POS taken down

Shadow Control Tower - Medium

POS doesnt’ meant what you think it means. Unless you know I’m referencing EVE, in which case, maybe it does mean what you think it means. I don’t know, I’m not a freakin’ mind reader. Give me a break. For those who DON’T know what I’m referencing: a POS is a player-owned starbase. These are a big part of the world of eve, and is a part of what helps determine territory players are seeking to hold. Starbases fulfill a lot of functions, from launch points for fleets, to research and construction hubs, to giant moon-mining stations. Multiple people desire a sweet spot around a nice, lucrative moon, and that causes good-ol’ fashioned capitalistic conflict. My favorite kind.

Then you have corps like mine, who see those stations as ripe trees, hold very valuable fruit in the form of turrets, scramblers, hangers, arrays, and all sorts of other add-ons that can be stolen if you find the right situation to do so. A few nights back, a scout found the unshielded POS, and after tracking down the corps information of its owners, we war-deced them, so we could blow it up and take the yummies. To help encourage participation in what was expected to be a rather dull event, the CEO of our corp provided an incentive: each point of damage done = 10 isk, and the killing blow = 20 million isk. Well, I’m a lucky bastard, not because I had the most damage (in fact, I did about 5 million less than the top guy), but I got the killing blow, so I walked away from the endeavor about 58 million isk richer.

While throwing missiles at this starbase last night, I couldn’t but help to remember a conversation I had with my brother when walking around down-town D.C. a couple of years ago. He was telling me a bit about his time in the Ranger battalion, and how the rule of six-P’s (Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance) helps to reduce the excitement of combat. That this was a necessity, because remaining calm and working off your training kept you alive. In much the same way, leading up to our corps attack of this POS, we prepared ahead of time, and had done a fair amount of fleet drills before hand. So, while we didn’t need to use any of our talents – as the target never bothered to show up and defend, we were all prepared for the eventuality. This made the event a bit boring, but also created a sort of relaxed tension amongst us – calm, but prepared.

Money In, Money out

The economy of EVE, in a 24 hour snap-shot. This is from back in October of last year.

Trade Total

 * Market Transaction         5,848,221,406,963

 * Bounty Prizes                876,039,478,466
 * Agent Mission Reward          68,923,141,163
 * Agent Mission Time Bonus      63,450,447,585
 * Insurance Payouts            111,942,877,603

 * Sales Tax                      6,227,911,218
 * Brokers fee                    6,733,818,276
 * PI Construction Costs          7,575,185,000
 * PI Import Tax                    290,289,843
 * PI Export Tax                  3,355,153,925
 * Insurance Cost                43,021,823,156
 * Clone Activation              20,197,210,000
 * Sovereignty Bill              59,332,000,000
 * LP Store                     135,343,150,000

Pretty damn interesting if you ask me. It means there’s a bit less 840 billion ISK more going into the game than coming out, per day. HOWEVER, and that’s a big however – that’s only about 2.75 million isk per active account (at 300,000 accounts). When put in that perspective, doesn’t seem like much.

Instituting limits to provide options

Yes, this post is here just a day after I talked about the virtues of options, and how ‘more is merrier’. In a sense, that is true, but there is also a caveat, and a pretty important one at that. If everything is equally viable in all situations, nothing is different. The important part of that phrase is “in all situations”. I wanted to make this topic today because I didn’t want any readers (or my future self) to think that I was in favor of options for option’s sake. The only options that matter, as far as I’m concerned, are meaningful ones. If the choice a player makes has no impact upon them, then the end result is a useless option, which degrades the product as a whole, and is wasted development time.

I remember when I was in high-school, I would watch the cartoon Daria, often with my mother actually. In one episode, Daria was required to write a story, and she was, literary speaking, flailing about madly. Her work was all over the place, and not ending up with something she was happy about. Eventually, her eccentric and mostly dim-witted teacher put a stipulation to help narrow the project – the story must include a card-game, which Daria of course scoffed at. What was then portrayed as a flimsy inclusion to her previously attempts, ended up with a poignant story about her family envisioned in the years ahead. What had been a seemingly innocuous inclusion had helped drive her in the direction she needed to go to craft a paper worth reading.

