Sunday, May 25, 2014

With One Hand Tied Behind My Back

Back in my fresh faced days of Eve, the crop of public faces in the community was significantly different than it is right now. A lot of the current crop of Eve's eFamous that many of us look to for information and conversation about our favorite game hadn't even begun playing yet, and a lot of the folks we looked and listened to back then have since faded from sight.

Loxyrider (now CCP Loxy), StevieSG, spiralJunkie and
makeup girl Nicole during the weekly EveTV days.
For me, back in my early days, one of those guys was a player known as spiralJunkie, though his real name is Tom Meneghello. He started off as a DJ on Eve Radio long before I arrived on the scene in 2006, and was one of the pioneers of EveTV in it's infancy. He was there in the studio filling the chair in the early Alliance Tournaments many of us are used to seeing CCP Soundwave occupy, and was the host of the short lived EveTV weekly series that introduced many of us to StevieSG who has also moved on. Eve may never fade, but her faces sometimes do.

Know the name or not, spiralJunkie is a pretty big part of Eve's history. It could be argued that the Alliance Tournament we have today is due in large part to the foundations that were laid all those years ago by Tom and the rest of the crew. The work was shared, but Tom was one of the main faces of it. In a lot of ways, Tom is the kind of player I've always strived to be in my coverage of Eve: That grizzled old vet that still finds the time to play, enjoy, and understand the game he spends so much time talking about, which is something I find missing from a couple prominent members of the Eve media community these days.

Here is a clip from AT IV when Band of Brothers, winners of the first 3 Alliance Tournaments, had their unbeatable tournament setup pwn faced by a team of 10 Thoraxes. You likely have this match to thank for the present AT rules not allowing more than 3 of any one ship to be fielded on a team. spiralJunkie comes in at the studio bit at 5:02. You may also notice a current or former dev or 2 on screen, but all were players at the time.

So whatever happened to spiralJunkie anyway? Well, he's still around, and I've managed to catch up with him every few months over the years. He's had some health issues since he dropped out of the public eye, and a medical condition he has caused him to have a pretty bad stroke back in 2010 where he lost the use of his left arm and leg. He's since regained some use of his leg, but his left arm is still a no go at this point. The dude is a gamer though, and still finds time for the hobby he loves.  

The reason I bring him up now and he gets his own blog post is because he's in the process of trying to put together a resource for people gaming with various disabilities. The guy is a dedicated trooper and finishes what he starts, but he's going to need some help and exposure for this project. He recently made a guest post over on Dr. Joseph Reddington's blog that I encourage you to read if you want to know more about him and what he's trying to do.

As far as what you can do, you can help us spread the word a bit. If you know any disabled gamers, hook them up with Tom's contact info ( and lets help him get the information and resources he needs to get this project on the ground running.

Monday, May 19, 2014

CSM9: 2 Weeks Down

2 weeks of CSM9 have come and gone, and things are off to quite a start. NDAs are in, meetings are happening, and your Comrades of Stellar Management are getting right down to work.

Having 2 lowsec reps on the council has worked out excellent so far, and we've had some lively discussions with our nullsec counterparts. Of course I can't get into specifics, but suffice to say that the mechanics are different enough between the two areas of space that someone from one doesn't always fully appreciate how something will affect the other. 2 weeks in and having lowsec representation has already made a difference, and Sugar Kyle and I have made a good team so far representing lowsec interests.

Now on to some specifics for Kronos. To my knowledge, both Sugar, and Mynnna have posted up their own parts of this stuff as well:

New Mining Frigate:
The prospect is going to be a Tech 2 version of the Venture. It'll be able to carry a cov ops cloak, can be Blops bridged, and will have twice the ore hold of the venture, but no built in stabs. It looks like it will end up being the quintessential ninja miner. It'll be extremely easy to move these things around lowsec, and with blops bridging, it may even be a viable option for ninja mining in nullsec. The yield and capacity aren't close to what you can get with a barge, but you get what you pay for. With CCP expanding on mining ships lately, I can't wait to see what might be next.

CSM8 likely had the lion's share of the feedback on this ship. My own involvement has been nil.

