The Sea Change of TEST

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Dust Related, EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

First off, my apologies for not posting anything this week. Generally, I use my blog writing in the morning as a little “warm up” for the rest of my work during the day (this is after I write in my paper journal, which is just for me). Things have picked up in the last week, though and chances are for about the next six weeks I’m going to have a slightly diminished posting frequency. Again, my apologies for this, but daddy’s gotta bring home the bacon, know what I mean?

In any event, I could not in good conscience not write a blog entry today. I began this blog with the intention of providing those who were interested in a line-member’s perspective of one of the most powerful entities in New Eden. The 24 hours surrounding this blog post, from last night until until tomorrow morning, are so important not only to Dreddit, or TEST, but also the whole Honeybadger Coalition, that I would not be fulfilling the imagined duties I’ve assigned to myself if I did not provide comment.

For those of you who don’t know yet, last night Montolio resigned as leader of Test Alliance, Please Ignore. While I can’t say I’m totally surprised (as Montolio said, leading such a large coalition changes you, and I’m sure he didn’t mean that it changed him for the better), the method and suddenness of his resignation was certainly a tad startling. Leadership seemed to be in a bit of a scramble last night over Jabber and other channels, attempting to calm the masses and let everyone know what was going on. BoodaBooda even hosted a Q&A session for Dreddit members immediately after the announcement.

I was in the Q&A session, but was only able to get a brief glimpse of what was being talked about. Of course all of this had to go down when I was in the middle of a roam (which, as you can see wasn’t terribly fruitful), and seeing as how it was my first time piloting an assault frigate into battle, it was a tad difficult to focus on all the politics going on while still trying not to get my new shiny blown up.

Luckily, BoodaBooda put up a post on the discussion boards (for those with Dreddit auth access) that summarized the whole thing. Booda is now CEO of Dreddit, with Fras taking command of TEST with the help if Ingen. There’s also a new guy taking the reigns of the HBC, and unfortunately I lost the Jabber ping where he introduced himself. I don’t think he’s in TEST (which may end up being a good thing) so I’m not terribly familiar with the guy (sorry, dude!), but I’m sure we’ll be hearing much of his name in the coming weeks.

It seems that TEST is going in a bit of a new direction with all these changes. Dreddit itself will be focusing on providing content for its members, with a new system for squad creation based on particular goals. These squads will be around for a few weeks enacting whatever deviousness they come up with, and then they will disband once their missions are complete. I think this is a fine start in providing some direction for our alliance, and I’ll happily sign up for anything that catches my interest.

The first of these little mini-quests we’re setting out on begins today! It’s also the reason I say the next day or so is going to be an important one for Dreddit. I guess, technically it’s going to be important for all of New Eden, because I’m sure everyone is going to be dog-piling into the Luminaire system all throughout the day. I think we all know why.

Beware, high-sec pilots! Dreddit is coming to Luminaire, and we will have a hand in this event. Obviously, what we’re seeing here is the beginning introductions to the final release of DUST 514. The events that take place today in the Luminaire system will make New Eden history, and we plan on being a part of it.

Perhaps it is providence that last night marked the beginning of a sea change for the HBC.

Speaking of, I’d like to take this opportunity to throw my own two-cents into the discussion. Unfortunately, due to being on the roam, I wasn’t able to contribute to the feverous discussion that was going down on the Dreddit Jabber. Basically, Booda was asking folks what they wanted to do as a corp. There were a lot of great ideas put forth (and a lot of crap ones… seriously guys, I don’t think many of us have time to be a nomadic corp), and I’d like to offer another possibility for content generation that will also help us get a foothold in the new FPS-connected reality that will be coming with the release of DUST.

We all know that eventually, DUST mercs will be a major part in determining sovereignty in null sec. This is a ways off (probably at least a year), but the beginning mechanics are going to bet set into place with the next DUST build, and the fighting that will take place may end up being interestingly close to our current base of operations.

We don’t know what region of low-sec DUST mercs will be fighting in, but there is much speculation that we’re going to be looking at Aridia. If this is true, then I’d like to ask my fellow Dreddit members to direct their attention to the Fabia constellation. That map right there shows you all the temperate planets in Aridia. You’ll also notice that the system of Sakht is a connecting system to null sec, with a gate to 1-S. TEST owns 1-S and it is often an entry point for our enemies into our territory.

My DUST buddy Kristoff tells me that NOS squad has been running around low-sec quite a bit lately, asserting our dominance. I know not everyone is interested in decreasing their sec status, but with the launch of DUST, our Subdreddit bros are going to need a place to call home, and I think it only makes sense that we provide as much support from space as possible to help them get a foothold. If we can gain control of all the temperate planets in Fabia, that means any attacker will have to go at least three jumps to hit one of our systems. This is very important to the DUST meta because every jump decreases the amount of attacking clones who survive the trip through space.

