Monday, June 2, 2014

Ripard has left the Building

I've got an interesting topic to get to in my next posting, but before I delve deeply into my rebirth into the life of a newbro in Eve, I think it only appropriate to also touch on one of Eve's biggest stories this weekend: Ripard Teg.

He announced yesterday that he's hanging it up. Some people seem surprised, but nothing in this community lasts forever except the Thorax's status as "The latest combat ship commissioned by the Federation." Ripard's prolific writing has been a phenomenon unto itself, and I'm amazed the guy had time to actually play Eve between postings. It's no secret that I rarely, if ever, had anything agreeable to say about the fellow and his musings, but between him, Gevlon, and Riverini representing the People's Front of Eve is Bad Because grr Goons, he was probably the most sane, and certainly most coherent of the bunch.

So that's that then, Ripard has issued the Eve community a "fuck this shit" breakup letter. Of course he was more eloquent than that, but once you boil off all the fluff, that's about what you're left with. He did leave the door open for cameo appearances, and avoided the "fuck this game" farewell that sees Poetic Stanziel kicked around like an ugly stray dog every time he has something to say about Eve, so that's something to note.

Of particular note in Ripard's farewell posting is a re-affirmation on his part that the Eve community is in a downward spiral. Rixx Javix picked up on this as well and commented on it. Ripard is right in some respects, but not in the way he thinks he is.

I'm approaching my 11th anniversary with Eve this summer, and in all those years of being a part of the community, I can say without hesitation that the "griefer" or villainous sub-sect of the Eve community is more tame today than it ever has been. What has been changing drastically over the last couple of years is people's tolerance for it, with a very vocal subset off the community getting louder on issues today that many of us tolerated even a couple of years ago.

The line for what was/was not acceptable bad guy behavior was in a different place in 2005 than it is today. Hell, it was different in 2009. Miners are up in arms about criminals in catalysts blowing up their multi million ISK mining ships in high sec... in 2005 we were doing that shit in KESTRELS, and swiping loot from jet cans with no suspect flags or any other recourse for the guy that got his stuff stolen. In fact, you pretty much had to jet can mine back then because none of the ships had a decent enough hold to keep you in a belt for longer than 5 minutes, and heading back to station included a lovely 15K docking run to add a minute or 2 to the commute. CCP has bent over backwards to make highsec a safer and more convenient place to live than it's ever been, and yet the more they do, the louder the mewling gets for more to be done, and the line continues to move.

The prospect on spending all your Eve days like this likely
causes more newbro biomassing than ganking.
Ripard is of the firm belief that scammers and gankers are ruining the game for the newbros in highsec, but the fact is that there aren't enough griefers left in the community to account for the large numbers of new players who don't stick around. Engagement is the issue. The fact that the ONLY thing a new player fresh out of the gate can really do to make money is mine in a venture while he or she skills up for a mining barge is likely a HUGE issue. I would lay down my entire wallet on the bet that boredom for new players is probably the number one newbie killer in the game over grief play.

I'll get into a much more in-depth look at the plight of the newbro in my next posting. In the mean time, while I'm of the opinion that much of Ripard's rhetoric was misguided and wrong, I am a bit sad to see him go. He's a good writer, and his blog was a good source of information from an aspect of the community that I have very little to do with, and often find myself at odds with.  For certain, the people who's voice he carried to the rest of the community have lost a great deal with Jester's Trek closing it's doors, and I have lost a worthy adversary in the land of opinions about Eve. I'll be interested to see who picks up that particular torch next.


  1. I agree. The attraction of eve is risk and consequence. I was more interested in hearing stories of Guiding Hand Social Club, of the disbanding of BoB, the Dynasty Bank, Burn Jita, and so on than in any great fleet battle. Because those stories meant that the players were really driving the game. I know when I first undocked, when I first took a gate out of my starter system, my heart was in my mouth because /these people can shoot me./

    So many games tell you to go rescue the heir to the throne, and when you do give you a medal (that everyone else has, too) and it means nothing to anyone. Eve has that Blade Runner dystopian edge entirely because players can affect each other like this.

