Archive for the ‘General Shit-Shooting’ Category

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

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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

Greetings, Dredditors, Subdredditors and TESTicles at large!

I’m going to break from standard operating procedures this morning and talk about something I normally try not to get involved in.

Politics.

Internal politics, to be exact. There has been some recent drama among the folks of TEST that has played out on the TEST boards and rippled through alliance leadership.

Allow me to preface this post by saying that my ultimate goal here is to state my opinions on the issues without rustling any jimmies. Despite being in TEST, believe it or not, rustling jimmies is among my least favorite activities. I am not in alliance leadership. I’m not in NOS squad. The views and opinions in this post do no reflect the views of Dreddit, TEST or the HBC. They are mine alone. I am a simple grunt, a line member with no sway or influence what-so-ever.

I am not, however, a J4G. I am nearing my three month mark as a member of Dreddit (allowing me to soon join some of the more… active squads), and in my short time here I have come to grow very attached to our community, and I would like nothing more than to see us grow and prosper even larger than we already have. I think it’s possible to do that, despite some nay-saying on the forums about TEST growing too large, and that growth being blamed for the state of our membership.

So here’s the problem. Fras Siabi took over as head of TEST while Montolio went on vacation (an understandable leave, seeing as what transpired beforehand with the CFC, which I’m sure you’re all aware of). By the end of Fras’s one month tenure as TEST head dictator, he was ready to quit. In fact, he has taken a whole hiatus from TEST, and gone off into the deserts of Low-Sec to do some soul searching, but not before leaving a letter to the membership stating why he was leaving. The short of it is, he blames TEST culture (the message boards, specifically) and the propensity we as an alliance have to troll, even our own members.

He’s not the only one, either. There have been a few long time members who’ve recently gone on hiatus who describe our culture as an alliance as toxic.

Toxic.

That’s a very strong word to use to describe a culture.

And I don’t think they’re wrong.

I am not the most active member of our community by a long shot. Despite my sometimes extroverted nature, I am at heart, a shy boy. Jumping in to a community and presenting my words for all to see is a difficult first step for me, and I can never seem to do it “just because,” but always have to somehow convince myself that it will be good for me in the long run to go out and make some internet friends to do stuff with that we all enjoy.

With that said, you can often find my posts on r/eve, r/evedreddit, r/subdreddit, or the Subdreddit corp forums of the official Dust 514 board. I’ve got a lot of karma on Reddit, and a whole bunch of likes on the official Dust board.

I have only a little over 30 posts on our official TEST boards.

Why?

I post often, or at least whenever I have anything to say on a subject on these other boards, but the TEST boards I just find a hard time wanting to contribute anything. My fear is not getting into a long, drawn out discussion with someone who disagrees with me (this happens enough on Reddit for it not to be a thing that phases me). My fear is that I will put time into something, something I care about, and once presented, it will only get buried in a mass of witty (well, generally not so) one-liners, or jokes, or just “GTFOs.”

I worry about asking dumb questions, or presenting dumb ideas (which I’ll fully admit, are most of my ideas), and then reading a thread that consists of nothing but one-liners telling me how dumb I am, which is something I already know. The posts are there trying to remedy that issue.

I am also prone to hyperbole, and am socially paranoid in general, so all these points I bring up are most certainly not nearly as problematic as I make them out to be. They are fixable issues. They do not require us to “drop sov,” forget about the HBC, and restart from scratch. These are solutions I’ve heard popping up on the forums, and I can only imagine that people are getting these ideas from history, from when the Goons were disbanded and took their 40 days in the desert of Syndicate to rebuild themselves stronger, and more powerful.

We are not the Goons. We do not have to follow their history.

We can make our own history.

This “toxic” culture people are complaining about is not the culture of TEST. It is not the culture of Dreddit. Dreddit comes from Reddit, we recruit from Reddit, and only Redditors and their RL bros will find a place in our corp. There is a reason for this. Reddit has had issues in the past with their own cultural failings, but it has also made headlines for amazing displays of philanthropic kindness. Yes, there is trolling on Reddit, but it is hardly all you will find there. In fact, I’d say most of it is relegated to the larger subreddits, and it’s in the smaller ones where you find the real discussion and interesting factoids that drew us all there in the first place.

Dreddit “only” has 6000 members, which would put us in one of the smaller subreddit categories. We should be more like those hidden gems that have not attracted the attentions of the userbase at large.