New Mordus Legion ships:
Overall this is looking to be a huge boost for lowsec. the lions share of BPCs for these ships should be dropping from special NPCs in lowsec belts. Lowsec belts have been virtually dead lately, especially in FW space where people looking for pew pew generally hit the FW complexes instead of trawling belts. Now folks will likely be doing both, especially early on. I expect this will lead to more content and more fights.

Overall, I'm really happy with the stats on the cruiser and battleship. Like many others, I have expressed concern over the 28k lock range of the frigate, as I think it severely limits it's use as a light missile platform. CCP's public response to this is that they feel that the additional lock range would make the ship too "oppressive". We'll have to see how testing and real world application works with these ships. If the lock range ends up being a broken leg, we can renew calls for it to be extended and see if CCP can be won over on this. Tweaking a number like the lock range on a ship is fairly easy to do, so this isn't much of a concern just yet if it ends up being to short.

Wormhole K-K Connections:
A much increased chance to fine wormholes in lowsec linked to other lowsec systems as well as null is disliked by almost no one. Given the random nature of it, I don't see everyone in lowsec running out to buy probing alts, but this could prove for a fun distraction now and then to crash a party in some random section of space far from your own. It won't draw the crowds that the Mordus ships will, but some people will use it, and I can see no real downside. Ship it.

In Space Popups:
There's been a lot of mixed reaction on this. The change hit just as CSM9 was taking office. Unlike previous UI changes, like radial menus that don't have to be used, this change affected anyone who actually flies in space. I personally find it about as annoying as when CCP moved the damn undock button, but I've gotten used to it's new home now.

I don't really see how it's "better" than what we had before... maybe a little more boxed in with opaque backgrounds? Kind of reminds me of how my wife likes to move furniture around sometimes to freshen the place up, and then I'm getting a glass of water at 2am and smack my toe on something that wasn't where it was the day before. Annoying, but if it helps the noobs, maybe I'll get used to it. At least I can find the undock button again.

Oh boy, this one set off a bit of a firestorm. I like them for the DSTs. I don't mind them for CBCs, and backed up Sugar Kyle on her 75 km suggestion because I think a shorter jump range would be more useful for them and give more viability to medium rail, beam, and artillery platforms. 100k pretty much puts you right outside the optimal of every medium gun, and asking people in small ships to bullrish a line of medium long range weapons is not going to end well, and that makes a 100k jump little more than an escape mechanism. This may be one of those cases where lowsec does not see eye to eye with nullsec.

For sniping ABCs... ugh. that's all I have to say on that. Not a fan.

FW Changes:
I've gone into these at some detail already. The only thing I will add to this is that these were the first thing I jumped on once I got my NDA sorted, and Fozzie was extremely quick to sit down and talk about what these changes were, as well as the intents and expected results. That discussion is not something I can get too specific on, but I can say that I am satisfied at this point that the changes have merit, and I'm looking forward to see how they work in practice. If they don't work as intended or there are unintended consequences, we can re-open discussions on how to fix.

Deep Space Transports and Blockade Runners:
I'm very happy with Blockade Runner changes. The ship class didn't need much help and didn't get much. A couple of nice tweaks between potential cargo and the 2nd high slot.

DSTs I'm mixed on. I still don't see much use for them in lowsec, but their implication in highsec are definitely improves and people should now have a solid reason to fly them over T1 haluers. With their horrid align times, running into any sort of organized fleet will still mean certain death for them, and there are enough roaming fleets especially in FW low that it's not a question of if, but when you will run into one and lose your ship.

Freighters and Jump Freighters:
This is a hot topic this week and I originally had a lot to say about this, but given renewed discussions, it's best I hold off on talking about these for a few days.

Industry Changes:
I'm quite pleased to see CCP take an extra 6 weeks to test and release the new industrial changes. there is some writing on the wall here, and I can see why it's important for them to get this stuff right on the first try.

