and just flipping it for a few hundred ISK profit.

    Hell, there's only about 1/3 as many hull types as there are ships, and about 10 fits that work for any ship or role.

    I love this game, but there's just too many things that can be tagged "Just the Way Things Are." The eternal argument of suicide gankers vs miners is overpowering any discussion that may be had, and slowly strangling the game.

  13. I wish to make a comment on when people like Alexseyev/james 315/ Poetic make comments the likes of "I could HTFU and so can you" or " undocking is consent to PVP and death".

    I'm a member of E-uni, and although we have a huge inflow of newbies, we also have a close view of what troubles these newbies. And being killed by WT's in High Sec, on their first few days of EVE is a jarring experience that turns many away from EVE. I specifically remeber one person who lost their missioning caracal to a WT as he moved from caldari space to Aldrat, he asked "what did they have to gain from that".

    On my first day of E-uni, WT's in T3 strategic cruisers and OOC logis locked down Aldrat, ganking unaware members. When some people suggested undocking to fight, the FC's said our lack of recon ships would mean we would all die in a fire without landing a hit on the 100mn tengus. That left a pretty bad taste in our mouths.

    E-uni runs it's WSOP to try and discourage groups from declaring war, and to deny them kills and "fun". Because E-uni know that the defender in a war has very little means to dictate the terms of engagement. We have the PVPers to fight WT, but they choose not to fight them, instead content on ganking industrials and miners. Avoiding death in a T1 cruiser at the hands of some cynabals require constant vigilance, and that's a bit too much to ask of a two week newbie still exploring the mechanics of EVE.

    People like poetic or James 315 might say, well you could HTFU, we could, but that would kill off the newbie friendly aspect of E-uni. Or they say we could disband and not give griefers a herd of sheep to kill, which is out of the question.

    I'm not asking for "non war-dec" corps like other have suggested. But rather a reward for defenders of a war who have kept their calm and carried on. Something like should the attacker not pay the bill or surrender, defenders get the attacker's dec fee. Something that discourages the Strong from beating up the weak, then coming back the next week to do it again because he paid the cops $5 to look away.

    1. When FC'ing Incursion VG's & seeing E-UNI "IVY" tags I rarely contest them more then once. I guess it'd be EZ pickings but showing them the once contest how shinier fleets can overwelm is enough for me & I like to see more newbies in group PvE Incursions. Can't tell you how many times I've seen IVY wrecks in sites & had me or fleet members bookmark & contract those book mark's or loot to unfortuntes who've lost ships in sites.

  14. The whole idea that CCP is somehow in a position to “fix” the current state of things, where large power blocks own most of nullsec, seems odd to me. Since you decided to compare the current geopolitical climate in Eve to that of Earth, let’s take it a bit farther:

    Where would the United States be if it did not have allies during its rebellion against Britain?

    Where would Germany be if a large number of sovereign nations around the globe had not come together in common purpose to deal with Hitler?

    I can extend this idea to many other areas… labor unions, OPEC, European Union, NATO, etc. There is power in numbers, and there is no game mechanic, present or absent, that can ever change that fact. It is part of Human Nature to seek allies in common defense, or for some other common purpose.

    I agree that the “everyone is blue” issue is a problem, and I agree it is “unfun”. I just don’t think it is within CCPs power to fix it. You can say “fix the Sov system” (did Dominion work?), or “fix the POS system” but in the end it doesn’t change the numbers game. They wanted a Sand Box, and they got it. As in real life, if you want to topple the large regime, you have to get your own numbers to do so. Otherwise, the “rogue nations” are relegated to low-sec or NPC nullsec.

    1. CCP are still the administrators. They are God as far as Eve is concerned, and you know what? If they somehow figured out a way to shake up the game, blow away all the blue blob sov bullshit, and make Eve a better world, a more fun world to live and play in...I wouldn't mind them doing it. Even if it meant tampering with the sandbox. Because right now the sandbox is soaked. It's mostly a big pile of mud and shit. Sure, there's some fun stuff. And sure, it's a very unique sandbox. Fuck, I love it. But if some big changes don't happen in the next year, we're in trouble. Hell, if the summer expansion isn't really fucking good, we're in trouble.

    2. I am firmly in the camp that Dominion didn't work because CCP got gunshy.

      They can say all they want about changes not making it into the expansion that were announced was because they didn't think it would be "sandbox-ish". Or whatever the party line was. But you don't go through months of Dev work and then announce a feature a month out from completion and not have already decided on how you think it slots into a game. No, stuff got cut from Dominion and made it an absolutely toothless expansion because THOUSANDS of posts happened on the forums.

      And the sad part is, after that expansion was neutered of all features that limited power in Nullsec, we all told them that in a few years that how it is now is how it would be. Our timeline may have been off depending on how you look at it. But the prediction was right.

      Now though, the issue is so damn big and bad to effect actual change they'd have to piss off far more people than they risked alienating back then. Back then it would have been a change that only effected the 2-3 largest of entities, but those people could have still kept most of their empires intact. Now days CCP has to hit Null with a hammer so big it fractures 90% of Null.

      They should have gone with, "Little pain now to save big pain later.".

    3. +1 Jason. The real problem here is human nature. We suck. Give us nearly-free reign as CCP has, and most of us will backstab, pirate, and bully. The rest of us are left fighting the good fight, knowing we are doomed. (Angel's series ender is coming to mind.) Since the good-fight people are out-numbered, it comes down to 2 options:
      (1) The good-fight people band together with some of the lesser-evils to outnumber and overthrow the greater-evils. But all we've done with that is swapped the evils' lesser and greater positions.
      (2) CCP would have to change some mechanic that either disallowed or made it very costly/undesirable to become this power rolling entity, this barrier to entry. But that will get severe objections from the sandbox crowd.

      Look, I love the sandbox element of Eve, I really do. But not more than I think that Eve has to remain a *game* (which might call for unrealistic mechanics), nor more than I love righteousness(so if selfishness and greed have to be sacrificed to make a good game, oh well.)

    4. "The good-fight people band together with some of the lesser-evils to outnumber and overthrow the greater-evils. But all we've done with that is swapped the evils' lesser and greater positions."

      - About 5 days ago, I found an tanker that would haul that gasoline. You wanto get out of here? You talk to me. - Max

  15. "The other night while talking on Declarations of War, I mentioned that null-sec should look like a current world map:

    big enormous players like the United States, Russia, and China; then,
    medium size players like Germany, France, Venezuela, Egypt, Israel, and Brazil; then,
    small scale players -- some of whom are rogue nations and some of whom are not -- like Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Poland, South Africa, and Costa Rica.

    There should be a hell of a lot more members of the bottom two categories than of the top, and they should all be free to operate independently. What we have in EVE today isn't anything even remotely like that. How do we get there? I haven't a clue. But what we've got today is the United States and countries like it owning (say) all of North and South America and parceling out little scraps of land to favored (and ever-changing) toadies."

    Um Jester, the "what we've got today (in 0.0)" part is pretty much the way things *are* in the real world too.

