Thursday, May 29, 2014

Moving Day

Dear readers,

It is with some excitement that I have a big announcement.  Warp to Zero is moving to a new home!  All of my future posts, guides and articles will be posted at Grimmash on Gaming, at  I am moving from the Blogger platform to a hosted platform.

Not much is changing for now, besides the visual layout of the blog.  But I felt it was time to move for a variety of reasons.  

While Blogger is wonderful platform, I want more freedom to really edit the nuts and bolts of the site.  Along with that, I want more experience running a website from the ground up.  My family has always been involved in using the internet to promote our hobbies and businesses.  As the resident tech “Expert”, I decided that learning more managing my hobby website would be a good way to learn how to help my family reduce their dependency on limited platforms.

Regarding my blog, it was started to be all about Eve.  As my life and gaming habits adjust I find myself still wanting to write about Eve, but also about other games, and other types of gaming, more extensively.  I thought about trying to rework this site, but given the nature of Blogger, I decided to make a clean break.  As I said, it is a great platform, but I want to have more control over how I can share content.  Running my own website with full control should improve both the reading experience and my ability to curate my ramblings.  

I also want to start carrying more interesting articles for a variety of topics and games, and the new platform should make these more accessible.  Moving forward I hope to establish a more regular post schedule, with at least two posts a week and better guides or features like reviews or photo galleries every week or two as things come up.  

All of my content will be carried over to the new website.  The posts and comments are already in place.  Some of the guides and longer articles I’ve written for this site are in need of some serious editorial work, so they will get much needed attention and revision, and will find a new home once I think they are suitable as long term reference material.  The categorization system will get a complete overhaul to take advantage of the category system.

The new site will be a little rough around the edges for a bit as I get in and tweak things to the point where I decide to settle in.  After all, no project is ever done, just abandoned at a certain point.   I am a hobbyist in the website creation field, not a professional.  Any considerations to improve the website are more than welcome!  

To all those that have been kind enough to link to my site in blogrolls or link lists, please consider updating the URL and title for my site.  At the least it will keep your link list dynamic!
To all of my readers, over forty thousand since I started this blog a few years ago, thank you for reading and commenting, and join me at my new home!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Changes!


I've been so busy playing Eve and working on stuff for me new corp that I haven't had time to polish up any of my articles.  I guess that is a good thing...

Since I have a bit of a backlog, and a tentpole series as Jester would call it, I am going to hold of on posting the longer articles until I get them finished up.  I am also going to wait a bit, as I am finalizing a relaunch of my site.

Yep!  Pretty soon I will migrate to a newer, cleaner, more controllable website.  All the old stuff here and comments will port over, but I will have better tools to share pictures, archive guides and resources, and some of the other stuff I am looking to try out.  So keep an eye on this space, as a belated spring cleaning is on the way!

Fly smart!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Liberating Lack of Local

I am a few weeks into full-time wormhole life.  It's becoming quite enjoyable.  Aside from the fun of popping around and exploding all sorts of things in all sorts of spaces, so far the biggest appeal of wormhole life has been the sheer variety.

Many ways of playing Eve kind of prod you down a path of specialization.  The skill system rewards this.  Focusing intensely on one thing is usually the most effective way to structure a play session.  Usually splitting your attention between various flavors of Eve dilutes the whole experience.  Wormhole space forces variety, though.  The random nature of what sites spawn in the hole has a huge impact on what each day will bring.  Your statics and your K162s might bring treasures hidden inside tentacled Sleeper shells or PvP just waiting to happen.  You never know, and you usually have a few options to choose from.  Logging in and launching probes is the first step to finding out what the game is bringing you on any given day.

In the last few days I have mined gas and ore, cleared sites, avoided bubbles, run PI, and started planning some low-intensity industry, all with a friendly group of players that like helping each other out.  We have flown in every security level besides null, found some great payouts and some lackluster evenings of just chatting while keeping an eye on a combination of daytrippers and WH corps duking it out and hoping to catch us with our probes down.