If you look at the way the flow of goods works for much of lowsec, and I would assume a good chunk of null, it looks something like this:

Materials gained primarily in highsec ----> Goods produced in highsec ----> Shipped to highsec major market hub ----> Purchased and shipped to low/null for either resale or personal use

That's a very simplified flow of course, but looking in those general terms, we seem to be headed in the direction to promote buying and producing locally, rather than importing almost everything we use. With more valuable ore deposits in lowsec, and better refinery yields (slightly in low, and more pronounced in null) along with an anticipated spike in jump fuel consumption and costs, it would seem that importing goods from highsec may become slightly discouraged.

If you think about this in real world terms, why would someone buy an import at a store when a comparable locally produced good is also available for purchase? Most of the time, it would be because that import is cheaper, mass produced  by people and machines working for next to nothing. Now, in the real world, quality may come into play, with local stuff being fresher, or better quality than mass produced crap, but in Eve one Warp Core Stabilizer is just as good as another.

What you do have though, is that if the imported good becomes less attractive to buy because it is more expensive, especially after having to ship it in, then you would likely just buy local goods. More people in your local area, seeing the chance to actually turn a profit and be able to compete with cheap imports, may also open up shop, increasing your local selection.

So in Eve, if the cost of shipping goods is increased, and the means to produce things locally in harder to reach areas like low and nullsec are made more viable and able to compete with the far less risky industrial capacity of highsec, we might see more industry in places like lowsec where it is riskier. Money that would otherwise be lost on refining, building and shipping from highsec could be rolled directly into profit, or even used to slightly undercut imported goods if competition became a little stiff.

Anyway, I think this is part of what CCP is trying to accomplish if you read the blogs and proposed changes, and start to put them together to form the bigger picture. With that in mind, it's pretty obvious that this needs to be done right the first time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Calling all FW Diplomats!

Hey guys, super short post today.

The community team is looking for some diplomats to interview for a future Community Spotlight, and they're looking to talk to diplos from all walks of Eve life. This of course includes those of us working the FW beat. I'd like to put forward a few people for CCP to choose from on this, but while I know plenty of folks on the Gallente side, and maybe a few for the Caldari, I'm nearly at a total loss for folks on the Minmatar/Amarr side.

As I'm the CSM rep for all factions, not just my own, I'd appreciate suggestions from fellow FW pilots as to who the most active and involved diplomats are in each of the factions so I can compile a short list and pass it on. One or more of you may find yourselves interviewed for this community spotlight.

Please leave suggestions (preferably along with a short blurb on what makes your suggestion interesting to talk to) either in comments below, or you can kick them to my Eve-Mail on DJ FunkyBacon in game. Ideally, I'd like to send along the name of at least one diplo per faction. Of course I can't guarantee all or any of you will get interviewed or featured, but be prepared to talk about what you do, and what makes being a diplo in FW unique from other areas of the game.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Poking the Bear

I've never been at the center of such a drama bomb as what got set off on twitter this morning. It was almost surreal the way the whole thing unfolded. As a result, Rixx Javix appears to have some hurt feelings, and is no longer my space bro. (He sent me a nasty gram on Twitter DMs shortly after to let me know he's unfollowing me and taking me off his blog roll)

I'm gonna have to back up a little bit here, and give some background. This story actually begins quite some time ago, long before the CSM election, though Rixx seems to think this has something to do with me getting on the CSM. Without taking the time to sift through thousands of tweets, I'll try to pull this from memory, and quotes may not be actual 100% quoted quotes.

To give the short version of it, a few months back Rixx was extolling some virtue of Stay Frosty on twitter. I pointed out some stat where our newbie corp in the Monkeys with Guns. alliance was superior, and got some little bit of flak back from him about people toting their killboard stats being dick faces or something to that affect. I thought, "Ok, I guess Rixx doesn't like killboards. Fair play, maybe I shouldn't rub my ePeen in his face like that."

If you know me at all, I'm a bit of a troll. Naturally, as Rixx is a fellow lowseccer, and a space bro, I follow his tweets and read his blog (except maybe his Pilot profiles of random dudes in Stay Frosty, the rest is pretty good though). When I notice him talk about something killboard related, and how awesome Stay Frosty (or his alliance, A Band Apart) is, I like to remind him how he told me people who care about kill stats are dick faces. I realized very early on that suggesting Rixx might care about something he expressly has said he doesn't care about can ruffle his feathers a bit, and he gets VERY defensive about it.