    How many times does it need repeating? 0.0 will inevitably favour large group sizes because it's relatively homogenous, and because therte's a relatively low barrier to mobility. This exactly mirrors the political development of our own world, where every improvement in mobility and communications was promptly followed by the rise of a larger "big kid on the block".

    With the final result, in the 50s, of the world being divided into 2 megacoalitions led by the US and the USSR, plus a few "non-aligned" nations in the real world equivalent of NPC 0.0 The only reason we have the current situation of 1 megacoalition and a relatively fluid geopolitical map is because the effects of the USSR failcascade haven't finished shaking out, and China hasn't finished putting together its megacoalition, although they're working extremely hard at it. Stuff in the real world shakes out about 100-500 times slower than in EVE for various reasons, but there's no obvious reason to assume that it's going to shake out differently.

    The only way you can stop this continuing to happen in 0.0 is to massively restrict mobility - as was successfully done with W-space. But we already *have* W-space. Why should we remake sov 0.0 into another W-space?

    You implicitly assume that it's bad that we have a 'Great Power' geopolitical model in 0.0, but you don't say why. Can you give a coherent explaination of WHY players shouldn't be allowed to create their own version of empire, and, if you think they should, where else but sov 0.0 should they be able to do it?

    In short, your post is full of unexamined assumptions, and frankly a significant arrogance in assuming that you know better than the players themselves how they should be playing their game. Who are you to tell a Goon or a TEST or a SOLAR guy that they shouldn't be allowed to build a mighty space empire because you want 0.0 to look differently? You make much noise about "the majority", but what about the majority of 0.0 players? Don't they get to make their own choices?

    If you want a more diverse, granulated and dynamic map, then what you need to ask for is to ask CCP to add new types of 'terrain' that will support the kind of geopolitics you want to see, and let the players decide where- and therefore *how* they want to play their game.

    1. Which is the point people seem to miss. It is in human nature to work together for mutual benefit; therefore, massive coalitions. CCP would need to significantly restrict the ability of people to align their interests in order to give smaller entities a chance.

      *Why* should mechanics favour the small? Nothing in life does so it would require a significant break to the sandbox.

    2. I'd like the option of going to 0.0 as a small (compared to megalliances and coalitions, I mean) group, staging a bloody takeover of a small chunk of space and getting our name on the map, even if it's just in a little corner, ideally surrounded by other pocket empires. Right now if you try something like that there aren't a lot of pocket empires to overthrow and even the ones that do exist belong to some vast coalition who will band together to stop you with overwhelming force. If you do want to go to Null you join up with one of those coalitions and either merge with an existing alliance or get a parcel of land from the coalition leaders.

      I'm not saying I think CFC/HBC/Solar etc are wrong playing the game their way or anything like that, just that the little pocket empire is something I'd like to try, and I think it'd make the game more attractive to newbies to boot. If that would work best with new terrain that encourages it, I'm all for adding in that new terrain.

    3. My take on Jester's post is that is had gotten to the point in 0.0 where no "guy(s)" can build a Solar,Goons or TEST at this point. You have to kiss someone's ring to gain admission.

      Line members of these massive coalitions are complaining that it is stagnant. Other types of game play are demonized and blamed for the stagnation in order to divert the players' attention away from the real problems. It seems that someone has read Rules for Radicals... "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it..."

      If game play was so good in 0.0 then players would be naturally drawn to it. When I started playing in '06, all of the players I ran with aspired to enter null-sec. It's quite different now,from what I can see. In my opinion w-space is what 0.0 should have been, small fiefdoms clashing over space and resources.

      Unfortunately, 0.0 has been gamed by a few very intelligent and motivated folks. I tip my hat to them. However, while their particular genius may be good for them and their relatively small group of buddies it may not be good for the long term health of our game.

      I do like what you say here and on this point I agree with you:

      "If you want a more diverse, granulated and dynamic map, then what you need to ask for is to ask CCP to add new types of 'terrain' that will support the kind of geopolitics you want to see, and let the players decide where- and therefore *how* they want to play their game."

      My question to you is if CCP gave players another alternative to sov. 0.0 how many players would stay? I think sov. 0.0 would be the new low-sec that everyone complains is empty and dead.

      No facts here. Just opinions.

    4. I agree with you on that one. New space is needed, that is different than what we have now. Sticking to real world analogies, null sec is basically all flat lands, where the tanks can blitzkrieg from one end of the galaxy to the other. WH are like mountains, where there are livable areas, but the paths from one to the next are very restrictive. So, what about other terrain types? Hills, forests, rain forests, seas and oceans (above and below), deserts, the arctic, ect.

      Make new space that is different. Fluidic space where mobility at the ship level is hugely restricted as well as visibility.

      Space full of ion storms and anomalies that can and do pop up everywhere to screw with your day, especially if you fly large ships. The more massive the ship you fly, the greater affect the gravitational anomalies have on it.


      Each new region of space needs to have its own unique resources to make new and cool unique stuff. It will still get gamed by the strong to rule over the weak, but you can limit the extent of that with smart game design, like they did with wormholes.

      For current nullsec, change the way sov works or just remove sov all together and let the hodgepodge work itself out. Its an unfun mechanic that has no real use. Just unchain everything now tied to sov.

      Let folks conquer stations like they destroy POSs (or hopefully find a more engaging way to do it other than structure shooting). Or better yet, build up a new POS system that replaces both POS and outposts. Leave outposts as unmanageable stations like NPC stations, with the ability to shut them down (destructible in some form).

    5. I think at this point in eve's life to deny that there is a large segment of the eve community that would like to play the 0.0 game but don't due to the political barriers of 0.0 blocks is a bit daft. The amount of post on forums, voices on podcast, blogs, ect shows a sizable segment of the eve populous that wish 0.0 could be a place for small entities to independently live and fight is hard to ignore. Now what/if there should be a solution to this problem is what I think Jester is getting at. The "we have wormholes just go there pubbie" argument gets thrown around a lot, but that begs the question of why those that wish to play in the small scale must be burdened with 2hours of scanning a night? Sounds a bit elitist I think. Is the solution "new" space? Well without arbitrary restrictions most feel the large 0.0 blocks would just take it over too. But this fundamentally is a computer game, and one in which CCP sets up the rules and parameters for. The idea that game mechanics can be tweaked to encourage smaller groups (or any player driven activity) is a valid one. Hell, the large blocks we have now are not because of some unchangeable natural law, they are because CCP has set up a system that encourages that.

      I don't think anyone is saying people should NOT be allowed to form large blocks as you allege, but the idea that there is a zero sum game where it's either large blocks or small groups is also false. You claim "arrogance" against jester for suggesting that this is a desire of many players, well isn't it just as arrogant to suggest that since many players form into large blocks that therefore no one else wishes they would not or that it's best?

