Revenant

Hilen Tukoss

So in case you missed it, Hilen Tukoss himself has returned after disappearing nearly three years ago.

This is probably due to a lot of things. CCP probably had some old notes that needed a reboot. It might have been inspired by a post or two of mine. It may have been nudged hard by a restart of the Arek’Jaalan charter on the IGS forum. Guillome Renard’s stunt on the recent contest probably added to it. In my mind, as I said on Hydrostatic Podcast, the natural place for the “new gate” components is wormhole space. It may simply have been time based on CCP Seagull’s timeline to get those new gates ready for prime time.

Whatever finally prompted it, he’s back from the (presumed) dead, to much shock and rejoicing of lore nuts everywhere, myself included. I’m not really prepared at this point to comment, since I suspect a lot will need to be played out further.

What I know is that CCP has a much smaller resource base this time and they have disclaimed more than once that they will not be supportive of a full-blown revitalization of Arek’Jaalan. So I unfortunately need to give the obligatory disclaimer: Expect something simple.

My hope is that he will be a vehicle for beginning to introduce the new tech toward the gates, and if we’re lucky, will actually reply to many of the outstanding submissions, including Tesseract and Catapult, which are near and dear to my heart. We may even get the full story of the fate of Lianda Burreau. I’m also pleased he’s already advertising Site One as the place where new materials will be gathered – this may cause some player pilgrimages (content!).

While I’d like those things, that wouldn’t have necessarily fit CCP Dropbear’s vision (he was very clearly not interested in applied science, but I always intended to bastardize whatever I researched toward an applied end personally), but maybe it will the new regime. Dropbear also was always focused on things like interactions and biology (which does in fact match the list of body parts Tukoss is asking about) – while most of the actual research projects were much more about physics and history.

My hat is off one way or the other to CCP (my assumption would be CCP Falcon) for having the stones to resurrect such an iconic and controversial character.

While we wait for the story to develop, here is some recommended Hilen Tukoss background reading:

Posted in Fiction, Shattered | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Freighter-Load of Wormhole Lore

Hydrostatic Podcast Episode 12

Hydrostatic Podcast Episode 12

I was invited to appear on Hydrostatic Podcast Episode 12 to discuss They’re Lying to You and The Arek’Jaalan Initiative.

It was a fun discussion; Phyridean, Lockefox and Ashterothi are great hosts. They also mercifully cleaned up the rambling discussion into a very tight podcast that is chock full of content.

We cover everything from what might be beyond the new gates to the potential conspiracy between the Sisters of EVE, Intaki Syndicate and Serpentis to the rise and fall (at the hands of CCP) of Project Compass to Guillome Renard’s attempt to revitalize player-driven lore. Of course the real kicker will come this weekend at EVE Vegas when CCP Fozzie announces what his contest’s results are.

Check it out, and let them (and me!) know what you think.

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They’re Lying To You

So today CCP Fozzie rolled out some details behind two in-character news pieces (here and here). Long story short, the empires are having a contest for who can bring them the most of two of the four kinds of Sleeper blue loot (Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries).

Here’s their dirty little secret, as well as some advice. TLDR: The empires are feeding you a line. This isn’t a surprise and you’re being set up. I’ll go into detail about this below. Meanwhile, the advice: Instead, stiff the empires and bring your Analyzers and Libraries to Guillome Renard, who is collecting them with the intent of forcing the empires to kiss the ring of the capsuleer community. I’ll talk more about Guillome below too.

The Big Lie(s)

The lore and backstory for this event is seated in a number of chronicles, but there are two that are the most important: Anoikis and Ante. Before I go further it is important to note that none of this is known by capsuleers from an in-character perspective. I’m talking to you as the players to educate you, but don’t pretend in-game (or on IC Forums) that you know this stuff or it will get ignored and laughed at.

Anoikis tells the tale of the initial discovery of the Sleepers in w-space, but that’s not really the important part for this discussion. The second half of the story, beginning at the line, “What do you intend, ambassador,” is what’s important.

What do you intend, ambassador?

I propose we call for a private summit of national leaders, to discuss an exchange of information and come to an agreement about the best use forselect recovered parts. We could use the Inner Assembly to arrange for the meetings quite easily under the guise of an understandable concern for these events, which have touched our worlds too, as we will inform them.

A private summit. About the best use for select parts. Now let’s look at the latest story.