Didn't make this, but damn funny.
Way up in Nennamaila, my alliance has a killboard as well. I'd be bald faced lying to you if I told you I don't care about our kill stats. We have a rather nice killboard, topped with a banner and logo that I've paid Rixx 1.25 billion ISK to make for us, because I genuinely like the guy and consider him a bro (if an overly sensitive one at times). We're extremely ISK efficient as a group, almost to a fault, and hold just about the highest ISK efficiency of any alliance in Factional Warfare, usually around 87% or higher. We fall behind in some other stats, but that one is a point of pride for us.

You'll never hear me talk about how much I don't care about our killboard, because it's a measure of our PVP performance as a group, just like Rixx's is to his group. Anyone in Eve who considers themselves a PVPer cares about their killboard to some degree or another. It's an excellent intel tool against people you might be fighting, and a measuring stick on where your group excels vs where they fall short. You can also ask any of the CEO's or directors in BNANA about how much of a KB nazi I am, most of which never see the light of day in public when I ream out one of our pilots for refusing a scout in his 2 billion ISK Machariel after he loses it on a 6 jump solo run to a POCO bash.

I'm gonna be honest here: While there is some tiny bit of seriousness when I chide Rixx for flaunting kill stats he professes not to care about, it's mostly about the fun of pressing the guy's buttons. Kind of like the Rogue class in the early days of WoW, it only takes about 2 buttons to completely set the guy off.

Don't let the crassness of my enjoyment of pressing Rixx's buttons fool you though, I've had the guy's back at times too. Take for example relatively recently when Rixx posted his 1v1 comic about a Thorax not being allowed through a jump gate because of recent aggression. Someone (pretty sure it was Poetic Stanziel) linked it up on the Girl Gamer reddit as a piece of flame bait, and I totally had Rixx's back on the right to crack a joke that some people might find offensive. I also supported him when CCP shut down his Eve store selling shirts with his own original designs on them.

Recommended equipment for sensitive people on Twitter.
If you think I'm all about hating on Rixx, you're wrong. He's stated that the tweeting today was a personal attack against him. I have attacked people before; I've let go on a couple with both barrels on this very blog, and made no apologies about it. What I'm doing here is fucking with Rixx, nothing more (and it makes me just a little sad that I have to keep saying that I'm just fucking with him to avoid hurt feelings). The guy is easy to spin up, and goes momma bear in about 3.5 seconds if you say 2 words against his corp or alliance, and that's not really a bad thing either. I'd tee off on someone who started ragging on my bros in BNANA, but I also try not to make them a target of people who take issue with what I say in public.

Way down in Rixx's blog, about a year ago, one only needs to read his postings while he was in the middle of his dramatic separation from Tuskers to see a man with so much to say about something he professed to care so little about. Rixx is a caring dude, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it's good to care about stuff, and people. One should certainly care about how they come off at times. Here's a pro tip though: Most people generally don't spend much time talking about things and people they don't care about. For me, I just couldn't be arsed to take the time for it.

(Hint: Read 2nd word of each paragraph. For posterity, this was a troll.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

FW Summer Changes A Deeper Look

Regular readers will recall a posting I made recently about Fanfest from a Lowsec Perspective. Of particular note was the mixed bag section of the posting, where I talked about my confusion over the cloaking change and some concerns about the NPC changes. The large complex regular spawns are actually a welcome change, and require no further words from me on that front.

Now that the NDA has been sorted and CSM9 has access to a little more information, I'm able to make an update regarding my initial concerns about the proposed summer changes to FW. I can say that after speaking with CCP Fozzie at length on the matter, I am now more convinced on the direction we're headed with regards to the cloak nerf, NPC changes, and afk stabbed plex farming.

I will refer those of you who are reading to the public thread on Eve-O discussing the changes. Mentioned in there is a beef up in the active tanking capabilities of the NPCs inside the plexes along with a reduction in their own DPS, coupled with respawns.