      I for one would really love to go to 0.0 and try to build some type of an empire but not at the cost of begging on my knees to someone who calls me "pubbie" and has to give me space for being a good boy. I want to take it (and I mean within the realities of having a job because once again Eve is a GAME I play for fun). If that proves unattainable I suppose once I get tired of FW I will probably also get tired of Eve and move on. Now if it's considered a good thing I do, then so be it, but I don't see how that attitude can be good for Eve in the long run.

    6. -Alicia
      Because it is a game. It's ultimate goal is fun. Simple as that.
      And if you don't like that one, there's this one:
      Because CCP is a business. It's ultimate goal is to be profitable to sustain employment and development. Simple as that. So if they way things are is hurtful to their bottom line, then it is time for things to change.

    7. Malcanis, you raise quite a few very valid criticisms against Ripard.

      But ...

      One thing you are not including in your comparison is that the real world is a bit more complex and multi-layered than what is going on in EVE now.

      I interpreted the article in such a way, that the whole fractal thing Jester is writing about is adressing just that.

      To illustrate:

      Sure, the USA can send a massive force all across the globe to supplant whole national governments, but at the same time there are vast areas inside the USA where the rule of law does not exist: Back alleys, remote locations, informal power structures.

      In EVE that does not exist. There is no backwater of Deklein or Fountain where grandpa Joe and his extended family basically rule one small town with their shotguns. There are no "hoods" in the outlying systems where Stray-Dawg and his homies are calling the shots (quite literally). Authority and power in sov nullsec right now is absolute and almost instantaneous in it's prosecution of transgressors.

      I don't have the feeling that Ripard wanted to say that there should not be a CFC/HBC/SOLAR but that he is striving to think of a way how they could be made to coexist with all the small-time entities like grandpa Joe's family or Stray-Dawgs homies in the same area. In the same world.

    8. @Emergent Patroller: What stops the CFC from shooting HBC renters in Fountain? The fact that TEST owns the sovereignty certainly does not. Hell, I'm sure some of the renters might even pay the people killing the ratters protection money to be left alone. Owning the sovereignty allows TEST to set up stations, jump bridges, upgrade the indices, and build supers. It does not stop their enemies from entering the space, setting up POSes, POCOs, running anomalies/complexes, killing their renters, and so on. Stopping this requires players to actively patrol the region.

      @Anonymous: Yes, it is a game but there need be more reason than complaining that there are not enough small entities. There are smaller entities, they befriend more powerful alliances and gain space as a result. Riptard's analogy to the real world does not hold because even so-called rogue states get support from others in their region. Ultimately, it seems as though he does not want to deal with the politics involved with power in 0.0. Try declaring your own state in the real world: this will only happen if you have the support of more powerful allies who can protect you from those who would disagree and take your resources for their own. People act as though the current coalitions have always existed. The HBC was formed last summer and built up its strength through diplomacy and force at the expense of another coalition in the south. Alliances and coalitions rise and fall through politics. Why should people unwilling to negotiate and build these relationships be supported in a social game?

    9. Well, the CFC members can do that (and they do so too) because they have a large coalition behind them that will counterdrop fleets. Eventually the tensions build up and we have recently seen what happens then: Leadership steps up and quenches them.

  16. Generally when I want the most important information in a document I skip to the end... in both the CSM notes (& Fanfest 2012 ) Dr E's comments/presentations were at the end... one thing of the 2 things that hit me between the eyes yet I've heard no consequential discussion about was that from the CSM summit numbers provided when contrasted with from last year's the BEST economic blog IMHO ( http://twostep4csm.blogspot.com/2012/03/its-econmony-stupid.html )is that the skill book sink has dropped from 6.9 trillion to ~6 trillion and in there is the strong implication that the lp sink is under 6 trillion from 6.2 trillion even with ( I often argue especially because) of the summer FW LP bonanza!

    The second thing that still leaves me bewildered because rarely a word is spoken about it is that there was a PLEX intervention & not because of some special videocard/special item offer but because of the FW payout mechanic.

  17. If CCP listens to the CSM as much as both sides say they are, then the game experience for new players will continue to be a mess. The CSM is so intent on maintaining the power status quo, there is zero chance the CSM will ever recommend anything that would reduce the power of the current alliances. And null sec requires an enormous shift in game mechanics to even begin to address allowing smaller groups to experience the full game experience. Anything that allows smaller groups to better enjoy high sec/low sec/wh's, and yes, null sec, will very, very likely mean a weakening of the null sec alliances.

    And tell me, do you think Myanna, as the new CSM chair, will allow anything to mess with the goon power structure? Why do you think ring mining appears to have died a quiet death? Goon propaganda is saying because "the coding is to hard". That is is of course crap. The real reason is there is no way the alliances want the moon goo oligopolies to wither.

    Bottom line, while CCP treats the CSM as the only credible source of viewpoints in the game, (if CCP thinks the largest demographic in the game is the high sec solo player, why do they not alter the CSM appointment mechanic to ensure people of that demographic are represented?) the high sec/new player experience will remain garbage.

    1. Yeah we'd never do that.

      Except in the minutes where we do that.

    2. mynnna isn't a Goon fanatic. If you regularly follow his posts on the forums (also under corestwo), you'll see this. And, his market/trading/manufacturing experience is extensive, which is something that has been much needed on the CSM.

      After all, how many CSM members do we need to have that do nothing but harp endlessly on about how null is broken and that super caps need to be fixed?

  18. The problem of entry barriers being too high is a very real problem in this game right now. However, EVE was not always like this. I played this game during two periods from 2004 to 2007 and from 2011 until now. The game itself, and social/power dynamics in the game have undergone though some huge changes. My experience playing this game during these two periods may be able to illustrate these changes. I started playing this game in the fall of 2004. After learning my ropes around the game mechanics for a couple of weeks and talking to random people that were running missions in the mission hubs, I heard about the legendary riches of null-sec (the rare ores and high bounty npcs). I made it my goal to gather enough isk to buy a cruiser and joined a corporation which claimed to have a 0.0 presence (from the in-game recruitment channel!). At this time I didn’t even have a million skill points. The corporation I joined lived in Deklein, so I took all of my isk earned from running missions in a frigate, bought an Osprey with some mining lasers and headed to 0.0 (I remember I could not afford to insure it at the time). Fortunately I was savvy enough at the time to make a scout character on another slot and placed it into EC-P8R, so ganking upon entry to null was avoided. I survived with my Osprey for a few weeks and after first successful haul of zydrine back into high sec to sell, I was able to expand my personal frigate fleet and began participating in some pvp with my “alliance” (formal alliances were not implemented in the game at the time). At the time there were very little rules about being in the alliance – all I had to do was not shoot “allied” corps and show up for some PVP ops in my Kestrel.
    At the time each region had 3 conquerable stations, and if I remember correctly, to flip ownership station had to be shot and would switch to a new owner at downtime. During this time my alliance and all of Deklein was overrun by BoB. I lost all of my frigates during the futile defense of the region, and headed back to Torrinos trying to figure out what to do next. During this time my corp experienced an exodus of people, so after wasting away in high sec for a few weeks, I applied to one of the corps in BoB and somehow was accepted. This led to an extremely fun period of conquering Delve and Fountain. I lost the interest in game when BoB got extremely strong and was wiping out ASCN and the rest of South residents. This extreme position of strength in the game (given by my corp/alliance) may have been the thing that made it very unrewarding for me to play.

