Friday, 30 August 2013

Could Daily Login Bonuses Be Beneficial To EVE?

With Uprising patch 1.4 only days away, one of the more interesting features being implemented is a daily skill point bonus. The basic premise of which is that offering a consecutively increasing amount of skill points for logging in every day, would drive up activity stats and avoid a "Dust Offline" situation once people have hit their weekly, active skill point caps.

This is all well and good. Similar ideas to this have worked and continue to work in other online games. The few exceptions I can think of would be games made by Valve, but those have other ways of keeping people playing.

The question is, could this be used to benefit EVE Online? Currently one of the big roadblocks to increasing the skill queue is it's a large incentive to actually log in and do things. Many people who subscribe to EVE barely log in, hence the popularity of the term "EVE Offline". But could something like a daily reward help with this? Could a simple couple hundred skill points a day motivate people to log on and play more?

If it does, it would certainly help the cause of longer skill queues.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

EVE 514: Friends With Benefits Part 2

It's been 2 months since the last one of these, I've got a couple hours to kill and they didn't announce changes to 1.4 that fix exploits I've done videos for. So lets do this.

Today I'll be talking about something that hasn't really seen a huge amount, unified naming standards between the games. At the time of writing, the weapon names in Dust don't really follow a single particular standard, but rather follow multiple different standards. You've got your Assault Rifle, Laser Rifle, Sniper Rifle and such that use vague names similar to current modern weaponry. Then you've got your science fiction sounding names like Swarm Launcher, Mass Driver, Forge Gun and Plasma Cannon. There's the EVE style names like Blaster, Rail Rifle, Ion Pistol and Railgun that mirror their EVE counterparts.

There's also the Scrambler Pistol and Rifle!

There two issues I take with this. The first is that when you use standard current day names for weapons, people will naturally gravitate towards them because of the familiarity. This isn't helped by the fact that implementation of new weapons don't include militia variants, which combined with beginner suits only using standard weapons, leads to a lack of variety. With the Assault Rifle being a good all round weapon, the combination of name, militia variant and starter fits just begs new players to specialize into them.

Since the game's skill tree rewards specialization, you'll essentially be trapping those who want to bling out their weapon of choice into the first weapon they choose. Naming conventions could end up creating a weird situation where people end up with a weapon they may not have chosen otherwise.

The second is that it's a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between the two games. If we take Railguns and Blasters as an example, an EVE player will better understand what Dust players are talking about if the rifles were named Blaster Rifles and Rail Rifles. If you reverse this, the Dust player could understand why his EVE side orbital support that uses pulse lasers, would struggle to stay near the beacon when a ship with beam lasers is attacking it from afar. Some ideas would include -

Assault Rifle -> Blaster Rifle
Scambler Rifle -> Pulse Rifle
Laser Rifle -> Beam Rifle
Scrambler Pistol -> Scorch Pistol
Combat Rifle -> Auto Rifle

This would create a consistency throughout all games set in New Eden (which is at 2 currently with a 3rd on the way), allowing for players to better understand each other. I've talked to some CPM members about this subject and it's not the first time this has come up. However it's been a while since it was last brought up, with Hans Jagerblitzen saying "if CCP has mentioned anything abut names it was way back in beta".

If anything like this came to pass, what would you want renamed?

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pretty Much Everyone Declares War On EoN

So it's not really surprising that this is happening. EoN has become the big bad as with everyone who holds the most resources does in every multiplayer. The person with the most stock left in a free-for-all game of Smash Bros, the person with the biggest empire in Master of Orion 2 and now the alliance with the most districts held in Molden Heath. You may have the advantage, but you'll end up finding yourself fighting multiple opponents.

Looking back to the beginning of Planetary Conquest in May, the exact same thing happened with Cronos. They took a large chunk (around 40%) of Molden Heath right off the bat and eventually bit off more than they could chew. According to Quickgloves at the time, they ran an A-team system that eventually burnt out from fighting too many battles. Back then it was a combination of EoN and Negative Feedback who were throwing as many attacks as they could.

EoN consist mostly of players who are already competent enough (or at least trusted) to join anyone fighting in Planetary Conquest. When the wars against Orion and Cronos were taking place, everyone in EoN got into a single channel and it was all hands on deck. Using this method, we had a high success rate with very little burn out. I haven't logged in to check yet, but I imagine this will be the case again now that we're being attacked.

