So I went and got a 60g SSD last night and began tearing my PC apart to install it. I figured that reinstalling all of the software would be the biggest pain since would have to install all the drivers for the MOBO as well as XP then upgrade to 7 via a student upgrade code. My figuring was wrong. I got everything hooked up correctly, popped in my XP disc to boot from and the computer would promptly shut down mid way through installing the initial drivers. Not a good situation. I ruled out the power supply and the CPU itself, so I called a fellow Goon for advice and he asked about overheating. I didn’t think it was an issue because I was feeling the CPU itself and it didn’t feel hot, so I jumped into the BIOS and it was running at 89c. He flipped a bit. So I ran over to his place and grabbed some thermal compound and he gave me a new heatsink, installed them and boom it works like a dream. Now I’m on to the 24 hours of windows XP and windows 7 updates. Oh joy.

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Sad day friends. I started my computer up to enjoy download and enjoy some Fly Reckless when I get this message “Operating System Missing”. Well shit. My hard drive had been acting rather odd so I’m not super surprised this happened. Now I have an excuse to get a SSD. Fortunately, I’ve got Eve on my laptop for such emergencies.

So I’m dicking around lowsec last night in my bomber, tossin’ up prayers like Tebow (cue terrible singing) that someone gets stupid on a gate or decides to start missioning in a LSE BS. No such luck and I resign myself to making lots of bookmarks. While I’m doing this in Taff, a cyno goes up and warp to 70 and its at one of the stations. A few minutes later a Thanny drops in, a few minutes after that a Nid drops, then comes 3 more thannies and an archon.

What the fuck. Is there seriously that much isk to be made in lowsec that three separate average size (<100) corps can afford to have three carriers on field for relatively no reason? I was intrigued when watching this fight develop because all six carriers were deployed, a tengu gang with 4 or 5 tengus plus 4 basci’s showed up. Who was it? None other than that famed CDM blogger Nashh Kadavr! For whatever reason, the fight just seemed to die when they showed up. The carriers disappeared one by one until only one thanny remained. Even more strange was that all that died in Taff last night were two cyno Kestrels, a cane, and a claw; with the cane and claw being losses completely unrelated to the carrier drops.

So now I’m just plain confused about lowsec. It has been almost a year since I’ve lived there, but is lowsec just consistently a rather dead place until someone starts dropping carriers? Or is was this a space oddity? For you long-time lowsec dwellers, is there that much cash  to be made in lowsec?

I’m currently wrapping my mind around the role of a diplomat and all the things that entails. For our Order of the Void, that mostly means damage control internally and externally, but with things being so smooth as of late I’m beginning to turn my eye outward. Coalitions. I consider myself to be a fair wordsmith and a jack of all communication. I do this in my job every day and am very very good at it, yet I’ve not put this particular skill to real use in game. With goons the encouragement is to use a silver tongue to steal and damage and while I suppose I could do that, I’d rather build. So back to the real problem at hand; finding suitable alliances/corps to build a coalition with. I’m currently listing and beginning to figure out how to market not only L.OD for OotV to potentially beneficial allies. As this is a game of relationships, I’ve got to start building vast ones. With our impending move to lowsec, this friendship building will be more crucial than ever.

For any reading this, what has built bridges in the past with you? What has burned them? Have you been part of the hush hush lowsec coalition culture? As always, I’m learning. Enlighten me.

I’ve gotten a bit away from posting about drinking, mainly due to the three tengus and a loki its cost me, but it’s time to get back in the saddle. As the Lush in Local, I’m prejudice against no alcohol. I welcome them all eagerly to my mouth. Over new years, my wife and I finished up the show Entourage with another couple, but shortly before watching the final episodes my buddy and I ran to a liquor store to grab some booze. When we were perusing the shelves we found Avion Resposado tequila. This was interesting as Avion is a key component of the show for a season or so, and even plays a role in the final episode. We couldn’t resist getting a bottle. We got margarita mix as my friend was not a huge fan of tequila but when we poured some into snifters, both of us were made believers. The tequila itself has much more in common with a single malt scotch than jose cuervo. I got citrus notes (a bit of guava also) at the same time as a bit of charred oak. It was delicious. I’ve never wanted to sip tequila straight but its a winner, also makes one helluva margarita. So there’s the ol’ alchie update. Avion’s a winner, not just a pretty face.