All of this is not without effort or without risk.  But the balance of activities keeps everything fresh, and the almighty Bob of Anoikis seems to give enough nice payouts to make the whole thing seem worthwhile.  I have to commend the design balance in WH space.  It really is a great way to see a lot more of Eve than whatever rut you may find yourself in.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fanfest 2014: TwitchTV

So, it has been a busy few weeks.  I moved, again.  I am refinishing multiple pieces of furniture.  And in Eve I am making a lot of transitions that have left me with a bunch of half written articles, but no time to edit them into postable stuff.  But I did follow FanFest pretty closely.

There were a lot of things announced: Legion, new ships, the "new" dev cycle, and other stuff I am forgetting.  I tried to follow it as close I can, and I bought the HD Stream through Twitch TV.

While the content of FanFest was great, I have been rather disappointed by the stream.  I work during normal business hours in the US EST timezone. Because of this I was hoping to use the mobile app on my iPhone to listen while working as I could, and then come home and watch the other panels while unpacking the new place.  This did not really work out so well.

The mobile app for Twitch is pretty awful.  Laggy, drops connections all the time even with good data signals, and worst of all, it plays advertisements on a stream I paid for access to.  That last bit is just plain stupid and greedy.  Nothing quite matches the experience of the feed dying, reloading the app, and then having to sit through 30 secs of ad roll just to get back to the presentation.  Bush league stuff, Twitch.

Second, and I am not sure if this is on Twitch or CCP, but it is almost a day after the end of FanFest, and of about 54 panels that I can count on the schedule, 16 have been uploaded to watch after the fact.  That is 30% of the panels.  So paying for the HD stream was not really worth it, from the perspective of being able to see most of what happened.

Edit: Apparently roundtables were not recorded, at all.  That sucks, but I just didn't notice it when I bought the stream.  I guess caveat emptor.  Still waiting on CCP Presents, or anything from Saturday though.  Would have been nice had that been uploaded before the work week starts.

I've delayed a few posts, especially regarding Industry stuff, because I wanted to see what came out at FanFest before writing up my takes on everything.  We'll see what gets posted in the next few days, but I am not too hopeful at this point.

All that said, I enjoyed being able to see the Keynotes and a few other panels, and overall I am impressed with a lot of the decisions CCP is making going forward in the Eve Universe.  I hope to get a few posts up this week with the information we do have, especially regarding the future of Eve, as I think a lot of things can be inferred from the news over the last few weeks!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Iterating Better Worlds

First, a minor point before I get started.  The dev blog “Building Better Worlds” could have lifted the quote either from the Weiland Yutani Corporation logo from the Alien mythos, or the Operative from Serenity.  In that movie the line is uttered by a character who believes he is helping create better worlds, but then finds out that his whole ideology was based on a na├»ve understanding of what his superiors were actually doing.  I hope that was not what CCP was implying with the title…
title from a few places.

Ok, that out of the way, let’s get into it.  After thinking and reading about the new industry changes that are coming I think there are a few sides to the topic that have not been talked about all that much.  It all boils down to getting new players while holding on to the old ones.  That is, after all, CCP’s business model.


First, we don’t know exactly what the new cost will be for the new slot-less industry design.  We know the range (0%-14%) and we know it is based on the price of the finished good (derived from the rolling average?).  But we do not know the break points, or exactly how it will play out.  I am sure smarter players than I can tell you more about this, but I’m not overly concerned.  The spreadsheet wizards will always find a way to win at Eve, and the casuals will probably have some rude learning experiences.  Nothing new to see here.  But one thing the new slot-less system will do, regardless of pricing, is provide a fast, immediate way in for anyone.

This is really important.  If you cannot remember what being a new player in industry is like, let me tell you.  You learn about Research and Manufacturing, and maybe get a few BPOs to test things out.  You look around High Sec and realize that any stations worth using are either insanely expensive, full for a month, or both.  You start looking at what it takes to get out to Low Sec and the open research slots there.  If you are really smart, you realize you out to be using a tech two ship to move your goods to avoid losing your assets.  You then realize that training for those safer ships, for a new pilot, is not insignificant.  The training will take weeks or months.  So you have two options.  Either wait for weeks to even start your jobs, or wait for weeks to safely engage in Low Sec.  Both of those options are terrible.