That’s my idea, anyway. It’d be awesome if Dreddit could lock down the Fabia constellation from space once DUST launches. There is a lot of details in an operation like this, but the benefits in the long run would be worth it. I’ll probably write more about this at a later date, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, work is piling up so I’ve got to leave it here for the time being.

I am not worried about our new direction. If anything, I’m excited about having some fresh leadership who’ve yet to experience the trials and tribulations that seem to burn out so many (you will be missed, Monty, for sure). I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more individual activity in the coming months from the member of the HBC, and I think this will make for a very exciting experience.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

- JRD

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

A hint at a release of monumental proportions was given to us yesterday in the from of a Dust 514 dev blog. The information contained within said blog was enough to ignite an excitement in me for the game that I had not felt in quite some time. It was even enough to get me to log in for the first time in almost two weeks, and most of that time was spent chatting it up with my corp mates about the impending changes we’re going to see come the next build.

I won’t go into too much detail on the nuts and bolts of how planetary conquest will work, because I’m sure you’ve already sunk your teeth into that dev blog (and if you haven’t, you really should), but instead I’d like to touch on the implications and this will have, and perhaps speculate on how the meta game may evolve.

The basic gist of it is, for the first iteration of planetary conquest mode, they’ll be turning one of the low sec regions into a giant game of Risk. If I had to guess which region this would be, I would say have a look at either Placid, or Aridia (coincidentally, my first home in EVE Online was in the Maalna system in this region). I imagine it will have to be one of these two regions for a few reasons. It could be Placid, because a lot of the whole “Uprising” event has happened in and around that region (two battles in Placid, at least). It’s got a few faction warfare systems, but most of them are just plain lowsec. We also know that there will be 250 districts upon first launch of this game mode and if we discard the temperate planets held by the faction warfare systems, Placid offers us 33 conquerable planets. With between 5 to 24 districts per planet, 250 divided by 33 gives us 7.5 on average, which sounds about right to me.

Aridia is more of a long shot, I think. The reason that I include it is because it is the only region that is completely low sec, and if you look at the other regions with low sec systems, splitting those systems between faction warfare and nonfaction warfare doesn’t leave us a whole lot of planets to fight over. Aridia has no faction warfare systems, so it’s a little more isolated. It’s also got 75 planets, which is more than enough to accommodate the 250 districts… actually, it has too many. If each planet had only 5 districts, we’d be looking at 375 districts…so.. scratch Aridia (OK, yes I’m doing this on the fly, but give me a break, the dev blog was only posted yesterday).

So all you would be commanders of grand armies, I’d suggest you get yourself familiar with the Placid map, as it seems to me that’s probably the region we’ll begin our territorial claims.

I’m very pleased with the details of how planetary conquest is going to work. It does not have everything I had hoped for (*sigh* I pine  for persistent districts we can run around in to get a feel for the terrain), but it is a solid step in the right direction. If the first iteration of planetary conquest turns out like what was written in the dev blog, I think CCP is doing a great job at taking baby steps in introducing Dust into the world of New Eden. By making the conquest of planets into a sort of real time simulated board game, they’re going to give Dust mercs a real sense of presence in New Eden, while at the same time not over-zealously exposing EVE to the possible instabilities of a brand new market.

This will be a really good test run for one of the most important aspects of the game. FPS players love talking a big game on the forums about things like KDR and warpoints, but now we will finally have something to truly boast over! The merits of a corporation / alliance will be there for all to see in the territory that they control. For those non-EVE pilots here who are unfamiliar with null sovereignty, may I please lead you to this map, which shows who owns what. As you can see, it’s not difficult to tell who the major powers are. I eagerly await the day when we have something similar for Dust.

More exciting, is the fact that this new type of game will be available in the next build! That means the true meta of Dust 514 will begin soon, and I shudder with anticipation. There hasn’t been too much mention of a release date, and I had thought there was mention of something happening sometime in March (though, I could have sworn I heard the same thing for February). I’m pretty sure they said builds would come every 3 to 6 months, and since we’re in month 4 now, that still leaves us with possibly two more to go. With FanFest fast approaching, my assumption is they’re waiting on that to make their big reveal. This makes sense as the 10th anniversary is a pretty big deal, so I’m sure they’d like to make some pretty big announcements there. Chances are, we’ll probably see these changes come to our PS3s around the same time as the EVE summer expansion comes out. It probably makes sense from some kind of marketing angle to release them at the same time.

In any event, it won’t be long, my fellow Dust Bunnies, before this game gets a lot more interesting. Now that planets and resources are starting to become involved, there’s no limit to the types of drama, deception and intrigue we’ll be able to experience. Truly emergent gameplay is on it’s way ladies and gentlemen; I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

- JRD

The Flight of Terroranis Wrex

Posted: March 14, 2013 in EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Today I am happy to regale you with an after action report. The result of our roam was this battle that occurred in WY-9LL in Fountain, and I will tell you of this fight from my perspective, which was one of the most heart-pounding fights of my EVE career. At about 6pm-ish yesterday evening, I saw a ping go out for a blaster Moa fleet.