In the time since I’ve updated the ol’ blog, I’ve started a fledgling podcast (Local Spam) with none other than my corpmate mate and CEO Pyrotech03. Although we’ve only put out 1.5 episodes, more will come. The problem is we both have rather intrusive real lives (please note the sarcasm my dear wife). Outside of trying to come up with original content and not sound like complete idiots, I’ve been very busy in game mostly with Skerrit. L.OD and the entire Order of the Void alliance has been very much in sync as of late with players actually acting like they enjoy playing with each other. We’ve had several organized mining ops, an attempt to run an incursion, and an expensive wardec in which many things were learned. Pyro saw fit to give me some roles in corp so that I can push through new recruits. Which, by the way Legion of Darkwind is actively recruiting. If you are looking for a new corp that does just about everything and has a great time doing it, L.OD is your ticket. Convo or send Skerrit Boy a mail in game or join our recruitment channel LoD Recruitment. If you happen to be a PvP or industrial corp that is looking for a new home with some chill dudes and one fucking awesome/idiotic diplo, get in contact with me as well. I’m certain you’ll enjoy the experience. With me.

As far as in-game activities go, I’ve been doing some ice mining with Skerrit while playing the hell out of MAG on PS3… Oh wait that’s not what anyone wants to hear. Regardless, I’m ice mining in order to stock up on some POS fuel shit. I’ve been flying the hell out of my falcon and have been incredibly impressed with it. It is the king of jams. Along with it, I’ve recently decided I love a good cloaky tengu fit and a HAM Rook. Skerrit’s missile skills are getting pretty pro, I just need my practise to catch up, cuz damn I’m terrible at this game. 😀 Jokine has been dicking around in a cloaky Loki and having lots of fun in that along with going on some of the strat ops with goons.

Unfortunately, I’ve not had large chunks of play time at my disposal otherwise I would have much more to report on. I will attempt to become more consistent in order to make the content more day to day, we shall see.

Last night I got to fly a Hound and actually participate in a bombing run! I’ve been a bit enthralled with stealth bombers ever since I saw the ship class in game. That curiosity grew even more when I heard a Declarations of War episode featuring a guy from Dirt Nap Squad. (For those of you unfamiliar with DNS, they are a group that specialize in all things cloaky.) As I remember, he was on the podcast while simultaneously leading a black ops drop. It was pretty funny when he would hit the wrong PTT button and you would get a giant string of expletives at a random corp member.

While I had been curious, I’d always been told that bombers weren’t that useful in game and so I mainly trained my gun skills and the standard alphafleet ships even though quite literally the only skill I missed for flying a Hound was bomb deployment I. So last night, I was playing some Deus Ex: HR (amazing game btw) and get a broadcast over jabber that some bombing stuff was going down. I immediately bought bomb deployment and trained it to level I. The training finished just as we got into the target system. Along the way I quickly read a couple of bombing guides to refresh my mind with the proper techniques. Once in the target system, I quickly loaded up an electron bomb, cloaked, got about 35 off the gate and waited.  While the bombers were doing this, a main fleet was trying to get an IRC gang to engage us. Unfortunately,there was a massive fuck up with mumble going down and the FC of our main fleet got DC’d. The FC of the bomber squad had to then command both fleets at the same time. Needless to say, the situation got sticky for main fleet. We had quite a few hurricanes die, but eventually the IRC gang jumped onto the gate that the bombers were camping. As soon as they landed, we launched bombs and GTFO. Unfortunately, in all the excitement I forgot the most important part of launching a bomb; pointing at the target. I had hit align, but didn’t wait long enough before I launched my bomb. As soon as I’d launched it, I warped out and cloaked at a safe. I was pretty pissed that I couldn’t Use My Erection (Parts 1 & 2) to get some kills, but I will be all the better next time. Another mistake I made was not bringing any torps with me. I was so concerned about the bombs that I totally skipped putting them in my bay, again I won’t make that mistake again.