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Options are good

Yes, that's a vegetable gun.

I’ve said it more times than I care to think here. For me, when it comes to gaming, options are good. Options provide choice, and making a choice is intriguing. Being able to decide how to do things on your own and complete them in the manner of your choosing is the essence of freedom. As I see it, the more this philosophy is carried out, the more interesting the gameplay.

For example, I’ve only played* the VERY early portions of the original BioShock so far, and this levels are very limited on what you can use as far as powers, buffs, and enhancements. You can unlock more slots for each of these things as you progress through the game, but there is an upper cap at which point, you need to make a judgement call on what you are going to use. This has been a lot of fun for me so far. When going against a Big Daddy, I had to decide if it was more useful to take my electric power, my charm power, or my telekinesis power (to throw his grenades back him) – I got to pick two. That’s a meaningful decision with a host of options dependent on how I wanted to play.

So, with that said, when I read a post yesterday on Gordon’s blog, I was floored by just how much I absolutely disagree with his stance on one area.

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Future Incorporation

This is going to be a super-cheesy, super cheap display of upcoming EVE stuff. These videos are incredible to me, and in particular, the Future Vision teaser will probably get any sci-fi nerd geeking out like there’s no tommorrow. I can say this with some considerable authority, as I reached full-on geek-wood.

So follow the jump, and be hyped.

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Fanfest ’11

I will write about this, and the results of CSM6, more when I get time to go over more of what went on. It was my plan to do that Sunday, but an ill child, and yard prevented me from taking a look. The little bit of what I’ve read has been interesting, and somewhat exciting.

I do want to leave you with this quote, from this post, which I found to be a great descriptor of the draw EVE has:

EVE’s greatest strength is its players, not because they pay the bills, or because they create the content of EVE but because unlike any other MMO each is relevant, individual, unique. EVE might be an MMO, and CCP may be over 600 strong but provided it celebrates the achievement of the individual it will draw others to it like moths to a flame.

Check out the blog if you’ve got any EVE interest, it can be a bit jargon-y and high-endish, but there’s some good bits for the layman scattered throughout.


Seeds of Conflict

There are a lot of different ways to participate in PvP in EVE Online. Dependent on the sector of space you’re living in, you need to adjust your style and be cognizant of the rules of space you are currently in. For players living in null-sec space, conflict is never further than your desire to engage a target. In contrast, in high-sec space, there are rules to engagement, and similarly, enforcement of said rules. The enforcers are known as CONCORD. The sectors of space that CONCORD technically protects are 1.0 down to 0.1. However once a player goes below 0.5 space, no CONCORD patrols will come to kill aggressors, and their presence is found only in the nature of sentry guns around some stations and stargates. Additionally, aggression in ANY sector of space from 1.0 to 0.1 will result in a negative impact to your security status, which affects your ability to travel in hi-sec space without getting popped by the police.

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Better F.B.W. post?

Rift sucks.

Fuck you.

You’re cool.

Fuck you.

Peace, I’m out!

It’s just dull

I’ve given Rift what I think is a fair attempt at grabbing me, but it has failed to do so. Unlike some bloggers, I am completely burned out on the themepark design. Whereas long ago I talked about how I was done with PvE games, I think now it has evolved into just being done with themeparks (no, really?). I could maybe play a PvE game in a sandbox, but would probably find it more difficult without the freedom of attacking another player – because at this point the artificial restriction would feel jarring in what should be an open world. I’m not in any way regretting my purchase, because I feel like the money I gave to Trion helped to reinforce what they did right, and what the entire genre should emulate – functionality and stability. It’s not the studio’s fault that I find their design choice to be less entertaining than a presentation on the various methods of mixing paint.

Really, I just find the paradigm, well, dull. So much so, that at this point, I’m having a hard time remembering what it is I like about the set-up to begin with.

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THIS is a dev-blog

Like woh.

I actually understood some of what he was talking about when he got into the semi-technical jargon of variables, stronly-typed, duck-typed, hash-tags, and arrays. Maybe that education is paying off after all?