After transmitting a detailed breakdown of the report to the Directive Enforcement Department this evening, The Sanctuary also confirmed that Arve Vesren, Director of Operations for the DED has called a meeting with the Inner Circle to discuss the findings further.

So … there’s a paper. A published set of findings. But it’s only being shared with another private summit. In other words, they still don’t want you to know exactly why they want these things. These things around which they made a quiet agreement while everyone was distracted by the horrible aftermath of the Seyllin Incident. This agreement is why NPCs buy Sleeper (“blue”) loot, providing the bulk of higher-class wormhole income.

Vitrauze Agreement.

Article 8, Section E

CONCORD subsidization in the acquisition of scientifically valuable by-products.

Although preliminary, through the spirit of peace and co-operation that affirms this treaty, each of the four member nations have exchanged sufficient information to identify four key salvageable materials of scientific interest. Seeking to both minimize their impact on capsuleer economic development and to allow more time for proper investigation into the impact of all unknown materials, the member nations have agreed to focus on four lower tier by-products identified during initial excavations of unknown space.

Clause 1) The four member nations of the treaty have each agreed that the preliminary findings, and any agreements based thereupon, on each of the four units is strictly provisional. Current scientific opinion broadly agrees that these items are of little material value. However, any reassessment undertaken by any of the member nations that is deemed to invalidate this initial finding may be deferred to.

Clause 2) CONCORD, in operation with the SCC, has agreed to facilitate and subsidize the acquisition of these items through capsuleer markets at a standard price agreed upon by all of the four member nations.

***October acquisition metrics (Capsuleer Markets / SCC):

Sleeper Data Library: 11,799,985
Sleeper Data Library This large device appears to be a data archive of some sort. Although the information within remains a complete mystery, it is immediately apparent that it stretches far back into time. Small data fragments preceding each file appear to function as time-stamps. If this is indeed what they are, then this Data Library could offer a snapshot of the universe stretching back millennia.
Neural Network Analyzer: 1,162,057
Neural Network Analyzer A cursory analysis of the software systems within reveals that it operates as some kind of monitoring device. The specialized design suggests it was used to process vast amounts of basic data and identify anomalies.
Ancient Coordinates Database: 244,234
Ancient Coordinates Database A brief analysis of the technology inside reveals that the database may in fact still be fully functional. The format and layout of the information within suggests it is a list of three-dimensional coordinates, charting a path to some distant place. Although this device could hold incredibly valuable information, there would only be a handful of people in the entire cluster that could make any sense of it.
Sleeper Drone AI Nexus: 70,726
Sleeper Drone AI Nexus Although the technology behind the Sleeper AI is for the most part recognizable, this device offers some insight into the few mysterious aspects that are not. As coveted as this component must be, only the foremost drone technicians in all of New Eden would be able to possibly find some use in it. There is little doubt however that the promise such a thing holds would ensure they paid a tidy sum.

So what the empires are asking for is “a snapshot of the universe stretching back millennia” and “some kind of monitoring device … used to process vast amounts of basic data and identify anomalies.” Now, once this is collected, what might we use it for? Maybe if you had a starmap it would be useful … oh wait, you mean another piece of blue loot is “a list of three-dimensional coordinates, charting a path to some distant place?” No wonder they might find this useful. Oh, and could you bring it to them for free?

Sounds like leverage to me.

Let’s go back to Anoikis.

That will turn the empires toward research.

Not if we intervene and provide for them what convincingly appears to be the most promising final applications of any potential studies. This hints at precisely the point we must illuminate. When framed as a concern for the balance of power between the empires and the capsuleers, our interests will appear far more congruent with theirs, and our actions will remain understandable. The empires can be made to quickly appreciate how little control over these new areas they will have, and from there, it will be simple to assist each of them in coordinating access to components we identify as key. They will recognize it as the only opportunity any of them have for strategic equality. None will refuse.

Now … wait a second. If this person is talking about the empires in the third person, who is this? Ah, as I might have mentioned a time or two before, capsuleers are suckers for the Sisters of EVE.

And that leads us to Ante. The premise of this chronicle is fairly simple. Namely, the leaders of the Intaki Syndicate and the Sisters of EVE are old friends and co-conspirators (and on a side note, the CEO of SoE is the sister of the Serpentis CEO). They collaborated to ensure that the Zephyr shuttles, given out for free to all capsuleers, were used as a massive crowdsourcing tool to feed the Sisters w-space data.