After my failed attempt at bombing, I went back to some DX only to have another Jabber broadcast go out saying that there were PL supers tackled and to bring neuting canes to the fight. I got in fleet and we quickly took a titan bridge to the target system where we found and Avatar. We pounded it into 10% armor, but lost all of our dictors so it warped off. :rage: After the Avatar left, we got some more points in system and ended up taking down 6 carriers. After poking around, someone found a PL Nyx that had drifted out of POS shields. He wasn’t outside of those shields too long.  We’d heard his cries to get back to station and answered by popping his pod. I’m sure he’s thrilled now.

All in all, it was one helluva night. Fights and experiences like that help keep the game fresh for me and I was sorely needing that. So what’s the moral or this story? Get a jabber server and use it for broadcasting.

This song helped me stay so lucid during the fighting.

Fly safe gentlemen.

The last month or so has been quite a whirlwind for me. IRL, I’m working two jobs as a head teller at a bank and as a bartender in the evenings. Once I spend some time with my wife, I’m left with little time for eve, let alone a blog. That said, the last month has been a big one in game.

Jokine now flies HACs very well (skill-wise, experience is another matter) and is well on his way to heavy interdictors. In general, I’ve been flying a vaga and hound since I just got my torp skills to tops. The hound has been one helluva fun ship, I’m surprised that more people don’t train into them. Obviously their damage output and tank  is rather paltry when running solo, but in medium sized gangs, they can be absolutely devastating. That’s not to say that they can’t be used solo, but you have to choose your targets carefully and pay attention to what may be getting ready to land on top of you. In general, I’ve been enjoying Goons more as a social group than any specific corporation in Eve. We’ve been playing lots of Borderlands, EYE, and other games that we’ve picked up for cheap via Steam.

Skerrit Boy is where most of the shaking and moving has been going on. Back in May-ish, Abaddon Innovations joined the alliance Order of the Void. Things seemed to be going well as the US TZ guys really connected with the other guys in the alliance. We ran missions together, went out on a couple of frigate roams and generally shit it up in TS. Things seemed to be progressing as both the alliance and ABADD were making strong strides towards entering W space. It seems this is where the thorn entered. ABADD found a nice quiet C1 hole with a static to hi-sec. They moved equipment for a small POS into the hole and began to run some sites and mine. Unfortunately, I never made it in the hole due to skerrit not having any scanning or cloaking abilities (at that time, this is remedied now). It seems that there had been discussion by the rest of the member corps of the alliance to move into a C3 or better, so the alliance held off moving into ABADD’s C1. Sometime in the middle of the EU TZ prime, the ABADD POS was invaded by a rather large WH alliance. Rather than lose his cool, ABADD CEO DurzO Blint began talks with the alliance about joining it.

Now during most of these goings on, I was out of game or not logged into Skerrit. As far as I knew, things were moving along swimmingly with the C1 and things were honky dory. Imagine my surprise then when I logged in last week and find that my alliance chat has disappeared. I check the corp page and sure enough, we are out on our own again. Later that day, we are part of said WH alliance. Initially, I though that I would stay in ABADD since I had been there for 7 months or so already, but in the end my desire to play with people in my same TZ won out. Now both Skerrit and my scimi alt are in Legion of Darkwin, the executor corp for the Order of the Void alliance.

