Friday, February 28, 2014

That Doesn’t Sound Like “Pew Pew”…

~or I Has Been Industrious IRL…

While I have kidded a few times about segueing into bittervetedness… in truth I still love this game we play, I’m just not loggin on much is all, and here is why...

Granted I/we have had some serious RL>EVE crap… in my personal life I was having some ‘issues’, which I hope to have got past mostly… ingame when SYJ left Anoikis > HBHI left SYJ >  then HBHI left Anoikis too… for those who dunt know, we have had some serious incorp stuff goin on too…

AI shipping off to Korea and Mab (dealing with far heavier RL>EVE shit than I) leaving HBHI to go back to the lone wolf life… due to our overall inactivity a few (ok ALL) of the (very few) ingame members we had in corp have left for moar active pastures… and for the very first time in the last 3 and a half YEARS… I found myself downloading and playing, and enjoying (ZOMG) a different game than EvE…

A Different Game…
An oldie, a space MMO much much simpler than EvE but one that is still a bit of a sandbox and is a persistent world… though not anywhere near as complex or as stunning visually. It does however, have a more ‘fighter’ style interface... "Vendetta Online". I am sure many of you know of it and no, it is by no means anywhere near the same class of MMO or even ‘game’ as EvE… but, then again, that’s sorta the charm for me… it is NOT ANYWHERE as complex, pervasive, invasive, time-consuming and monkey-on-yer-back addictive as EvE…

I can logon, mindlessly shoots the crap out a butt-tonne of droans, and log off and not have that gods damned constant nagging voice in the back of me brain saying “What are you MISSING!?” “What’s going on in there while you’re out here!?” I get everytime I logoff of EvE. I could care less what’s going on in VO while I’m logged off… I have made NO friends in there, I have talked to NO ONE and I interact with NO ONE… hence it is ‘just a game’ to me… and an easy one too.

Also in VO I can fly and fight in First Person (several view and control options actually) and with the ability to switch to a physics flight model that is vastly closer to reality if I want to too… (After 3 years “swooping” like a submarine around in EvE I find it fascinating to accelerate in a given direction, cut thrust and actually COAST… then turn and do only that… yaw and pitch around while still travelling along the original line of thrust, not curve around a submarine…). It is a VERY different ‘feel’ to space combat than we have in EvE and one I will admit that I have very greatly missed.

One of my all-time favorite games back in the day was "Descent"… a game that, with your settings right, had physics that felt quite real (you know, for a game). I had a state of the art (at the time) Thrustmaster F-16 FLCS and WCS Mark II Throttle and Stick set… and OMG was that pure nothing but fun to fly.

I really hate so many of the physics breaker in EvE… the little irritations that just add up and up… In space there is no friction or wind resistance… if you cut off your engines YOU KEEP FUKKING GOING… you do NOT coast to a stop... gods what crap. And while we have no ‘real world’ experience with this yet, I feel it is safe to assume that once we have ‘warp drive’ technology (or whatever) we won’t actually warp THROUGH planets and moons or ANYTHING…

Oh hell wanna talk about a little taste of REAL in the Virtual… in VO to dock up you have to fly INTO (one of several) ingress docking ports and you fly out of (one of several) DIFFERENT egress ports!!! OH MY GODS!! Really? You mean you don’t just suddenly and for no gods damned reason go !POOF! automagically teleporting inside the station once you hit a certain distance?? And then. again for no gods damned good reason, you have to ‘fly’ out of the ONLY fukking ‘door’ on the station as absolutely EVERYONE else no matter how many people are trying to get out all at once!?

I swear it’s a slice of heaven in VO for me to fly inbound to a station… pick my entry point and use lateral and vertical thrusters to align to the dock while reducing forward acceleration (be nice if we had to actually ‘reverse’ thrust even…) and then to glide serenely INSIDE the dock until the walls surround you and then (and ONLY then) do you do a session change to ‘docked’… Gods I miss the little immersions. Why Oh Why can’t our stations in EvE have multiple ingress and egress docks? Why can’t we just accept a moar ‘reality’ in our virtuality and actually FLY our ships in and out of stations?

At the very least would open some real possibilities for changes and tweaks to dock games… Mebbe if aligned and flying in towards the dock and inside a set range then Scotty (The Drunken Docking Manager) would actually tractor your ship inside? Ghostly green beams and everything? And once locked up by the station tractor beams and ‘under tow’ what if you were considered to be under the protection of the station… and its guns?

If attacked while under tow (or within a close enough range of the station or dock undock ports that Scotty would decide [insert alcoholically randomized algorithms here] that your attackers pose a threat to station operations…) you would then be under station protection, not CONCORD… but you wouldn’t be able to insta-dock unless you were under tow either…

What if we had a ‘set’ of ingress and egress docking ports facing more or less (IE not insta-warpable… but close) towards each and every gate in the system?… When docked you would choose which dock you wanted to exit by BUT, if that sodden cad Scotty determined [more alcoholic coding here] there was ‘too much traffic’ on your chosen undock you would be routed out some other dock… (Hmmmmm?)