“Consolidate all the data received from the Zephyr program, everything those oblivious capsuleers have given us on wormhole space. Prepare the datacores for immediate transport; a representative from the Sisters of EVE will be arriving shortly to take possession.”

- Silphy enDiabel, CEO, Syndicate

So, suckers, are you ready to give lots of expensive blue loot to the empires now? Being the secondary patsy to the Sisters and the Syndicate while they use the empires like tools?

An Alternate Potentiality

So into this breach years ago came the Arek’Jaalan Project. This was a player/dev collaboration to discover the roots and details surrounding wormhole space via in-game investigation and science. It broke unprecedented ground and led to conclusions that actually forced CCP to change some things in the game, particularly to change POS code so that it couldn’t determine distances between them since it was allowing triangulation of space. It also generated two interesting little efforts: Project Catapult and Project Gateway, that may trigger visions of Seagulls, and might tell you where CCP is headed with this event.

Sadly, Arek’Jalaan was buried unceremoniously with the Summer of Rage and CCP Dropbear moving to the Witness Relocation Program and eventually leaving the company. But perhaps, my fellow capsuleers, the time has at last come to re-assert ourselves on the storyline.

To that end, my corpmate Guillome Renard has started a drive to beat the empires at their own game. Interestingly, as one of the largest C5/C6 wormhole alliances, Sleeper Social Club has a shot at convincing the wormhole clans to consolidate efforts.

Yes, it could be a scam. But here’s why I think you should trust Guillome:

  1. He was a participant in Arek’Jaalan. That means he actually gives a crap about the lore. He liked it enough to contribute to the last free stuff drive, which led to the creation by CCP of Site One in Eram. He cared enough that he helped me mine (and we both hate mining) toward an analysis for Project Tesseract that never came to fruition.
  2. He is an in-game content enabler. He voluntarily built a store of Tech 1 ships to hold in the wormhole for on-the-spot purchases for roams. Not that it was killing him for expense, but he did a ton of work for a pittance.
  3. He has plenty of money already from years in a wormhole. A few billion isn’t worth the scam given his interest in AJ and the lore.
  4. He’s an EVE University lecturer and alumnus. Not that this makes him automatically “good and honorable”, but it’s another indicator of his interest in promoting the game as a whole.
  5. SSC is generally considered an alliance that values e-honor, and he’s a long-standing member. Yeah, we occasionally sucker-punch opponents, but we are widely known for honoring our ransoms and doing what we say. I think the alliance would be pretty disappointed if he ripped everyone off in the person of an SSC character.

I’ve suggested that Guillome consider using Chribba as a holding entity for them during the contest; stay tuned on that front.

Don’t be an empire’s sheep, or the Sisters’ and Syndicate’s patsies. The Sleepers are awakening. I encourage you to join us and lead rather than follow.

Posted in Fiction, Non-Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Hyperion Wormhole Changes

Wormhole Fleet Storyhead

So yesterday I laid out how wormhole combat differs from gate combat and why that diversity is a good thing. And thus, why CCP’s proposed upcoming change in Hyperion to make spawn points post-jump based on mass is a bad idea.

The TLDR of Fozzie’s entire change devblog? Most of the changes are positive (some hugely so), with these exceptions in my opinion:

  1. Wormhole clone swapping should be considered to make the new frigate holes worthwhile and maximize use.
  2. Actual regeneration of the frigate hole mass should be removed – it’s the first step toward a wormhole stabilizer.
  3. Mass-affected spawning is terrible and should be removed.
  4. CCP should continue to consider removing the discovery scanner in w-space and reverting to pre-Odyssey scan mechanics.

TheMittani.com did a very nice quick analysis of things that’s worth your time, so I’ll try to add a bit of additional flavor on top of what they listed.

Here is the shortlist from Fozzie’s blog.

These changes consist of:

  • Wormhole effect rebalance
  • A second static for Class 4 wormholes
  • More randomly spawning wormholes
  • Mass-based spawn distance after wormhole jumps
  • K162 appearance only on first jump
  • Loosening of bookmark copying restrictions

Wormhole Effect Rebalance

As long as I’ve been in wormhole space, there have been two common comments, almost nightly. One of them is how bad Black Holes are. They’ve been the laughingstock of w-space for years because they were all but guaranteed to be empty. No one wanted to live, farm or fight in them.

