Monday, June 26, 2017

Darkness and Light, Part 2

Previously, on MinerBumping... In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Code, I announced my intention to assess the present state of EVE. There are, in fact, two EVEs. The EVE represented by the outer regions of space (primarily nullsec), was described as being in a dreadful condition. Today we conclude the description of nullsec, picking up our story from the introduction of jump fatigue and FozzieSov...

Lacking a way to travel across the map in anything like an efficient manner, nullsec entities were robbed of their incentive to try to conquer the galaxy. This led to an overall sense of stagnation. A substitute incentive appeared in the form of massive amounts of isk generated by EVE's gambling websites. Tens of trillions of isk were paid to bribe a new coalition into existence--the largest EVE had ever seen. The result was World War Bee, also known by its more descriptive title, the Casino War.

The Casino War's "Money Badger Coalition" launched an invasion of the Imperium. CCP's excitement was palpable. Seeing the war as the salvation of their company, CCP went to almost embarrassing lengths to promote it in the media. CCP Fozzie was even more smug than usual--no small feat. He believed that the Casino War completely vindicated FozzieSov. CCP was confident that the Imperium would be destroyed. This was icing on the cake as far as CCP was concerned, for they felt that the Imperium (thanks in part to The Mittani's efforts to monetize his empire) had become too much a force for stability, risk-aversion on a galactic scale.

As CCP hoped, the Casino War led to a significant boost in subscription levels. Predictably, the side with overwhelming numbers won the war. However, it became clear early in the war that The Mittani was not going to give CCP what they wanted. Rather than going out in a spectacular blaze of glory, The Mittani had the forces under his command take a cautious approach. He downplayed the war in the media, encouraged boring, frustrating methods of combat, and, when his guerilla strategy wasn't working, simply withdrew the remaining Imperium alliances from their former territories. What was left of the Imperium then moved to the other side of nullsec and shrugged their shoulders. North, south, what was the difference?

As the war came to a close, EVE's subscription numbers slumped again. But the worst part was that the gambling tycoons who had fueled the war didn't seem willing to pay for its continuation. They could've spent tens of trillions more isk to get a massive coalition to follow the Goons southward and smash them for good. Instead, the tycoons' wallets pretty much remained closed.

CCP must have felt betrayed. CCP's anti-RMT division had previously been all set to permaban the big gambling sites' leaders for RMT, but their superiors at CCP ordered them to stay their hand. Despite the gambling sites' association with RMT, the casinos created a massive isk sink that encouraged a lot of PLEX sales. True, a potential problem arose when other gaming companies started having legal issues connected to virtual gambling. When the EVE casinos funded the Casino War, however, that seemed to justify CCP's decision to keep them afloat and happily unbanned.

Things changed when the EVE casinos failed to start World War Bee II. A few months after the Casino War ended, when it became apparent that a sequel wasn't forthcoming, CCP declared gambling illegal and permabanned the casino tycoons--once again demonstrating that EVE's biggest content creators tend to get banned in the long run.

Now EVE was faced with an important question: Without the incentive of unlimited isk from gambling websites, would nullsec still be able to produce a massive war in the jump fatigue/FozzieSov era? The answer was no. For the next year, no wars of any real significance occurred in nullsec. There were no fascinating, gargantuan struggles of empire against empire to draw media attention back to EVE. Temporarily boosted by the introduction of alpha accounts, logged-in numbers went into a downward spiral. As of today, at least, there still aren't any great wars on the horizon. Content-wise, nullsec remains a desert.

Were CCP's efforts at reform always foredoomed to failure, or could they have done better? They could've done better. EVE has had three sovereignty systems: POS sov, Dominion sov, and FozzieSov. Of these, FozzieSov is easily the worst, and POS sov was by far the best.

Whenever anyone says anything kind about POS sov, POS managers from that era immediately shout in horror, their PTSD intensely triggered. Those critics are wrong for a few reasons. First, at the time of POS sov, modern nullsec organizations simply didn't exist. An alliance with 5,000 members might have 5 people (or less) who did all the real POS work. POSes were also much more broken back then. In addition, one could argue that the fatigue of the POS managers was a feature rather than a bug, for it put a limit on an empire's ability to project its POS power. Of course, the flaws of POS sov could've been fixed without resorting to the worse alternatives of Dominion sov and FozzieSov.

Jump fatigue, too, was a bad idea with a terrifyingly bad implementation. There was one sound principle buried in there: The biggest, most powerful ships (i.e., ships with jump drives) shouldn't be able to travel exponentially faster than all other ships. Fair enough. Where CCP went off the rails was its desire to shut off fast travel completely, for the purpose of limiting nullsec to small, localized conflicts. This foolishness culminated in CCP's decision to apply jump fatigue to jump bridges, not just capital and supercapital jump drives.

The obvious answer would've been to reduce the power of jump drives while allowing unlimited use of jump bridges by all ships. Jump bridges should've been like railways: highly useful and strategic, but easily sabotaged at any point along the route if left unguarded. If an empire guarded its jump bridges, it could project its power long distances along these railways. This would allow empires to extend across the galaxy, incentivizing large-scale conflicts while also creating new opportunities for small-scale and medium-scale conflicts as roaming gangs sabotaged the jump bridge networks and got chased by other roaming gangs.