Since the first war, most people have pulled out of Molden Heath. The exception to this being EoN who stayed in search of gud-fights. What we ended up with is a majority hold (around 60%) and very few people left to fight. After what seems like eons of time spent whining on the forums, a coalition made up of everyone who isn't EoN has come knocking on our front door. I tried to find an exact list of who was involved and got the following from VD7.
seraphim initiative, nyan san, wtf, onslaught inc, ancient exiles, maphia clan corporation, PRO, PHI, the exemplars, the phoenix federation, UPSNE, wasteland junk removal, d3lta forc3, forsaken immortals, mass terror, lokun listamen alliance, LOI alliance, ANONYMOUS, academy inferno, foxhound corporation, GAC contract hunters, lotis wraith, shadow guards, slaughtermoose, 843 burgezz
...and more.

It's a bit sad there's no new Orbital mechanics yet for this, but we're finally getting a G I A N T vs Subdreddit rematch. With all that said, I'll leave with some parting words from EoN's alliance leader, Mavado.
About this war. The community finally did exactly what we wanted them to do. Targets were goin away, having them finally HTFU and organise instead of cry on forums is good for the game in the short run. 
Ppl dont get that we dont care for districts that much if at all, day 1 when everyone joined EoN we made it clear Districts are just a means to get fights, That's it. DUST ISK means nothing when nullsec comes along to us. Been saying this for months.
More districts they manage to take off us means more targets back on the board for us to shoot again. Win Win for everyone.
Now I say its good for the game short term because that still doesn't change the fact DUST is a subpar game atm and with GTA and PS4 on the horizon the bigger problem arises from when ppl just stop caring about DUST that much and this anti-EoN coalition is all that's around. Most of these corps have a carebear mentality and not a competitive one so would they then break up their new super coalition of every single corp to fight each other or play it safe?
Ppl also seem to think we will "get destroyed" if we manage to lose which isn't the case. We've grown beyond just a dust grp and like i said more districts taken off us means ppl get to go wild again and fight without the bs politics involved.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Real Sense Of Community

It's time for a small confession. I've never really felt like Dust had much of a community. I'm not talking about communities that play Dust, but more of a general community that comes from people sharing a common interest. This likely stems from reading too much War Room drama and anything Beers says. I also tend to lone wolf a lot when I grind out my weekly SP, only grouping when someone else sends me an invite. Beyond that though, it seemed like the Dust playerbase was split up into alliances and corps.

More recently however, it feels like I'm noticing those "barriers" no longer existing. If you swing by the drunk night channel that DS runs, you'll find people from everywhere just squading up to have a good time. Doesn't matter the corp, the level of skill or even if you're drinking, anyone can join in.

There was also the R&D PC match I was running this weekend. It required at least 16 people to actually pull off and there were only a few GIANTs around to help out. I knew a couple CPM members were coming, but numbers were still in the single digits. I decided to send out a tweet and VD7 showed up with DS to help out. With numbers still looking too low to test what I wanted to try, VD7 and DS both started spamming channels to find outside help (I wasn't testing anything that would be gamebreaking). Suddenly the test channel was flooded with people from random corps willing to help out. After pulling everyone into the match that we could, people listened to the instructions given and we got some great video footage recorded.

About a week ago, Scott Smith (former EG manager) said that Starcraft didn't have a real community on the show Climbing the Ladder, before he asked that the show's host use another word to describe. His point was that 100,000+ people sharing a subreddit doesn't make a community. A real community is like the 20 or so guys who show up to Quakecon BYOC every single year.

The last couple of weeks has shown that Dust is moving more towards the latter than the former. I just hope the game can improve enough over the next couple of months so we don't lose all that too.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Boots On The Ground S01E14

It's weird to think that it's been almost 2 months since the last Boots On The Ground. I'll have finished moving in around 3 weeks from now though. I managed to find some time to get an episode set up and recorded though.

Audio version on the sidebar --------->

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I Guess This Is Where Youtube Wins

So after a number of announcements recently, it seems Google are finally starting to put more serious effort in competing in small scale live broadcasting. For a long time, I had no real idea how anyone actually got to the point where they could live broadcast on Youtube (other than being really big). They've finally set the bar at 100 subscribers though. As someone with 411 Youtube subs and 36 Twitch followers, you can probably see where this blog post is going.

If you've paid much attention to live video streaming on the internet recently, you'll have noticed the huge growth that industry has seen. came from a simple ' does games' and turned into a large live streaming haven for gamers. Outside of gaming, you have websites like and continue to exist as well. It's been a good couple years for live streaming and we're about to go into one of the biggest weekends for broadcasted gaming content in history.