If CCP wants people to engage in industry, it needs to be accessible.  There needs to be an obvious, easy way to at least get started.  The new changes provide this. Any newbie will be able to create an account, train Research to I, and get down to getting down.  Sure, it may be a bit more expensive, and sure it may not be the long term way towards industry in Eve, but it is a start.  I can also think of no other part of the game that is as prohibitive from day one as industry right now.  You can run missions, mine, explore, haul, or get into PvP within hours or days of starting an account.  Again, you will not be doing well at these tasks, and you won’t be using the same ships or strategies in a month or a year, but you can start!  This change lets newbies start exploring industry in the same way as in any other part of the game.

Think of a bike with training wheels.  Yeah, the training wheels suck, but many people need them to get started.  Once you get a feel for the bike, you throw the training wheels away.  In a lot of ways Hish Sec space is the training wheel of Eve.

Null Sec is Best Sec?

Second, the argument that this new system will push industry players to null sec decries pushing players into a specific style of Eve.  Sure, that seems like a logical conclusion, but maybe it is not so bad.  Currently the tinfoil prognosticators say that a very small fraction of players actually live in Null.  I’ll go with that.  But take a look at who has stuck around in Eve for the long haul.  The list mostly consists of Null sec players, Low sec pirates, FW players, and Wormhole residents.  There are some high sec players that have been around a while, but I would wager the age of those accounts is a bit lower, and a fair number of those accounts are second or third accounts of people living outside high sec on the main account.  Go take a look at the blogs and Twitter.  The space famous people who both help create content and help create the community.  They tend to live in places that are not Empire Space.  There may be a good reason to push people out into the edges of Eve.  That is where they really start to engage with each other.

CCP has to keep players interested in the game.  High Sec is not the place to keep people.  It gets boring and dull.  About the only exciting way to live in High Sec is to either do industry or play markets.  Neither of these, by themselves, provides a whole lot of excitement.  Other players provide that.  CCP seems to be tweaking the game to push more people out of the middle.  FW got a revamp.  WH space can provide lucrative rewards.  Null has better isk if you know what to do, and it has all those big fights, and all those really big ships.  Gently prodding High Sec players to move out and explore other options helps them learn the game and build the connections that will keep subs coming in, and keep the player driven plotlines going. 

Seagull Space

Third, there is the future.  Null sec is kind of broken, or at least sov is.  If CCP Seagull’s “new space” is any indication, CCP is more interested in trying something new rather than just burning the whole world down.  Imagine sitting in CCP’s shoes.  You have a core of hardcore long term players that live in the sov of now.  Those players run or play in the player organizations that tend to keep people playing.  You know that sov is spiraling into irrelevance or stagnation for long stretches.  But if you tear down that whole system and replace it on a patch day, you may lose a whole bunch of people who worked really hard to get where they are in the broken system, and who have been paying good money or buying the PLEX that others paid good money for.  Remember, someone paid for every PLEX in the game.  Even if you make enough isk to not pay real money for Eve, someone else is paying that price.

Instead of tearing apart the sov system these players have played in for so long, you could start laying the ground for a new system.  You start trying to implement the little things that will make it work.  At the same time you continue trying to herd players into the regions and player organizations that will adapt to major change and create the community connections that keep online games going.

You do all these little things, and then when the big day comes and you open a new space, you have all the little pieces in place.  You also have the safe haven for the invested players.  You have new opportunities for new and old players.  And you have a live test bed for a long term solution to the old space too.  Let players do as they will for a few months or an expansion cycle.  Then CCP can come back and say “See how well this new thing worked?  Well, we are going to implement that in the old world too.”  Or CCP can say “See how this new thing almost worked, but didn’t?  We’re going to fix it and not touch the old world.”  The process can continue until you get the desired result.

