Posts Tagged ‘Summer 2013’

Odyssey Live Stream 1: Dust to Eve link

wasn’t able to watch this stream directly, as CCP has a habit of scheduling things while I am travelling home from work. As such this is my write up of the notes and impressions Lore got from the stream:

Current CCP has no solid plan on how DUST will interact with Nullsec, but they feel that it is very likely Nullsec will be very different due to the lack of NPC ownership. This seems to indicate to me that the link is a long way off, and very unlikely to the in Odyssey.
We will be helping Dust players move from planet to planet, logistics (as in moving clones) for battles will be a factor for the linkage.
Currently 1 isk in eve doesn’t equal 1 isk in Dusk. Stabilizing this is going to be an issue as Isk is easier to accumulate in Eve than in Dust, currently they believe they might use Tax to try and even this out. Buying a Mars Bar in Dust will cost the same in effort as Buying  a Mars bar in Eve . Again this is a long way off and has no solid plans.
CCP has considered using Dust players to capture last space objects including outposts, POS’s and Titans, but this in the distant future. For now Dust players will only be able to capture land structures which need to built in a controlled district: these will give Alliance level bonuses such as POS fuel reductions, build time reductions and PI upgrades.
Missiles might come to Orbital Bombardment,although CCP have the issue of current flight times meaning that a missile might land after the Dust battle was over. Ideas such as MWD missiles for Dust bombardment have been floated but nothing solid yet. We might also get other options, including larger ship and weapon types.
Ships will never crash between games, but Dust players can see who is in space above them during fights (it was unclear if they would just see bombardment ships or every ship).
Day and Night Cycles along with weather will come to Dust in the future, and every map should be at least slightly different in turns of structure . Furthermore the items which Alliances build 
Further to these points about the Dust link, Lore commented the following on the Stream itself:
The person asking the questions was clear, when he talked into the microphone. Unfortunately what ever microphone he had was not placed were we could hear him while he was talking to the panel and so couldn’t be heard very well whenever he was facing them. There were also a lot of technical issues with the stream.
My thanks to lore for making notes on this one for me, even if he did miss the last few minutes. 

Eve Online: The start of another 10 year Journey?

Well that’s the new expansion announced, seems kind of early to me but maybe that’s just the horrid spring we’re having here. Some one at CCP has been reading their classics as our expansion has been named Odyssey  If I remember correctly it took Homer 10 years to get home from Troy, coincidently the same amount of time eve has been released for this year. Perhaps this is CCP’s way of aiming for another ten years.
As regular readers will know I was really pinning this expansion on being a Nullsec  one (more out of hope then anything else). Obviously with only a name and a few paragraphs of gumph, its hard to say exactly where this one is going. Certainly from the headline text, its going to be about exploration… again. All the quoted text here is taken from the expansion page (which is all I have seen yet as I haven’t had time to review any other sources). So here we go:
Welcome to EVE Online: Odyssey
EVE Online’s nineteenth free expansion, Odyssey, offers new tools for exploring the stars, challenges you to breach the unknown for adventure and rewards, and to face what lies on the other side. A re-imagined scanning system, intuitive navigation and new exploration modules will aid you as you search the heavens for your next conquest. Some will encounter sites never discovered before, and others will be confronted with intriguing tests of skill and resolve. Ample rewards await those that return from their journeys with ships intact.
Lots of interesting stuff, but lets hold fire till the little detail we have:
Using this new system, more pilots will reveal the hidden secrets of the EVE Universe. Beautiful new visuals, customizable controls and new functionality have been added to encourage the adventurer in everyone. There is now more among the stars, enticing even the most experienced veterans to explore.
Interesting one this one. At worst this will just be another iteration on the scanning system, updating it to a more modern system. At best this could be a massive change to the way that scanning, intelligence and communications work. There has been some back and fourth for while now on the idea of revamping the way Intel is gathered in eve. Specifically removing the concept of local chat away from the best method of determining who is in the system. Could this be the first step along that road?
Forged by the lessons learned from countless combat pilots, the four factions will issue forth with the latest tools of war and re-designs of old favorites – ships as awe-inspiring as they are deadly.
Sound the klaxon,  ring the bell! That sounds suspiciously to me like “New ships”. Could just be new modules, but then why not just say that?  Gods lets hope its new ships, everyone loves new ships.
A rebalance of major areas of space from highsec to nullsec include changes in exploration sites, industrial resources, some types of NPC loot and more…
Again this could be the first step down the road of removing moon goo, although with a  wider scope around it. Color me intrigued.
The shared EVE Universe storyline continues to evolve following the Battle for Caldari Prime, with participatory events spawning unique player stories in two games at once.
Blah blah blad, more live events for people who live in Europe and don’t work. Good but its not going to get me to take my pants off and dance on the table.
Continued development towards raising accessibility without removing functionality will bring dozens of changes to player-owned starbases, game UI and beyond.
Good to see this effort continuing (as if there was any doubt at this stage), great to see that POS’s will be getting some love after all, even if its not the full Monty (well done two step).
All in all its an interesting set of notes, with what could be diamonds in the rough. All in all I have to admit that my first impression is disappointed. I was really hoping to see EVE Online: Fixing the shit we said we would in dominion, but this really doesn’t look to be that. I honestly feel that Nullsec has been left out in the cold a little too long (lets face it as a group were starting to pine for attention. Such is the way of things however. 
Guess we’ll all be watching for the next press releases.
Fly slightly disappointed but not surprised,