So where was Youtube until now? Surely with such a, dare I say "booming industry", they could have been a large contender already. From what I've seen though, it's a matter of scale. Twitch might have a 200,000 or so people watching on a good day, but that's a drop in the bucket for Youtube. When I see something being streamed on Youtube, it's a Wimbledon or a guy jumping out of a large metal can from about 39km into the stratosphere. When you have millions watching a guy screaming while playing Happy Wheels, would you really care about a handful of people with mere thousands watching him live?

It seems Youtube did the smart move here; wait for live streaming to grow and focus on large scale events while building better tools and infrastructure. Twitch has become unstable recently, even to the point where 240p can lag. By comparison, watching Wimbledon on Youtube was a pleasure. The stream would auto adjust it's resolution when left on default and I could manually change it with a seamless transition. If there was lag, I don't remember it and the lack of thousands of people spamming chat icons wasn't missed.

I don't know what the catalyst for Youtube suddenly going after the smaller broadcasters is, but they seem in a good position to do it. Twitch might have some shinier features, but Youtube is stronger in a number of ways. The Twitch highlight and export system is a real headache when you're dealing with multiple accounts. Youtube has a superior interface with more options and gives you the ability to download the entire thing as a video file to edit yourself. Even the simple things like a centralized point of people seeing all of my content is a huge boon. Not to say Youtube is perfect, but if people can watch my content in high quality without issue, then there's only one real choice.

Depending on how things work out on the monetization side of things (such as the ability to run adverts), I see no reason to use Twitch when I plan to start streaming next month. I don't plan on putting any sponsor logos up when I stream, so Youtube's policy on that doesn't bother me. I also don't like the idea of going through the uncertainty of getting a Twitch partnership if my existing Youtube partnership does the same job. Why spend time building up something I could potentially make money from when I already have a more established platform?

Friday, 2 August 2013

You Know What, I Really Can't Be Bothered

I've gotten to the point with this bloody tournament that I can't be bothered to even try anymore. After trying to get switching corps to work for the past couple days to play in the damn thing, we'll probably just get disqualified because a bunch of us are having this issue.

Urgent Fury have one of the single worst websites I've ever seen. I'd be embarrassed to be involved with them in a professional capacity. The fact that they're asking all of us to use the damn thing and not just the corp heads shows a complete lack of care towards the community.

This entire thing has gone from one screw-up to the next and it's just cringeworthy to watch. I've got relatives coming to stay during most of the early rounds, so I think I'll just go spend more time with them instead.

Sorry to those that I'm letting down with this, but I honestly just don't have the energy to throw into it anymore. I hear Kane and Iddon talking about a community run tournament in the future though, so that should be good.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Bone To Pick With The Prime Tournament

I'm actually pretty angry right now and I dislike writing while on tilt, but I don't really care in this case. The changes to the Prime tournament over the last few days have been an embarrassment to watch unfold. There were a number of issues, such as being forced to sign up to a third party website and needing to dedicate 3 weekday evenings every week for a month. But this isn't about that, it's about the format and roster changes.

When the tournament was first announced, the format was a 16v16 Skirmish. This was fine at the time, it's a decent format and the last few tournaments used the same one. Apparently people weren't really in favour of this though and signups were slow. CCP then decided to change the format to 8v8 Domination to lower the barrier of entry and it seemed to work. People were signing up and rosters were filling out, but the 16v16 crowd were pissed off.

It seems the outcry worked because now the end result is them changing it back to it's original 16v16 format. This has left all the smaller teams who signed up out in the cold now. As we're unable to find that many people to fill out the roster needed to play the required 3 times a week, all that's left is a feeling of emptiness. I should point out that I still get to play in the damn thing, EoN is setting up a corp for Europe so we can stop Cronos getting a free pass. I'm now left outside a corp I want to be in and feeling bad that they probably won't get to join in.

At the risk of burning some bridges, I'm disappointed with Han's response to them changing it back. I should have done a better job letting him know about what this meant to us, but didn't expect them to change it back. The CPM is mostly made up of people who's corps can field teams of 16 people, so I guess everyone dropped the ball on this. Despite that though, it should never have gotten to the stage where that was even an issue.

So now here we are, with people outside corps they want to be in, with teams that probably won't even play. According to Kane, there are maybe 3 or 4 teams in Europe who have the numbers as of this post. Those 128 players now get to decide what the name of a planet in New Eden will be.

They should just have gotten Iddon to do it again, at least he knows what the fuck he's doing.