    While I am all for fixing a broken mechanic, which the aggressive drone/mtu shooting thing arguably was, I wish we were also seeing the introduction of new, fairer ways to allow players to essentially take the other side of another player's bet to take a risk. You mine afk in an untanked retriever? Maybe suicide ganking is a stupid mechanic, even if capsuleers are immortal. How about you let me fit a module that I can fire at your ship, and if you don't take an action to stop me, it ejects you and I can take the ship and contents in train to my own?

    Maybe that's a terrible idea, but the principle of introducing new, non-abusive mechanics for players to prey one upon the other is in the spirit of eve and would go a long way to keeping highsec interesting even to the newbie.

  2. Miner "bumping" is more tame than all the miner ganking that happened before James 315?

    What are you smoking?

    1. Those guys are not the first to grief miners, and certainly not the worst I've ever seen that have involved players in highsec with non-consensual PVP.

  3. Here are a bunch of other ways to make ISK that don't condemn a "newbro" to mining in a venture:

    Of those, the most "newbro" friendly is exploration since you can complete a 10-part mission series to get the skills, equipment and training required to perform all the exploration content in the game (you'll need more player skill to be profitable in low sec, nullsec and w-space of course, but the game mechanic doesn't change).

    As for can-flipping, you'll notice that the addition of suspect flagging for people flipping jet cans was welcomed by gankers as it opened up a new world of hisec PvP.

    I suspect your conviction that the griefer community is "more tame" today is simply that you're more familiar with it, and it comes as no surprise to you that someone flying a ship full of valuables through hi sec gets suicide-ganked, or that a person participating in an ISK doubling exercise is going to lose it all.

    The people who are going to be more objective about the culture are the new people joining the game, who are encountering it for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing how your tune changes as you become more exposed to the attitude of new players towards the game's community. Hopefully you pay attention to what CCP tells you based on exit surveys and feedback from genuine new players, and don't take the word of the rookies arriving from external communities such as Something Awful, Reddit or Penny Arcade.

    1. I agree with Mara on this. Mining is one of the worst things for a new player to get into. It's boring, The ISK is terrible and flying a mining ship just makes you a big, fat, slow and easy target for griefers and gankers.

      Trading on the other hand anyone can start on day 1 and easily make more than enough ISK to PLEX his account before the trial is over.

      I've never mined in Eve other than doing a few tutorial missions that involved mining when I first started playing the game but trading has made me rich compared to most.

    2. All that's true for you, Mox. But it doesn't mean it's true for everyone. I mined as my primary source of income for the first 6 months and, as far as I was concerned, the isk was great. Plus, it was fun. Yeah, it was. There was something relaxing about it (even when I was jetcanning).

      I've tried trading, and I think of trading as you do of mining. Is there more isk in trading? Sure. But do it as a primary source of income/gameplay? Hell, no. I know lots of players that truly do enjoy mining.

      So who's right?

  4. LOL...

    The fact that the ONLY thing a new player fresh out of the gate can really do to make money is mine in a venture while he or she skills up for a mining barge is likely a HUGE issue. Bull Shit.

    I never mined as a noob... but I found much else to do. Much Else To Do...
    While you would, lay down my entire wallet on the bet that boredom for new players is probably the number one newbie killer in the game over grief play. I might listen to your opinion but then you said this is aspect of the community that I have very little to do with... which, for me means your opinion on why nebros leave the game... that they are "bored" outta the game by mining and not griefed outta the game (or and better documented, many never even give it a chance because of the stories of just how Something Awful EVE players can be)... well, your opinion falls kinda flat. I mean, at the risk of repetition... you did say it's a part of the game you don't know much about, and is an aspect of the community you ...often find myself at odds with... right? I’m not twisting your words man…

    No, the main problem with new player attraction and retention is that the pool of gamers from which potential players comes from are in the main, themepark players... Themepark Players. Mining doesn't bother them nearly as much as failed expectations...

    The issue is that EVE is not a Themepark and when themepark players start playing, they don't find the normal detailed quests and hand holding from logon to logoff that the vast majority of MMOs have... and they either leave as soon as they figure that out (the 50%), or they eventually do get griefed and then many more leave (the 40%)... according to CCP, only 10% make it past all of that and find reason to stay long term.

    Because of failed expectations... not mining man.