I still have some concerns about these spawns interfering with PVP, but if they become a serious impairment to PVP, it should be possible down the line to make adjustments.

What I am pleased with, is that after seeing the numbers, the DPS barrier to offensive plexing should be raised to a point that afk plexing in poorly fit ships should be significantly impaired. The novice rat tanking 25 DPS will still be a viable place for stabs at this point, but the DPS barrier also needs to be low enough for actual newbies to be able to break as well.

Image stolen from Drackarn.
The small plex at 70, will prove a bit more difficult in a stabbed frigate to break, bearing in mind that even at 100 DPS, actual damage applied to the ship will be in line with 30 DPS. At 150 DPS, the cruisers should prove all but impossible for a frig with lows filled with stabs to break. I personally only have a couple of T1 frig fits, and they are VERY DPS heavy, that would be able to chew through medium NPCs with any ease. Those same frigs would drop below the threshold with DPS mods swapped out for stabs. Larges were already a tough nut for a single frigate to crack, and now at 300 DPS tanks, we're looking at nothing shy of a short range destroyer or AF being able to break them.

In light of this information coming to the fore, I'm happy to give these changes a chance to trickle in and see what the actual effects on farming end up being. I'm also looking forward to what the rest of the FW community thinks of the changes.

I haven't completely given up on WCS rebalance to also give a hit to overall DPS, but at this point I'm willing to give the changes already in the pipe a chance to see if they work.

In other news, week 1 of CSM9 is in the books, and we appear to be ready to get right down to business. I'm happy to report that despite claims to the contrary by some outside the CSM, the CFC has not completely taken over Eve! There was one point of change being discussed that initially put lowsec at a bit of a difference of opinion to some of the null guys, but everyone seems willing to work with each other, and differences quickly became possible solutions that would work for everyone. As I'm used to the typical tomfoolery around Eve-O and related forums, it's a refreshing thing to work with such a diverse group that is also willing to work with each other to such a degree. I must say that this is looking to be a good year for the CSM.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Reykjavik Brain Drain Continues: CCP Dolan and Bro bid Farewell.

The brain drain seems to be continuing at CCP with the departure of CCP Dolan for Riot Games. CCP Bro appears to have left the company as well, but his destination at this point is unknown.

The Dolan situation came to light May 7th from a tweet chain started by former CCP Soundwave, and was later confirmed beyond doubt. Dolan will join a veritable slew of well known CCPers who have left the company for Riot Games over the last several months including Soundwave, Zulu, and Navigator.

Turnover in the gaming industry is nothing new, however so many leaving one company for the same destination does seem a bit odd. What is going on over at Riot that is luring so many CCP devs away specifically?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One Team, One Dream

Going to be a short post today, just a quick update on CSM 9 as it stands now.

We're on day 3 of CSM 9, and as of yet, none of the new members have seen or signed any NDA docs, so we're not privvy to any CCP super secret stuff we can't divulge yet. Some private skype channels have been set up, one for both CSM 8 and 9 for a smooth transition. A second channel is just those on CSM 9, and so far one shocking development has come from that channel that I'm able to discuss.

After some great discussion, it was decided that CSM 9 will be the first CSM with no officers or titles*. One Team, One Dream. That doesn't mean we're going to be all huggy, hand holdy, and in agreement with each other at all times. What it does mean is that we're going to be focused on working together to help make Eve a better game, without concern for arbitrary titles that don't mean much at the end of the day aside from acting as ePeen enlargement cream.

I have seen some concerns leveled by some members of the community regarding: "But then who does what?" I expect that as certain projects and situations arise, roles for those specific things will be assigned or volunteered for on a case by case basis.

I'm sure other members will have more to say in the coming hours/days. Thus far, the only other thing I have to report is that everyone seems to be meshing well, and the members of CSM9 seem to all be in really good spirits and looking forward to getting to work sometime in the very near future.