We’re currently getting set up in a C3. Unfortunately, our static is to a nullsec system that sees a lot of activity. I still have yet to move my stuff to our POS as I need to get a T2 cloak trained (a few days out yet). In the mean time, I’ve been running L4’s in my Tengu set for gank and my scimi providing the reps. It’s like Eve on easy mode (please don’t taze me bros). The whole WH experience is a very exciting one and I’m looking forward to familiarizing myself inside the hole.

Yikes.

Fly safe gentlemen.

The Mittani has just released a CEO update for goons and I think he sums up the current shit storm with CCP quite well. So here it is:

 

It’s been a busy few days. You may have noticed: EVE is on fire and reeling, and not in the fun “we’re at war and having space battles wheeee!!!” sense – though there are space battles taking place – but in the slightly more hysterical yet increasingly real “holy shit, CCP seems hellbent on becoming the next Sony” situation.

What The Fuck Has Happened?

First, some context. Within the course of about two weeks, CCP stunned the playerbase with a series of hijinks. First was the Golden Scorpion controversy, which CCP climbed down from – using AUR to buy a Scorpion with a golden paintjob from the ether. Then there was the $99 Monetization scandal, where CCP announced that they wanted a hundred bucks a year for “3rd Party Apps” which might also include fansites. Again, CCP climbed down in the face of howls of protest. The Alliance Tournament Final ended up rigged, which wasn’t CCP’s fault but infuriated many of the viewers (I thought it was funny, but w/e). Then Incarna was released with $70 Monocles, and EN24 leaked the Greed Is Good CCP internal newsletter, which showcased their apparent love of all things microtransaction.

The real controversy, of course, is not the silliness of a $70 monocle, though that does seem to indicate the venality and greed of the CCP higher-ups to many players. The controversy is the shadow lurking behind the monocle, hinted at in the Greed is Good newsletter: gold in the sandbox, a “pay to win” gold-ammo situation in EVE. Pay to Win is common enough in Free to Play MMOs, and quite profitable, but the fear among players is that CCP is trying to meld both subscription and FtP revenue models into an especially shitty, expensive product.

A product that allegedly is busy melting down ATI video cards. :cripes:

So hot on the heels of Greed is Good, CCP posted an absolutely comical “please be nice to us” thread on eve-o, which has become the largest threadnaught in history. This went about as well as could be expected; reports of mass-unsubbings became rampant.

In order to try to staunch the bleeding, CCP Zulu posted a devblog which has now famously equated virtual widgets with real-life goods. PC Gamer has picked up on this blog, and not in a good way. The tone of the blog and the follow up post, which amounts to ‘shut up ugh :colbert:‘ is readily apparent.

Meanwhile, Jita, Amarr and other hubs have been brought to virtual shutdown by ‘protests’ of pubbies shooting statues and overloading the nodes while howling for CCP’s blood, mad about the NeX, the Captains Quarters, Incarna sucking, the spectre of gold ammo, or just setting things on fire for the sheer primal joy of watching everything burn.

And to think, it gets worse!

Last night, while I was on Eve Radio discussing the unfolding crisis with some other CSMs, another leak broke: a global email sent from Hilmar, CCP’s CEO, congratulating the company on the ‘successful launch’ of Incarna and selling a whopping 52 Monocles. Most froth-inducing was the statement that:

“Currently we are seeing _very predictable feedback_ on what we are doing. Having the perspective of having done this for a decade, I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say. Innovation takes time to set in and the predictable reaction is always to resist change.”

So that went well. CCP appears to be leaking like a sieve. Given the recent authenticated reviews of the company that have popped up on Glassdoor during the past month, that’s not a surprise.

What’s happened here is a whole nexus of rage from many corners of the playerbase was ignited by one catalyst. Some are angry that Incarna has no real content for veteran players. Some are angry about NeX vanity items being too expensive; some are angry that NeX exists at all. Most appear to be horrified by the lurking shadow of Pay to Win, and just about everyone is pissed off at the dismissive, condescending and money-hungry attitudes displayed in the CCP newsletter, the Hilmar email, and the damage control devblogs.

Why Do We Give A Shit?