And I think we are, for the most part. The newbro experience in TEST has to be, hands down, one of the best experiences a new EVE player can have. Never, since I began playing in 2009, have I ever been so involved with my EVE community. I’ve played this game off and on since then, at first being a part of a no-name renter alliance before taking my first leave of absence, then Cascade Imminent when I came back, then my corp moved to Fatal Ascension after Cascade cascaded, where I spent another month or two before I started to win at EVE again. None of these experiences last more than a month or two. I had no real desire to build what I had become a part of, because I never made any real connections with the people there.

This time, it’s been different. TEST offers such a great opportunity for those who are shy or have no idea what they want to do. There are no CTAs. There are no skill requirements. There are no killboard requirements. You are free to explore to your heart’s content until you find your own subgroup you feel comfortable with. I think this is a great system, and one that few other alliances in the game can really offer.

Which brings me to my “example” section of this post. I had commented earlier that I do not readily participate in many of the TEST squads. The forums have scared me off a bit from readily exposing myself, and I won’t even comment on the fear of jumping into a mumble with 20 or 30 other dudes who know each other and saying “Hey, dudes! I’m new!”

But for some reason, I did not experience any of this fear or reluctance with Subdreddit.

Oh, Subdreddit, how I am growing more and more attached to you every day, even though I’ve found myself getting bored with our 4 maps and not logging in as much over the past few weeks. Yes, I’ve spent most of my time in EVE, yet I long to communicate with our brethren on the ground.

Perhaps it was because I joined Subdreddit right after the merge to Tranquility, when our numbers were barely at 200. Perhaps it was easier to approach my fellows when we were all new and learning ourselves. It could also be the mechanics of the game. In Dust, we’re forced into 4 person squads, and generally once you get a squad for the evening, you’re palling around with the same 3 guys until one of them logs off. There’s also the necessity for comms, and with only 4 of us in a room, it’s no surprise we get to know each other a bit more than the pod pilots flying above us. It’s one thing to jump into corp chat on Dust, and see 10 to 20 dudes you’ve saved (logibro) countless times and say “What’s up, guys?” But jumping into a fleet on mumble with close to 300 people…well, not so much.

But it’s not just that. I know many of you have formed EVE friendships because of the trials and tribulations you’ve faced, and I can only imagine the bonds formed as you fleet up with the same people, night after night, to defend your space, or attack an enemy.

It’s also the Subdreddit culture, which I’ve noticed is quite different from the TEST culture at large. Unless you’ve got a character in Subdreddit, it’s difficult to provide examples, as our culture has pretty much formed on our internal message boards. But if you have a chance to see them, you’ll notice an incredible lack of trolling. Our ability to troll is still quite potent (we are from Reddit, after all), but our trolling is directed at our frenemies on the main boards, while our own personal ones are bastions of civility and cooperation.

And I don’t want to hear the excuse “TEST has no enemies to fight, so without a diversion, our members start turning on each other.”

I’ve heard this a bit, and I don’t buy it.

We’ve got 4 maps in Dust, and 2 different game modes (the maps don’t change between the two, the fighting zone just gets smaller). That’s it. We’ve been fighting on the same 4 maps for the last 6 months. We’ve had the same 4 suits (imagine having access to only 4 different ships) since the beginning. While there are tons of different fitting options available, truth be told it does not take long to gobble up all the content Dust has to offer. Shoot, even I’m getting a little bored with it.

And I’m not the only one. There are plenty of us just itching for new content. Yet, we do not resort to trolling each other to death in our boredom.

I can’t tell you why this is. In fact, I find it pretty surprising myself. I figured with the introduction of FPS players to New Eden, we were going to have a drop in maturity levels. That has not happened.

Perhaps it has to do with our leadership. I think Dent308 is an awesome warlord, and has done a lot to lead the gibbering masses of Subdreddit in a very focused direction. We’ve also got some great people leading squads and teaching newbros about the basics of the game like Outlaw OneZero and Rynx Sinfar. These guys are incredibly active, and very disciplined in their approach. Not only do I feel confident palling around with them, but I have never worried about asking anyone a stupid question on our corp boards.

Basically, the point here is that lack of content is no excuse to troll our alliance brethren. The Dust boys have lacked content for a long time, and I’ve yet to see one person ragequit over a “toxic culture.”

I do not portend to have all the answers. Or, any answers at all for that matter. There seems to be a lot of soul searching going on within TEST at the moment, and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s important that we question ourselves, and our motives from time to time.