“Blaster Moas?!” I thought, “This will be the perfect opportunity to give my brawler Taranis fit a test run!” As you will come to read shortly, this was in fact not true. However, to give you a better understanding, allow me to show you my fit.

[Terroranis Wrex]

Lows
Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Cor I
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Mids
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Experimental 1mn Afterburner I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Highs
Light Neutron Blaster II x3 (Void S)

Rigs
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Hybrid Burst Accelerator I

Something you may notice with this fit is the lack of a microwarp drive.

Now, being the accomplished interceptor and tackle pilot that I am, this was not lost on me. I knew it put me at a disadvantage in speed, and I probably wouldn’t be chasing anyone down. That’s kind of the point of the fit. This guy has 200dps (214 with drones), 5K EHP, and a top speed of 1,156mps. He’s meant to brawl, not chase.

I thought about this as we were forming up in the staging POS. Would we have anyone who could chase down our targets? Thankfully, I noticed another interceptor, a crow, as well as a few other tackle frigates, so I figured someone else had to have a MWD and could chase down whoever we needed. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to run back to get my Ares (a proper fleet tackle fit).

Vernn Miller was our FC, and I’d like to point out he did an awesome job leading this fleet. He calls for us to roll out, and the whole fleet of about 40 people begin to make their way to Fountain. Our desto is set as Serpentis Prime, and we begin our journey of causing mayhem to the NPC Null residents.

SilentMajority was our scout, which is a good thing, too because when Vernn asked for a scout, I had considered it, but then took into account the fact that I was AB fit, and obviously that would not suffice. Plus, SilentMajority had a cloaky scout ready to go, so that probably was better than sending in an Ares anyway (and did end up being a better plan, which also probably had to do with Silent actually being pretty good at this game, as opposed to me… I’m just flying blind most of the time).

So we get to the next system over from WY-9 (an NPC null system with 3 stations), and SilentMajority is already in there scouting out possible targets. Vernn asks for two interceptors to x-up and since there were only three in the fleet, I thought this might be a good time to give Terroranis Wrex his test flight.

Our job was to jump in when Vernn made the call, rush to station and get some of the bads to aggress so they couldn’t dock back up. Vernn tells us two ceptors to jump in, and my Crow companion, Stridder, and I jump in to WY-9 and warp to Silent who has Ws in fleet.

He’s sitting off about 400km from the station, and Stridder and I begin our spiral towards the bads who are sitting on the undock. Carpathium is also there in his Sabre, and throws up a bubble to keep everyone where they’re at. As I’m spiraling towards the station, I say this in comms…

“Ok, I can get to them but it might take a while because I’ve got an afterburner, not a MWD.”

Oh, how the fleet erupted! “Whaaat?! That is NOT how you fit an interceptor!”

Yes, yes. I know. But I would also like to point out that had I fit a MWD instead of an afterburner, I would probably be dead, but I’ll get to that in a second.

It suddenly occurred to me that I was spiraling at about 350km from the station at that point, so I should probably warp to 100km and then spiral from there. I had forgotten about bubble, though, so when I warped it dragged me right to the edge, which was pretty much the undock, and it was also where two enemy Drakes were waiting for their moment to strike.

Apparently, that moment came as soon as I landed in the bubble, and the Drakes immediately began to light up Carpathium and his Sabre. It did not last long, and I was their second target. Vernn gives the order for the rest of the fleet to warp in, so now we’ve got reinforcements coming. I hear SilentMajority over comms…

“You need to get transversal quick! They’re targeting you and you’re about to go blap!”

I double click to a point way off in space and turn on the AB. I had hit the needed transveral speed right as the first volley  landed on me. Sweet. Death momentarily avoided.

But now came the hard part. I had to pilot myself into orbit range while still maintaining transversal, and at least one of the Drakes had it in for me. I point him with my scram, web him up and begin my spiraling attempt as I let loose with the blasters. He started off around 8km away, but I had Void ammo and needed to close the distance (I had null, too but I was too caught up in the moment to remember to switch and just orbit from there).

So I begin to close the distance, but the transversal just isn’t what it needs to be and I start taking heavy damage.

“Crap! I’m taking damage!” I probably sounded a tad worried.

“Broadcast for shields as soon as we land!” Came the reply from a helpful logibro.

My spiraling continues, and so does the barrage of missiles.

Bam!

No more shields.

Bam bam!

There goes my armor

Bam!

There goes almost half my hull.

And suddenly, shields are at 100% (thanks awesome logibros!) and I’m orbiting nicely at 500m, with no more damage coming in. With about 30 blaster Moas now backing me up, the offending Drake is quickly dispatched, along with his buddy.

And I got my first real killmail.

Sweet.

At the end of the fight, I was sitting with 68% hull and Terroranis was on fire…literally.

There were some station games with the locals, and tragically we lost a few ships while we were warping out due to them getting caught on the station, but all in all, it was a good roam. After that it was getting pretty late for our Euro-bros so Vernn called it a night and we headed back to NOL.

