2012 Privateer Awards (Blog Banter 43)

Click for YC 104 Aidonis Award Announcement

For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let’s start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts.

I really like this idea, even if I simultaneously understand Rixx Javix’s concern that it could turn into some clique-y high school thing. Honestly, this isn’t about anyone being “part of a club” or anything like that. I simply want to recognize the people in the blogging and dev community (and deliveries, including features/ships) that have made it more fun and more interesting for me to play EVE through their efforts. My apologies for length, but my method of avoiding said cliquishness is to hand out a lot of them. So without further ado…

Game Features

  • Best Ship (That I Can Fly) – Lowsec & NPC Nullsec PVP
      • Pre-Retribution: Hurricane. The most versatile, useful, awe-inspiring pirate ship ever. OK, at least since the nano nerf.
      • Post-Retribution: Thorax. Crappy little starter ship reincarnated as Proteus Junior.
  • Best Ship (That I Can Fly) – Wormhole PVP: Proteus. Great tank, great gank. With my skills, EFT says I’m doing 915 DPS with Void M. Eat that.
  • Best Ship (That I Can Fly) – PVE: Loki. I have two flavors, a wormhole version built for Sleeper sites (webs webs webs) and a nullsec version built for sec status regain work (cloaky nullified). I love them both.
  • Best New Ship: Venture. The new destroyers look cool, but the Venture has revolutionized several gameplay styles. Mining, especially gas mining, is accessible to entire new audiences. Stories of battle Ventures are everywhere.
  • Best Overhaul: Crimewatch. With the Safety persistence issue now fixed, the beauty of some of these changes really shines through. GCC is gone. Gate guns only fire until you leave grid. You can go on “highsec roams” looking for killright activations, which is absolutely brilliant.
  • Best “Small” Change: SMA/CHA Inventory Speed. An incredible boon to anyone who lives out of a POS (which I do).

CCP Staff

  • Developer of the Year: CCP Fozzie. Best ATX commentator. Best NEO commentator. Rebalancer of ALL THE THINGS. Best example of a CCPer steping up and take responsibility for a fuck-up (carrier repping) and own it, ensuring a very fast fix. Best CCP communicator. Spokesperson for unpopular initiatives and devs who don’t (or won’t) be the spokesperson for their own changes. Man of the people. Seriously, other than the horrible, unspeakable and downright impolite things he’s done to my beloved Hurricane, this guy is the hands down winner in my opinion.
  • Most Promising New Dev: CCP Eterne. This guy came out of nowhere to be the most visible new champion of story in New Eden. Many of us have been worried about The Death of Story for a while, and Eterne has taken center stage in communicating for those of us passionate about it. He tweets more about story than anyone since the late great CCP Dropbear. Plus (along with CCP Falcon) he judged over 100 stories, selected canon additions and through that paid the community for expanding storylines in the Pod and Planet Contest. Now, Eterne needs to use his charms to convince CCP Goliath and the Live Events CCP Volunteer Brigade to show us they’re going drive the story engine that CCP Dropbear and Tony Gonzales left behind to gather dust. So far, it looks they are gathering steam – he mentioned recently on Twitter also that story fans should be looking forward to the CSM Summit meeting minutes.
  • Most Approachable Dev: CCP Explorer (@Erlendur). I haven’t been following him for long on Twitter; since he doesn’t go by his CCP name there and it took me a while to figure out he was a dev. But Erlendur isn’t afraid to answer anyone, and gives straight answers like an engineer rather than diverting. Here it is. Here’s who to talk to. Nope, we don’t have that issue tracked, please file a dev report. I feel more like we all are CCP co-workers helping him with code quality than that that we are peons and he is a firewalled-off dev. When I occasionally carp at all of you community members that you don’t know how good you have it, it’s guys like CCP Explorer I have in mind.

