Showing posts with label Corp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corp. Show all posts

Monday, 5 October 2015

Roadmap: Erm...What's Next?

This is entirely unfair but the new roadmap announced by CCP does beg the question. What is next? It seems a bit ungrateful to ask to be honest. Nevermind, let's go there anyway.

The current roadmap takes us to spring 2016. The date isn't specific but I would imagine CCP marketing would want it around fanfest in late April. This would only really give 3 months before the summer break. Part of that will be refining, balancing, fixing, call it what you will, of all the things released before that period. There won't be a lot of developer time between now and this time next year essentially. Maybe 12 to 16 weeks worth. That's the first thing to bear in mind.

The next thing to consider is the roadmap graphic presented by CCP (see below). 

The bit that is missing from all the current announcements is "Alliances and Corporations". Now I got confined to bed last weekend. Having abused my backbone, it retaliated and froze. To mitigate my misery, I tuned into Sugar Kyle's and Corbexx's Question and Answer session. As an aside, it was an excellent session, but they didn't have a clear idea about what CCP were planning next either. But Sugar speculated that "Alliances and Corps" were a possibility. So lets run with that assumption and say that by this time next year we will be experiencing the new Alliance and Corps features whatever they may be.

Why am I dwelling on this? On one level this is all very good and exciting. But as has been pointed out by others, it can be interpreted as the ongoing appeasement of Nullsec to the detriment to the rest of the game. That is a little unfair given that structures will be used across New Eden but only a small proportion of people set up a POS in Hisec, and if my unscientific survey of Lonetrek is any indication, even a smaller proportion of people actually fuel them. So most of the big ticket changes have most likely gone over most people's heads outside of Nullsec. Alliances and Corps on first sight might seem like more of the same.

Now of course, it depends on what CCP intends to do with Alliances and Corps. Is it just a refresh or is something more radical afoot? If it is the former then Eve won't have changed much, if at all for a lot of players for 18 months or so. Those players don't form a naturally coherent constituency so won't wail in unison if they don't like it. They will just leave or put up with it. So the way the cards are stacked, it is hard to imagine CCP doing something radical. No one is really asking for it with any passion.

But if CCP were to do something more exotic, what could they do? Corps are currently "one size fits all" entities. They are vehicles for command and control. Great if you want to be commanded and controlled. Tiresome if you don't. In real life you have a much broader range of entities. Cooperatives, partnerships, sole trader, trade association, and trade union to name a few. Why couldn't we have these or something like them in Eve? Rather than surrendering yourself to work for someone, why not have the opportunity to work WITH someone on your own terms? 

If I were a miner for example,  it would appeal to me if I could join a trades union AND join a corp. CEO cracking the whip to push up the system index? On strike lads! Give us better terms and conditions! That would make me want to bother asteroids. Who knows, the CSM might become more representative with union candidates, or you could manipulate the market, or offer non profit buyback services for your members or hire mercs to clear the Uedama pipe or, or,.. The block alliances would hate them but the "meta" would be different. Ok back to reality. I don't expect any of that in 12-16 weeks available. At best Wardecs might be slightly tampered with if there is to be any impact at all outside of Nullsec. That is probably the best we can expect if my assumption is anyway near correct. Which it probably isn't.

Monday, 17 August 2015

It's a POS

A Drifter Incursion, this time repelled by the Amarr Navy, Structure Dev blogs a plenty from CCP (here and here), AT Competition, the Imperium trying to recapture the agenda through their media outlets, a wormhole sounding board that didn't involve copious amounts of salt and a riot in Jita that did (mined from Siberia presumably) because fighting a 20 million ISK Interceptor with a billion ISK PVE ship is hard apparently. A quiet weekend then!