Hell anything would be better than the inane situation we have had to deal with docking and undocking as long as I have flown in EvE…

but I digress…

Industriously Manufacturing Ammunition…
In EvE there is one helluva lot of ammunition produced and expended… I myself have processed many a batch in our Ammunition Assembly Array. Being a Matarii, I prefer guns firing projectile ammo… but, there is another reason that is my preference… you see, I also produce a helluva lot of ammunition, in multiple calibers, In Real Life…

I have been an avid hunter and target shooter all my life. Dad started teaching me woodcraft at 8 and I have been a hunting and target shooting ever since. I participated in Military Open Sight Matches back in my 20s (ranges from 100 to 600 yards).

I once caused a bit of a stir as the only competitor on the line at MCB Quantico with a match-tuned 7.62x39 Norinco (Chinese) SKS rifle. I have worked in firearms retail as a salesman and store manager and I have been a gunsmith all my life… I had honed the trigger action of my SKS, replaced the Chinese milspec sights for elevation & windage adjustable sights and, nothing to do with accuracy but, I had also hand worked the stock to a beautiful polish.

Anyway, back when I was a wee lad of but 6 I would always sit with my dad in our basement while he reloaded the 12 and 20ga shotshells we used each hunting season. He taught me and by 8 I was sitting on his lap reloading under his watchful eye. In my 20’s I got into pistol and rifle reloading and build the loading bench I still use today.

I have multiple presses, from single stage to automatic and reload a variety of calibers… 9mm, 38spl./.357 Mag & 45ACP in pistol and .30MI Carbine, .223 Rem (5.56mm US military), 7.62x39 (Russian military), .308 Win (7.62x51 US military) and the .30-06 (7.62x62 US military)… plus, of course, 12 and 20ga shotshells having inherited my father’s old shotshell press.

Anyway, the bench and all my presses have been put away for the last 8 or so years… other things, children, house, sailboat, etc., etc. … and, well, in the last 3 years, EvE… had preempted the time I used to spend on this most eminently satisfying (and highly cost effective) of hobbies…

But, the one and only constant in any ‘verse is change. You see we have a second house, a mother-in-law cottage or guest-house, on the same plot as my main house… just 50 ft catty-cornered off my front porch. We have rented it out for past 13 years but this year we have decided not to rent it anymore… and I could not be happier. While I dint mind the extra income, no not at all, I was never really happy with having ‘other’ people sharing my space… I’m a country boy at heart, grew up on a 300+ acre farm where our closest neighbor was a mile away (and kin)… Where we live now the closest house is almost a half mile straight through the woods and approx. 3/4 mile by car… so having other people sharing my yard and driveway… well, it has always irked me a bit extra income or no.

So, with the decision to un-rent the guest house you might imagine I’m just a wee bit of a vurra happy guy. We get to use that space the way I have always wanted to… Loft and bedrooms upstairs for guests and MY workshop downstairs! I have dusted off and re-setup my loading bench… and dived quite fully back into the Industrious Production of Ammunition once more… and this stuff goes !BANG!  Not pew pew… LOL

Fly wreckless and see you on the Range  =/|)=

PS BTW the pic is, strangely enough, not my loading bench… It is a setup I have used for loading at the range or on a varmint hunt… I’m still setting up my new loading/smithing/workbench area over at my newly renamed ‘Shop’, but once I got bit by the bug to reload I broke out all the equipment, cleaned and oiled it all up and setup on my bar in the house (causing wife aggro levels to go to MAGENTA and rising)… but you get the idea…  =]

For them as might be interested, in the above pic I have just started loading a 50 round batch of .38 Special. 50 primed cases are in the tray, the powder measure is directly over the tray, and loading 158 grain lead round nose bullets… There are three bullets on the bench ready to seat on primed and charged cases… a completed round is in the tray and one just finished is in the press. Here I’m using my RCBS ‘Partner’ Single Stage press…
Later Ima go out back and bang bang some tin cans…  =]

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Great B-R Noobspike…

~or So, Is It Time For the Griefers To Go To Work?

As many of you already know, we are seeing a really big influx of new players since the media furor over The Battle at B-R… Seems destroying approx. $300,000 worth of virtual spaceships is Good For Business ™… go figger huh? =]

According to Chribba’s Newborn Player Graphs on EVE Offline, on Jan 30 11,696 new players… The single largest influx of new players in the 10 year history of EVE Online.

A number of us, the EvE Bloggers (at least a number of the ones I follow) have posted or at least commented on this. Most are, of course, about how this impacts EVE Online and CCP and us as a whole, IE the meta aspects… but Sugar Kyle though touched on an aspect that I feel is as important, if not more so, than the NoobSpike itself… Retention.

IE it’s great to get a huge upsurge in noobs in EvE, we all agree, from the griefer to the bear, that moar people flying spaships is just plain ol’ Good For Business ™… good for CCP, good for every industrialist, good for miners, good for market mavens and good for the game as a whole… the problem is, it is also good for the Griefer… and that is Bad For Business ™.