    My experience of getting back into the game in 2011 was jarringly different, with one barrier of entry after another (all player created). I was not a new player any more, I had respectable number of skill points, and more than enough resources to be self-sufficient. The application process into a null-sec corp began with a virtual cavity search – a full API audit. This was followed with thorough interview where all the prospective corp wanted to hear was my dedication to showing up for CTAs (which I had no clue what it meant at the time). After I made it into the corp and alliance I was greeted with 5 page long “bulletin” which described an absolutely ridiculous set of rules – down to which systems were available, which were off limits, which ships I was not allowed to fly, kill quotas, taxes, and many other things people had to do with a tiered fine structure for various violations. One word would perfectly describe the organization – it was set up and operated by the worst of the worst of bureaucrats I have ever encountered in my life. Instead of having any ambition to move the organization forward, the whole point there was following rules. Ironically, after first real assault the alliance folded quicker than my first alliance when I lived in Deklein.

    As far as I could tell, in 2004-2005 there was NO BARRIER FOR ENTRY into Eve’s null sec game play at all. At least in my case, the only barrier may have been getting that mining Osprey in one piece to Deklein.

  19. Ok but please, please put directions here for us on how to actually vote. Am a relative noob and do not know and don't think the game makes that clear at all, hence part of the reason only big blue donut people get voted in.

  20. Excellent article dear Jester. All you said is true, that is why I unsubbed both my accounts. I haven't logged in for a month now.
    I will resub just to give you 2 votes by the way.
    Also I have a solution for the "nullsec problem". Nullsec should be much much bigger, it must be big enough that everyone who wants can have sov. And so huge that no single alliance or coalition is able to claim/control/hold it all. In fact I do strongly believe that most of the problems will go away if they massively increase the size of the universe.
    More exploration in Hisec, more Sov to hold in Nullsec, more lowsec systems where you are not immediately ganked if you want to do some PvE there.
    The fast deployment with Titan bridges will suddenly not be so fast any more...because the Universe is much bigger.
    Thanks for running for CSM, I am convinced you will make Chairman. And the second one will not even be close.

  21. A few days ago I made a suggestion for small gang activities on the F&I forum. It has fallen back some pages by now but I would like to here your thoughts about a mechanic like that.

    Would it encourage small gang PvP? Would it make larger entities vulnerable to smaller ones? It wouldn't prevent smaller entities to be stomped out of sov 0.0 but it might give them benefits of Sov 0.0 through raiding it.


  22. I'm awestricken !
    Great abstractions. EVE has to be about diversity, endless possibilities, and neverending strife for beeing better, so please join the club and begin pushing that kaisen wheel !!
    As told before, you have my votes :-)

  23. I'd echo the concerns raised in Slinger and Malcanis' posts above concerning RL geopolitical comparisons. However, I would ask them in reply isn't sov null meant to be the frontier land, the virgin territory and the epitomy of the lawless unknown regions?

    In terms of real life comparisons, it might have been better for you (Ripard) to compare sov null to the North America circa 17th century period. Maybe this is the crux of the matter concerning sov null: it has evolved beyond that "new found land" and is now more akin to the developed 1st world countries with their complex economic and military alliances. In some respects sov null is no different than empire space, except that it is players that are in control versus NPC empire factions.

    This might explain why WH space is more often favoured by smaller corps looking to carve out their own little corner of space. WH space mechanics has anti blob/force projection built into it, so many of the tools that allow coalition dominance of sov null are explicitly unavailable. Might this suggest then that CCP's efforts would be best deployed with WH space residents in mind? Might such development effort tick all of CCP Seagul's boxes?

  24. This pic is as old as the internet, still accurate:


  25. Veteran players should be worried about CCP's new direction. Unifex, Seagull and Ripley didn't spring fully formed from a vacuum. They were likely picked for their roles by upper management because they were best suited to drive the game towards CCP's corporate goals. More subs. More money. More profits. That's really the only real-world thing going on.

    Veteran players should be worried because if CCP decides they need more subs, above and beyond all other considerations, they will gladly toss the veteran players under the bus if they think revised gameplay mechanics can double or triple the company's bottom line.

    EVE as we know it might cease to exist. But CCP won't care because they'll have 1,500,000 subscribers instead of 300,000. There are some numbers that CCP will never reveal to anyone (nor should they even under NDA). Only they know the real numbers of players that begin playing and then quit after a few months. They are the only ones with all the facts as to how and why people play, and people stop playing. The CSM will never be privy to these facts.

    The players will never ultimately decide where this game goes entering its second decade. The owners of CCP Games, its investors and senior management will decide that. I think it's dishonest to pretend otherwise.

    1. Nobody likes to follow the logic of follow the money.

    2. "EVE as we know it might cease to exist. But CCP won't care because they'll have 1,500,000 subscribers instead of 300,000."

      CCP seem to be well aware that trying to turn EVE into a poor themepark game instead of a dominant sandbox game isn't likely to work out well for them, because it hasn't worked out well for anyone. Unless you think they're eager to repeat the incredible long term success of SW:TOR and STO?

      In short, you rnumbers have a big ole ~citation needed~ against them.

  26. heheh i like how you have developed a line of thought around the "eve experience" in your last couple of blogs...

    I bet my months salary CCP Seagull is reading some of these.

    1. I would venture a guess that that is his purpose. Jester is a clever guy.

  27. You have my vote...
    You have my sword...
    And my Tachyon beam II!

    Also, I've written something about a possible fix a while ago on my blog:

    Do please drop by and give it a read.

  28. Best Blog post I've read in 3 years of playing. You have the votes of myself plus 3 alts.

  29. Jester,

    Interesting article. Perhaps it’s worth exploring why you have such difficulty coming up with game alterations that alleviate your shit rolls down hill fractal concerns. Perhaps the difficulty is built into the very heart of EvE. Perhaps the game play difficulties you explore are, at their very root, that capsuleers are immortal. In an immortal environment, is it any wonder that brand new players find it difficult to compete? In an immortal environment, is it any wonder that brand new corps find it difficult to compete? In an immortal environment, is it any wonder that brand new alliances find it difficult to compete? If capsuleers would just have the decency to forever die, younger players could step in to fill the vacuum.

    Somehow, this solution doesn’t appeal to me. I doubt it appeals to CCP either – deleting long paying loyal customer’s accounts doesn’t seem like a winning business policy.

    Perhaps CCP is aware of this problem. Perhaps CCP figures what EvE needs is virgin terrain for new players to start completely anew. Perhaps CCP calls this new terrain DUST 514. Perhaps DUST 514 will be the next Apocriphia. Perhaps it will be the next Incarna. Time will tell.