Now, they clearly have a set of capabilities designed around speed and missiles that make them interesting and useful, if not for everyone. I applaud the Black Hole changes. The rest is a bit more of a mixed bag.

Magnetars (focus: Damage) got a bit of a nerf and honestly probably needed it. Wolf-Rayets (focus: Armor) and Pulsars (focus: Shield) also got pulled back a bit but in ways I think were balanced.

Red Giants (focus: Bombs) have always been pretty “meh” – and I think still are, but the changes might inspire a few more tries at things. I doubt it but maybe. I’ll admit that Cataclysmic Variables I expected to be in higher use than Fozzie’s charts showed, and I’m a bad enough theorycrafter with capacitor that I’ll admit I’m not sure whether I like or dislike the changes there.

Verdict: Good! On the whole, these changes are welcome, especially the Black Hole.

Second Static for Class 4s

Remember I said there were two common complaints? This is the other one. The TMC article, while correct, somewhat misses the “why”. Yes, C4s aren’t great farming and so go unoccupied pretty often. And they are “an uncomfortable wasteland”, but here’s why: Class 4s are most heavily connected to … other class 4s. Of 505 Class 4 systems, 144 (29%) are static connected to another Class 4. To make matters worse, Class 4s are also the only system type that has no dynamic holes leave. In other words, you’re either leaving through the static or a K162. This means that the likelihood is even lower that there will be other exits. And to add insult to injury, most C4s are abandoned, meaning you will need to scan through 20+ signatures to find what is likely to be yet another 20-sig C4.

Long story short: Many groups, when they get two C4s in a row, roll the hole for something better or simply quit scanning that chain and work on others. It’s just not worth the time and energy to scan that much for yet another C4 and no content.

Now, with a second static, the hope is that they will be worth scanning, worth living in, and open a whole new playground between C5/C6 and the lower-class holes.

The only downside is that some of the w-space mapping tools will need a minor overhaul to decide which w-space static is the “real static” (this isn’t a problem in dual-static C2s because one will be the “real static” – the w-space static, and the other is “just a k-space”). It will be interesting to see how CCP implements this and how the third parties deal with it.

Verdict: Brilliant! About time.

More Randomly Spawning Wormholes

If CCP wants to increase PVP in holes, this is the way to do it. More holes mean more screwups mean more missed new entrances mean more fight opportunities. It’s just that simple.

Verdict: Brilliant! Fully suported!

New “Small Ship” Wormholes

Now this one is interesting, but not without its concerns. Fozzie’s post says:

The new class of random wormholes will have a very low maximum jump mass, navigable only by frigates, destroyers and multi-bubble heavy interdictors.

So first of all, I think the size restriction is intriguing. Frigate-class vessels play some odd roles in w-space. There are a handful that are used commonly: CovOps, Interceptors and Ventures. One of the problems with frigates and destroyers is that wormhole pilots tend to have expensive heads, so we don’t like getting podded and tend to fly very well-tank ships, since we can’t clone-jump in the current mechanics. So we’ll see if it actually gets much adoption.

While the stated purpose of these holes is to bring more combat opportunities in smaller ships to w-space, I think the long-term impact of these will be to provide an uncloseable link to systems either preparing for a siege or in the midst of one. Here’s how.

Getting a scout into a hole today is usually doable but not without risk. With these holes, it will be a cakewalk. No problem. Siege planning and insertion just got a little easier. But the second is more insidious: in a hole under siege already, a good attacker gets hole control with bigger ships, closing any new connection and critting the static, while preventing anything from entering or leaving, and in any fight you pod your opponent out to k-space to take them out of the fight. These little uncloseable holes plus bubble-immune Interceptors mean that people can get back in much more easily than before. This adds a new tactical element that should be fun to watch in action. Sieges might get a little more competitive.

But Fozzie then goes on to say:

They will also enjoy a very high stable mass and will be the first wormhole connections in EVE to regenerate mass over time. This means that collapsing these wormholes will be nearly impossible, and they will virtually always last to the end of their 16 hour lifespan.

Emphasis mine. Here’s where I part ways a bit with this one. I’m OK with the high mass. I’m not OK with regeneration. This has a very “slippery slope” feel to me. It smells like a test of “well, how bad would wormhole stabilizers really be?” Mark my words, if this doesn’t end up being problematic, it won’t be too long before you have uncloseable holes between k-space and the lower classes so the sov null boys can not have to worry about frustrating things like not being able to get the whole blob to the fight.