CCP's one grand project at the moment in nullsec is the Citadel. This is another example of CCP replacing something with a worse thing. The idea of Citadels was to replace POSes and Outposts while also realizing the long-held dream of destructible stations. As usual, CCP made the most powerful Citadels way too defensible, fearing that players would get mad if they lost their stuff. On top of that, they completely undercut the purpose of destructible stations by introducing the concept of "asset safety": If a Citadel is destroyed, everyone's stuff gets automatically teleported to a safe place instead of getting blown up.

This again, was due to CCP's fear of players getting mad if they lost something--in a game with a unique selling point of PvP with consequences. CCP thinks its players are better off losing content than losing isk.

Outposts, of course, were obviously better in concept than Citadels. Though Outposts couldn't be destroyed, players lost access to their stuff if the Outpost was conquered by a hostile power. This created a balance of risk: Players were willing to risk storing assets in something other than a NPC station, but they still suffered a loss if the Outpost was captured--and achieved something if they conquered an enemy's.

I could go on--as you well know--but I'll leave it there: Nullsec sulking, shrouded in a dark cloud of hopelessness; CCP writhing in a dazed, confused state.

But that's one EVE. There is another.

To be continued...


  1. Dammmnit CCP, why you let the carebears be devs? EVE is PVP, and the only true pvp sandbox with real consequences to acting stupid.

    If CCP keeps protecting the mentally challenged, those carebears will overpopulate.

    Pvp'ers are able to exist in balance with EVE, but the carebears will spread like a virus, with little concern for the host.

    Nasty nasty people, those carebears.

    Is there no hope Savior?

    1. Oh, there's hope, brother. That hope is buried within the belly of a retriever, somewhere, and I'm gonna find it.


    2. CCP couldn't help all of their best devs leaving to RIOT Games. nothing to develop when the creators are no longer interested in the future of the only thing they ever got right.
      Never forget the "Greed is good" memo. (google it)

    3. Oh shit I am having bouts of carebearism. ... blah blah bla The New Order.

    4. There is never hope.

  2. Replies
    1. Save more, do more, The New Order.

    2. Gank more and keep more, proven that carebears stay longer after being ganked.

  3. I hope part three is when James details how highsec can save eve if we eradicate alphas and miners.

    That's 'miners' you silly carebears, quit murdering children in RL. ;)

  4. Damn...a tear filled post followed up by tear filled comments. I only wish I had some popcorn!

    1. Pop out now and get some, Anon; you've a day or so until the next gripping instalment, after all!

      Or are you one of those inert, greasy, obese types, whose once crisp clean couch now folds its frayed and worn contours around your grotesquely deformed outline, and upon whose few remaining almost-horizontal planes perch the sticky glass, the crumpled can, the empty crisp packet, and the overflowing ash-tray?

      Yes, you sound like one of those.

    2. Lol shitter753 got triggered.

      And he don't know what tears are?

      Must be an ag loser crying again.

    3. Rob Thompson, talking from the nursing home again. How is the walking frame going buddy

    4. Anon327, I object to your treatment and verbal abuse of Mr Thompson. Everyone has something to give and take.

    5. Hi Anon 327, it's been a while!

      Indeed, I do carry some disabilities, but mercifully I'm not reliant upon mobility assistance. All hail the benign chemical weapon!

      If you have occasion to visit central/west London (UK), drop me a line. I'd be delighted to break bread with you. My home is a humble one, but the food is nourishing and the environment pleasing.

      But what's this? On re-reading your post, I note that you suffer from the same affliction as that other Anon, from yesterday; no punctuation to end your comment. Could this be a conspiracy to murder the English language, by degrees? Diligent English writers wish to know!

    6. Anonymous327AM Not cool to mke fun of a physical handicap. Whatever disagreement you have with CODE (and boy do I have 'em!), keep it to the game and don't bring RL into it.

    7. Yes he is no better than CODE, when it comes to that point.

    8. Test of Valour. Prove you are not afraid to die by Coding a valuable ship, and do so in a manner that demonstrates integrity and honesty.

      Test of Wisdom. Correctly answer the almighty Ehnea's questions three. Each question must be answered within 20 seconds. The Questions Three will be different for each miner each day.

      Test of Fortitude. Walk a mile in the almighty Ehnea's shoes by becoming a miner. You must continue to mine for an indefinite period of time.

    9. Please Rob, more tears please. I enjoy those nursing home tears! Keep em comin! :)

    10. He is such a martyr....oh poor me. Bad person is picking on me again

  5. Antigankers are failing so hard right now!!!

    Never forget shardani XD XD XD

    1. Man, ag hates you so much because you aren't scared to call out their hero. He was the definition of a shitter. And he set the standard for ag RL criminal activity.

      Never change you loyal bastard. I love hearing the ag idiots cry about you when they think no one's listening.