So, would I have died if I fit a MWD in this situation? If I flew it well, probably not, but chances are I would have freaked out when I landed in that bubble and turned on my MWD, which would have blown up my signature (yes, I know interceptors get a bonus, but it’s a scan resolution difference between 36, and 136 so… who knows how that would have effected the outcome). Also, the nice thing about the Terroranis fit is that it’s cap stable at 68%, so turning on the afterburner is something I just do, and not think about.

In any event, I’m currently training Advanced Weapon Upgrades V (still 22 days out), so when that’s over with, yes my lovely fleet members, I will be putting a MWD on at least one of my Taranis fits (because I can still keep the blasters, then)… though, if I’m going to go full fleet tackle, I’ll probably still favor the Ares.

Anyway, it was great fun and many thanks to all who came along, especially our very skilled FC, Vernn and awesome scout SilentMajority (who definitely saved my ship, I probably wouldn’t have reacted fast enough with out his goading).

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

- JRD

Space Politics

Posted: March 13, 2013 in EVE Related, General Shit-Shooting

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

This morning, I’d like to talk about a topic I’ve been meaning to get to with all the rampant meta that’s been going on. And with the recent announcement that CSM applications are now open, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring it up. Politics, in case you didn’t read the title, is the discussion topic of the day.

EVE Online is the greatest sci-fi story being told in our time. Thanks to the recent dev blog with a community spotlight, I had the opportunity to check out the EVE Lore Survival Guide. Now, I am not a role-player in almost any sense of the word (except in Poetic Stanzel’s most poignant example in the intro to the Survival Guide), and I have a passing familiarity with the lore of New Eden. Well… that might not be fair, I gobble up a lot of tid-bits that I find interesting, and I did read that (God Awful) book, Empyrean Age. However, it’s rare I read the in-character news posts, or really dive into one of the chronicles.

But that’s not the New Eden story I am most interested in. It’s certainly a very engrossing story, and one that I enjoy seeing played out in the background, but I think the best real characters, and real struggles that come out of this game come from the players themselves. At no other time in history have people been able to be so actively engaged in an unfolding tale of treachery, tribulations and triumphs. It’s unscripted in such a way you could never find on today’s trashy television experiences, with their fake “reality” shows and their constant parade of shallow plots.

It’s a real story, a human story. It’s the reason I’m so fascinated with it. As a student of Joseph Campbell, I can’t help but appreciate the parallels witnessed between the myths and storylines of the major powers of New Eden, and their real-life counterparts.

Which brings me to my second point, real life, importance and triviality.

Space politics is trivial. It is meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. Like we have developed the phrase “internet spaceships,” it’s important to keep in mind, especially when dealing with something as emotionally explosive as “politics” that what we do in our pretend space-word is ultimately inconsequential to the world outside of it.

It is this triviality that also engrosses me. Working and living within the confines of the Capital Beltway, I am constantly surrounded by real world politics, with real world implications. I used to have a problem with being a complete and utter newshound. I read about politics on an hourly basis, and prided myself on being so well informed.

I was also constantly depressed. Today’s 24 hour news cycle focuses almost exclusively on the most tragic and shocking of stories, with the sole purpose of expanding its viewership. It has very little to do with really informing the viewership, and a lot to do with selling advertisements. It is tragic, and of serious concern.

So I stopped. As I got older and the responsibilities of providing for a family began to become my major life focus, I learned what was really important in one’s life, and that’s who is in one’s life.

Which is why trivial space politics is awesome!

It’s a discussion we’re all interested in, with a wide array of different positions and opinions. It allows for spirited debate, such that you could never find in any other organizations (seriously, where can you debate whether or not it’s a good idea to invade another entity and take their land ..er.. space).  Most importantly, the trivial nature of the whole thing makes it’s completely, totally, 100% OK to be wrong.

That’s my favorite part. In the end, nothing actually hinges on the decisions we make except for little pixels on a map. That’s it.

It’s the reason I LOVE having over the top villainy in the game. The Mittani is a great example of this. He has, personally, caused a vast amount of suffering among the pilots of New Eden, and for that people hate him. And he plays is up terrifically. James 315 is another one of these characters. Him running for the CSM this year has me really excited because he (whoever the man behind James 315 is) has developed a character with real, intense motivations, and he’s been actively working on bringing this terrible vision of his to light.

Who could ask for a better villain in a game like this?

I think this is the schism that many pod-pilots have with characters like The Mittani and James 315 and they forget that the people behind these characters are not the same as the characters themselves. People take the actions taken against them personally, which given the nature of EVE, is understandable. People work hard (…sorta…) building a cash cushion, or saving up for a big ship, and when that’s taken away from them, they are understandably upset.