I and the rest of the CSM have been extremely blunt in our demands that CCP issue a formal disavowal of ‘gold ammo’, non-vanity microtransactions, or otherwise bleeding gold into the sandbox of EVE. My impression is that a quick “Look, the monocles are expensive, but we’re not doing gold ammo” would have ended this crisis days ago and CCP wouldn’t be down at least 2500 accounts. The fact that CCP has remained silent on the issue is increasingly being taken to imply what everyone fears – that a company which would without irony charge $70 for a space monocle will issue $250 i-win lasers.

A few years ago, we saw the impact that ‘oligarchs’ had on the nullsec metagame, when Red Overlord had SerLordex spend a hundred thousand dollars on Eve Online, A Bad Game. The kind of economic distortion that would come from a legalized and pervasive ‘gold ammo’ style of gameplay would mean that, in order to stay competitive, every PvP entity would be obliged to acquire and use gameplay-enhancing gold items or suffer for their austerity. Perhaps some of you think that ‘Pay to Win’ is acceptable in a competitive subscription MMO; I do not.

What The Fuck Were They Thinking?

This is my impression of what happened, not based on any NDA information or CSM Secret Squirrel shit.

CCP’s Virtual Goods store tried to imitate the business concept of Starbucks. The great Starbucks trick was coming up with a fancy setting and bourgie babby coffee shops, changing the environment of ‘buying coffee’ enough that the consumer was willing to pay $4 for a cup of coffee where previously he would buy the same drink at Dunkin Donuts for a $1.

Reading Zulu’s blog where he emphasizes that EVE is a ‘premium experience’ and references designer jeans, it seems like the CCP Marketing department hoped to do the same thing. EVE is so special and spiffy and cool, you see, that in EVE you’re not buying a hat for a dollar or two like in Team Fortress, or an entire wardrobe in Star Trek Online for seven bucks. Those games are Dunkin Donuts. EVE is Starbucks – it’s just so different that you’ll buy ~virtual goods~ that are almost ten times the prices of comparable MMOs.

The problem, of course, is that EVE is a broken game. The ship balance is terrible, nullsec desperately needs a revamp, the PvE is laughable, and playing without goons is like stabbing yourself in the balls over and over again. EVE is not a ‘premium experience’ as it currently stands – particularly if your ATI video card just overheated and died when you tried to load your Captain’s Quarters.

So it flopped. CCP tried to distinguish EVE from other MMOs in terms of microtransaction pricing, and now people are running around in lynch mobs wardeccing and blowing up anyone who’s actually bought something from the NeX. Selling a virtual shirt that costs more than the real shirts in your own company’s store was probably not the suavest move, either.

Where Could This Go?

Rumors indicate that ~5000 unsubs have occurred already; there is already significant media blowback over the Monocle, the protests and the CEO letter, with the gaming press unilaterally taking the side of the outraged playerbase. Unless CCP deploys effective damage control and takes charge of the situation, the risk is that the game itself could see an exodus and abrupt subscriber deflation. Meanwhile, a number of ‘famous players’ such as Ombey, Helicity Boson and Lallante have loudly thrown in the towel and are playing Perpetuum or Tanks or whatever.
Even without the head-up-ass public relations crisis, the Incarna release doesn’t look good for CCP. Usually an expansion results in a huge activity spike in subs and online users. While we don’t have access to subs information, anyone can chart the downward slope in average users online since January 2011.

While in nullsec we have ties to this game that are primarily social and competitive, Joe Pubbie just wants to spin his CNR in a mission hub; there’s not much holding the 80% of the Empire subscribers in this game, should there be an obvious stampede towards the exits. And if they do, the economy of the EVE goes into the shitter overnight, CCP’s planned ‘revenue stream’ to fund DUST and WoD vanishes – which will make them even more eager to extract capital from what players remain in the game – and the media has a field day making Horse Armor and SWG:NGE jokes. That’s the Doomsday Scenario.