Player Organizations

  • Metagame Alliance of the Year: Goonswarm Federation / ClusterFuck Coalition. Because :Goons:. It really is self-explanatory if you’ve followed the game this year, and watched as the GSF has become the axis around which nullsec spins. Even if they are not the largest, they are the richest and most influential.
  • Nullsec Alliance of the Year: Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST) / Honeybadger Coalition. This was TEST’s year. In one year they assembled the largest alliance and coalition in the game, topping out GSF/CFC as they steamrolled across the south.
  • Lowsec (Pirate) Corp of the Year: The Tuskers. In my mind, there’s really no comparison to anyone else; the Tuskers stand head and shoulders above in quality and my respect for the pilots involved. They are the ultimate examples of honor among thieves, and each awesome combat pilots in their own right. One of their senior members quits the game, and has the class to donate massive amounts of ISK to the corp with the express request that it be used buying all comers frigates to cause a massive blowout frigate combat not once, but twice. You could argue Shadow Cartel, The United or Heretic Army are bigger and badder, but I would rather fly with the Tuskers than any of them. Plus, Souleiman Shouaa, Rixx Javix and Azual Skoll? Who wouldn’t want to fly with these guys?
  • Wormhole Alliance of the Year: Verge of Collapse. Underdog winners of Alliance Tournament X who keep putting in good showings, giving good fights in wormholes, and generally ganking the crap out of anyone who gets in their way. They brought wormhole life back to the headlines while giants like Narwhals failscaded, Rooks and Kings largely left the scene, and Aperture Harmonics held a quieter backstage presence.