The thing that folks should remember is that this game would not be what it is without these characters. EVE does not have some “Lich King” to kill over and over again in boring raids. We have characters like James 315, The Mittani, and organizations like Goonswarm and TEST (for those not in them). And if they are defeated (not “when they are defeated,” because that’s another great aspect of the game), the success and triumph the victors feel is a real, visceral emotion. It’s not anything you can get from striking down a named NPC.

In any case, in the coming month of so, through the CSM elections, we’re going to be getting a heavy dose of space politics. During this time, I think it’s important we keep these things in mind. We’re going to witness an event that only EVE online can bring to us, and no matter what happens, it’s bound to be an interesting one.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

- JRD

Delving into the Metagame

Posted: March 11, 2013 in EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

First I must apologize this morning to my Subdreddit bros. I’m pretty sure I haven’t logged in in over a week due to some things I’ve been involved with in EVE. It appears to me that with the heightened rhetoric, the coming war between the CFC and the HBC is not far off, and with Shadoo’s post yesterday on the war games scenario (for those with access to the forums), it doesn’t seem long before actual hostilities start.

Taking that into consideration, I had to acquire the necessary funds to begin purchasing my war chest. I’ve been buying up fully fit fleet doctrine ships, and even tried my hand as some EVE-style logi-broness flying a Exequror class cruiser, as well as some EWAR with a nicely fit Celestis. And, of course I’ve got an Orac00l ready to go. In building up this war chest of mine, though I’ve come to the conclusion that the interceptor really is my preferred ship in almost any situation. From full on fleet combat, to small gang stuff. I totally suck solo, but even in that category I’ve made myself a little taranis fit I think would be ideal for trotting around our staging and surrounding systems on the look-out for bads while I await fleet pings.

So, I hope that adequately explains my Dust absence. Because of my history with EVE, I will always see myself as a pod-pilot first and foremost, which is ironic because out of all the squads I’m a part of, Subdreddit has been the one I’ve been most active in. Still, with the coming war, the best way I can help my alliance is flying in space, as unfortunately the Dust connection is not yet deep enough to have an impact on the coming war with the CFC.

The question here is, why do I think the war is so imminent, now? We were on the cusp of it, it seemed, right before Montolio went on vacation, and most would have thought if it was going to happen, it would have happened then. It did not happen because Shadoo talked down Montolio with the idea of a ‘war game’ scenario. I, among many others, have voiced their doubts about this idea, but doubts or no, it is happening. After reading Shadoo’s post on it yesterday, while I still have my reservations, I would be lying if I did not feel Shadoo had many good points. With Shadoo being an ex-CCP employee, it would also be silly of me to even think that I (or many others) would have a better way of getting CCP’s attention.

In his post, Shadoo outlined not only why this whole event will be a ton of fun (and even I’ll admit here, it does sound enjoyable), but it will also give CCP a model for how the Sov system could be better implemented. This is the key point here, as if there were one thing that I could have fixed in the game, I would choose the Sov system. Sovereignty and claiming your space in null has always seemed like the end game to me, and ever since I first logged into EVE, I’ve been involved in Sov one way or another (I never really lived in high sec…). I think I’m not alone in this, either.

The war games are coming soon, and with it will be a week or two of constant activity, 23/7 roams, and no shortage of ~gud fights~. Shadoo estimates we could see anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 pilots all in the same region during this event (I’m not saying which one until I see that info leaked… I’m sure it won’t take long). If this actually pans out, it will definitely provide for some interesting news while it’s going on.

Now, who will be the major players during these war games? Shadoo mentioned room for three blocs, and I’m assuming we’re talking about the CFC, the HBC, and then Solar and whoever else. Now, because these are “war games,” I had assumed the focus would be on military engagements, with the meta game being played out in EVE fitting tools and among the rival FCs of the power blocs, but recent articles out of TheMittani[dot]com would have us believe that the CFC is viewing things from the perspective of being in some kind of engagement for longer than the duration of the war games, with the ultimate goal of not only winning the war games, but seeing as much damage done to TEST and the HBC as possible (And here I thought we were bros…).

I say this because judging by his actions, The Mittani is ramping up the verbal war with HBC by publishing unflattering articles on his gaming news website, not as an attempt at reporting facts (no news agencies actually do this anymore), but as an attempt to craft the narrative of the coming conflict.

That bold part is very important, because that is the way that wars are won. It’s also one of my favorite things about EVE online, and it gives me a chance to throw on my favorite hat… the tin foil one. =)

Montolio had a fairly brilliant reply to the Mittani[dot]com article (warning, EN24 link for those who haven’t seen the post on the forums), and in that reply we can catch a glimpse of the chess game being played at the moment between Montolio and The Mittani.

There are three parts of Montolio’s post that give us hints as to what is happening behind closed doors, and it’s important to look at and analyze the difference between what was said, and what was meant.

Here is the first example I’d like to look at.

You can tell how clearly slanted the article is based on this one quote alone:

The-Mittani[dot]com said:
While Shadoo and Montolio entered the conversation in an attempt to keep the thread from going sour, their efforts were in vain

My attempt to keep the thread from going sour?