    1. I'll have a lot more to say on the matter in my next posting. I recently started a new account to give newbieism a try again. Looking at the available options, mining is the most lucrative by far for a player fresh out of the gates, especially when combined with the low barrier of entry, and ability to do it while mostly afk.

    2. "mining is the most lucrative by far for a player fresh out of the gates"

      Dead Wrong! Mining is nowhere near as lucrative as trading, the barrier of entry is even lower and not only can it be done while mostly afk but your orders are making ISK for you even when you're offline.

      How many newbie miners made 100 billion in their first 6 months? Anyone willing to spend an hour or two a day trading can.

    3. I am a new player and from my own experience I confirm. I may be biaised as I am still very interested by industry after 6 months of playing (though probably more for the purpose producing full fighters fleets myself than ISK piling). However, exploration - though really feasible (I went through pretty fun nullsec runs) - appeared much too risky and random to me initially.

    4. Trading is not worth the effort for a brand new player without a significant amount of ISK for bootstrapping activity (ie. a PLEX). I simply did not want to do that - I already pay my subscription.

    5. Mox, without a serious benefactor, there is no way a new player fresh out of the gates has the capital, or the know how to pull off making 100 bil in 6 months. Maybe if they come into the game with some sort of background that gives them some knowledge they might be able to make a living at it, but it still remains that they need some starting capital from somewhere, and the 5000 isk they start with isn't it.

    6. +1 Tur. We lost 66% of a crop of newbies. Some ran missions, some mined, all were in our wormhole. Of the ones that left, 1 left because of griefing, the others because of boredom (they couldn't really do what the rest of us older players could, or at least not fast enough as far as they were concerned). But those were just the symptoms. The real reason they left was because they were players of normal MMOs and simply thought EvE would be like every other MMO out there.

      I asked if they'd done the tutorials and read the warning about being shot as soon as they undock. They all had, but they didn't think it meant it really happened. I mean, this is an MMO, right? There must be PvP areas, etc, right?

      We really need to whap newbies upside the head with a much more blunt, even immersion-breaking, warning that EvE is, in essense, a PvP server and one cannot refuse PvP.

    7. DJ: You can come out of the career agents with about 20M ISK... by mining out "Cash Flow for Capsuleers." That's more than enough to get started. You can also trade while mining.

      However, I never really got trading. I read some sites, and I looked at the market window, and my eyes would start to cross. I know it's a great way to make money, but I have no background in that kind of activity, and "tons of ISK" is not sufficient incentive to overcome what looked like tedious gameplay. Making *enough* ISK is easy.

    8. @MoxNix - I've been playing for almost 5 years and I have neither the knowledge or the inclination to do trading at that level. That amount of tediousness can't be fun. I can barely be bothered to maintain my PI colonies.

  5. "mewling" is an interesting choice of term.

    I think hardcore PKers should realize that they are a minority, and not a very respected one to boot. Useful Tools to get a competitive niche PvP game off the ground, maybe, but toxic to its long-term survival. There's a reason why Hi-Sec gets reluctantly buffed, and why Trammel was the more popular server - and the PKers are it.

    But I don't think Ripard's Blog departure was about that - I think that instead it was about the unwillingness of the vocal community to actually try and think outside their own mental boxes. The number of people who didn't /get/ his revival of the "peace-dec" idea was telling.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You'd think, for all the times that they condescendingly remind carebears that "everything in EVE is PVP, even mining and selling your mission loot" that they would realize that the "peace dec" was a hypothetical form of PVP, too.

      But don't you dare mention a peace dec, even hypothetically, or an ability to shut reds out from satisfying buy or sell offers. Or allow the one and only time that high sec had a way to get motivated and (semi-) organized, that brief and glorious time when anyone could pile on to help a defender in a war dec.

    3. Ah yes, the peace dec. As proposed the peace dec would effectively halt the target corporations ability to use offensive modules of any kind (except in self defense). This is exactly like a wardec, which automatically explodes your mining barges and industrial ships if they undock, disallows you to collect NPC bounties, and freezes all your assets and ISK against any form of trading or contracts.

      OH WAIT.

      It's a textbook example of carebears failing to understand EVE. They don't get that each player is responsible for their own experience. That wardec means jack shit without players out in space making things blow up. And it can be defended against, by fighting back, hiring mercs, using proper scouts, ANYTHING. But carebears don't want to expend the effort.

