Ripard opens his condemnation of my proposals to nerf highsec income by offering the following justification:
There simply must be a viable high-sec income source for brand new players. In their first two years, new players need upwards of two billion ISK to buy skill-books and the expensive ships that they'll need to be viable on the modern PvP battlefield.Everyone has seen the famous Goon propaganda poster depicting a brand-new Rifter pilot who helps defeat an enemy alliance by tackling a scout. (The poster remains relevant today. Makalu Zarya of the late Against All Authorities alliance was recorded on TeamSpeak angrily telling his fleet to primary a Rifter.) In reading Ripard's comment, I got an image of Ripard as the mirror universe equivalent of whoever it was who made that Goon poster. Ripard thinks my ideas are bad for new players. Not so. What's really bad for new players is telling them that they need to spend their first two years grinding in highsec before they can become useful in nullsec.
James solved this problem for himself by becoming a Goon [horrified bold and italics in the original, with a link to my employment history].After some commenters informed Ripard that I made a fortune with my Currin Trading Ponzi scheme, he edited his post to note the fact. A number of corrections are in order. It wasn't my Ponzi scheme that enabled me to leave highsec or enter nullsec. From my first week in the game, I was in lowsec doing ninja mining and ninja ratting. I moved to nullsec when I joined Ascendant Frontier, not Goons. Next, I left ASCN to solo in nullsec in an NPC corp. I found that I was making a decent profit off of my PvP activity, so even if I weren't flush with cash from my scam, I was doing just fine. I joined Goonfleet after I had already spent a year in nullsec.
Granted, there's no particular reason to expect Ripard Teg to be aware of any of this. Nor does he need to know my biography when he's writing about the needs of new players in EVE. But it's characteristic of Ripard that he would delve haphazardly into a topic that he knows nothing about in order to make his argument.
Related to this, there remains and there will always be a contingent of EVE players that wish to play this game casually. They just want to log into the game when they get home from work or school, run missions or mine for a couple of hours, sell their take at market, and log off. There have been repeated attempts to demonize these players around the blogosphere and all of these attempts, including James's, are misguided in the extreme... But at the end of the day, EVE is a sandbox for everyone and that includes the "filthy casuals".After excoriating me for my demonization of casual players, Ripard concludes his mini-sermon as follows:
Rather than demonizing the Other, James might try showing a little empathy and understanding what the Other wants out of the game. It's a good trait in a prospective CSM member.Once again, Ripard gets it wrong in a number of ways. I have never attacked casual players or demonized them as "filthy casuals". For most of my EVE career, I have been a casual player myself, logging in for a bit when I get the chance. Non-casual play in EVE primarily consists of long hours of strategic ops (structure grinding/defending, mostly) or grinding lots of isk for hours on end. Whether ratting in lowsec, solo'ing in nullsec, or suicide ganking in highsec, I would describe my play as casual. There's no necessary connection between casual play and being orbited by Concord. If Ripard attempted to equate "casual" with "carebear", he was dead wrong.
My CSM platform is, by and large, geared toward improving the situation for casual players. Rather than grinding out isk over long periods in highsec, I'd like players to be able to make a decent living casually PvE'ing in lowsec and nullsec. I also believe we need to facilitate PvP other than structure grinding, by restoring the PvP foodchain and creating mid-level objectives (e.g. disrupting moongoo without taking sov).
As for the carebears, they're not all casual players. Some of them grind endless hours. Ripard advises me to exercise empathy, and to understand what others want out of the game. But that's exactly what led me to be so critical of the carebears. I understood what their vision for highsec really was. As history has shown, I was right about them.
Further, if the interview James did on Crossing Zebras is any guide, his motivation here seems to be "PvE sucks in null-sec and low-sec and players there are miserably unhappy with it. We should make the high-sec players just as miserable."Another paragraph, another egregious error on Ripard's part. As explained in my CSM platform, I believe low/null PvE needs to be buffed considerably, because the risk is so high.
Not only is this not true -- from what I understand, low-sec players are pretty happy with their PvE options as they stand right now and those are about to get better -- it's an issue that should be solved in null-sec, not high-sec.Wrong again. Lowsec players have always gotten a raw deal when it comes to PvE. Most famously, lowsec mining is only marginally more lucrative than highsec mining, despite stark differences in risk. That's why so many lowsec groups do their PvE in highsec, and why so many people never bother to make the jump from highsec to lowsec. As I've described on many occasions, it's not enough to simply buff low/null, because highsec is so safe. How much do you need to buff lowsec mining before it's preferable to AFK'ing in safe highsec belts? The solution is not merely buffing low/null, but also nerfing highsec.