EVE Community

  • The Aidonis (Best Humanitarian Venture): The Angel Project, by Sindel Pellion.  Sindel, a normally acerbic wit in TEST alliance, set aside her public trash-talking persona this year to focus instead on singlehandedly driving a long-term charity venture aimed at helping new players. “The Aidonis” is the one award I’m aware of given out in the canon of the Eve universe – essentially an Internet Spaceships Nobel Peace Prize, and if there was one for the real Eve community she would deserve it for this worthy effort. As part of her prize I will be donating 200M ISK to the Angel Project.
  • Best CSM Member: Hans Jagerblitzen. Yes, I am aware that some will disagree with this (looking at you here, Poe). But credit where due, let’s look at this guy’s record. I put my vote in for him for one thing, and one only: his treatise that What Happens in Lowsec Stays in Lowsec. Primarily, that three things get addressed: 1) GCC, 2) The Hell of Sec Status Ratting, and 3) Gate Gun mechanics. #1 and #3 are taken care of, and #2 has a plan on the table (granted, one that not everyone loves, but it’s a concrete plan). Now, was this his singlehanded doing? Certainly I would say not. But not only did that happen, but he has been unquestionably the most available and vocal CSM member despite being an alternate. Let’s not forget that he is still not part of the “annointed seven” despite Kelduum Revaan giving up a ticket to Iceland for Hans to go. Why? Hans deserved it. In my opinion, he has been the hardest working, most vocal, most directed, and most organized CSM member by head and shoulders.
  • Best Contest: Pod and Planet Fiction Contest, by Telegram Sam. Out of nowhere, this contest came offering billions of ISK, EON subscriptions and video cards, CCP backing and CCP judges. In an era where content was presumably dead, this showed the still strong heartbeat of interest in the EVE lore and backstory. 100+ stories were submitted and judged by Sam, CCP Eterne and CCP Falcon. Yes, I won one of the major prizes, but that’s not the reason for this award. The reason is that the biggest winners were the fans of EVE fiction throughout the game, by showing CCP they really do need to invest here again.
  • Best Event: Tusker Free for All(s). The Tuskers, as noted above, hosted two of these over-the-top, much-heralded explosion fests based on a bequeath from a departed player. Class and fun – and at a level even CCP’s re-invigorated Live Events team couldn’t match.
  • Best Tool – Mobile: Aura, by Marcel Devereux. I use Aura primarily to manage my skill queue so I don’t forget things and so I train them in a non-stupid order. I don’t have the time at the keyboard to use EVE MON, but Aura’s with me all day.
  • Best Tool – Fitting: EVE Fitting Tool (EFT), by Gripen. I use this constantly. I have begun hearing that Pyfa is pretty awesome, but I’ve never been able to get it to work properly and import all my old EFT fits on my PC. EFT continues to run flawlessly.
  • Best Tool – K-Space: Dotlan Evemaps, by Wollari. As much as I love Aura and EFT, I could not function in EVE at all without Dotlan. As a travel aid it is utterly indispensable.
  • Best Tool – W-Space: Maptracker, by Marbin Drakon. The system by which we live and die in our wormhole. That’s all I’m going to say about it. Marbin is my hero.
  • Best Podcast: Down the Pipe. OK, I’m biased. But as I’m learning how to live in a wormhole after a year in Lowsec and nine months OOG, it’s awesome to listen to them spooling up the new standard in wormhole podcasts.
  • Best Videographer: Jonny Pew. Far and away EVE’s most prolific video maker, Jonny focuses not only on stuff that interests him, but is in effect the leader of making videos for education of the general playing public. His Our EVE stuff is must-watch viewing when he puts up previews of things on the test servers.
  • Best News Site: TheMittani.Com. TheMittani.com came from out of nowhere this year and established it as the best site for original news and content in my opinion. EVE News 24, its only real competitor, has always felt more jumbled and less solid to me due to its syndication model. TMC runs like a fully-vetted newsroom in most instances, with solid production values.
  • Worst Website: TheMittani.Com. My only negative award in this, and here’s why. I loathe the mechanical design here. Not the artistic design, which is great, but the technical execution. The ads load badly, and throw constant errors (stack overflows) on my work computer, making it difficult to even be on the site. With the amount of auto-pushed ad traffic, it is a wonder to me that my company hasn’t already banned it. To boot, reading TMC on a smartphone (my typical method) is a horrorshow. The columns do not automatically resize, so I have to pinch-manage every story I read, which is presented due to column sizing in blindness-inducing tiny, tiny white text on black. That would all be forgivable if the RSS feed passed the entire story to my Google Reader. But it does not, sending only a snippet that forces me to go to this horrorshow of a site. I got reading glasses for the first time this year. I blame TheMittani.com.
  • Most Indispensable Blog: Jester’s Trek, by Ripard Teg. I suspect most EVE players would award this reward to this site. If I was allowed to read only one blog, it would be Jester’s Trek. Constant updates, in-depth insight, opinion and analysis. Now, you might not always agree with him, but I find I do 80% of the time or more, and even when I don’t I learn something. If you play EVE and are not reading this blog, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Most Controversial Blog: Poetic Discourse, by Poetic Stanziel. As often as not, I find myself agreeing with EVE’s most inflammatory blogger, and I read every post. Poetic generally writes good stuff, but often its delivery is acidic and confrontational. Someone called Poetic a “pundit” once, and the label fits. Opinion delivered with condescension to those in power, but education delivered with helpfulness and passion to those who are not. One of my most-hit posts this year was so popular precisely because Poe saw fit to hold it up as a “CCP Lies!” gauntlet on Twitter. The firestorm of conversation lasted for nearly a week. And if you thought Poe was controversial in blog form, follow @PoeticStanziel on Twitter.