Perhaps it is time for TEST to have a “project” of sorts, though. I have little confidence that the war games Shadoo has proposed will offer any real content to our members. There are few who do, it seems. At least in TEST.

There is no one way to fix these problems I’ve mentioned in this post, but I think if our line members (especially those prone to troll their alliance-mates) put some thought into the community they’re a part of, while also being directed towards a larger goal of some sort, it would go a long way to curing the “toxic elements” we’ve been dealing with recently. Everyone should be doing a little soul searching on what we are, and what we want to become.

The HBC could move New Eden. We could shake it down to its foundations. Burn Jita was an example of what one alliance with a focused mission could accomplish.

Let’s figure out what we want to accomplish.

Until next time,

Happy Hunting, Everyone!

– JRD

I know what you’re thinking.

Another EVE blog? For serious?

Yes. For serious.

I have been playing this wonderful spaceship game off and on since 2006, and one of my favorite things to do, besides fly internet spaceships, is talk about internet spaceships. I don’t know about most of you, but it’s rare I get a chance to shoot the shit about flying in space, and since I’m already a fairly prolific writer (technical writer by trade, and I like to keep a handwritten journal), I figure what’s the harm in writing a little more?

And so here we are.

Now, a little about myself, and why you may want to continue reading this blog.

I am a TEST grunt. I’m a member of Dreddit and Subdreddit, and I have absolutely zero clout. You won’t find any state secrets pouring from these pages, but you may be able to get a sense of what the average grunt in the largest alliance / coalition in the game is thinking about, or planning on doing in the near future.

In EVE, I’m generally a frigate pilot. Interceptors, stealth bombers and EWAR mostly. Despite playing off and on since 2006 (my character, Cawfield was actually created in December of 2009), I only have 14 mil in skill points, and if I can’t fit into our doctrine battlecruiser of the day, you can catch me flying fast tackle in an Eres. I love me some small and fast ships.

I also fancy myself a bit of a smuggler. I consider my Viator my favorite ship (what? a ship without guns a fav? Yeah, I guess I can kind of be a carebear), as it has made me tons of ISK and gotten me out of countless bubble camps. I call my ship The Centurian Pidgeon 3, as I’ve only lost two during my whole EVE career.

I totally just made myself a target, didn’t I?

In DUST, I am your favorite logi-bro. My character is Jeremiad R. Doomprofit, and that’s probably how I’m going to be signing off on these posts (one, because it’s totally a better name, and two because DUST is threatening to take up much of my gaming time). I’m probably going to be writing about my and Subdreddit’s exploits quite a bit on this blog. I have extraordinarily high hopes for the Dust / Eve link, and while I know Dust has its detractors, I believe we are witnessing the birth of one of the greatest things to happen to gaming since the advent of MMOs.

I am finally getting around to writing a blog about the exploits of myself and my corp because yesterday was a historic moment for New Eden, and the events of that day have urged me to start something I will probably regret (this blog).

First: It was my birthday. Happy 29, me.

Second: Dust 514 entered open beta, and with it, the removal of the NDA. This means I can actually write about the events that happen in game without the fear of getting kicked from the beta. Expect updates on fitting and tactics soon.

Third: We almost went to war with the Goons. Damn, it was close. Actually, I thought we were going to war with the Goons, as did many others, until Shadoo inserted himself between Monty and The Mittani and calmed things down a bit.

This last point is the most important (er.. sorta, I think number 2 is kind of important, too), and the reason I actually wanted to start a blog. War is coming. One way, or another, it’s going to happen. I don’t particularly lean one way or the other when it comes to whether we should go to war or not, but I can tell you that the masses on both sides are pushing for it. So far, Shadoo has eased the hunger for war with hints of some ~big shit~ planned. We’ll have to see if his comments can calm everyone down for the 4 or 5 months he says he needs.

Honestly, I think that’s better anyway. The main reason I say that is because I’m so obsessed with Dust at the moment, I’d love to see some of the coming battles with the Goons take place on planets we care about. Blowing up a Goon ship is good. Blowing up a Goon face is better.

You can expect to read updates on this coming war in this blog, as well as updates to what we’re doing in Dust…and Eve if I can ever be tempted to hang up my repair tools for an Eres again.

Feel free to leave comments on any of my posts. I love hearing from you nerds.

The Great War begins Soon(tm)!

– JRD