*It was decided that should anything go wrong this term, we will simply blame Xander for it. With the elimination of all other titles, it's still in discussion if that will also include Scapegoat.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fanfest from a Lowsec Perspective

The week was a rough one for me to cover fanfest. Real time just wasn't an option due to work commitments and not being able to watch almost anything live, but thankfully I had twitter, and a great Eve Media community to keep me abreast of the situation as it was developing and I don't think I missed many key developments.

The Good

I feel like I've been ragging on CCP a bit lately, so I'm going to start this post off with happy feelings.

One of CCP's teams that never seems to do any wrong is the art department, and holy balls did they come through this year. First and foremost on my list is the new Moa concept. I'd hate to think of myself as an overly vain person, but when it comes down to it one of the main reasons I don't fly the Moa is because it looks dumb. I prefer the Thorax as a cruiser gunboat in our zone due to tracking bonuses, but those shield resists would come in handy in some situations. I predict I'll actually have a few Moas in my hangar by the time that new ship model is rolled out. CCP's focus on adding warp animations to ships, like what they did with the Tristan recently, really adds to the visuals, and it looks like the Moa will be getting a good one as well.

The new Dominix concept is also of interest. The ship is on it's 3rd iteration right now (the launch brown potato, the Trinity Redesign, and a later reworking to fix some of the textures) and I still don't know where the drones get launched from. On it's 4th pass, it looks to be getting sleeker, and it'll now have a visible flight deck.

The Condor family of frigates wasn't particularly bad looking before, but the new model brings it from decent to bad ass.

A new typhoon was also unveiled. I have to say, I like where the art department is going with glowing Minmatar engines. It looks great on the Stabber line, and I think it will add a nice look to the Typhoon line as well.

Outside of art, I'm becoming more confident that CCP is thinking about lowsec in the upcoming industry changes. The mention of bringing in a lowsec only POS module to construct capital ship components at an especially high ME will be most welcome if it significantly closes the refinery gap we're seeing between null outposts and POS modules available to lowsec industry.

No one out here is too worried about the tech 1 ship market getting taken over by nullsec blocs with an 11% advantage on compressed ore yields. With the nerfs to jump fuel consumption, and a low volume market when compared to highsec, I don't see null blocs invading our markets with a flood of goods being sold for less than we can produce them for. As I mentioned before, that 11% margin on capital hulls will be a huge deal if not dealt with. The POS module will increase the risk of building those components, and if done right, could close the gap on manufacturing dreads and carriers enough to keep lowsec competitive with null in that market segment. I am very much looking forward to details and numbers to how that will work out.

Next up, I was quite pleased to see that high value ore anomalies will be coming to low sec instead of just being a null phenomenon. Paired with the announcement of a new t2 black ops capable mining frigate with twice the ore hold of the venture, this could be an excellent start to bringing some miners, and by proxy other industrialists to lowsec. I see this as being a healthy start, but it's just that: a start. More love is going to be needed to fully flesh this out, but CCP is making steps in the right direction at this point, and I'm happy with where we're going.

The new mining frigate itself I see as an especially high boon for null sec miners. With the ability to black ops bridge them in and out of a system, they're the first mining ship that has a reasonable chance of being able to circumvent a large chunk of travel risk in null sec, and they'll have a good chance of being able to escape danger if they're on their toes with a Black Ops ship cloaked in a safe to provide an exit bridge. For low sec, a cloaking frig offers even more travel protection than one with 2 built in stabs.

Lastly, the move to a 10 point release development cycle is something I see as an overall positive. The last 4 "expansions" we've had haven't been much more than content patches really. If Eve development is going to get away from expansions that deliver significant new game play elements in favor of releases that feature a small amount of new content mixed in with a large amount of balancing and fixes, point releases at 6 week intervals will deliver that experience better. This may also give CCP Masterplan and his team the time they need to finally revamp the POS code. Good luck with that buddy, you'll need it.

The Great

The 3 announced Mordu's Legion ships planned for release may end up becoming HUGE for lowsec PVE. I'm not sure at this point how we will be going about getting our hands on the blueprints, but the announcement that they will only be attainable in lowsec is a big big deal for us. These ships should give lowsec PVEers one more thing outside of Tags4Sec for a lowsec only export. I expect we'll see an influx, especially early on, of people seeking out these ships, and you can bet there will also be a surge of people hunting the people hunting for these BPCs. It could be glorious if done right.