Verdict: Split. New hole type to force ship size choice is interesting and a good experiment – it has done well for FW plexes. On the other hand, regenerating mass is in fact a wormhole stabilizer built right in – a bad idea and will lead to even worse things down the road. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Mass-Based Spawn

I wrote about this yesterday at length.

Verdict: Terrible. Stop fixing what’s not broken.

K162 Apperance On Jump

Before Odyssey, you had to have probes out and be scanning to know that someone had found a new way into your system and was hunting for you. There were many chances to catch people unaware that were being lazy or stupid. Then Odyssey came along and with the discovery scanner, effectively put a giant intruder alarm on every pilot’s scan window when someone merely warped to the other side of the new hole. “Bing! Incoming hostiles in 5 minutes, back to the POS!” This of course pissed off just about every PVP pilot in w-space.

CCP has all but said that they will not de-dumb the dumbscovery scanner in w-space. But they are trying to find some compromise that will not screw the defender (like an earlier suggestion that the K162 simply not appear for a while, even to probes) nor the attacker (like things are currently on Tranquility).

So this is their compromise – that it doesn’t show up in system until someone actually jumps. This means that a combat fleet will have to be ready to go in quicker time to do it, but that ganks are again theoretically possible. Time will tell if it actually works, or if it will simply reduce the number of wormholes opened and thus paths to content.

Verdict: Improved. but going back to the old way would still be better.

Looser Bookmark Copy Restrictions

More bookmark capability is more goodness. ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: Good. Especially when Fozzie says: “ongoing work that will eventually enable the long-requested alliance bookmarks”. While SSC doesn’t suffer much from this, there will be many people who would joyously welcome that.

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Wormholes are Not Gates – And Never Should Be

Archons Landing Storyhead

I’ve been meaning for a long time to write a full-on post about the differences in combat between lowsec and wormholes, as someone who moved from the former to the latter. I never quite got around to it. But now there’s a more compelling reason to give you a mini-primer on one of the key differences between k-space combat and w-space combat.

In k-space, you have gates. When you jump through a gate, you reappear 15Km off the gate in some random direction. This means with a small gate you could be as far as 30Km from the person you are chasing or flying with. In the case of big gates, it could be even farther. With those kind of distances, what makes the most sense in most cases is that you want to be fast – either to get back to the gate or to tackle something or to warp off. K-space small gang combat outside of places like Faction War plexes heavily favors shield-tanked kiters. If you shot someone, you couldn’t jump, so your only option was to bail out as fast as possible. When I lived in Lowsec and NPC Null, I had the skills to fit a T2 armor tank, but I never flew one. All shield unless the FC demanded armor … and almost every time we ran armor we couldn’t get tackle or maintain it, because your targets always flew shield.

Then I moved into a wormhole, and got the slow sad head-shake for my great shield ship flying skills. No one in wormholes flies shield ships, you see, unless you live in a Pulsar or are going to go fly a LOLfleet in k-space. All armor, all the time. Why? Because wormholes are not gates. Wormholes, you see, drop you less than 5Km from the hole. They have almost zero object radius so in most cases you will be no more than 10Km from your friends and enemies. HIC bubble goes up, and you are most certainly not going to be flying away. It’s either back through the wormhole or guns out, preferably short-range, high-DPS guns. You can also jump through the hole fully agressed … once each way. Out, back. And then you’re stuck for 4-5 minutes – it’s called polarization. Usually in a bubble. So plan it well.

All this taken together means if you encounter an enemy on a hole, you’re almost certain of a fight – whether you want one or not – unlike a gate in k-space. It’s one of the things wormholers love about w-space. But the key to the whole thing is being able to tackle and lock the trap to force either a fight or polarization – either with an interceptor or a HIC in most cases. A HIC bubble reaches out 16-24Km from the ship.

So over the weekend a few wormhole pilots were messing around on the Singularity (SiSi) and discovered that the base mechanics of the wormhole jump (everyone shows up 10Km or (usually) less from each other) were no longer working. In fact, capitals jumped were 40Km from the hole! To make matters worse, after the non-answers (don’t panic, guys, there’s a devblog coming) that came on that forum thread, more wormhole dwellers tested on Sisi and found that polarization had been shut off on inter-region wormholes.