Two Steps forward: An Awkward POSition…

I’ve been waiting a while before commenting on the current POS storm caused by the CSM minutes (mixed with Two Steps Stirring) simply because I wanted to see how CCP responded to the oncoming Threadnaught. And I think I have been right to do so, as I still remain fairly unsure about the implications and intent of the original statements made by CCP, and indeed what the origin of this whole debacle was.
Certainly, if read in a particular light the original quotes in Two Steps blog seems to indicate that the POS system is just too large to do right now, and as such they will be completely ignored until CCP can tackle them in a meaningful way. This appears to be how Two Step is publicly interpreting it, given his rally to the community for reinforcement. 
With this in mind I scanned through the whole of the CSM notes, looking for more references to POSs as a main subject line, and I found surprisingly few:
Page 12: Hans states CCP need to ask questions about Why we need modular POS’s
Page 14: Unifex clarifies about themes and the new expansion plans. He acknowledges POS’s need work and uses them as an example of how needed work can be done over several expansions being worked into the themes.
Page 21: Unifex responds to Two Step asking why POSs aren’t in the next expansion for sure. Unifex responds “We can’t do everything in our long-term plan in the next 6 months”
Page 99: Hans questions the Art team about their work on the new POS’s in reference to the blocker between art and design resources.
Very little supports that modular POSs are being dropped altogether, indeed my interpretation is that they very much are coming, just in a slow and staggered release, only the last comment (excluding the POS gate  quotes) on page 99 shows any CSM exacerbation on the issue, where Hans is lamenting the chicken and egg scenario CCP has with scheduling.  
So why is it that in just this one meeting, suddenly the CSM have their hackles up about the lack of POSs? Even within just that one meeting the context, and indeed the phrasing, just doesn’t sit right with me; let me bring some of the surrounding discussion into the light here: At this point in the summit the CMS is attending the first of two Null Sec meetings in which CCP Greyscale has attempted to get “a collective priority” from the CSM for the future of Null Sec. He states that they want to do with Null what they did with FW; tackle the issues to bring it towards a better version. All good so far right?
However seemingly for no reason UAxDeath suddenly pipes up telling Soundwave that CCP has promised the players POS’s, which they no longer intend to deliver. Blam, kinda out of the blue right? Don’t get me wrong, I suspect that UAxDeath had a very sound reason for bringing it up (as I will explain later) but here is the crux of the issue, the response:
Greyscale gives a pretty harsh kneejerk generalisation:
“Greyscale replied that coming into meetings with the mind-set of CCP promising a certain feature 
is a fallacious, and flat-out wrong, mind-set.”
Unifex, fires of a concise salvo stating CCP’s position:
“Unifex stated that what CCP did was spend effort and prototype what would make a good POS system. It 
would, however, only affect the group of people who manage POSes. Focusing that amount of time and 
effort on some small singular aspect of the game and delivering only that ‘is what will kill the business’ “
Note that Unifex, did NOT finish this statement with “So we aren’t going to touch them for now” or, “So were not doing it”. People are taking the inference that Greyscale made about promises, mixing this with Unifex’s comment about POSs being hard to do and reading that there are no plans to progress POSs.;Adding two and two together and getting six.
However there is clearly more at work here, we are defiantly missing something in the noise. I suspect that we are seeing the result of processes started outside of the official meetings, finally exploding into the light. Note that the issue seems to be been settled as its not brought up in later sessions, except by a slightly world weary Hans lamenting business processes. Two Step doesn’t stand on the table in the meeting and demand CCP start the POS making machine; nor does the topic ever come up again during the Null Sec sessions. Indeed the paper doesn’t even note he said anything during this exchange. So whats going on? Well I believe the following has happened:
1. A comment was made to the CSM off the record about POS’s not being in the next expansion. I suspect it was probably an off the cuff comment, maybe on Skype, maybe when they were picked up from the airport, something along the lines of:

