Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cause and Effects

Before I begin I would like to clear something up.

While a major focus on this blog is for my new corporation, I still don't know how far that will go. In the mean time, I am going to use this blog to post other thoughts/experiences with EVE, and maybe start documenting my own personal journey in this universe. What better way to start this project then a giant ball of tinfoil?

That said, Cause and Effect:

Let me begin by asking a question:
If I asked you two weeks ago "What would be the effects of banning ISBoxer on the EVE market?", would "PLEX would go down, tritanium go up" be a reasonable answer?

I think the clear answer is “yes”. ISBoxer users are obviously a big buyer of PLEX, and are at least perceived to be a major contributor of tritanium and other minerals in the game. The impact of its removal would be obvious to anyone who thought it through enough.

So why would they pull the trigger on this now? Why not have it be in line with a release, or make the announcement closer to the actual effective date to limit speculation?

Unless the speculation is what you wanted.

A bit of background: ISBoxer is a tool used to send the same keyboard inputs to multiple clients, this is referred to as command multiplexing, or broadcasting. People use ISBoxer for two major functions: Bomber fleets, and isk generation usually though mining fleets. For several months this tool has been a hot topic, and previous attempts to fix its impact have had poor reactions and had to be reconsidered. Recently CCP has announced that use of ISBoxer, or other such tools, is a bannable offense effective January first.

About a week before the announcement banning ISBoxer, CCP released the “This is EVE” trailer. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. If you have, go watch it again. This trailer sparked one of the largest influxes of new players in recent memory, going up against the media coverage of Asakai and B-R in numbers of new players it brought in. However, this videos impact was different then those other two events in one way: that it was predicable. CCP could control when it happened. The holiday season sounds like a good time for such an event.

The impact of the trailer is striking

Now, for whatever reason, loads of new players begin by mining. And a huge majority of them dream of PLEXing their accounts. Also, it’s pretty clear that the majority of people impacted by ISBoxer are not going to be new players.

So, lets say we have this diamond of a marketing hook, who will likely have the effect of injecting a very large amount of new and returning blood, and on the other hand we have this policy we have been itching to pull the trigger on, that will have a market impact that directly buffs new player experience?


The results speak for themselves

In case you may think this is a bit crazy, I also don’t believe this is the first time changes and things have been done in the game to indirectly buff newbros without impacting older players much.

See, one of the fundamental problems with EVE newbro experience is that it is very hard to balance for. In the past, attempts to buff newer players have been met either with disdain by the veterans as “dumbing down” EVE, or exploited by those veterans to terrible ends, or worse both. So CCP had to get crafty, and the “new CCP” is a crafty lot. Especially with former players on their payroll. So how do we buff newbros without buffing veterans, and without the EVE player-base denouncing the change?

Newbie players require low end content, and needs that low end content to be reasonable, valuable, and give a good feeling to doing them. We have already covered increasing the value of Tritanium, but what about something else? Maybe… wormholes? Arguably they are one of the really interesting things in EVE, and certainly very important to current events. So how do you buff it for newbros?

C1s and C2s are the lowest end wormholes and are pretty accessible to new players. However, they are not very lucrative for much. Much of the isk that comes out of wormholes come from what is known as “blue loot” which is effectively tickets you redeem for ISK. Low end wormhole loot was not very valuable, in comparison to the loot you could receive in the higher end wormholes. In fact, other systems of ISK generation in wormholes were so good, even a significant buff to low end loot would not make it more valuable for the effort. There was wiggle room.

However, there was quite a bit of this stuff kicking around in peoples hangers. It was built up, as likely many people just haven’t been bothered to take it to market or sell it. So it would be bad if they just overnight doubled their worth. To make such a change it would be best to have a purge the existing loot. Thus the research race was born.

So, you remove a significant amount of the low end wormhole loot from circulation, just to buff the value of it for people who want to still go after it for ISK, which is likely newer players. As a side note, you also bring massive attention to this relatively newbro friendly activity, and get lots of people new to EVE, or new to wormholes a chance to try them out. To follow that up you use policy change to manipulate the market to make it more newbro friendly right after launching a trailer to bring newbros in like crazy. Well played.