  • Most Entertaining Blog: Sand, Cider and Spaceships, by Drackarn. Drackarn posts regularly and always intersperses his writing with humorous pictures. He writes in a lively style with personal emphasis, excitement and fun. He jumped headfirst into fiction this year, backing it up with self-funded in-game events and contests such as his stories and events around The Jita Ripper stories.
  • Best Analysis Blog – Game Design: Out of Cake, by Mary Titor. Frankly, I think Mary’s blog is the single most intelligent blog on EVE. As a pseudo-member of the gaming industry (peripheral), I know quite a bit about game design, game theory and game psychology. Mary assembles posts that feel like brilliant academic studies around diverse topics from physics in the game world to what makes MMOs work and not work, complete with footnotes and citations as often as not. I always leave her blog feeling either enlightened, validated or thoughtful. To boot, she is a Russian player who I’m pretty sure speaks (at least writes) better than most native English-speakers I have seen in this game. Even on Twitter she comes across as fantastically intelligent.
  • Best Analysis Blog – Game Industry: The Nosy Gamer, by Noizygamer. Along with Mary Titor, Nosy Gamer is the one that I read as much as an industry member as an EVE player. Because I am part of the business side of gaming in my RL job, I am fascinated by his ongoing analysis of botting and trends in MMO play hours in his “Digital Dozen”. In-depth, data-driven and compelling.
  • Best Analysis Blog – Game Play: The Altruist, by Azual Skoll. Simply the best ship analysis anywhere in EVE. Azual’s Know Your Enemy posts are the gold standard by which other analyses are judged. CCP Fozzie is of course playing merry hell with Azual’s work, but the master of ship analyses is keeping up as best he can. When digging into a new ship or class, I invariably start with KYE before I open EFT.
  • Best Post Series: Diaries of a Space Noob, The First 100 Days, by Cheradenine Harper. As Ripard Teg mentioned in his awards, these were instantly relatable posts. Every day, it was my morning read for 90-odd days (I joined in late). Things every EVE player has thought and done in their first three months of play. If you have been playing EVE for longer than a year, you owe it to yourself to go read these and re-live the magic of those first months. Set aside a few hours and read them start to finish.
  • Best Fiction Blog: EVE Travel, by Mark726. Yes, it’s sort of an obvious choice. Yes, there’s a reason for that. For three years I’ve been playing, Mark has added more background flavor for me than anyone other than CCP itself. On top of his usual excellent exploration stories – now entering nullsec! – he wrote a fiction guide for those unlike he and I who don’t spend major chunks of time reading item text and Chronicles. If I had been giving awards for three years, he’d have three fiction awards.
  • Best New Blog: Low Sec Lifestyle, by Sugar Kyle. OK, I’m cheating a bit with this one, since she technically started in December 2011. I first heard of her at the last EVE Vegas, when I followed the things that she was discussing live from that event. In the time since, she has shown some great stuff. Her style is very conversational and entertaining to read. She also does some fun fiction along with more analytical pieces and in that way reminds me a lot of my own start blogging. Unless I miss my guess, she was the most prolific writer in the Pod and Planet contest and won a 2nd prize recognition for Ill Gained Goods (although I was more partial Jita to myself).
  • Champion of the Community Award: Seismic Stan, Freebooted. When I started playing EVE, there was this guy called CrazyKinux. Along with another guy, 00Sage00, they founded what we think of as the Tweetfleet – the Twitterers and Bloggers of EVE. They pictured themselves, and acted, as active organizers of the community – often putting their own blogs or efforts in the background and instead asking community-aimed questions out for others to answer. Thus was born the Blog Banter. When CrazyKinux retired, Stan picked them up and, I am happy to say, have been as or more successful than they were under CK. But Stan didn’t stop there. He has served as a web media staffer writing about the game, written many articles for non-players to try to introduce them to New Eden, and has been a particular supporter of the fiction community. He has a level of equanimity and support toward his fellow community members that outweighs that even of his predecessors. Thanks, Stan, for helping to bind this fractious group together.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Rixx Javix, EVEOGANDA. Rixx was already an enthusiastic blogger when I started playing EVE. Of all the bloggers from back then (before the days of robo-blogger Ripard Teg), he has been the most consistent. As a former pirate myself, I think of him as the voice of the pirate community, and to a different extent, the emotional heartbeat of the community. Rixx is also responsible for some of the best artwork for EVE – adorning the banners of many a blog and killboard. Rixx wears his enthusiasm on his sleeve, and benefits all of us by doing so. It’s almost enough to make me forgive the 100M ISK commission he cancelled after being AFG. 😉

My thanks to all of you for all you bring to my enjoyment of this game.

Other Awards Posts

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8 Responses to 2012 Privateer Awards (Blog Banter 43)

  1. splatus says:

    Great post.. Many links to sites and people I meant to look up, so than you for this reference!

  2. Noizy says:

    Thanks for the award, but even more thanks for pointing out Mary Titor’s Out of Cake blog. I’m still catching up on her old posts.

  3. Rixx Javix says:

    Leave it to you to do this the right way! Well done and fairly considered. I freely admit to being in a grouchy mood last week, coming off the holidays and a nasty case of bronchitis probably didn’t help. But you’ve certainly proven it can be done.

    Hmmm, I did have to cancel some work back at the beginning of the year… if it’s something you need feel free to re-contact me and let me know.

    • Rhavas says:

      Heh – consider it a prepaid award donation. 🙂 Bronchitis sucks, hope you are feeling better.

      But the next time I request a commission I will want the art! And seriously – thanks for all you do to keep the enthusiasm up for the EVE community.

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