CSM: Were looking forwards to seeing the modular POS progress

CCP: Don’t get too exited, there not in the next expansion!

2. The CSM let this little gem brew between each other exacerbating the issue and working themselves up.

3. During the early meetings it seems clear that the POS’s will get tackled, but only in a long term plan (page 14/15).
4. The CSM seem happy with this, but Two Step (at least) is worried about just how long this plan is.
5. During the Null sec debate xDeath takes the opportunity of Greyscale asking for Null Sec visions, to explicitly talk about POS’s hoping to bring out an official statement (which doesn’t work).
6. xDeath takes the next vague opportunity to outright oust the issue.
7. After a short thrashing leading to a stalemate the issue is dropped and the discussion moves on. CCP is happy they have explained that POS’s are a long term goal, and will be slowly addressed over the next few expansions.
Two Step, (at the very least) is not completely happy with this result. He still holds the worries from point 4 and wants to be sure that CCP get started on the POS problem asap because it is an important point for the community. I’m not sure why he (or indeed any) or the CSM didn’t directly say in any of the meetings “But you are going to do something for them in the next patch right?”. Perhaps they want more than just a verbal assurance, perhaps they don’t think it wouldn’t do any good?  Maybe its just a fear CCP will simply say “No”. But Two Step (I believe) wants to be sure CCP gets a move on with this and sees the urgency so he writes a blog post and starts the thread, and shows CCP just how important the issue is to us.
So here we are a Threadnaught later. Seagull has posted on the thread stating that the “small part of the community” statement by Unifex was in reference to their prototypes test catchment. In my opinion though this is either a manipulation of the truth, or the original statement was very poorly phrased  (especially from a man who usually considers his words very carefully), but that is besides the point.
So where do we go from here? Two Step has raised a point CCP thought they had covered, and suddenly the comunity is up in arms. Its pretty clear what is now laid out by Two Step and the forums:
  • It is acceptable for CCP to attack POS’s over the next few expansions
  • It is acceptable for CCP to bring in a short term fix to the current POS system, we are unable to see the first implementation of modular POSs in the next expansions.
  • It is unacceptable for zero progress to be made on the current POS system between now and the Summer release
  • CCP must communicate clearly what the intend to do with POSs