At least, that’s what I hope is going on.  I suppose we shall see soon enough, as the dev blogs and Fanfest approach.  I do wish that CCP would be a bit more open about their plans.  That might provide a light at the end of the tunnel for players who see many of the new changes as an attack on their way of playing Eve.  I wonder how many people would respond favorably to an announcement like this:

“Many parts of New Eden are old.  The players, the game, and CCP have outgrown what currently exists.  This is not a simple problem to fix.  There is entrenched code and there are entrenched interests.  We want to build a better world, but to do so will take time and effort, and there will be growing pains. 

Our plan is to release a new cluster, linked to New Eden, but operating with different rules that govern how players interact with the universe.  In this new cluster we will pioneer that better world while providing a space for new and old players to explore, build, fight and destroy.  We’ll take the opportunity to find solutions that work for all of Eve Online.  By creating new space, we can preserve what players have accomplished in the New Eden Cluster, and provide ample time and space for creating new gameplay mechanics without completely changing the game you know and love overnight.  We invite you to continue flying with us as we continue to expand and refine both New Eden and the universe beyond.”

I would welcome something along those lines.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Greedy Little Pig

As is often the case when learning a new part of Eve, I did many things right the last week and half, but the last thing I did, I did about as wrong as you can.

Wormhole life has been teaching me routines.  Log, scan, bookmark, jump the holes, scan, keep going until I find the exits I want or decide that I have looked far enough.  Check neighbors for towers.  Bookmark them.  Come home.  Use the directional scanner.  Always use the D-scan.

Our rolls have been getting more interesting of late, seemingly escalating up the series of W-Space system classes.  Tonight we rolled a C4, with some company.  The C4 led to a C1.  That C1 had some company too.  It also gave me the high sec opening I was looking for, to bring in a few more ships to use against anyone who came to visit.  So I followed the chain out, fitted up some ships, and started the process of ferrying them in.

I was warping along nicely and jumped into the C1.  Then I landed on the C1 to C4 wormhole and saw a Crow.  Somehow I hit the target button, which was silly.  I immediately jumped, not actually wanting to engage, and landed inside a bubble.  The Crow followed, but I quickly got out and continued on my way.  Then I just sat for a while, figuring I might as well let any polarization timers wear off before grabbing another ship.  For fun I went back to check the bubble, and made some extra warp-ins that would help avoid getting snared.

A bit later everything seemed clear, so I went out, and sure enough the bubble was gone.  Home free!  I got the second to last ship in, and realized that if you fly out in a ship, you have to leave it to bring another in.  So I had the, ahem, brilliant idea to just pod out, because the bubbles were gone, so nothing could go wrong.  Right?  I made it to the C1 to High Sec wormhole and landed inside two bubbles.  There was that damn Crow!  You can probably guess how that one ended.  All in all, the new implants and clone cost less than the ship I would have flown back in, so I'll consider it a decent outcome for a stupid idea.

Turns out my clone was a few jumps from Dodixie.  Time to log off in the trade hub and see what the hole rolls tomorrow.  At least I got to see the new death animation for the first time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Industry Expansions Will Never Happen...

Well, I was going to write something about wormholes, but that can wait.  This happened.  That industry expansion everyone assumed would just never come is coming this summer.  Or at least round one.  I can't wait for the NDA'd minutes to come out and see what level of involvement the CSM had.

There is a lot said in the dev blog linked above, and more to come.  I don't have much to say at this point, because it looks like it will take some time to find out how all of the changes are going to fit together.

Off the top of my head the most exciting parts are:
  • Removing wait times on all manufacturing and research.
  • POSes in HS will no longer require god-awful standings grinds.
  • That interface.
Again, how this all plays out will be interesting to see, but I think the changes to research waiting will really open up the field to players looking to get into industry.  Now you can trade isk for time without building a POS, something that is currently a pretty big advantage for older players with the skills to research outside HS, or set up POSes to research, or who had stacks of BPOs researched to high levels.  Now instead of waiting to build a POS or waiting for queues, players can just get researching as soon as they buy the BPO.  The copy mechanics changes, shortening the time to copy BPOs, will also make positioning of all aspects of the process more interesting.

I am excited to learn more.  Looks like I might have alts doing a fair amount of research this summer...