  30. Sov-decay would resolve the big blue donut nicely. IMO most folk agree that a system should be held not because you drop some item in it, but because you live there. The more folk would are active in system over time the better resources you should have in the system. Conversely, if people aren't active in a system the sov should slowly decay until the point where it is not under their control anymore. Even with all of their numbers, the large alliances simply do not have the people to live in every system that they claim ownership over. With sov decay, the large alliances would be forced to make choices as to what they can actually hold on to and let go of the rest which should give opportunities to other folk to enter into null space.

  31. There are contrasting visions of what eve really is. Eve is marketed as a hardcore open world pvp game. Many folk come here because that is what they expect. The reality is that eve is anything but a true open world pvp game and is actually closer to wow like game then anything else as it essentially has a large safe zone and consensual battle zones surrounding the safe zone. CCP clearly wants to continue to market the game as hard core pvp because it differentiates the game from its competitors, yet the game is not what they claim it to be. Consequently, what eve is experiencing a problem of perception.

    If eve is to retain its open world pvp character it must have non-consensual pvp in empire which means ganking. But in a true open world pvp game the carebears could fight back. However concord prevents the carebears from taking any sort of proactive measures in their defense. Consequently, if you want to retain the open world nature of the game then concord should be revisited. Of course ccp could take the other tact and simply acknowledge the reality of the game i.e. that it is not an open world pvp game - but then their unique marketing position would take a hit.

  32. Jester,

    I've been paying attention to you for quite awhile, we've spoken in game about fits and etc on a few occasions. I like what you stand for and I respect what you've done in game. I think Seagull is on the right track and I think this blog post is one of the best you've written about the big picture of Eve.

    The one area where I disagree to a small degree is how to climb out of the crib without getting strangled. My main, 36 million SP, crawled out of the crib about 90d into playing. It's all about what you want and how hard you want to work to get it in my opinion. Eve makes you earn it, whatever it may be, and Eve makes you pay in blood for everything you get. It's one of the things I love about Eve. Maybe I'm a sadist but I like being able to look back on what I've done and know I did it against the odds and did it my way.

    While I say that and mean it, I'll also say I've never considered leaving my corp for others. Although at times Null Seccers like Black Legion have piqued my interest. There are things I want to do, but I don't feel like I can becuase of time restrictions or the political walls surrounding aspects of this game, as you so eloquently put it. Is that the game, the players, or me standing in the way? Its a good question and I think its likely a combination of all three. I firmly believe if I want it bad enough I can have whatever I desire in Eve.

    I've been playing far too long to believe that's me being ignorant.

    One last thing. I'm glad to see you're running for CSM. You have my six votes. That doesn't mean I still won't try to space your ass if I see you in Syndicate!

    1. You crawled out of the crib 90 days into playing? Most of the people CCP loses are gone well before 90 days are up. The trick isn't to get people to leave high sec--null sec can no longer be considered the end game of EVE; there shouldn't [i]be[/i] an end game in a sandbox--it's to get them to stay even for those 90 days.

      I don't think you have to do anything particularly radical to the game to get more people over the hump. They do have some pretty serious work to do on the new player experience, and on integrating new players into existing social structures and networks. That, of course, cannot be done without the cooperation of the existing social structures and networks. I don't have an answer to that dilemma, but it's something that we as players have to think about, too, because we are part of the new player experience whether we want to be or not.

  33. To break up the large powerblocks it will need to become harder to maintain them. I suggest creating a way for small gangs to disrupt the infrastructure of the empire. Ig for example a small ammount of damge was sufficient to offline a moonminer, poco, hub,etc it would require active defence or at least tenders. These offline units would stay off until someone visited them to turn them back on. The goal is for the infrastructure to be more fragile without msking it easier to destroy and also to make it so you must actively control your territory, which in turn means more ships moving in space.

  34. Only problem I think you have here is that lone miners and mission runnners are NOT enablers. The mining FC/foreman which sets a time and organizes a team of miners is the enabler in the mining content. For mission runners, i guess the closest thing would be the guy that makes sure there's always ammo in the corp hanger.

    1. See, now is this the type of one dimensional (non fractal) thinking we want on the CSM? I've seen plenty of PvE pilots working together, be it on a very small scale (helping with Dagan in Arnon), running mission locust fleets, right through to FC'ing Incursion fleets.

      Now, I'm no PvE'er nor builder, but I think you Alek, are being very disingenuous or really don't know much about the game outside your corner of the sandbox.

  35. I find the article to be well put, but you are entirely wrong on the current environment.

    In null, the small groups are everywhere, look at syndicate. Low sec has plenty of the "small nations" as well. The exist because NPC space protects them (Much like the United Nations protects smaller nations, than and fear of nuclear war). Then if you look at the current alliance/coalition map, you immediately see its a NATO/warsaw/china situation. The countries themselves may not be massive but they group together for eachother!

    The issue many high sec groups have is there is absolutely terrible group effort. Many cases its a bunch of solo players who contribute nothing to the team.

    You can't win everything, and if you are upset about following eternal losers then find yourself a winner. Otherwise have fun and fight with friends win or lose.

  36. Null isn't that hard to fix. CCP just needs to make some database tweaks, in order to change the map. More specifically:

    1) Add new gates from low sec to less frequented parts of null, esp. gates which go "behind the lines" of the current sov holders.

    2) Double the size of null sec, and attach the new space to high/low in such a manner as to make it difficult/impossible for the current alliances to easily occupy the new space. Keep in mind that it took nearly 5 years for the current null to reach its current stasis - adding more null will give CCP another 5 years or so to figure out a better solution to null.

    3) Redistribute the tech moons, randomly. By doing it randomly, this will help mitigate accusations that (a) CCP is pro-Goon and (b) CCP is anti-Goon.

  37. "An entire planetary system with a star and orbiting planets looks very similar to a single atom which is a basic building block of all matter."

    Um... no it doesn't. The atomic model of electrons orbiting the nuclei was discounted a long, long time ago.

  38. We've seen the rise and fall of a lot of empires in the past few thousand years. There's the Roman Empire, of course, the Persian Empire and the Alexandrian conquests. More recently, the Spanish controlled huge swaths of the American Continents, and the British Empire which, well, controlled a good bit of everything, and of course the rise of the United States which for much of that period was busy just aggregating everything between Canada and Mexico -- not really empire-building, but certainly expansion like the others.

    What happened since then? Why did those early empires fall, and what has put us in a position where we don't really "do" empires any more? I think if we examine those questions, it might shed some very real light on why EVE nullsec is the way it is right now. I have a few ideas of my own, but they're not really developed right now ... and I'm not sure this comment box would be the place for them anyways.

    1. I agree that real-life parallels, where appropriate, are excellent. Look at the causes for decline of the great Empires, see if those exist in Eve. If they don't, see if they could be incorporated in a way that makes sense in the game.

  39. There is literally nothing easier than hopping over the barriers to entry regarding FC. All those barriers are internal.

