Saturday, April 30, 2016

CODE. Is the Most Relevant Alliance in EVE

You know, we live in a cynical age. Much of the EVE playerbase is disillusioned. They no longer believe in the things they once valued. In years past, EVE players took great pride in green killboards and high kill-to-death ratios. They believed these were the marks of a truly elite alliance. But then came the Goons, who mocked killboard stats as a measure of worthiness. Eventually, players even came to realize that everyone's killboards are green because all kill assists count as kills.

Then came the time when players looked upon the grand sovereignty maps with wonder and admiration. Surely it must be this, having power over large swaths of space, that gave one the true measure of greatness. Who could deny the bold colors of empires painted in broad strokes across nullsec?

Alas, it was not to last. With the rise of coalitions and the renter economy, space had to be meted out to meatshields and pets and renters. Alliances such as Pandemic Legion spurned the holding of sovereignty directly. After the introduction of FozzieSov, some even questioned--to CCP Fozzie's horror--whether sovereignty was worthwhile at all.

And so it was that a new measure of worth took hold in EVE: That of relevance. In a time when worth and power and elite PvP skill could not be quantified, relevance allowed players to judge one another by an unquantifiable, purely subjective standard. Everyone determines for himself whether a leader, corporation, alliance, or coalition is relevant or not. No longer is it necessary to kill a player's ships or drive his alliance from its systems. One need only declare one's enemy "not relevant", and moral victory is assured.

Is CODE. relevant? Those who oppose the New Order would say it is certainly not. Highsec doesn't count. The Code isn't real. Echoes of the old Miner Bingo quote, "Bumping? That won't do anything."

They would say CODE. isn't relevant. Ay, there's the rub. They would say it isn't relevant. But would they believe it? As we've seen, one cannot take a carebear at his word. Look to his actions.

Last week, in the aftermath of the permaban of Agent loyalanon, CODE. changed executor corps. An alliance's executor corp needs a majority of the votes of its member corps. It's a silly mechanic with a sillier solution: The executor packs the alliance with a bunch of alt corps under its control. When the executor changes, new alt corps shuffle in, and the old ones shuffle out. At the same time as this was happening, The Conference Elite, CODE.'s second-largest corp, had to change its CEO. But this was impossible, because loyalanon was the CEO, and he couldn't log in.

Agent Mildron Klinker was to be loyalanon's replacement at the head of TCE. Allegedly, when a corp's CEO is permabanned, the player with the strongest claim will be given control by CCP. As loyalanon's eldest living trueborn son, Mildron had the strongest claim. Yet CCP refused to act. A new CEO can be voted in by a corp's shareholders, but 412nv Yaken, a TCE shareholder, had also been permabanned.

Thus, TCE sat out of CODE. while Mildron sought out other shareholders. One was located, but he wasn't able to play EVE for several days. The corp waited until his return to EVE, which was followed by the transfer of shares, a 24-hour shareholder vote for new CEO, followed by a final transfer of CEO power at downtime, and then the application to return to CODE., which became effective after another 24-hour period.

Pictured above, the CODE. member dotlan graph, reflecting corps' departure and re-entry into the alliance. EVE's cumbersome corp mechanics are not the most riveting subject in the world, I know. It's dry stuff. The absence of a 150-member corp from CODE., lasting for just over a week, is not exactly high drama. Unless one were absolutely fascinated by CODE., such dull, bureaucratic movements would not be considered very--what's the word?--relevant.


Within hours of the corp reshuffling, Reddit exploded. A post about CODE.'s member corps leaving rocketed to the top of the front page of the EVE subreddit, drawing an impressive 96% upvotes. It was big news.

Conversation about CODE.'s apparent collapse--represented by the loss of a 150-member corp--filtered into all of the other conversations. In a post about Fanfest badges, news of an alliance's collapse were presumed to be about CODE.

Then there were the rumors. Cap Stable podcaster Kuda Timberline seized on the chattering about Imperium losses in the north somehow affecting CODE.'s ability to shoot miners in highsec.

In a post about the latest nerf to freighter ganking, an alternative theory of CODE.'s demise was explored.

Followed by the merging of the theories.

An additional post on the subject was made, with 91% upvotes, helping to catch up anyone who had somehow missed the news.

Of course, the eulogizing followed.

Here, an Anti-Ganker expresses mixed emotions upon hearing the big news. But, ironically, it was among the Anti-Gankers that the optimism was the most cautious:

...For they have been burned by such rumors before.