Montolio Said:

Oh shit.
Grath – can you soundcloud a response to this instead of writing it? I want to listen to it so I can pretend I am getting yelled at by an abusive father figure while I masturbate.

The objective of that statement is a simply one. The Mittani wishes to project the imagine of a broken and fractured HBC. He does this not for the pleb grunts like you and I, but for the CEOs of corps that will be choosing sides in the coming fight. He wants the CFC to appear to be the bastion of team-work and organization, as well as a solid foundation in which new corps or alliances can come to with the idea that they will receive more help and stability when choosing the CFC over the HBC.

Obviously, you cannot rely on myself for the truth of that statement (spoiler, you can’t reply on the Mittani, either). As a member of TEST (and specifically, Dreddit), of course I’m going to say my organization is the best. Duh.

The truth is a middle ground, though. The CFC and the HBC both offer stability and room to grow for any newly recruited corp or alliance. The leadership is completely different, however, and depending on how you like to run things should ultimately determine your allegiance. If you’d like freedom to pursue your own goals, the HBC is ideal. You’re given your own space and allowed to do whatever you want to do. If you want to take orders from a single dictator who has his own grand vision for the game, and you want to have your own little piece of that vision, then the CFC would probably be more to your liking. In conjunction with the CFC’s vast wealth, this is the reason alliances in the CFC see so much financial support. The best way to build loyalty among those who call the shots (i.e. the CEOs and other leadership councils), is by greasing the palms.

The next piece of juicy meta comes from The Mittani’s choice of author, TEST’s very own, Targie McRed. Montolio also had something interesting to say in regards to this…

“But Montolio! The article was written by Targie McRed – this isn’t propaganda at all.

Targie McRed said:
I was asked to write it by mittens. He [the mittani] wanted it written by someone from TEST”

The reason for this is fairly obvious, isn’t it? If the words [look like they] come from a TEST member, then they must be true! Right?

I have to wonder how much Targie was pressured to write this article in the way that it is written. It’s no secret themittani[dot]com pays its writers (125 mil an article), which can be quite the incentive to produce. More importantly, though comes the exposure. As a writer myself, even I have applied to write for themittani[dot]com, knowing that the views I would get also had the possibility of transferring readership to my very own blogging space (i.e. here).

Holding these benefits over someone’s head can be a very persuasive tool, so I don’t fault Targie for writing what he wrote. It’d be nice to hear from him exactly how much of that article was “influenced” by The Mittani personally.

The most interesting piece of meta, though comes from the very first two paragraphs of Montolio’s post, and it’s something I’d like to title…

Montolio’s Big Feint

“Hello friends!

You probably have noticed a dramatic increase in CFC action directed towards the HBC and myself over the past few weeks – this is because they are mad. They’ve been expecting and preparing for me to declare a disorganized jihad on them for some time. Mostly because I’ve been leaking it to them via various individuals in the CFC in private conversations that we would in fact attack them during my SOTC.

The entire CFC directorate tuned into the SOTC and hit Twitter as soon as I didn’t announce an invasion to find any reason to pick apart my terrible SOTC.”

Do you see what he did there?

Over the past month, Montolio has been “leaking” the idea that the HBC would attack the CFC during his State of the Coalition (SOTC) address. Make no mistake, if he truly was doing this, you can be sure the CFC was preparing like mad during the run up to the SOTC. Given what transpired during the SOTC (nothing), it should be fairly obvious Montolio never planned on doing this… so why the sleight of hand?

Given the tense atmosphere between the CFC and the HBC, it’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps it’s a form of political “bucking” (you know, when someone fakes going for a punch to get the other person to blink), in an attempt to get The Mittani the slip up. Maybe it was a well planned troll, used to waste valuable time and resources among the CFC directorate. There are a myriad of different reasons to play a hand like this.

If I had to put my own wager in, I’d say it has to do with PL being the wild card in whatever fight may transpire. Tensions have been high recently, and it’s anyone’s guess who will be the first the pull the trigger. What seems more clear, however, is PLs desire to see their own plans out (these war games), so whoever is seen as putting those plans in danger would probably be on the business end of PL’s fleets. This means whoever is in the defensive role in whatever engagement starts us off, is the most likely to see PL assistance during the war.

Montolio has stated TEST and the HBC will be taking part in these war games, so whatever “leaked plans” had said about our own war were more than likely disinformation. Chances are, these games will be the military side of the CFC vs HBC engagement (with some others thrown in just for fun!).

The meta game, the war or words, will have a much different venue. You’ll see it play out on themittani[dot]com, EN24, and blogs like mine.

It’s this kind of conflict that so strongly draws me to our game of internet spaceships. Whatever the future holds for the HBC and the CFC, it’s bound to be an interesting one.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

- JRD

Freespace: New Eden Unleashed

Posted: March 9, 2013 in EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Recently, I had posted a bit of internal politics going on inside of TEST, and since then there has been some great discussion going on within the confines of our super secret auth boards. I think there are a lot of internal changes happening with TEST at the moment, and I think it’s a good thing.