  40. I'm excited with the new "vision" of CCP to try and include content for all player types.

    "The superior players regard the inferior ones as sub-human and say their style of play should be nerfed until it's impossible to enjoy. "CCP, force these idiots to play the game my way!" they say."

    This is something I see while playing and on a few of the blogs and forum posts that I have read. EVE is a sandbox which means I don't have to play 'your' way. If I want to I can solo mission run, or group mine, or be a pirate. There is no "right" way in EVE and for those that wish for everyone to think their way, should start looking for the skillbook "Common Sense".

    Just because we can include people in our style of play, doesn't mean we have a right to ruin theirs.

    1. What if your play-style is ruining others?

    2. Actually, you do have a right to ruin their style. That's part of the 'sandbox' too. And given the highly meta-game nature of eve, it doesn't seem so far a step that they could try to 'ruin' a play-style by petition ccp to change game mechanics.

      I personally think it's moronic, but...I have a hard time disagreeing completely with it.

  41. All I can think of when reading all of these quotes is Blazing Saddles with the townsfolk singing. Now replace the Townsfolk with Noobs and its hilarious...
    "Now is a time of great decision/Are we to stay or up and quit?/There's no avoiding this conclusion/Our Game is turning into shit."

  42. As a new player in EVE, you've got three choices of you want to keep playing this game:

    (1) Join a monster low- or null-sec coalition as a "pubbie scrublord." These will spend the next couple of years being told just how bad they are.
    (2) Join a whole corp of "pubbie scrublords" in a high-sec corp. These will spend the next couple of years being preyed on by level 80s.
    (3) Try to fly solo under the radar and let this game try to almost literally strangle you in your crib.

    I did (2), but was never preyed on. Our corp was too small to notice, I guess. So it was also partly (3); we could have easily ducked wardecs by dissolving and starting a new corp. I would have been fine in an NPC corp after I gave up missioning after 2 months.

    The game never strangled me. Not even close. I wanted it to strangle harder, really. I paid dollars for exactly one month of EVE. The second month I barely made PLEX, but I made it. After that, I never had problems. I kept wondering how a rank newbie can possibly be earning PLEX per month; it must mean there's a lot of guys out there who have cash and want shiny and can't be arsed to grind. Well, fine by me. I enjoy the carebear game.

    N.B.: a dilemma has two horns. Yours as proposed has 3: trilemma.

  43. "Just take a point called Z in the complex plane (Alternate: Take a point called C...)
    Let Z1 be Z squared plus C (Alternate: Let Z1 be zero squared...)
    And Z2 is Z1 squared plus C
    And Z3 is Z2 squared plus C and so on
    If the series of Zs should always stay
    Close to Z and never trend away
    That point is in the Mandelbrot Set"


    I look forward to seeing what you can do on CSM8.

  44. As for the state of null, well, I'm no expert but it seems that anyone can project the most powerful ships in the game across long distances. Thus we can have fights like "everyone vs goons" last weekend. You wonder why there cannot be independents in null? This is why. The ability to project power is the ability to dominate. Given no moral qualms about domination -- and in game, we have few to none -- there's no reason to expect anything but one massive null blob. The only thing that I think stops uniblue null is that people want someone to fight, and they hate grinding structures. But someone need only be one someone -- one might predict that with current rules nullsec will end up with two massive blocs, perhaps which allow tame "independents" for the purpose of gudfights.

    If you want something else, then you either have to make defenses capable of defeating super blobs, or you must curtail the ability of supers to go long distances or otherwise access an area.

    If you want an independent fief in current EVE, there's always wspace. I moved into a C1 wspace system in part because it is possible to build a dickstar there which can defeat any reasonable force that might attempt to assail it.

    Personally, I wish that CCP would look at unbundling the two ways in wspace is strategically unlike kspace. Wspace has (a) shifting topology, and (b) ship mass limits (including no cynoing). I like (b) more than (a), but both serve to keep wspace independent of kspace.

    Imagine if CCP added many small pockets (say, 100 lumps of 2-10 systems) of kspace with no gate connections to the rest of it, and distant enough that no cynoing was possible. (Access to the rest of EVE would be possible only via wspace.) Or, imagine if CCP added a new part of known space connected to the rest of it only via mass-limited stargates. I.e., "frigate space" where only frigates could pass the stargates. Or "cruiser space", etc. This, again, would be a domain where people could build empires independent of the null capital blobs.

  45. Well said Jester. Something I'd like to do is to take the whole 15 people im on decently speaking terms with, and say 'fuck stations' and live in a starbase somewhere remote, without all of the logistical and security nightmares that right now make it less than appealing. When I say logistical, I mean to refer to bringing supplies out in such a way that isn't a massive pain in the ass. Security nightmares.. well, we're all familiar with those, im sure. I have to agree with you, there has *got* to be a better way. And, honestly? I'm *not* happy with how the game is right now. The last time I earnestly *lived* in nullsec was shortly before BoB2 collapsed because Haargoth said 'fuck you' to them. You know why I don't go back out there, despite being more than capable of it with more than adequate funding?

    It isn't *fun* for me. I really don't care to alarm clock at stupid-o-clock in the morning or pander to somebody else's KB-driven ego nor do I want to move every 3 months because of diplomatic problems driven by people with kb-driven ego problems.

    Oh, and the coalitions? Its too bad, really, but they're *never* going to break up. I think mittens said it best one time that "no ingame resources could/would drive warfare, because its almost entirely a social thing" for them, or something along those lines.

    Btw, supers are a part of that giant pain of sov-holding. I actually could adequately sit in and fit a nyx right now, and the only reason I don't isn't because of a lack of funds, its because frankly, I don't care enough to relegate my main to sitting logged off in the thing for stupid amounts of time, even if I DID go back out there. I suspect there are many like me that could but don't really want to. Supers are part of the entry barrier atm to taking and holding sov, and thats a major reason that 'small' alliances don't do that atm. If it were me calling it, I'd just say fuck that and remove supers from the game entirely and refund all of the SP that would be made useless.

    So until something workable comes along? Fuck it all to hell and back, empire life is fine for me, kthnx.

  46. Sugar Kyle has a post up on a related subject.

    Actually, she has two.

  47. Bah. don't run for CSM8 - you'll simply join Mynxee among the ranks of burnt out expatriates. honored ranks no doubt, but still out of the game and no longer a demogogue...even if i find you repulsive for your spin of being space-poor.

    I like being space poor. The fact i get to play a sci-fi game that has an element of risk for everyone everywhere with pvp is a bonus - key word here being "play a sci-fi game"

    I do enjoy reading your half-baked theories. I like to think i take away what is best about your writing style and experience with eve.
    Take this cliche "horns of a dilemma"...i think perhaps it means more than you know. Perhaps it hints at what the WhiteBoard should actually be about: two equally plausible choices.

    sadly i doubt even CCP Seagull understands enough about this game's lurkers to hold firm in the face of ignorant risk-averse rabble-rousers and their cherished "illusion"

  48. Very interesting points. I think part of the problem is that nullsec sovereignty compares better to Roman/Byzantine/imperialistic times, rather than today's political landscape, which is partially governed by ethical bodies and enforced by stronger entities. There is no "Geneva Convention", no "Nato", no "U.N" equivalent in nullsec space, and therefore no compelling reason NOT to expand across the map except for logistics. Perhaps system upgrades could fix that -but then Malcanis's law rears its ugly head again. Destructable stations? Who knows. Love the blog though!