Of course, no earth-shaking event would be complete without coverage from one of EVE's major news sites. Did the week-long absence of a 150-member corp from CODE. really warrant all of this attention, though? It must've been a slow news week. Nothing else going on in EVE.

Nothing, that is, aside from one of the biggest wars in EVE's history--easily the most significant war in half a decade. While TCE temporarily stepped out of CODE., Goonswarm Federation lost sovereignty in the Deklein region. Goon ownership of Deklein represented possibly the longest-running consecutive period of control anywhere in nullsec, as even CVA's sovereignty in Providence had been interrupted at times. CODE.'s corp reshuffle got more coverage in EVE media than the Deklein blitzkrieg. True, is pro-Imperium and had less incentive to discuss nullsec events. But even the anti-Imperium site barely covered the war in more detail.

Again, the event that gripped EVE's attention:

The fact is, no other alliance in EVE could generate so much conversation by the temporary dropping of a 150-member corp. Not Goonswarm, not Pandemic Legion, nobody. They'll deny it, swear up and down that it isn't the case, but their actions say otherwise: Maybe CODE. is somewhat relevant.

This is real talk, so I'll come right out and say it. I am the second-most well-known EVE player today. That might sound like a bold claim--even an outrageous one. Then again, consider the EVE playerbase. Most EVE players live in highsec and never leave. The majority of players don't follow the official forums, or read the news sites, or browse the EVE subreddit. By the first time they come across names like Sion Kumitomo or Grath Telkin or Elo Knight, or older ones like Chribba or SirMolle, they've been spending weeks, months, or even years hearing "Praise James!" Highsec players get virtually no content from anyone other than CODE. and the New Order. That's how the majority of EVE players experience the game.

Then there's the minority, those who venture out into nullsec. A minority of EVE players do read about the game and engage in the community outside of the EVE client; they read news sites and forums and Reddit. Those people? They dropped everything to watch, with rapt attention, as a 150-member corp left CODE. for a week.

So you have a minority who pay a lot of attention to CODE., and a majority who pay attention only to CODE.

You do the math. It's easy. CODE. is the most relevant alliance in EVE.

You know the reason why. It's because the CODE always wins. Always.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Code Is Forever and Ever and Ever

One of the best things about the Code is that it never gets old. It only improves with age.

Our friends from Gamis prove the point with each new video.

Elite PvP never looked so good!


Agent Fiddly Pop produces artwork with a timeless, universal message. Sometimes it's more tailored, though. Fred Kyong, whose difficulty accepting the Code was noted in a recent Highsec Miner Grab Bag post, inspired a new piece:

How can you argue with such logic--or such art?

Permanent links can be located on our Links page, of course.

Over One Trillion Twenty-Three Billion in Shares Sold

Why do people hand over their isk to the New Order so easily? Because they know it's going to a good cause. There's no better cause than the betterment of highsec. What we do works.

Even a simple investment of 1 million isk can change a carebear's life.

Responsible corporate citizen EAT ATTiC did its part to heal the highsec ecosystem with its purchase of 1,315 shares of New Order stock. 'Twas a double whammy: The purchase sent us over the 1 trillion 21 billion isk and 1 trillion 22 billion isk marks. Now the EAT ATTiC corp is the proud owner of a Double Supreme Protector's Tip of the Hat™. Can your own corporation say the same?

Tashi Voormir considered quitting, but now he has a reason to keep playing. Player status: Retained. Even the highsec industrialists--the smart ones--are on our side. Tashi's 1,000-share purchase sent us over the 1 trillion 23 billion isk mark and earned him a Supreme Protector's Tip of the Hat™.

Everyone's lining up behind the New Order. Carebears, don't be left by your lonesome in a state of non-compliance. Join the party.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Review of the Supercapital Changes

Pictured above: The stately Nyx, arguably EVE's most visually impressive ship. Countless players have been drawn in by their lure, only to discover how boring supercaps are.

Although supercaps are forbidden in my domain, I have a long history of analyzing and commenting upon titan and supercarrier mechanics. All the way back in May 2008, I became the first EVE player to suggest/prophecy that the titan doomsday weapon should be a supergun rather than an area of effect weapon. In July 2013, I wrote an article for in which I made four proposals for changes to supercaps. TMC authors get to view a hit counter for everything published on the site each month; the article was by far the most popular. Its ideas were debated far and wide. There were a lot of comments in the vein of, "I hate James 315 and everything he stands for, and everything he says and does, but sort of agree with him on this."