For me the structure dev blogs are the most interesting and were my inspiration for the weekend. There is a lot to take in. From a filthy solo casual perspective, what I took away from it was there is still no auto defence. But the vulnerability to attack is small for a medium citadel. I would have preferred auto-defence and and a wider window but it works sort-of if you can put the banality of the magic wand to the back of your mind. In wormhole space, they are proposing you lose everything. I hope this is the case because that is what wormholes are all about and distinguishes them from known space. There is also a debate about what should drop. We will see where that leads. HiSec and Lowsec citadels will be more secure naturally. Null sec... well lets just not go there. So while I am not thrilled to bits over the changes, I can definitely see some interesting opportunities ahead.

Now my trader is back to pulling in the ISK after my laptop's unplanned sabbatical, it was time to commit. I decided to build a small POS tower in high sec. I have been keeping my eye on a location for some time now. It is reasonably quiet, close to a trade hub and lowsec but is also a good NPC system for manufacture. I have semi seriously been manufacturing on and off ages. Mainly, I just research blueprints but if the price is good I run off a few frigates for my traders to pitch. For now the objective is to be able to contrast the costs, time and maintenance between the two methods. So a test-bed. essentially.

That was the theory. Bearing in mind I know nothing about how to setup and use a POS, the half baked plan was grab some stuff from Jita, travel to the location, dump the tower in space and then figure it out. My Alt CEO prowler hauler from the corp I set up was up for the task. I had trained her in Anchoring so it didn't need multiple characters to get this done. The first problem was the Prowler hasn't got enough capacity for all the fuel blocks, certificates and stront. This is why I am training an Orca pilot but that is a couple of months off. It was going to take several trips to fill the POS's boots with fuel was the hard message. So I took basic rations and the Tower to the destination to start with.

I Dscan'd furiously on arrival to check to coast was clear and the moon hadn't been occupied. All good, so dumped the tower in space, anchored it, cloaked up and watched the light show as the tower took form. Then to on-line it. The interface was beyond me. This was solved by lots of random clicking and shovelling fuel into various orifices. More random clicking got the forcefield to start and the password set. But only 7 hours worth of fuel left in it. I videoed this with a view to putting it on YouTube at some point but not sure if I can bear you all looking at my clumsiness. 

Moving on... The eventual plan might be to produce my own fuel from the dormant PI operation I have. But today was not that day. Back to Jita then to pick up the fuel I had already bought except.... revolting Russians were busy hoofing the monument and causing monumental TIDI by various nefarious means. OK Plan B, go to the local trade hub and buy the fuel at a ridiculous price instead. I was getting tired and emotional by now so I changed my Prowler with a please gank me fit by fitting cargo extenders to increase capacity. I got away with it but I should really resit that temptation in the future. 

Anyway, the POS is now born and fully fed. It cost around 100 million ISK but next time it will be much cheaper. I've learned a lot but there are plenty more childish schoolboy errors ahead of me. I'm looking forward to the challenge.  

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pawn to King 4. Progress Update #1

The vague scheme in my head is becoming a bit more solid. The preparatory objectives where simply
  • Research what needs to be done
  • Get ISK to fund the project
  • Learn Skills to be able to do the project

This is to be achieved by using my main and two alt characters only. Dual training on two of the characters.

Research what needs be done

This is turning out to be a lot harder than I imagined. There is plenty of advice for how not be a new player. Then there is a lot information showing  experienced players doing amazing things. There is however an implied knowledge you need to understand what they are doing. But the leap you need to make between the two is opaque. I still enjoy the challenge though.

Setting up a corp

What is clear is I will need a corp to be able to get some things done. I have now set one up for my trader alt. I really resent having to do this. Even more now I have experienced the corp interface. I understand it has been improved recently so it must have been appalling before. I know why CCP insists on this. Because... wardecs. I doubt I will provide more than a couple of minutes content for a wardeccer and it will provide zero content for me apart from a dull administrative burden. Not the best mechanic in Eve then. I have trained a variety of corporation management skills and will be leveling these up over the coming months

Mobility and Jump Clones

The other thing I have established I will need is a lot of mobility. This means I can spend less time on travelling and more on time on the fun things So I have maxed out the jump clones on my main. To do this I briefly joined the excellent Estel Arador Corp Services who run a free jump clone service. Their coverage is astonishing. So within a matter if minutes I had established all my clones in a single region. The only thing to consider when using this service is whether it is under a wardec. Yes that really useful mechanic again. Anyway I have spent time equipping and dispersing the jump clones across New Eden. For now I have given them a either my Lore Ambulance Chaser Vigil or Explorer Travelceptor to be getting on with. I will get extra jump clones for the other alts once things really get moving.