  49. tl;dr: CCP needs to apply a massive, fleet/pos/outpost crushing buff to the individual stealth bombers

    Breaking the current mindset and ideology of current veteran "pvp" players, and their alliances/coalitions is not going to happen anytime soon (or possibly ever). There is an air of righteous indignation, and a sense of entitlement that is carried by those alliances/coalitions and their members, and by those who prey on the weak (gankers, griefers, etc...)

    I can't address the politics (Politics, in an online game!?), but the individual EVE player needs to have more of an impact. CCP has clearly marketed this game to make you believe that the individual has an impact, when that's clearly not true (at least not in the sense you are lead to believe).

    Aside from changing the Sov mechanics, and moving resources around, CCP needs to give power to the individual player. In the real world how does a country like North Korea, pose a threat to Japan? Simple. They have nuclear weapons. In the real world nuclear weapons are the ultimate equalizer. Once a country or and individual (suit case nukes anyone?) gains that device, they are an instant threat to any person or sovereign state. In the real world a delivery system would be needed (space program), but in the world of EVE we already have the delivery system, we just need the tool.

    These weapons of mass destruction need to be able to be used by the lone pilot with absolute nightmarish destruction. Restrictions on use based on classification of space, needs to be limited (no WMDs, in hi-sec), and they shall not be limited by corp or alliance affiliation. One bomb should decimate an entire fleet of subcaps, and heavily damage a capital/supercap (no matter how many are in fleet)...just like one nuclear bomb will decimate an entire city. Two to three bombs...there goes your outpost.

    Why propose such a seemingly ridiculous idea? Simple. It gives power to the individual player. The weak will now be able to prey on the strong. Of course the strong could also prey on the weak, but there will be assurance of mutual destruction should the strong continue to prey on the weak. If I (as a small time player) attempt to build an empire on null/wh only to have it crushed by a bunch of dreads and supers, I need to have a way to fight back. As it stands now, we all know the weaker players can't fight back, because they have no equalizer. The EVE equivalent of a tactical nuke would do that. We already have the bombers, we just need the buff.

  50. Anonymous said:
    "I wish to make a comment on when people like Alexseyev/james 315/ Poetic make comments the likes of 'I could HTFU and so can you' or 'undocking is consent to PVP and death.'"

    Those are their own fantasies, and as otherwise noted are akin to the well-to-do who tell the unemployed to "get a job." Now that they are in a position of power, which to be fair they earned by the rules of the game, they fear anyone else getting the hand up that they didn't.

    Too bad. They only wish they owned the game. CCP will try to do what it thinks it has to do to keep the game profitable. That may eventually require making high-sec safer and more rewarding for new players.

    The rules we have now are not the same ones we had when the Poetics and Alekseyevs started playing, either. They've adapted so far and will do so again and again--and they'll do it by HTFUing.

  51. Null-sec sov:
    Why not jack sov bills way up, relative to system upgrade level and some metric of system use (could be combination of mining done, sites done, volume traded in stations, etc.). It could also be on a tiered system tied to total alliance sov so as not to screw over smaller/newer alliances with less money/fewer players.

    While it doesn't fix the grindy nature of sov warfare, I think it would most definitely result in a lot of systems becoming neutral.

  52. Think you have an idea that would fix the problem?

    -Increase size of nullsec?
    -Increase SOV costs?
    -Fix POSs?
    -Add gates?
    -etc, etc.

    All these things do is kick the can down the road and increase the eventual blob size. They might shake things up in the short term, but the problem will reappaer soon.

    - Get rid of NAPs?
    - No standings settings at all?
    - Limit Max Alliance size by number of members?

    This won't solve the problem either. Yes it will make large coalitions more difficult to maintain, but not impossible.

    In many cases, it's not really that CCP "won't" interfere in the sandbox (In fact, in many cases they have shown that they have no problems doing so) but rather that they "Can't". There is a trade off CCP made long ago in the design phase of Eve. The Sandbox is easy to develop, there is much less pressure to develop content as the idea is that most content will be provided by other players. On the other hand, there really is no gaurantee that a sandbox will be fun. Leaving most of the content up to the players means having very little direct control over the player experience. Sure, they can add NPC content.. or tweak some game mechanics to steer the herd in a general direction, but CCP has no real direct control over the player experience. That is why I say I do not think it is within their power to fix the problem that Jester is speaking about.

    1. Increasing the size of Nullsec (oh and please not only Nullsec) is NOT kicking the can down the road.
      Because you can do it again and again whenever neccessary. And it will only be neccessary when the playerbase grows. Which is a good thing.

    2. It took almost 5 years for null sec to reach its current state of boredom. If a few simple changes will "kick the can" another 5 years, then it is well worth it, buying CCP plenty of time to come up with a better solution.

  53. Kerb stomp long distance power projection
    Make sov maintenance scale logarithmically, not linearly

    Problem solved

  54. You forgot the fourth thing. The small time Instigator. The Jameses and Zedriks and Psychotic Monks of the world.

    We play the game because even as small as we are, we can effect a wide swath of the game. Our methods are, er, unorthodox. 'Griefers' we are called. But our stories make good fodder because it *is* something one man, or a small group can do.

    One Man and a Drake. The Taxman. Solo, or very small group. Doing things and folks read the stories and say 'Dude, I can do that. Or something like that.'

    Nobody gets space-rich doing this. But you can tell a cool story. And encourage others to find their story to tell. I'm trying to start to tell a different story. A phoenix story. Up out of the ashes kind of thing. It is harder than any other thing I've ever tried in the game. But I'm going to give it a shot because I am one man and I can make a difference.

    I've found some other guys at work who play the game. Who pilot titans and are part of one of the big power blocks. He's bored out of his mind with the game. I'm still playing and finding it interesting. I pointed him at my blog, and he went 'Yeah, cute for highsec pubby shit'

    And I'm thinking. 'And your multiple titans and boredom with what is going on is better?' Am I having more fun? Hell yeah. I'm many years into this game now, and I'm not leaving.

    I don't have a solution to the 'problem' but don't forget that there are an infinitude of ways of playing this game. And the three archetypes you just put up are not the only long term choices.

    1. I would not define you as a "griefer", Zedrik.

      I've encountered you several times in game, and you don't spend all of your game time ganking haulers and mining ships, with dessies and Tier 3 BCs.

      In fact, when I saw you out in your Itty of Doom, challenging frigs, I realized that you are almost the exact opposite of the common ganker/griefer. Someone who is always looking for an out-of-the-box challenge, to keep the game fresh and interesting.