As I explained in the article, the overall purpose of the four changes was to bring supercaps back into the mix with their fellow combat ships, rather than having them largely disengaged or aloof from normal fleet battles. Following the example of tier-3 battlecruisers, my idea was to make them glass cannons: capable of devastating firepower, but vulnerable enough to sub-capital ships to complete the rock-paper-scissors loop.

My four proposals were:
  • Make them killable by drastically slashing their EHP.
  • Make them disruptable by removing their ewar immunity.
  • Make them losable by reducing build cost, accommodating the nerfs.
  • Make them dockable.

With the Citadel expansion, CCP has unveiled its long-awaited supercap rebalance. I know what you're thinking, reader. Did CCP Fozzie use my article as a guide when redesigning the supercaps? Did he print out a copy and carry it around with him each day, and keep it on his bedside table as he slept each night? I can't say for certain, but the answer to both questions is probably yes.

Though on the surface it may appear that CCP implemented my vision, there are a number of differences that I'd like to touch upon.

Make them dockable. Let's get this one out of the way first. Supercarriers and titans can now dock at Citadels, freeing their pilots from the shackles of supercap warfare. I'd still prefer that supercaps could dock at regular stations also, giving players additional reasons to fight over them.

Make them killable. Supercaps got their EHP drastically cut, putting them somewhere around capital EHP, per my suggestion. The drop in EHP is somewhat mitigated by the introduction of new capital modules. However, CCP also took the step of increasing supercap killability by limiting their ability to benefit from remote reps (to avoid infinite spider-tanking).

Make them disruptable. Ewar immunity has been removed. Rather than having special ships or modules in the mold of the hictor, supercaps have a lot of warp strength and resistance to ECM, etc. The key here will be tinkering with the specific strength/resistance to achieve the right balance.

Make them losable. My idea was to match the supercap nerfs with a lowering of the build cost in order to encourage players to risk them: If players weren't willing to put supercap fleets in risky situations before they were killable, surely they'd be even more cautious afterward. My proposal was the subject of intense debate within CCP and its supercap focus group. (Assuming the CSM is still allowed to talk about EVE with CCP, they probably discussed it, too.) However, CCP ultimately decided against this part of my plan because they want big killmails.

This still left the question of how to encourage players to risk their more-vulnerable supercaps. Stepping outside of my outline, CCP's alternative was to give supercaps more kinds of weapons to use against sub-capital ships. Their logic was that if supercaps are really cool and useful against all types of ships, people will want to use them more.

There are two flaws in this argument. First, making supercaps effective against sub-caps goes against the rock-paper-scissors dynamic. (In effect, supercaps become the best weapon against sub-caps, caps, and other supercaps.) Secondly, it doesn't make sense for players to risk the loss of their supercaps in order to attack sub-caps, because they already have caps and other sub-caps for that job.

Again, the goal is not merely to get players to use supercaps, but to risk them. Pandemic Legion has always been happy to drop a pile of supercaps on a random, lonely Nyx, because there's no risk of loss. If supercaps are properly balanced, players will actually throw fleets into battle against each other, just as they do with sub-caps and caps. Despite the thousands of supercaps in the game, genuine supercap fleet battles almost never occur, because the cost of supercaps makes them so risky.

The future use of supercaps will depend on how the remote-rep nerf shakes out. If an inferior force can charge suicidally into battle and kill an enemy titan or two--perhaps winning the isk war in the process--then maybe FCs will decide not to field them in battle at all. If supercaps largely remain safe within an apex force of the biggest coalition of supercaps in EVE, then maybe the apex force bounces around killing all kinds of targets at will, while everyone else's supercaps remain docked or logged out. Both are bad outcomes.

Pictured above: Some dumb mining ship. No one in his right mind joins EVE to fly one of these things, yet by the end of the year they'll probably be buffed again.

Although I respect and appreciate CCP's efforts to improve the game, there's still room for some real talk here. It took them nearly three years to do this stuff after my article was written. Wouldn't it have been easier and more rewarding for all involved if they simply handed me total control of game design decisions? We'd have a better version of the current system, and we'd have had it three years ago.

Not trying to be pushy, only helpful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Stroll Through Gamis

Silly miner. Everyone knows where Agent Kalorned lives: For the past few years, he and his merry band of alts have resided in the Gamis system.

Life in Gamis moves quickly. It's difficult to keep up without the aid of social media. Hence the @NewOrderGamis Twitter feed.

Despite years of cultivation, there are plenty of ignorant carebears in Gamis. They're dazzled by the ability of New Order Agents to gank them.