Getting ISK

I have not used my explorer to do this and relied on my trader. Exploration can be a bit hit and miss. Wonderfully productive at times or a big explosion at others. Great fun but time consuming. Besides with the vacation season coming up, margins get more looser with less active players so there is more scope for profit. I have changed a lot of lines and dumped a lot of old stock. It has worked well and I am ahead of my initial target amount. However it will slow down over the coming months as the market adjusts to my presence and I stop dumping old stock. We shall see but looking good so far.


There are two things I am trying to do here. Firstly to train into new areas  - Corp Management for example. The other thing is to be able to share the workload across the characters I have. So if one of them is stuck in a wormhole, the other two can cover elsewhere for example. Now having two objectives while training skills is probably not the best way to go. It does stretch things out a bit but I can't really see another way of doing this short of trading a character for ISK. I would not feel much satisfaction in doing that however. Working with someone else's creation would defeat the point of what I am trying to do and I would not have learnt anything. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Beyond Aurora

I've not written for a while because...  reasons. OK let's be more precise. Real life is part of the picture. Then Eve naturally. Two Hugs fleets, a rescue mission (failed), getting to grips with Tripwire, exploring a shattered wormhole for the first time, the hilarious consequences of meeting BRAVE newbies in a wormhole. That all took time. Then there is a little research project on the history of HMS Aurora after it was sold to the Kuomintang in 1947. The Wikipedia entry is depressingly inadequate because typically it is written from a very narrow western perspective. It misses an amazing story. Murder, intrigue, corruption, principle, families split by civil war, international crisis... it has it all and is important to my family. I've been helping a music project as well which isn't unrelated. Oh and I left Signal Cartel..

Now if you are expecting a drama bomb then there is nothing to see here. It's a cliche but it wasn't them, it was me. My expectations were flawed. Eve Scout/Signal Cartel are a great and growing corp. I have deep respect for them. JOIN THEM. I do not regret my time and it has allowed me to reflect further on why I participate in Eve and what I want from New Eden.

So what have I learnt? Well in a sense the experience was reaffirming. My belief has always been been that there is an alternate way to play Eve. There is an orthodoxy in the way the game is currently played that is self reinforcing. New players get told to join a corp and that the pinnacle of the game is the Null-sec where you can be a pawn in someone else's game of capture the flag. The only measures for success are the Killboard, Sovereignty, ISK and tears. Result!

On an individual level I have always looked for ways to challenge the tradition. For example, when CODE were doing their thing in my area, as a trader I imagined there must be better way of achieving the same outcome without all the grief. And there was. You just needed to take a different perspective. I decided to defend the New Eden environment and save the asteroids. Venture production had saturated the market because of CODE's activities and I could pick them up really cheaply. Cheaper than they cost to produce. So I bought them, recycled them and put the Tritanium on the market causing the prices to fall locally. This kept the miners away (Ventures now too expensive and Trit prices too low), saved the asteroids, denied CODE possible targets and my trader made a profit. I also destroyed more Ventures than CODE did so it was a win all round with no grief.

So the orthodoxy can be challenged at an individual level. And if we all did that then New Eden would change. It just needs a consensus and some lateral thinking. But how do you extend paradigm so that like minded people can work together? How do you codify an alternative way of playing the game? This where I thought Signal Cartel might come in, They have the Credo and the organisation. But there is a difficulty. Using a Corp structure is inherently orthodox and hierarchical. And that is part of the problem not part of the solution. You can't be a peer in a game mechanic enforced parent/child relationship. The Credo is also tightly coupled to the objectives of the Corp which are narrow in scope (Exploration). Unintentionally perhaps, that leaves you with a priesthood who curate the Credo. So it is hard to extend it to other activities in Eve without creating awkward contradictions. This doesn't make Signal Cartel bad. Quite the contrary. They are definitely a step in the right direction. But there is a bigger vision to be had and a corp just isn't an appropriate mechanism. I probably already knew that so it was my fault for expecting it to be different. At least I know for certain now.