People were shocked at the venom this prompted from the wormhole community – between the two forum threads it hit rabid pitch. The above should explain why. Nothing discovered from the list of wanted items, instead a direct push of the wormhole meta to be more like k-space. Thankfully, the polarization item was later determined to be a bug, but by then the trust was on shaky ground.

Even taken alone, the large-distance projection of capitals and battleships destroys the entire “everyone materializes within brawl range” meta. If the whole game was like that, it might be understandable to want to change it. But if you want that sort of long-distance behavior, you can go kite in k-space. What it said to the wormhole community was: “Hey, good news guys! You get to have gate combat like k-space! Yay!” and the community none-too-gently sent a reminder that most people in w-space left because they weren’t enjoying the k-space meta. The only things that would have been worse would have been an announcement that POS now had docking ability, bringing the loathed docking games to w-space, or that the sov null guys were getting permanent wormhole stabilizers to fly in supercaps and wrecking balls.

To make matters worse, it forces choices that discourage fights, rather than encouraging them. To understand this, you need to understand not only the brawl mechanics above, but also a phenomenon that has two different names based on their intent. “Critting” generally refers to intentionally collapsing or forcing to critical your static wormhole in a defensive posture – usually either to block enemy entrance during vulnerable farming time or to lock out an overwhelming threat. “Ragerolling” generally refers to intentionally collapsing because your chain sucks and you want to try another one to look for PVP, and if you get a garbage chain, rolling again and again until you find a fight.

Today, the easiest way to Crit or Rageroll is to pass capital ships through the hole. Two capital passes and an Orca pass and even the largest holes generally collapse. It is easy for most w-space groups to muster this. This encourages Ragerolling, because it makes it easy to get another hole, and another. Flinging the capitals out to 40Km slows that down, and puts the capital ship at risk. So what will likely happen? Instead, the larger groups will bring a horde of battleships to accomplish the same task, but the little guys will be SOL, POS up and log off until tomorrow.

The problem that Fozzie & co. were likely trying to solve is the problem of Critting – the defensive variety. It allows farming in near-safety unless you get the unlucky new hole showing up midway through. So CCP wanted to give people a way to catch that capital. The problem is that it will do no such thing. A capital flung that far will either escape or have to slowboat back – and so what will happen is that they will not bring it at all, and will resort to alternate methods. And then the most fun fights in w-space simply won’t happen any more. The caps will stay home. The big boys will still Crit with battleships, and the little guys will get ganked.

The good news is that CCP Fozzie’s Hyperion w-space devblog came out today, possibly spurred on by the foaming of the w-space community. And it has lots of good stuff in it (I’ll touch on that stuff in the next post). Sadly, the mass-projection item is still there. It’s less terrible, but not gone.

Back to the HIC bubble. 16-24Km radius. A HIC can make itself ridiculously low-mass, so it will generally still be right on the hole. A carrier or dreadnaught now rematerializes at 19Km. Yes, this is within the HIC bubble, so the trapper will be OK so long as there is a well-skilled HIC pilot (T2 bubbles are rare, so this really still is too far) but so far out that the jumping capital pilots will generally not take the risk. It’s still too far for both parties. Simply put, the approach does not address the design goal of putting caps at risk, if that is in fact a goal – it is more risky today just because the caps will be flown in the first place. Under the proposed Hyperion changes, the caps will stay home.

Reduce capitals, Orcas and battleships to a 10Km distance, leave the others the same as Fozzie proposes, and it could still work. But then it adds effectively nothing. So why do it?

Don’t. It ain’t broke, stop fixing it.

And the new thread on the topic shows broad agreement with me on this one. I encourage all w-space pilots to leave a polite and ideally a specific “kill this idea” response in that thread.

Next post we’ll talk about the rest of Fozzie’s devblog which, unlike the mass ejector proposal, has a lot of w-space goodness (as well as a few other concerns worthy of note).

Posted in Non-Fiction, Releases, Test Server | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

RL >

shoot_the_moon

I don’t often talk about RL here – this is a space I reserve for amusement, hobbies and to keep my writing skills functional. I have plenty of stress in my real life and games generally speaking are where I go to escape that.

But this week, I’ve been writing about something other than EVE, something more important. My grandfather passed away this week, having lived a full and happy life, at age 92. I was very fortunate to share more than 40 of those years with him. I took a day off work to write his eulogy, and then read it at the service this morning.