      In their minds, a wardec is something that just automatically halts whatever they want to do because anything else requires effort and thought, and you don't put those into MMOs, silly! That's why their inverse is just a game mechanic that blankets the entire enemy corp with a limitation, instead of a mechanic that provides more options and thus, more interesting events to occur.

    4. @Anon424

      Wow; I'm not sure anyone failed to understand the "peace dec" more than you!

  6. Braverthananyoneelse02 June, 2014 06:10

    The Problem are not gankers. Eve is harsh etc. The problem are psychopaths like James and Erotic who are getting off it AND publising / celebrating it . These are the scum who are driving people our of the game who aren't targeted by them.
    That is what Jester was writing about.

    1. Again, those guys interact with a tiny fraction of high sec bears, and not many of them I would consider to be fresh faced "new" players. I'm fairly sure that the VAST majority of new players quit long before they run into the likes of James or E1.

    2. Braverthananyoneelse02 June, 2014 15:29

      No, they aren't. In one year playing my RL Friends got ganked, harrassed and trolled enough to say this game and the community. They really beleieve that Eve is a game full of assholes.

      They weren't interested in FW or even Sov. All we wanted was playing togehter, shooting some red crosses, loosing some frigate in LowSec etc... you know, having fun with friends ;-)

      I am the only left playing and bloggers like Jester, Rixx etc had an big impact on it. They showed me that the Evecommunity is amazing and that it is worth looking for a new corp :-)

    3. My only point of disagreement would be with the problem. There is a whole culture of wardeccing new corps to "test" them, especially when they top the chart for growth by new player recruitment. What this usually means is that a bunch of people who are still figuring things out are effectively thrown into low sec, with opponents who are able to use T2 ships that have no use in high sec outside of wars, so general familiarity with them will be low, and which new players don't know about and can't fly anyway. It's true that a disciplined corp with some veteran members can shrug this off. I've seen that first hand. But the self-starters, the "let's found a corp and learn this game together" guys? More often than not, they're screwed, to the point where Psychotic Monk actually wants new players to be barred from starting corps. The irony of this is amazing: Aura says 'be bold, pilot." All the EVE cheerleaders say that it's a game for the self-directed to forge their own path. Then you learn that what that means is that you keep your head down, join a large corporation with some veteran members, don't experiment with fits or learn by doing or you'll be blown up and mocked, don't be too successful recruiting new players if you are a veteran corp or you'll be under constant wardec, and if you want to found and industry or mining corp, don't even think of naming it that way or describing it that way in your corp description. If you do, it's your fault if you get hellcamped until you unsubscribe, or AWOXed and then mocked on a large "news" site for your incompetence.

      Op success?

      But to put this in a necessary context: TurAmarth is exactly right, above, that this problem is *hugely* amplified by the fact that it shatters the average players' expectations going in. Every MMO has a dark, harsh world with danger around every corner and PVP, right? But this one has spaceships! Cool!

    4. Braverthananyoneelse03 June, 2014 16:23

      Hrhrh , this reminds when of our first roams into lowsec... where we learned that Isthars and other T2 Cruiser are very powerfull vessels xD

  7. CCP has bent over backwards to make highsec a safer and more convenient place to live than it's ever been, and yet the more they do, the louder the mewling gets for more to be done, and the line continues to move.

    This is the usual tripe served from adherents to CORE and the like. Let's just stake this in the heart. How many miners or carebears are represented on the CSM? One by my count. So if miners are so involved in the meta to be able sway CCP into the nanny state of hi-sec; why are there more not voting to influence CCP further?

    Plus each time CCP has an impact on industry - it usually catches this player sub-set by surprise. Don't take my word - just look out for the tear threads following the next change to industry.

    Let's compare Can Flipping to Drone Assist. It took only six months for the voices behind the nerf to DA to affect a change. Can Flipping miners was allowed to continue for many years. Where is this effectiveness of "mewling" you are talking about? I guess CCP does not listen as closely you would like suggest.