Anyways, what I now know is that exploring New Eden isn't just about looking at the pixels. There is a whole other dynamic to be explored and experimented with. And who knows maybe one day there could be an alternative New Eden. That's what the crew of the ship formally known as HMS Aurora discovered if you look at it from a different perspective.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

War and Peace

The corp had another hisec wardec. From my perspective it is inconsequential and not surprising. For the kill-board farmers however, a corp like ours looks too good to be true. Our Credo dictates we are a peaceful corp so in ISK efficiency terms our stats are terrible. In principle it is not an issue but to a new corp member a trade hub is like a flame to a moth. It is a hard lesson to learn. 

This in turn sparks a lively internal debate. It is natural for people to want to fight back. It is natural for people to take a wardec personally. The clinical gaming of the mechanic for easy content and kill-board padding isn't readily understood by some of the newer players. The Credo comes under scrutiny. In truth, there is no comfortable resolution and the debate will continue. But for me it is straight forward once you distinguish the difference between being peaceful and being a pacifist. Being peaceful is a behavioural choice. Being a pacifist is more of an ideology. One is a pragmatic approach the other is a dogmatic approach. I interpret the Credo as being pragmatic. I choose not to shoot. I choose to find alternative ways to interact with Eve and its players. Ways which doesn't involve them exploding.

Which leads me onto last night's fleet operation. It has become a tradition before a wardec becomes active to give some "hugs" to our adversaries. Hugs in the form of fireworks and snowballs. It was only my second experience of being in a fleet. Weapon of choice was a gratuitously equipped Corax with 7 festival launchers, a couple of hardeners for that glow in the dark effect and an afterburner. The cargo bay was full of pyrotechnics. Our targets were shy to say the least. But being explorers means it is quite natural for us to track something down. The downside is FC'ing a group of explorers is like herding cats. Kudos to the FC for maintaining his sanity. Anyway, the pursuit began and hugs were forthrightly delivered. The impression I get from both operations I have been on is the victims seem pretty embarrassed by the attention. Being a sneaky dock or gate camper is not entirely consistent with being lit up like the 4th July for 90 minutes. It certainly disturbed their gameplay and they often warped off or docked up. Their ISK efficiency spoiled for the night I retired secure in the knowledge you can conduct war peacefully.

Cuddle Wagon action

Keeping the peace

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Signal Received

I am in a Corp. You might find that strange. I was for many years a solo player. I still regard myself as an independent player. But it is always good to inhabit a community that shares your interest and Signal Cartel is certainly provides that community. Signal Cartel is no ordinary Corp. It has a credo that prohibits aggression and promotes exploration as an activity. So in some ways it is more of a professional body or perhaps a Trade Union than a Corp in the traditional Eve sense. I would hesitate to use the word 'Guild' because of the WoW connection but that is sort of what it is if you think of the original usage of the word.  However, it seems to have caught the imagination of quite a few people and the membership continues to grow. Signal Cartel is part of the Eve Scout Enclave Alliance. If you have ever traveled to, or via Thera you will have likely used their services. So it is nice to part of a player driven activity that contributes to the larger Eve story. The set of circumstances that led me to send in the recruitment application were somewhat interesting. Something I will no doubt talk about in later posts.

Having joined the corp, I have enjoyed the participation and the joint sense of purpose. It houses an eclectic group of people ranging from newbros to former CSM members and Eve blogging aristocracy. All in all it has certainly enhanced what was already a good game experience. It also inspired me to indulge my musical urges such as they are. Taking the Corp motto - Can't Stop The Signal, I translated it into Morse Code and used it as the basis for a two minute soundtrack. The response from my corp mates has been pretty positive so thought I would share.

Now it just needs someone to put a video together