      The support that ag showed for kalynn, even after he awoxed his kid, is the reason I started high sec suicide ganking. I will continue to kill carebears because I believe it is the only activity with any real longevity. Long after CCP destroys null pvp we will still be able to gank high sec losers for fun and profit.

      Could it really get any better than it is now? We can gank carebears so hard they buy plex to fund more stupidity. We sell their loot back to them, making them buy more plex. We buy their plex low and sell it back to the market for profit.

      CCP must love gankers, we are the only thing making money right now.

    2. Jim, you're only observing this in a skewed single plane view. To paint this sort of picture is an embarrassment to the real New Order.

    3. Anon 1235, any man's view of an issue is, necessarily, skewed according to the position he assumes in addressing it. It is James' blog, so expect to hear from him what he thinks, and not what you think (unless you happen to agree, of course).

      As for the 'single plane', I assume you mean that James' view is narrowly focused, and therefore unworthy of consideration. You are, unfortunately, an unwitting victim of the 'western' educational system, which forces students to write assignments considering a question from as many points of view as there are stars in the night sky. Like democracy itself, this is fine in times of peace, when debate and discussion may be undertaken at something approaching leisure. In times of war or severe threat, we need people prepared to say 'We're doing this, this, and this; now get on with it!'

      Fortunately for you (and us), in James 315 we have a leader who is both extremely intelligent, and decisive. In the New Order we're always on a war footing.

      James visited and PvP'd in Lowsec during his first week of playing the game, in 2006, lived, fought, and died in Nullsec in some of its greatest times, and has made Highsec his home for several years.

      Most of us would sympathise if, having left those regions, he simply lost interest in them, and let them be. Not James! He has kept his discerning eye upon the whole of EVE - and its complex mechanical iterations - so that you and I and the other readers of his blog can be daily entertained and informed.

      'Skewed single plane view' hardly describes the foregoing, Anon, does it?

      Don't thank me, the pleasure was all mine. The embarrassment, though, is all yours.

    4. Wolf is such a bot, that divorce from her AG hubby took a toll, all she does is repeat herself now.

    5. You used the "a" word ( assumed). Thank you for your rl expressions

  6. I have spent time listening to both sides of the ganker/antiganker debate since early 2013 when alliance mates started linking the antiganking chan to all the miners in our systems. I was soon invited to a comms setup that some of the more vehement antis had set up to "coordinate" fleets and "Code resistance". In every chat and comms chan I joined the convo invariably turned to real life "wishes", as in they were constantly wishing some RL violence, some even advocating targeting the gankers families.

    After many months of watching the antis struggle and fail to form a cohesive group that could work as a unit, I decided to remove myself from the antis and their chats. I did not want any of that crap splashing back on me.

    In mid 2014 I had an alt trying his hand at awoxing a hisec mining corp when suddenly they started getting ganked while afk mining. I decided that helping these miners set up traps to counter a few ganks would help secure me a position close to the top guy. Well we shot back at a few gankers and everyone was having a blast when suddenly there was one of the antis I had tried to distance myself from joining the corp. He of course didn't know my alt, but he did know one of the core group and within a day had already convinced a couple miners that gankers were ebil, and that the only way to avoid ganks was to watchlist everyone. The rest of his advice was to start sending petitions to CCP in an effort to have the ganker banned. I had these miners headed in the right direction and then antiganking showed up and did absolutely zero anti-ganking, instead pushing the miners to mass petition the gankers.

    I did manage to save 2 of those miners by convincing them to join a null alliance with one of my alts, they still play and have prospered. Not so for the others. There were something like 10 other active guys that decided to join the antiganking crowd and before I left that corp (with the wallet btw) there was already talk of doxxing and RL harassment at peoples work place, along with death threats and the marginalization of RL violence if it were against some who "deserved" it, like gankers because they just had to be ebil people in RL and probably needed killing. In real life.

    When I heard about that ag guy that murdered/suicided himself and his kid I could only shake my head, how had it come to that? Then I remembered who he was, and who his friends were, and that they were part of the same group that had been trying to convince others that RL violence committed against gankers was justified because gankers just had to be evil in RL. So RL violence was the only way to deal with gankers is what these antigankers were pushing.

    Since those early days I have had the opportunity to spend time with the gankers also, and I can honestly say that even at their worst, I have never heard a ganker advocate taking the game into RL. Never have I heard a ganker say they would like to see your mom die of ass cancer, or have your children raped by Mongolians. Or that they would like to meet you at fanfest and punch you in the face. (Which I am sure is like getting beaten with a wet noodle)

    The best way to deal with gankers is to be a ganker.
    The best way to deal with antigankers is to remove them from the game before they hurt themselves or someone else. Over a video game.

    Kill all carebears, it just may save your family one day.

    1. Or, petition the carebears that make these threats. There are so many to choose from, they deserve a good ban, and they really don't like it.

      After blowing them up of course.

  7. Good luck Mr less than 1%

  8. Damn Wolf now you laughing at RL murder, no wonder your AG hubby left you.

  9. Wolf was laughing a the kill all miners part, anon415 is the one that brought RL murder into it. Sick ag shitters just wont let it go.


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