Before I get into the topic of today’s article, I wanted to clarify a little something I had written on the boards that I think deserves a bit of tweaking.

I had talked about the lack of direction with TEST, and how many line members were looking to be a part of something more grandiose than what we’ve been playing around with since the fall of -A-. I have basically come to the conclusion that the reason we haven’t mobilized this massive behemoth of an alliance was because the only thing we really could do would involve Sov, and Sov sucks right now.

So I proposed an idea to fix Sov in the only way that we as regular null folk can; with a campaign against high sec that would be so fierce , that even the denizens of high sec would decry CCP for not fixing Sov until we went away to leave them to their carebearish activities.

Before our reset with the CFC, many complained about “the big blue doughnut.” Since it had already happened before, I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to reopen those channels for one final project, and to also extend (i.e. force) the invitation to the likes of Solar and other null entities who were not blue to the CFC or HBC.

I speak of the idea of a United Null; The UN. With the sole purpose of implementing sanctions on high sec (no more moon goo for them!), and instituting a blitzkrieg campaign to disrupt trade hubs and major travel roots. It would be like “Burn Jita,” except it would be “Burn Jita, Amarr, Dodixie and Rens, + some more.”

Many newbros seemed to enjoy this idea, though it was not as popular with our vets.

In any case, I want to state that while it’s my idea, I don’t think it’s a particularly great one in regards to solving the problem with Sov. The major reason being is that in proposing this idea, I was taking advantage of a popular sentiment, that “CCP doesn’t care about Sov and isn’t doing anything to fix it.” I’ve heard this echoed across many different forums. It’s unfortunately a popular opinion among the denizens of null.

But I don’t believe it. Since the Summer of Rage and the subsequent release of the Crucible expansion, CCP has done a tremendous job turning itself into a company that cares for, and listens to its player base. I do not envy the folks at CCP, and the positions they’ve been put in. It seems no matter what they do, they will always have people who shout from the rooftops about CCP’s inadequate coverage of their particular pet peeve.

People have been screaming about a broken null for a while now, and I think CCP has heard them (right guys?!). I also think their new expansion format is  a good one, and more well rounded than the previous way of doing things. This also means that we shouldn’t expect an expansion to focus only on fixing null, but I would be highly surprised if there weren’t elements of Sov fixing in this summer’s expansion.

So I don’t think causing a huge ruckus in high sec will make CCP work any faster than they already are (and for what it’s worth, I think they’re doing a great job).

I still do think it would be totally fun, though. The narrative that could be wrapped around an event like that would be tremendous, and the story of The UN vs CONCORD would be one for the history books.

*sigh*

Maybe one day.

(Of course, now with TheMittani.com running rampant Anti-Montolio propaganda, which I will write about on Monday, this idea may be farther off than I had originally anticipated).

Now, on to the topic that I wanted to write about.

Freespace: New Eden Unleashed

Alright, this is also a terrible idea, but one that I thought would be fun to play around with. I would like to introduce to you a new way for our ships to transverse the stars, a rig I like to call an “Interstellar Warp Drive Configuration.”

So we all know and love (or not) the stargate system of EVE. Gates are placed in star systems that are connected to other star systems, and unless you’ve got a titan bridge or a jump drive capable ship, you’ve got to use those gates to get to where you’re going.

This system is fine, of course, and we’ve all grown used to it. But with the introduction of this kind of rig, the tactical abilities of pilots would be increased exponentially.

We know that the stars we see in the background while we’re in space are the actual star systems we see on our map. Imagine if you could hover your mouse over one of those stars, and get a pop up on your HUD similar to when you hover your mouse over a star on the star map. You’d get a list of planets, belts, stations etc… and just like any other item in your current solar system, you could select and align to it (this includes specific items in the system, so I could say, align to planet IV, moon III, for example).

When you’ve got one of these rigs installed, and the appropriate fuel in your cargo hold, you can choose to actually warp to stars that are within your jump drive’s range, and bypass the gate system all together. Not only this, but choosing where you enter the system (planet IX, moon VI) means that corps and alliances who own space will have to do more than just camp gates if they want to protect their space from invaders (or just get kills), they’d actually have to be out on patrol… on the hunt, if you will.

Yes, this dramatically changes the current jump drive system. I don’t think it would be fair to have ships that are already capable of jumps to still have to rely on cynos, so the whole cyno thing would have to be rethought. I would think that using a cyno wouldn’t take the time it takes to warp between stars, which I’ll get to in a moment. Cyno jammers would also still retain their use, as well as have the added benefit of not allowing any ships to jump drive into system, forcing people to use the gates no matter if they have the “Interstellar Warp Drive Configuration” rig or not.

Think of the tactical possibilities!