I would suggest that CCP who are likely still pre-planning the Summer expansion theme and content should hurry up at least the section regarding POSs. Because they need to release a clear plan for the replacement of the current system. I would advise that this should be heavily weighted with caveats so it doesn’t fly away in the minds of optimistic players:  
Here is our plan, here are the steps we expect in it. We don’t know when each step will be taken or even if we might have to change the plan (don’t worry we will let you know if we do!), but we are aware of this problem and we are taking steps to tackle it. Look we can even confirm step 1 will be completed in the summer expansion.
People are upset about modular POSs because we are worried this will be another ambulation*. The community knows that some things take time, but open honest communications could easily waylay fears and speculation. Lets face it with some of CCPs history, they cant really blame the community for being pessimistic about things.
It all seems like a bit of a storm in a teacup to me. Reading the notes, I am confident that CCP is already committed to delivering something for POSs in the Summer expansion. But I believe that Two Steps goal in this was to ensure CCP was aware that the players expect progress and soon. That’s a worthy goal, because the POS issue does need to be tackled, so with that in mind I would say to Two Step: Mission Accomplished. You saw an issue you knew was going to cause disappointment with your electorate. You attempted to raise the issue with CCP (maybe this should have been done a little more thoroughly) and when this failed you took the issue to the people and asked them to make their voices heard. That is the job of the CSM. 
Keep Clam and Carry on Posting,
*I am referring to the 5 or so years spent waiting for it to come, not the Incarna debacle once it was

A sword forged from the skulls of my enemies..

Just a quick one today ladies and gents. Between my new toy and the fact that I appear to have started the process of moving jobs its been a busy few weeks here again. I have also been pursuing the now published CSM notes, and came across this little gem.

Being primarily a 0.0 pilot I skipped through the initial sessions (taking note of POS-gate in passing), and dove right into the null sec points. It was hear that i came across  this wonderful gem of a feature which, if I am reading it right was almost, but not quite implemented over the last few expansions:

On the topic of creation and destruction Soundwave brought up a “neat” game design mechanic that CCP were unable to squeeze into a previous expansion. He explained the mechanic wherein there were a new set of system upgrades, “IHUBs on crack”, that were incredibly powerful. To temper the power creep, the mechanic allowed for only three of such structures to exist. Further, the only way to get said structure is to physically take it from someone else. Elise was quick to praise the idea. Soundwave continued that if he were ever to go into the issue of making an end-game objective that he would definitely put a similar type of hard-cap on it to keep the goals in check.

Trebor added that it could in fact be a soft cap that increased (or decreased) depending on a variety of metrics. Using a hypothetical example of how such a feature could be used, Trebor brought up Titans and Supercaps in general. Using this type of soft-cap mechanic, Trebor suggested that to build a new supercap would require the “core” of a dead supercap. So to build a new ship you would need the same materials and time, but also a supercap “core” that has a chance of dropping after a ship is destroyed. With that plus an adjustable drop rate of the cores in rare NPC spawns, one could manipulate the population of the ships. Two step liked the idea and talked about the issue of difficulty scaling; accumulating resources shouldn’t universally make everything easier.

Wow is all I can really say. This really is a stunning idea for a feature, and indeed Trebor’s expansion on the base, is equally awesome. An instant cure to power creep in end game content, fantastic. As is evident from some of my previous posts, I am very much against both super capital proliferation as well as the current overpowered nature of the SC beast.  However as a realist I can see exactly how this situation came about. CCP designed super capitals with the feverant believe (some might argue for ignorance) that they would never be used en-mass. Maybe they didn’t believe that eve would still be about by the time it was a problem. Maybe they assumed that they would eventually find a natural equilibrium of  creation against construction. What ever the reason, they were designed as behemoths of space, with an arsenal to match. Most of the suggestions that I have seen to cure the “Supercap issue” (including my own suggestion) have always been around adding new features to curtail the prevalence of the super capital. However this simple suggestion by Soundwave, expanded by Trebor, could, in essence go back in time to make CCPs assumption correct. An iteration on super caps which would make them function as intended: as a rarity. With this in mind, for the first time ever, I could consider myself in favour of a massive boost to the destructive ability of super capitals. Make them kill dictors, give them a doomsday on every hard-point that fine, as long as there are only ever 5 in existence…  I would still argue that there is a place in the battlefield for a dedicated capital/super capital killer ship, just to ensure that we don’t have single alliances hoarding  large percentage of the Super capitals.