Also on my great list was the new Eve Prophesy trailer. Amarr empire vs a capsuleer alliance building the first capsuleer built stargate in New Eden makes for an interesting story. Of course, this has nothing to do with reality in eve (the TiDi is conspicuously missing for one) but it's a badass trailer none the less, and shows us some of where CCP is going with the overarching story of Eve. Capsuleers are becoming more and more independent of the empires. As far as such 3-way battles are concerned between Eve, Dust/Legion, and Valkyrie, make no mistake that we are likely YEARS away from anything this epic, if it's ever realized at all.

The Mixed Bag

Some small changes were announced specific to FW.

First, Large complexes spawning as a regular part of the rotation, not just as rare and random spawns I see as a good thing. A portion of the community has asked for FW fighting to branch out beyond cruiser and down gameplay, and they'll be getting their wish. If you want to assault a home system, you're still going to need lots of frigs and dessies as large plexes will only account for 25% of the capturable assets, but this will give people who want to bring out the big guns a chance to do so. Of special note here is that even though you cannot light a cyno in the vicinity of a FW plex, you can light them elsewhere in system and warp caps into a large conventionally. I personally would not mind seeing a large plex fight escalate all the way to a cap fight, and that will now be a possibility.

The inability to cloak in a 30k proximity to a plex button is a bit of a mixed bag here. It sort of takes care of the the cloaky frig problem, but cloaks are a better defense for pilots paying attention to short scans, whereas stabs are the primary defense of pilots that are plexing AFK. The cloak nerf also kills one of the more successful tactics to hunt stabbed farmers, which is using a stealth bomber with multiple scrams to sneak up on, and snag a cloaky stabbed plex farmer. It also kills the bait and decloak recons gank method.

Stolen from Drakarn.
A far more effective way to combat cloaky stabbed farmers would be to nullify the effect of WCS inside of the 30k button radius, or to adjust stabs to make it VERY difficult to mount any kind of an offense if multiple mods are stacked on a frigate. What we need to be doing here is nerfing the ability to run FW plexes AFK. At this time, with stabs it is possible to sit in a plex with your client minimized, and simply warp off once you get that buzzer notification telling you your shields are about to drop. I don't think killing cloaks in plexes is going to solve this issue... at all.

Last up, and this one has me a bit worried, is respawns inside plexes. 2 years ago, we used to have huge NPC spawns and respawns inside FW plexes and they were a huge deterrent to engaging in any sort of PVP inside said plexes. Part of the reason for having the single spawn is so that the NPC can be dispatched, and then PVP can happen without the interference of NPCs.

Presumably, the point of these respawns is that someone who is plexing afk, will have to reopen the window periodically to kill another NPC before they can go AFK again. Fozzie has not told us how often the respawn will happen, and certainly hasn't mentioned if they have the ability to stop the spawn if there is actual PVP happening in the plex, but my guess is no, they can't. The NPCs offensively are relatively weak, but in a 1v1 situation, they put out enough DPS to tip the balance in an otherwise close fight.

As a PVPer, I don't like the idea of an NPC ship giving me an edge in a primarily PVP activity. Defense of systems is best left to the players, and what we NEED are mechanics in place that will prevent AFK farmers from being able to ply their trade with little to no risk. Anyone farming plexes and paying attention has the ability to watch their short scan and warp out of the plex before a hostile lands, or while a hostile is landing and hasn't fully exited warp yet. WCS allow someone who is not otherwise paying attention to run from fights, or to make bank if they are not disturbed.

WCS have a place for people traveling and moving ships or goods from one place to another in hostile territory, but they have no place as a means to enable AFK farming in an environment designed around PVP interactions. I am disappointed this part of the issue was not addressed at all, nor were timer rollbacks brought to the fore, which is something FW players have been asking for for years now.