Some have opined that B-R will be The Last Big Fight… like when everyone the world over agreed that The Great War (WWI) was the ‘War to End War’… It wasn’t even called World War I until the onset of World War II. No one then could then begin to imagine the size, scope and ferocity of WWII just a scant 20 years later. As this relates to the virtual verse of EvE, one of my all-time favorite quotes (guess who) is one from 2004, “Spam will be a thing of the past in two years' time.” but here we are, a scant 10 years later and I run multiple spam filters that can’t begin to keep up with the crap in my inbox.

I seriously doubt B-R will be the Last Big Fight, I hope great hope for our collective future that this latest influx of noobs is like a shot of adrenaline to the game…. Now if we can just keep ‘em from being griefed into ragequitting so we can grow more corps and Alliances and Coalitions and The Next Great Big Fight ™.

Sugar says she accepts all playstyles as valid and rarely speaks out against anyone except… “…the people who truly prey upon absolute newbies. I cannot wrap my head around it and it drives me to a red eyed insanity.” You and me both Ms Kyle, you and me both. Noob griefers are the true bane of any game, but most especially EvE, because EvE is a true sandbox PvP FFA game. We have the fewest (correct me if I’m wrong) restrictions on PvP of any MMO I know of today. As we like to say, “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.” ‘cause yer gonna.

Same as Sugar, my issue is the line that is crossed “…when fun (for an experienced player of any age) comes in finding day old (or just very young) players and killing them.” The primary reason this is wrong is the exact same as camping a spawn point in any other game. As a clear example I present this by Khalia Nestune from Paul Clavet’s blog, “My Loot Your Tears”. This particular example took place on 1/8/12 in “Black Prophecy” not EvE, but Khalia and Paul were both notorious griefers in EvE back in the day and I feel Khalia’s attitude about sums up the mindset of players who feel any and all actions taken against new players are acceptable, thereby to me, highlighting exactly why they really aren’t.

Black Prophecy continues to give me lots of enjoyment. I’d discovered that the character search would not only tell you who was online – on the opposing team – but where they happened to be at that very moment. This made it easy to follow the same player all over the game and shoot him over and over.

Then he brought his slightly higher level friend, and I shot that guy over and over. Since he couldn’t kill me before I killed him, I let him get in a few shots. When he eventually left the sector, I opened a conversation with him. What resulted was classic “games are like real life!” e-honor hilarity.

The convo screenshots are full of classics from the age old griefers Handbook à la Rhetoric (italics mine)…

“See, I figure if I can make him so frustrated he won’t play, that’s a win for us…” 
I’m actually improving the quality of your pilots..., those that stick around must be good!”
“You just told me that Brennen was going nuts in your global. That’s totally worth the time.”
Who needs honor, if you win? :D” 
“You’re the one that thinks a game is the same as real life... I think you need some perspective."
“If you’re getting shot over and over, it’s clearly your own fault.”
“I’m surprised that you’re so upset. This is (just) a game, isn’t it? Shouldn’t you be enjoying yourself? I am.”

There followed an amazing comment thread… 67 responses (yes, I’m in there sluggin’ away at the griefers and having fun…). The arguments made, and slander and name calling is exactly as one expects when ‘legal’ adults try and defend childish gamesmanship. So, here we are with the biggest new player spike ever… thousands of noobs undocking in their cute paint-still-wet pods… fumbling around trying to...

(1) get a grip on "HOW THE FRACK does this all work?"
(2) “Where do I go and how do I get involved NOW in all that AMAZINGNESS I read about?”,
(3) “It’s gonna take HOW LONG to fly the second worst ship in here!?!?!”
(4) “I need to go where to get what book???”
(5) “MINING?!?!?!?” and...
(6) “Hey, what does it mean when one of those symbols in the sky pulses RED like that??”  BLAM!… POW!…
“WTF? What’s that?"
"A corpse? ... wait… a CORPSE!?!?!”

So how do we keep the poor little nubbins from getting griefed right out of the game? I was lucky, I had people ingame the day I started. Two of my sons had been playing since before they went over to the real sandbox in Iraq… both were just over a year ingame and so I missed out on the whole “All alone in space….” thing so many who join like this newest batch of noobs go through… on their own cause it all sounds so damn cool.

I’ve posted about Player Retention and Noob Griefing before, those few poor sods who know me know my feelings on this. The longevity of the game requires we take care of the little darlings until they learn which end of a Lazer the pretty light come out of and which end to hang on to…. and I personally believe that can be effectively accomplished with revamped tutorials.

Sugar is gonna reincarnate and start an alt/new char and run the tutorials again. I have decided I am too, but I am gonna take copious notes and really try and tear it apart so I can make some worthwhile suggestions on how to best put it all back together again… to give our children a fighting chance to not just join us, but to survive, grow and prosper in the deadly skies of EvE.

Fly wreckless and see you in the Sky  =/|)=