Even ignoring this as an idea to limit  super capital proliferation, and taking it on its merit to allow for future development its a fantastic idea. The concept of adding a “Limited numbers” feature into the game could be a massive conflict driver for nullsec. Adding more items which are coveted (and not tied to a single geographical region of space) we could see a new reason for Alliances to clash broadswords (pun intended). Furthermore, should CCP really take their thinking to another level, Imaged if the destruction of this theoretical item could be accomplished by a relatively small number of players? We could give small alliance a method to hurt larger alliances and, at the same time, boost their own funding and standing in the process. At the moment Nullsec alliances are made or broken by the space they own. Don’t own space and you’ll never make it anywhere in nullsec. At the same time, if you want to own space, you need to have the numbers and funding to do it (for which you need space). Its a classic chicken and egg scenario, which players currently get around by seeking “sponsorship” by alliances/coalitions which have already “made it” in 0.0. Give 0.0 alliances/coalitions a golden goose which young aspirants can steal from them could give groups a new entry into null.

This truly is a fantastic idea and I really hope that it is implemented. However I also hope that CCP takes the time to consider the best way(s) to do it as well.

Fly uniquely


Summer 2013 Looking forwards

With Retribution now safely tucked away into the annals of history lets take a look towards the future and the next patch should, and might hold. I’ll split this into two sections; things I think will be in the next patch and things I think should be in the next patch.

So Summer 2013, what would I like to see? and I accept this is a pure wish list, not an expectation!

Modular POS’s – This has been in the works for waaaaay to long now. It is my understanding that the code behind POSs is some of the oldest and messiest code currently check into the CCP code base. And although CCP has publicly acknowledged the need for a serious re-vamp we are yet to see anything hinting at actual work being done on it. Either CCP has been working on this behind the scenes for a while now, or they are avoiding doing it like a lazy school boy. I’ll let you decided which, but either way summer 2012 needs to see these coming to fruition for reasons to obvious and numerous to describe.

Further Ship Balances – pretty standard expectation these days and I’m in two minds as to which way this should go. Either CCP should finish balancing sub capital ships (and giving them a place in Capital warfare) or they should balance Capitals to bring them down to a level where Sub Caps can counter them.

Removal of Structure Bashing – Lots of people have discussed replacement mechanics for sov holding (The best I believe is the “Use the space to hold the space” one). Even the CSM has identified it as a prime example of bad game design. Whatever the method CCP should be encouraging us to shoot each-other rather than static structures.

Bottom up Corp Economy – I believe The Mittani was behind this one, as are many others. I myself have written about it at length in my Blood Money Series and I believe that this needs to happen. ISK fountains need to be removed from the few people in charge of alliances and into the hands of the thousands of members of that alliance. A lot of people have referred to the Ring mining as the solution to this issue.

And in contrast what do I think we will see?

Modular POS’s – I give it a 40% chance of appearing. And I count in that it appearing in a “not quite finished” first iteration way.

Further Ship Balances – Were gona see it without doubt (unless CCP finishes it before the patch), but I doubt it will touch capitals in any way shape or form. The CSM now (at the time when CCP is picking what to hit for the expansion) has made it clear that they like capitals just the way they are, so I doubt any form of counter will come out. I expect instead it will be T2 iterations like the Command ship changes we have already see bandied about in dev blogs.

New battleships – This one I’m going out on a limb with this one. The diagram in the dev blog above clearly shows that there are 4 gaps in the Battleship line up:

I expect CCP to fill this in the summer expansion with a new Caldari Attack ship and new Disruption ships for Minmattar, Amarr and Galentte. I could argue for another two Battleships (support and Exploration) for each race, but I’m not sure that fits with CCPs vision of the BS lineup.

Without any description I think the following are also likely in the next expansion: old code re-factoring and new player experience iteration.

What do you guys think will be in? and what do you want to see?

Fly expectantly