  55. What it seems to me is that Pretty much every PVP'er out there either A.)completely failed Economics in High School or B.) Has never owned/operated a business.

    "the lurking single players who are already subscribed, are the majority of characters on Tranquility"

    Ok, this will end this argument entirely because as a business guy (and also the Original Poster that kicked off this entire lil fun run...sorry Jester!) let me explain it to you guys.

    This is about Real-Life...Not EVE. In Real Life, MONEY runs things. Money keeps the lights on, money keeps the employees paid, Money is what allows CCP to do all the wonderful things that let you guys and gals enjoy EVE.

    Now, Im a 3-year vet, I don't PLEX because I am simply not on enough to do so, but just about EVERY 1.5+ year player in this game does. They run mission, they sell loots...they pay their subs with ISK from the game. In other words...they play FREE.

    Newbs, or players such as myself who are more casual are the ones paying real money to CCP to play. WE are the ones keeping the lights burning.

    For all the winging here about "Fucking Carebears coming to ruin MY EVE"....We ( the fucking carebears) pay for it monthly, you don't. Its just as much OURS as it is YOURS...

    CCP NEEDS these players to keep the game running. After 3 years of Play I've heard CCP makes a Profit finally. How many 3+ year pilots pay real money to play?

    When the EVE community continually eats the seed-corn of new players for lol'z they are effectively killing the game. The new players walk, CCP loses revenue, then all of you bitter vets whine that shit doesn't happen fast enough for your liking.

    The Summer of Rage where CCP even hinted at new ways of making money was when I knew that CCP was in trouble. To even BROACH that topic was damm-near suicidal for them.

    Im not advocating for 100% safety, Im not advocating an end for the Ganking, and if you guys actually read what I wrote, you'd see that.

    2 Years from now we will hopefully have another game out there for space combat from a guy who knows all about spaceships. Don't for a second think he isn't reading this or his staff isn't and they are setting up a game to capture that type of audience...not carebear...but PAYING CUSTOMER.

    What will become of EVE then when 50% of your paying base leaves? When CCP no longer allows for you to play for free with Plex because they need the money to keep the power on?

    We have a whole new crop of Dusties coming, all of whom I can see many of you feverishly looking forward to fucking over to show them what a tough universe EVE is.

    The truth is this, MANY of you in EVE need to ask yourselves the fundamental question Jester asked. And then ask yourself how superior you will feel when, in a few years EVE closes its doors because it kept trying to accommodate you.

    Grow up kids. Its bigger than your in-game arguments.

    1. I have to respond to this because I find it funny that you lambaste people for failing highs school economics but then proceed to make a statement so fallacious that economists are spinning in their graves. One of your arguments appears to be that people who pay for eve with plexes are not the same as those who pay with subs. You argue that they are not supporting CCP. This is just plain wrong.

      Notwithstanding intervention by ccp in the plex market, every plex on that market is bought and paid for by real currency. This means that people who buy a plex are just as surely supporting ccp as those who are not. If I have to further explain why this is so, then it is you who has failed high school economics.

    2. It gets worse. A PLEX is more expensive than a month's subscription fee. People who PLEX their accounts make CCP *more* money than those who subscribe.

      And the thinly veiled "Star Citizen is going to kill EVE!" is bogus. Star Citizen will be instanced, which by default means it will never replace the single-shard awesomeness that is EVE.

      As I wrote elsewhere, EVE is a thoroughly mediocre game when it comes to the content it offers to people who play nice by themselves. What sets it apart, and what has kept it alive for a decade now, is the dog-eat-dog asshattery which it not only allows but encourages. We're all in this terrible game together.

      This means EVE will never be a mainstream MMO. If it tried to be one, it would fall flat on its clunky interface, boring PVE and a host of downright hilariously poorly designed features (POS anyone? Or D-scan?) So the economically sensible - not to mention the artistically honest - thing for CCP to do is to keep catering to the niche that has kept its flagship afloat for ten years.

      Though it would be nice if they fixed the damn POS already :)

    3. Ok, let me get this straight.

      I pay for my characters subscriptions for free. I kill rats then take Isk and buy PLEX. PLEX come from Real money purchases into the game. I cannot use anything else but either PLEX or Real money to pay for gametime.

      Sorry kid, yer wrong. If PLEX were removed altogether and everyone paid for subs then it would be equal. The only difference is that the Real-money value of PLEX is controllable by CCP. The PLEX market is on a supply/demand basis..too many PLEX in the game and the price goes down, too few...it goes up.

    4. Yah what?

      Hell they probably make more money off plexers, given that it starts out at $20 per plex.

      Plus, considering there's always plex on the market and, even more so, that plex can be (and is) destroyed in game, they're making money for services they either a) Don't have to provide or b) Are delayed in having to provide (plexes on the market being like a loan of sorts).

  56. A lot of folks here are I think are confused between the way they wish the world to be and the way it is. A huge portion of Eve is an emergent social experience that CCP did not design. As long as Eve remains a creative social game players will build coalitions and partnerships to curb stomp their opponents as a natural result of cooperative game theory. I get it, you don't like the stink of the big boys right now, but to change that you have to fracture the social experience in Eve.

    Wipe out every coalition today and tomorrow morning future leaders will be convoying each other to negotiate the founding of power blocs that will grow huge through a year or two long Darwinian struggle that leaves leaders with lessor diplomatic/coalition building skills and their players disenfranchised. Basically where a lot of unhappy people are in this thread right now. It is absolutely true that the leaders of large coalitions want it that way--after all they are architects of it. For whatever component RMT is to this calculation, what your missing is the geopolitics is premium and desired game content---just not your desired game content.

    Other games have been built around these concepts. Mighty Fortress, a board game from the 70's is all diplomacy. Catan, a simple but fun board game in which the winner is usually the player that can cajole trades out of the others without appearing to be a threat until it is too late. Diplomatic game content determines results and winners.

    My own table top gaming group built an economy and intergalactic movement metagame around Star Fleet Battles, a ridiculous complex space game where combat is like eve --lots of math-- only with paper and pencil. Guess what would win these games? Diplomatic game content.

    How do you take this out of Null without gutting the game? Why isn't NPC Null, lowsec, and WH enough for this sort of thing?

    I really do get why you are unhappy, but do you?

  57. An excellent post, but an arguement much too late for me. I've already trashed all my accounts after years of play and there is no way, no matter how much CCP does, that any sane person would restart EVE.

    EVE could have been a great game, but instead settled for bing just another PvP gank-fest. Remember years back when people were looking at EVE's economic gameplay and commenting on what a realistic, strong simulator it was? You don't hear those kinds of things anymore for a reason.

    EVE is not a sandbox. EVE could have been one, but it certainly is not. Most importantly though, EVE has no more horizons left. There is nothing to reach for since, no matter what you reach for, you know it's half finished, poorly implemented, and BORING AS HELL. The most you can hope for is complete frustration.

    One word that can never be used to describe EVE is "fun". It is not fun at all.


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