Ultimately, EVE online is a game about cause and effect. One does not have to dig too far to find examples of this biting CCP in the butt. However, with the new direction of CCP, a more calculating, long game oriented plan seems to be emerging. An additional change that has come about from the expansion release cycle restructure is the ability to make finer adjustments over a longer period of time. CCP has gained increased experience and increased ability to “boil the frog” as it were. And most importantly, they seem to be using it in a very positive direction. Maybe they are getting lucky, maybe they are getting wiley, maybe it is all coincidence, but the cause and effects of recent changes are definitely changing the game for the better, for newbros, and vets alike.

And sure, I could be wrong, but you know what? After four years, this vet would like to be optimistic about CCP for a change ;-)

Image sources:
Newborn players:
Plex and Tritanium prices thanks to Lockefox:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Order of Thelemic Ascension

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Such a terrible way to start a speech to the ascended like us. When we shed our mortality, we shed such notions of gender or race. All that remains is our mind, our wisdom, soul. For countless centuries the Amarrian God has watched over his people, lead them through grace to prosperity.

The Amarrian God is dead.

The divine is lost, the Amarr nation is a shadow of its former self. Many people question if God has abandoned them. Mark my words, the age of the Amarrian God is over.

As part of my misguided loyalty to my former brethren, I was deployed to the area of Providence to combat the traitorous Sansha Nation. While I was there I learned much that would never be allowed to be discussed in the holy academy at Amarr Prime. I fought, I killed, and was killed. Each death brought a further awakening, as the true nature of New Eden was revealed to me.

We, the capsuleers, are to be the new Gods.

Our immortality is only the first step. Our ships, our tools grow ever stronger. The empires of man fear us more each day, and with good reason. It is time that we throw away racial boundaries, and our misguided loyalty to the human empires, and work to unlock our potential.

When we were reborn, we ascended, or began our ascension. Our tools have unlocked a new power, and a new responsibility. Not to the empires, but to ourselves.

The word Thelema is derived from the ancient word for ‘will’ as in ‘willpower,’ however that mere word does not reveal its true meaning. Thelema represents divine internal will, the guiding force of consciousness that guides us all. Separated from the bonds of humanity, we can embrace our personal Thelema.

The time is now, we shall work to perfect ourselves, we shall shatter the chains of the humans. We shall rise up and unite, and ascend.

Join the Order of Thelemic Ascension, meet your destiny.

-Ashterothi, Prophet-Magus of the Order.

Who are The Order of Thelemic Ascension?

The Ascension is coming!

The Order of Thelemic Ascension is here, and recruiting.

EVE is a pretty amazing universe, and many of its mysteries are still not fully understood by many players. What I seek to build is a corporation that is for training of all levels. United under our ticket, we shall pursue mastery of EVE together. Unlike other corps focused on a specific region of space or isk making venture, OoTA is focused on tight membership, mature gameplay, and mastery of EVE.

I plan on keeping the corporation small to mid level (target goal of 40-60 members) where the members know each other, trust each other, and work together to build whatever task we set ourselves to. Membership will get a say in our objectives, although I have goals for our future.

The current plan is to move back to Gallente Faction Warfare for a short while. We will use this as an incubation period as we get ready to go about our own thing. I would like to move to wormholes soon as a means of testing ourselves, and taking part in the now rapidly moving in game story and changing landscape.

What I am looking for:

  • Members who are willing to work with one another as a team for mutual success.
  • Members who are dedicated to understanding and mastering EVE Online.
  • Members who understand that patience and tactics wins the war.
  • Members who are objective oriented who want to have a sense of ownership.
  • Experience in PVP is not necessary, but a willingness to fight for what you have is required.
  • Willingness to engage in ingame and out of game communications to stay up to date with events (Mumble, out of game chats, etc).

Join the Order, Ascend to your greatness, be glorious.