The Ugly

A lot of dick moves have happened in Eve over the years, but rarely has one been done by CCP itself in such a direct way as what happened with the Dust players at their keynote this year. here you have a number of people who likely paid thousands of dollars (or Euros, or whatever their currency is) to come to Iceland to celebrate your game with CCP and other fans, and are then (quite publicly I might add) punched in the dick while the successor to their game dominates the Dust514 keynote.

If I was a Dust player I'd be beyond bullshit. There is a time and a place to announce the sunsetting of  a CCP game in favor of the next big thing, but in Iceland, during Fanfest, at the keynote for that game that people have paid thousands to attend is not that time or place. The worst part of it is that CCP doesn't seem to have seen this reaction coming. Surely, even if Dust's devs are too dense to see how this would play out, they at least ran this plan by their CPM and got feedback about this possible scenario happening before going ahead and doing it anyway... right?

I'm not a Dust player myself, but I know quite a few people who are. The goodwill CCP burned this week by pulling this stunt at fanfest, and then not being ready to answer the most obvious questions that came as a result of this announcement, is huge. There apparently aren't a ton of Dust players as it stands now, but how many of those did CCP lose as a result of this? How many of the Dust players spending all that money to attend fanfest, or pay to watch the HD stream, are also their biggest whales in their cash shop and won't be spending quite so much money moving forward?

There have been a lot of dick moves done by game developers over the years, but this one might make the top 10 all time list. It's a certain kind of special.

And Then There Were 14

What a crazy yesterday was. Being perfectly honest, I didn't put my chances at gaining a seat on the CSM at much above 1 in 3, so when the time began to approach for the announcement to happen, rather than watch it live and set myself up for disappointment, I decided to be a good husband and help the wife around the chateau for a bit with some cleanup.

I kept telling myself, "Well, at least if you don't get on you won't have an NDA hanging over your head preventing you from writing about stuff."

As it happened, I was out at the dumpster heaving some garbage bags when my phone chimed. Then it chimed again, and again, and about 12 or 13 more times. It seemed a bit much for people consoling me on not getting in, so I checked it and stood open mouthed for a moment wondering if I was getting trolled. Then the phone rang, it was one of my ER co-hosts, Elijah Ghost, calling in from Ireland. Did I hear? Yeah I was just reading it, wondering if it was a troll. No troll, it's for real, you're in. Doc Nielsen, another co-host from Denmark rang up a few minutes later, same conversation.

Well, shit.

Truth be told I was worried that there would be some low voter turn out this year, and the null blocs would run rampant on the CSM. They did pretty well, but it also looks like low sec didn't take getting left off CSM8 very lightly, and between FW pilots, pirates, and people who would like to do industry in our space, we seem to have managed to drum up enough support to land not one, but TWO of the 14 seats on the council. I don't think low sec has ever scored 2 seats on the CSM, and this is HUGE for us.

I'm also quite sure that a lot of people outside low sec threw in their support for us. I know I won't forget that moving forward, and I doubt Sugar will either. I'm especially conscious of the community over at and the endorsement from James315 at a time when I was getting hammered by a good section of the Eve Media community over my stance on the Erotica 1 situation. I really wanted to see Psychotic Monk on the CSM as well, and I suspect that I may owe part of my seat to votes that passed to me when he got eliminated in the process. Aside from my obvious support of all things low sec, I feel I also owe it to those guys to have their backs if there is a push in the coming year against high sec villainy. For those who choose to do it, being a bad guy in Eve is an important aspect of the game's content, it adds a lot of color to our world... it also keeps me on my toes when dealing with people I don't know, and makes life more interesting.

So what now? For those of you that voted us in, you've done your part. Now it's up to us to make good on our promises to represent you to CCP the way we said we would. Communication is going to be huge going forward. Once things get moving on CSM9, I'll be opening up some time on my regular Eve Radio shows for questions people want to throw at me, and I'll continue blogging of course and getting into what I can here. I'll have a fat NDA hanging over my head pretty soon, so I may not be able to shed light on everything, but I'll certainly say what I can, and I'll have plenty to say on stuff as information is publicly released.

I think this is going to be an interesting year.