Any sufficiently elite PvP is indistinguishable from cheating.

Though a handful of Agents have been banned, Kalorned and his corp remain in good standing. It's not for lack of complaining on the part of the carebears, though. One can only guess at the number of petitions filed against The New Order Gamis Affiliates. All have been rejected.

As far as I know, Kalorned is not a CCP employee. I do not have any knowledge of any particular Agent being a CCP alt. If I had to guess, though, I'd say CCP devs are more likely to own characters who have been ganked by our Agents. Perhaps repeatedly.

Upon losing another Retriever in Gamis, Galrak Malinkorn came to the conclusion that the New Order is filled with jihadists. Say, you remember Galrak, don't you?

To refresh your memory, Galrak was the author of a proposal to nerf highsec PvP.

Realizing he was too hasty to declare Kalorned a jihadist, Galrak changed his mind.

From the perspective of the unreformed highsec miner, ganking and child molestation are roughly the same thing. No wonder they don't take us up on our offers to teach them how to gank.

Ultimately, Galrak was able to reconcile his accusations of child molestation with his earlier judgment that Kalorned was a jihadist. He concluded that gankers embody all bad things he could think of.

Though it has made great strides under Kalorned's leadership, Gamis is a rough neighborhood.

In-game leg snaps and in-game stairwell hazards abound. But if you're willing to brave these dangers, a trip to Gamis is well worth it.

I think that's enough Gamis for today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Curse

It's not uncommon for highsec carebears to produce tears, but what does it take for one of them to put a curse on the Agent who ganked them?

A billion isk podkill will do the trick. To be honest, though, an unfit Retriever would probably be more than sufficient.

The Code is the anti-curse of highsec. It's good for warding off bot-aspirancy and all other kinds of bad juju.

Philip Oliver Holz wasn't interested in reading the Code. He decided he'd rather spend his time wishing in-game car accidents and in-game deaths upon Agent Pod-Goo RepoWoman and her family.

From the moment she was cursed, Pod-Goo RepoWoman knew that it would be difficult to get Philip to buy a mining permit. At this point, she'd count it as a minor victory if she could get Philip to stop wishing in-game death upon her--or her family, at least.

I don't know where carebears get the idea that shooting pods is somehow off-limits in EVE. Pods are spaceships, and EVE is a game about blowing up spaceships. Besides, how else are you going to destroy a carebear's implants?

After a few hours of silence, Philip renewed their correspondence to tell Pod-Goo that he wasn't a miner. Of course he wasn't. Nobody's a miner these days, not even the pilots whose mining ships we gank. This raises some interesting questions, though. If there are no miners, why do the rebel carebears complain about the New Order's treatment of miners? Also, haven't we always been told that if there were no miners, we'd have no ships? Why do we still have ships?

(As the author of MinerBumping, part of my job is to anticipate my readers' needs. So here's your link to the Wikipedia article about necrotizing fasciitis. I wouldn't recommend viewing this on a full stomach, however.)

Some might say Philip was a rude carebear for wishing in-dream pain and disease upon our Agent. I would caution against relying too heavily upon dream interpretation, though. Tomorrow night Philip could just as easily dream about our Agent being paid 10 million isk.

As anyone in marketing will tell you, the most difficult customers are the ones who hope you suffer beyond description--even if said customer otherwise fits neatly into your target demographic. This explained why Pod-Goo was having such a hard time selling Philip a permit. But was Philip at least willing to walk back his earlier in-game death wishes?

Technically, yes. Perhaps inspired by his dream, Philip no longer wanted Pod-Goo to die (in-game). Progress. At this rate, Philip will be the proud owner of a mining permit in no time at all.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Call in the Kevlary, Part 5

Previously, on MinerBumping...