Ripard spends some of the remainder of his post explaining areas where we agree. For example, he shares my view that sec status grinding is too time-consuming and that EVE could benefit from more entrypoints to low/null. Ripard also concedes that in some limited cases, it might not be a bad thing to increase risk in highsec (specifically, in incursions). When Ripard agrees with me, he's right. When he disagrees with me, strange things begin to happen. Here's his response to my suggestion that the "boomerang" gank tactic should be allowed again:
Mostly no. James wants this change because it allows a solo ganker to gank a mining barge in a belt, then pull CONCORD to the sun so they can gank another barge in the very same belt once their crim flag runs out. My opinion is that once a given belt is "farmed" for a gank, the ganker should be forced to move on to the next belt. This isn't much of a burden.In reality, the "boomerang" tactic (famously mastered by Herr Wilkus) involved making multiple attacks per gank, using high-alpha strikes and warping to the next gank just before Concord arrived. Not everyone is familiar with the boomerang tactic; it's no great crime for Ripard to be ignorant of it. The problem is, as Herr Wilkus himself put it in a comment on Part 1, "It's quite interesting that Ripard's complete lack of knowledge regarding a suicide ganking tactic like the 'Boomerang' does not prevent him from commenting on and taking a strong position against it."
Apart from his carebear policy leanings, that's Ripard's great weakness. EVE is a complex game, and no one can be expected to have familiarity or expertise on all of its aspects. And there's nothing wrong with exploring topics or discussing ideas with which one is not very familiar. However, Ripard has a habit of assuming he is an expert on topics about which he knows little or nothing. This isn't the first time this has come up, either; I have seen many others criticize Ripard for the same thing, on a variety of different topics.
Back to the post, Ripard seems to think that the boomerang tactic was used to draw Concord out of the belt so it could be attacked again. Obviously this is wrong, and gankers use the undock trick to draw Concord out of belts. Because Ripard's knowledge on this subject is so hazy, it's difficult to know whether he understands that Concord can be drawn out of the belt via other means, or even that Concord squads generated by previous ganks respond by moving to the locations of subsequent ganks. He says that gankers should be forced to move on from a belt after it has been attacked. Does he know that the Concord from the first belt will move out of it when the next belt is attacked? Who knows?
Rather than bringing the boomerang back, I'd rather see the number of ice fields in high-sec both greatly decreased in size and increased in number... four or five much smaller ice fields per ice system instead of one big one... As it is today, I can understand the frustration of getting a gank on an ice field, then having to wait for CONCORD to disperse.Reading things like this is a bewildering experience. Ripard advocates the proliferation of "smaller" ice fields, apparently based on a misunderstanding of how Concord operates. We're fully through the rabbit hole. Imagine Ripard Teg is elected to the CSM. Can you imagine Ripard going into lecture-mode like this with CCP on a topic that they know about, and which he clearly doesn't? (And people question whether I'll be able to work with CCP.) I'm sure there are plenty of areas of the game where Ripard knows his stuff, but when he acts like he's an expert on subjects where he's clueless, it undermines his credibility all around.
To further demonstrate his expertise on ganking, Ripard followed-up with a lengthy post describing the proper way for miners to avoid suicide ganks. Ripard declared that he has used cloaky alts to observe the New Order's tactics, and has come up with countermeasures. The mainstay of his defense program involves Scorpions. Fair enough, ECM is a classic anti-gank tool. But then he goes into specifics.
One of the biggest holes in the Order's attack pattern is that it takes them several seconds to set up a gank. While their warp-ins generally allow them to land within a few thousand meters of their targets, they have to close to between 1100 and 1800 meters to apply their tactics successfully, and they have to do it on standard propulsion. This gives you some response time.Yes, "one of the biggest holes" in our attack pattern is a figment of Ripard's imagination. Most New Order gankers are at -10 security status, which means that our attack time is limited by faction police even before we open fire. Our gankers warp directly to their optimal range (hopefully). But it gets worse. Ripard suggests the use of energy neutralizers and medium combat drones. These are the kinds of tactics that we might chuckle at in a post about the resistance. Then this:
Remember that if a gank fleet can't kill you, they might decide to harass you with bumping. There are a few ways around this. One good way is to park your fleet in the midst of what you're mining. This works particularly well in dense ice fields. Ships that are nestled up to a solid object like a large ice cube are surprisingly resistant to bumping.Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the return of the "nestling" strategy. You might have thought Anslo and his "Proveldtariat" were dead and gone, but his ideas live on in Ripard Teg.
Several days ago, Ripard wrote an apology post. It seems he had previously written a lengthy discourse about how there was something wrong in the way EVE was calculating damage done by large guns to smaller targets. Ripard caught a lot of flak for the post, mainly because he was completely incorrect. In his apology, Ripard wrote this:
As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I am a rare mutant that -- when I am wrong -- I admit that I'm wrong.If Ripard is elected to the CSM, I get the feeling he's going to have ample opportunity to exercise his mutant ability. For the sake of the CSM and CCP alike, let's hope Ripard saves himself the trouble, and learns to distinguish more carefully between his areas of expertise and areas of ignorance.