He was a decorated veteran, an optimist, a man with a great sense of humor and someone who knew how to min-max a card game like no one else I’ve ever seen (bonus points for those of you who get the reference from the picture above). My love of games in general goes back to playing with him and others in that side of my family. He was a listener first and a talker second, more likely to answer a question with a question than an answer. He worked hard, played hard, and gave a lot back to his family – most often in opportunities for experiences.

As I got ready for the funeral this morning, I saw the announcements of layoffs at CCP blip past on Twitter, and thought of the many concerns and fears that come from that event (I’ve had that experience, and it’s not fun), the scrambling to make ends meet. I thought of the lives and families of those employees, and the stress they must be under. I wish them the best in the coming months. It is times like this that they will need to lean on their friends and family.

This is a rambling way of reminding you: RL > EVE … or any other pastime, really. Make sure that a job or a hobby serves its purpose, but don’t lose sight of the main event. Make sure you take the time to go make memories in the real world as well – “make hay while the sun shines,” as my grandpa might say. In time, most things pass, but your family and closest friends are what matters in the end.

Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The CSM You Deserve

CSM 9

“Bad officials are elected by good people who do not vote.”
– George Jean Nathan

So today CCP Leeloo posted the actual CSM 9 voting results. I’m going to apologize now for what I expect will get a little ranty.

Let me start by congratulating Mittens, Sion & Mynnna for an election approach excellently planned and expertly executed. You’ll see why in a moment.

Here is a table of the results, looked at three ways. The first (STV-14) is the order in which they were elected in the CSM selection. It is a good approximation of the actual order in which seats were won. The second (STV-2) is the method that selected the permanent attendees, and is a decent measure of who had the broadest support. The final (FPTP) is a count of #1 votes only – which while not a literal match to what first past the post would have been (with different rules the null blocs likely would have taken a different voting strategy), is a reasonable approximation of who else had a chance if it had been FPTP and really highlights who benefited from STV rolldown.

STV-14: Order of Election STV-14 1974 Quota Round STV-2: Breadth of Support STV-2 Count FPTP (Approx): If it had been the old way #1 Votes
Sion Kumitomo 4495 Ali Aras 7784 Sion Kumitomo 4314
Coreblood 3122 Sion Kumitomo 6055 Coreblood 2944
Sugar Kyle 2315 Steve Ronuken 5685 Sugar Kyle 1915
Ali Aras 2230 Sugar Kyle 3930 Steve Ronuken 1692
Steve Ronuken 2142 Coreblood 3721 Progod 1655
Progod 2042 Progod 3141 Ali Aras 1521
Mynnna 1974 Corbexx 2897 Matias Otero 1453
Xander Phoena 1974 Matias Otero 2606 Mike Azariah 1418
Matias Otero 1974 Mike Azariah 2177 Corbexx 1171
Corbexx 1974 DJ FunkyBacon 2008 Major Jsilva 970
Mike Azariah 1974 Mangala Solaris 1420 DJ FunkyBacon 959
DJ FunkyBacon 1974 Major Jsilva 1384 Mangala Solaris 857
Mangala Solaris 1549 Asayanami Dei 1302 Psychotic Monk 853
Major Jsilva 1475 Mynnna 1237 Asayanami Dei 828
==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
Asayanami Dei 1395 Psychotic Monk 1087 Mynnna 786
Psychotic Monk 1146 Xander Phoena 893 Xander Phoena 775

So what can we learn from this? Well, disclaimer first – I’m betting that Foo will weigh in on my conclusions, and he’ll have some good insights, so check out the comments below (he understands STV better than I do). But here’s what I see in these results besides the obvious items I hit in my general analysis post.