The fury of Kevlary Odunen knew few limits. Upon losing his Retriever, he fired off a barrage of angry EVEmails. But the miner got a new lease on life when he was invited into the exclusive "Why am I dead?" channel, populated by helpful Agents. Instead of listening to them, however, he threatened to retaliate for the loss of his ship.
Kevlary Odunen > Here's a better deal.... I crash your fucking web server.... and your rules... have no links.
Bing Bangboom > whoa
Kevlary Odunen > Speak for yourself dip shit.
Bing Bangboom > I thought I was...
If you're reading this, it means Kevlary failed to crash Google.
Kevlary Odunen > There is Evil, and there is Godly.
Kevlary Odunen > Creators... and destroyers.
Kevlary Odunen > The only thing a Godly man will destroy... is evil.
Bing Bangboom > thank you
Bing Bangboom > I try
With the threat phase out of the way, Kevlary shifted gears. He began delivering an extended speech about his philosophy of life and EVE. Agent Bing, not realizing the miner was monologuing, accidentally interrupted him. Imagine if, during Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy, another character stopped him to suggest he ask the ghost of his dead father to tell him about the afterlife. It would totally ruin the moment. A rare misstep by Agent Bing, who normally observes the rules of etiquette in these situations to a fault.
Kevlary Odunen > Evil... will destroy EVERYTHING.... including itself in the end.
Kevlary Odunen > Choose your path....
Kevlary Odunen > Accept the consequences. There are always consequences.
Kevlary Odunen > And you.... can't claim shit.
Kevlary Odunen > You want ore... go mine.
Kevlary Odunen > Thieving motherfuckers.
The Agents politely gave the miner a few moments to make sure the speech was over. Now the conversation could resume.
Lament von Gankenheim > why mine?
Kevlary Odunen > Why not?
Kevlary Odunen > it's literally.... already in the sky
Kevlary Odunen > it's literally.... free.
Kevlary Odunen > It's literally... retarded, to steel what is free.
Lament von Gankenheim > cost you 30m isk didnt it?
Kevlary was still in a philosophical mood, but he stood no chance against the polished, refined logic of our trained Agents.
Kevlary Odunen > No, I built it.
Lament von Gankenheim > you build ore?
Bing Bangboom > You didn't build that.
Kevlary Odunen > ? Stop being such a retard.
Kevlary Odunen > Go play in null sec
Embarrassingly, Kevlary attempted to play the "If I mine the ore it's free" card. He was given no quarter.
Lament von Gankenheim > i love null
Kevlary Odunen > yea... me too
Bing Bangboom > I don't, its boring
Kevlary Odunen > but I wasn't when attacked by your corp.
Kevlary Odunen > That's why the bitch lost her ship.
The miner admitted that his mistake was to be caught mining in highsec; he usually spends his time in nullsec. Like every other highsec miner.
Kevlary Odunen > You just don't know how to play this game.... so .... you do this.
Lament von Gankenheim > highsec is worth saving
Kevlary Odunen > It needs to be saved from you.
Perspicacious Bukandara > Last time I checked, you're not the saviour of highsec.
Perspicacious Bukandara > Who are you to declare what's right and wrong?
Kevlary used to own a fail-fit mining barge, which he'd lost to gankers. Earlier, he admitted that he only had 20 million isk left in his wallet. He now proceeded to tell our Agents how to play the game correctly.
Kevlary Odunen > I'm nobody....
Lament von Gankenheim > James 315 is somebody
Kevlary Odunen > No he's not.
Lament von Gankenheim > of course he is
Kevlary Odunen > He's a worthless piece of shit too.
Had our Agents managed to drive any sense into the miner? They used the litmus test of invoking my name. The results came in: Kevlary was still a Goofus.
Lament von Gankenheim > i linked his name right there
Kalorned > It's right there in the bio
Kalorned > He's the Saviour of High Sec
Lament von Gankenheim > hes literally right there in the chat
Kevlary Odunen > No... you dipshit..
Yet our Agents didn't want to give up on Kevlary. It was the miner who gave up on himself. Disgusted by his failure to win an argument (or at least get reimbursement), Kevlary left the chat.
Blizzenisk > oh noes
Tisiphone Dira > Blizzenisk Hi there
Blizzenisk > the afk price \o/
Tisiphone Dira > Welcome to your deportation hearing. You have been deported from highsec space for coming in illegally, and using illegal methods. How do you plead?
Tisiphone Dira > Kill: Blizzenisk (Leopard) that'll happen when you 'play' afk
As soon as Kevlary left, another Code violator entered the chat and was greeted by his content provider.
Blizzenisk > well I guess I can live knowing that you lost more than me?
Tisiphone Dira > leopards are actually, what 90m?It's just that killmails don't show the value ofsome items, particuarly items ccp gives out, like genolution implants or leopards.
Tisiphone Dira > Blizzenisk so you lost 100m to my 2m then. I think you owe me a 'gf' for that
Blizzenisk > I guess I can give you a good gank?
Blizzenisk > this is now worth the gank
Tisiphone Dira > I'm glad you think so. I often say the knowledge we impart is worth more than any ship and pod we may have destroyed, are you familiar with the code?
Life goes on--because the highsec of today has a life. For that, you can thank the creators of emergent gameplay, who destroy only evil.