This would completely change fleet warfare. The item takes up a rig slot, so any fleet doctrine that wants to be able to have this super-mobility would be at a slight disadvantage against a purely defensive fleet that does not fit it. Though, the disadvantage is probably minimal at best.

So, yes, this rig does have to have a larger disadvantage in using it (other than the use of fuel), and I’d propose that would be time. It makes sense that warping between stars would take more time using our warp drives than warping between the planets of a star system. Perhaps something like 30 seconds a lightyear? With the longest jump ranges being say… 10 to 12 lightyears? If that were the case, a 10 light year jump would have you sitting in warp for 5 minutes. I think this would make sure the device isn’t too heavily relied upon, but still useful (it also gives us another reason to use a cyno, which would remain instantaneous).

There would have to be some pretty major changes to the UI, though for these to work. For starters, scanning tools would need to be totally redone. They would become immensely important, and every pilot would have to learn to rely on them. As it stands, d-scanning is not intuitive at all, and it’s a difficult thing for new pilots to get a grasp of. This new scanning tool would probably have to be a bit more graphical in nature, as opposed to the spreadsheet of numbers the current d-scan is.

There would also have to be more kinds of defenses that owners of a system can place. Cyno jammers could stop warp ins into the system (or a new item could be made for this purpose), but along with a redone, graphical scanning tool, there could also be a new sov item that projects a type of radar across the whole system, so that alliance members could pull the map up and see where every ship in system is (or maybe just FCs with the proper roles?).

I have no idea if the results of a change like this would end up being good or bad. I think they’d be awesome, but my abilities in prognostication are not infinite, so they could end up being terrible. That’s probably why I’m not a game designer.

Still! From my own limited perspective, I think the possibilities opened by the introduction of an item like this (or, 3 of the small, medium and large varieties) would utterly change the way that fleets engaged each other.

*Sigh*

I’m just full of dreams today, aren’t I?

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

- JRD

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

Recently I’ve been engaged in some ~super secret squirrel~ activities in EVE, which have turned out to be quite prosperous. As a result, I am no longer space-poor, and will soon be happily stocking many varieties of ships that I fly in our staging system of NOL.

Because of these ~projects,~ my Dust time has been severely limited, and as I think I mentioned here before, I’m finding it difficult to come up with a reason to log into Dust at the moment. With only 4 maps and two game styles to play, there’s a sorely lacking feeling of accomplishment at the moment. I’ve gotten my support skills to a nice point, and there are only a few more level Vs I need to get before I start wondering where to put my skill points. I know there’s always the grind to take into consideration, but I do not play CCP games to grind. I play them because of the potential for emergent activities, and the sandbox nature of a wide open world.

No worries, though. We’ve got a new build upon us, and from what I’ve been hearing from the devs, this new build is going to make Dust feel like a completely different game. While I do not think we’ll be seeing any nullsec interaction with this new build, I am hoping for some more meaningful battles as far as things like faction warfare go. I’m really really hoping that we’ll get to see the map generation tool at work, and will have a wide variety of different terrain to pitch our battles on.

I fully understand that CCP is working on making the shooting mechanics of Dust as solid as they possibly can, and I think that’s a good move. But in my slowly growing boredom with what we’ve got so far, and my perhaps quicker return to the space setting I am more familiar with, I’ve come to realize a few things that make EVE such a great game that I hope will eventually make its way into Dust 514.

One of the most important things I’ve realized is EVE’s amazing amount of variety of things to do. I’ve been playing this game for close to three years off and on, and in that time I’ve had my hand in manufacturing, mining, PI, null sec pvp, and exploration, just off the top of my head (I’m sure there are a few I’m forgetting).

Out of all of those, only one actually involves direct player vs player conflict (the others most certainly offer pvp, but it’s of a different sort…everything in EVE is pvp one way or another). Granted, this is an activity I’ve constantly participated in, unlike some of the others, but I am really bad at it and rarely meet with success.

That’s fine, though, because if I’m ever discouraged, or bored, or just want something different, I can forget about what I have been doing, and take up something else that suits my fancy (recently it’s been in the trade business).

In Dust, right now we have one activity. Shoot reds.

This is a good activity.

But with all that New Eden has to offer, I just can’t wait until our Dust Bunnies have the opportunity to partake in things like resource gathering, manufacturing, trading and exploration. I know these are things CCP is working towards, and I’m sure they’re a bit farther down on the ten year plan, but I still can’t help titillating our ground forces with possibilities the future holds.

Most of this excitement I have does come from the ~secret squirrel~ activities I’ve got going on at the moment, and I wish I could go into more detail about things like emergent gameplay, but sadly this info is op-sec, and not for sharing with the masses (I’ve got to protect my secrets, you know =).

In any case, I can only leave our eager Dusters with this; eventually there will come a time in the next year or so where you will be able to play Dust in many different ways. It will not consist of simply getting your gun-off or reviving dead comrades (logibros represent). The career paths of industry mogul, trading guru, and political mastermind will also be open to you, among many more.

Good times are coming for New Eden. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

- JRD