    1. Miners are not represented on the CSM because they're not organized and typically work alone or in very small groups. The high sec missioning/mining community is barely a community in the sense when compared to a nullsec aliance, the WH community, low sec PVPers or FW guys (the non-farmer types). The difference? Maybe those other groups have to interact with a lot more people in their area of operations and develop more of a community as a result. High sec people seem much more isolated than others I speak with.

    2. That's another area where I think we have it bass akwards. Where did we come up with this notion that CSM members were members of a representative government, only pushing their constituents' agenda? I thought the CSM was supposed to represent ALL EvE players and make sure (or at least as best they can), that CCP doesn't have another T20/Incarna/we-don't-really-play-our-game-so-we'll-just-change-things-without-deep-knowledge moments?

      I do get that each person has a particular area of the game that they know well (or well enough) or that they care deeply about, but does that mean CSM gets a pass to ignore/not think about the needs of players of other playstyles?

      I live in w-space. Almost without exception, every change CCP makes completely forgets about how it will affect w-space. So, logically, 'my guy' on CSM is Corbexx, right? Nope. It's Sugar Kyle. Why? Because she's openly shown that she wants input from ALL players, not just lowsec players. She's the only CSM member I've seen since I've been playing (3 years) who's ever given me that impression. I'm not saying there's been others who haven't, it's just that Sugar has been the only one that sticks in my mind who says, up front, that she's not just lowsec's woman on CSM, but that she's there for ALL the players. Thus far, I haven't seen any proof that anyone else on CSM has the same attitude.

    3. The factors remain; siphons, ESS, JF, drone assist; Null has been extremely effective in actioning game change.

      In the meanwhile; 5 hulkageddons, 3 ice interdictions and new order; what was asked for was an update to the tank of the hulk. Which did not happen. The problem isn't miners (who've been ignored), the problem is because of the dangerous narrow focus obsession with ganking miners. In a game that offers so much scope?! The numerous tweaks in high-sec is not for carebeariifcation, but to act as incentive for gankers to expand their horizons.

      As for the barge update itself. Look at the original tech1 barge hulls. You will see a single mid-slot and in the recommendations; "Active Shield Certificate - Basic". What does this tell you, and what do you see being the result?

      For me, my understanding would be that CCP never intended these ships to be the centre of any aggression. Realising their mistake; the barge update was a correction to this oversight. But it took years to happen.

      If this Boiling the Frog - the creature would have died of age first.

  8. All right, here's one for you: the cries to make high sec safer do *not* come from bears, at least not as they are commonly construed. They come from null sec alliance members who rely on high sec for safe, predictable income from mining or mission running to keep them in doctrine and roaming ships, and maybe PLEX for alt accounts.

    The guy who keeps sticking more purple on his RNI because it's the only form of progression or achievement left to him might really hate it when a bunch of cheap ships blow his ship up, but he didn't have any particular goal in mind, just a relaxing habit. The null sec fleet member, on the other hand, has to grind ISK regularly and reliably, at a minimum level, and preferably as AFK as possible because it's not the part of the game that he wants to pay any time or attention to; it just funds the part of the game that he wants to pay time and attention to.

    Those guys are going to be the #1 opponents of any unpredictability in PVE or in high sec, whether from other players or from rats (remember the uproar over the introduction of tackling frigates to a high-end nullsec anom? You couldn't AFK it with a supercarrier anymore! Horror!). They don't want to be engaged in the content. They just want a ship somewhere in safe space printing ISK for them. If you take that away from them, you threaten their entire PVP playstyle.

    1. I recently made the move from HS/WH life to being in a null alliance.

      I can confirm that I can make waaaaaaay more isk afk ratting in my ishtar than I ever did in HS.

      The idea that "null sec alliance members who rely on high sec for safe, predictable income" is total BS.

      Even losing the occasional ishtar to the random intie gang is no problem, I can make enough in one day to replace it.

  9. "...but between him, Gevlon, and Riverini representing the People's Front of Eve is Bad Because grr Goons "

    Where did you get that? He wrote one of the most sympathetic and anti-pitchfork pieces after The Mittani's Alliance panel debacle. Gevlon shits on the CFC in 100% of posts. It's a ridiculous comparison.

    1. What did you expect from a ridiculous person?

    2. Ripard tends to couch his support for Goons and PvP in a lot of subtle language that aims to turn people against those groups or ideals.