  1. The CFC vote was solid, organized and disciplined. Because CFC had their shit together and as The Mittani predicted, “Given how poor a job CCP did with getting the CSM8 minutes out the door, my personal take on this election is that turnout will be at an all-time low. If I’m right, that’s hilarious news for the CFC, because there’s nothing this coalition does quite like marching and voting in lockstep. In a low turnout situation, the impact of organization, unity and force is magnified. Even if you don’t care about the CSM, vote the way we tell you to, simply because it’ll make a gaggle of shitlords who hate us very, very angry should we succeed.” The CFC landed three in the top nine, practically unaided, without breaking a sweat. If you didn’t vote, for god’s sake you better shut up with the Grr Goons, because your non-participation achieved it. The #1 votes for Sion alone were more than enough to elect two people. For the record (as I told Mynnna) I have nothing against Goons, I find them fun gank targets and their leaders are smart people. I endorsed Mynnna in the top tier and Xander in the second tier. But people bitching about them and then having them land three seats tells me how serious their detractors are.
  2. If the CFC had been less organized and disciplined, or if turnout had been larger, it is entirely likely that Xander Phoena would not have been elected. I expected Xander to have very broad support, but instead it looks like he was elected purely by the CFC and Tweetfleet – and most of it CFC. Xander, make sure to write Mittens (rather than Ripard) a thank-you.
  3. Mynnna’s seat was also a rolldown victory, and while he had broader cross-ticket support than Xander, it wasn’t by much.
  4. Corebloodbrothers’ coalition is larger, stronger and more motivated than I think anyone anticipated. I really want to understand why. All I’ve seen from Core so far is complaints on Twitter about getting blobbed by the bigger sov null guys. I find it really ironic because we generally avoid Provi these days because individual ships and tiny gangs get blobbed so bad by Provi-bloc!
  5. Ali had the broadest support by far, even though she wasn’t as high on the #1 lists as I expected her to be.
  6. Sugar Kyle and Steve Ronuken had far better support than I expected. Kudos to both for beating expectations handily. Those in the top 6 slots were solidly top 6 in all three views of the rolldown.
  7. Mangala Solaris’ support has really dropped off from last year. Last year he had large, broad support – this year not so much.
  8. Psychotic Monk just can’t quite get there. I actually think that if the griefer crowd was ever going to get someone in it would have been this year, due to the flap over Erotica1. But it just isn’t enough – I hypothesize that the griefer crowd just isn’t big enough to get the job done.
  9. If you’re a wormhole voter and didn’t vote a full wormhole ticket, you have only yourself to blame that we have only one representative. As is plain to see above, Asayanami Dei just barely missed out. What if every wormhole voter had listed the top as the wormhole 5? Here are the #1 votes for wormholers: 1171 (Corbexx) + 828 (Asayanami) + 653 (James) + 518 (Proclus) + 141 (Karen) = 3311 votes. If we use STV-14 numbers instead it’s 1991+1395+888+561+151 = 4986. Final quota was 1974, so that means that we could have elected 1.7 to 2.5 candidates. Asay should have made it without a problem but the wormhole community couldn’t get it together. There was even an outside chance for James if we had been able to muster the turnout. Son, I am disappoint.

So that quote at the top? Not at all meant to insinuate that this CSM has bad apples – in fact right now I am very optimistic that most will be very active and will represent their constituencies well. The problem is the unbalanced nature of what’s there:

  • Null: 7 (Sion, Core, Ali, PGL, Mynnna, Xander, Matias, JSilva)
  • Highsec: 3 (Steve, Mike, Mangala)
  • Lowsec: 2 (Funky, Sugar)
  • Wormholes: 1 (Corbexx)

Sure, you can argue semantics about Core and Ali and Xander and Matias, but they’re all null players – that is their experience and their focus.

Now let’s get to the real dismal number: Turnout. Of hundreds of thousands of characters, only 30,000ish accounts (even less actual people!) voted. That’s a 1/3 drop from last year. Terrible, terrible participation. CCP, you need to step up your promotional game next year. In a player base as large as EVE, this small a voting population is a travesty.

DisenfranchisedWho voted? The organized (sov null and to a lesser extent wormholes) and the disenfranchised, fearful and angry (lowsec, highsec & Provi). Just ask lowsec players how well they feel like CSM 8 did for their space – you may hear they did well in general, or for communication, but I guarantee you won’t hear how great they were for lowsec space.

The bottom line is that we, the voters, got exactly what our participation dictated. We have the CSM we earned, the CSM we deserve through our action or inaction. If you want to change this and get heard, you need to take the null strategy on – not the one of back room bargains, etc. (Sugar Kyle and Steve Ronuken prove that isn’t required) but you do need to vote for your playstyle, unless you truly believe those of your playstyle are so bad that you’d rather have those of a different style represent you.

If you didn’t vote your playstyle, I hope the person you did pick can represent you – they may be a good person, but they likely won’t get some of the critical specifics of your kind of space. Me? I wish we had another wormholer on there.

Oh, and if you didn’t vote at all? Then you should STFU with any complaints you have, and vote next year. You failed in one of the most basic tenets of democratic responsibility.

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