OOC: Operation Northern Troll

This is the second year for this and I am pushing it on every damn podcast or site I can get time on.  The concept is simple.  I want you (yes, YOU) to send a Christmas card to CCP.  Not a digital thing but an honest paper and stamp card.  I push it early because we are talking international mail and its speeds.

Address of the main office in Iceland is

CCP hf.
Grandagarður 8
101 Reykjavik


CCP Atlanta

250 East Ponce de Leon Avenue • Suite 700
Decatur, GA 30030 • USA


CCP Shanghai

B8 building • 800 Changde Road • Jing an district
Shanghai • 200040 • China, People’s Republic

CCP Newcastle

New Eden House • Fletcher Road • Gateshead Quays
Newcastle-upon-Tyne • NE8 2ET • United Kingdom

Yes, we give them our money, yes they are a company but they are a company that keep us entertained and I figure one card from each of us wouldn’t be that hard to send off in thanks for the fun we have.  Mine hit the post this week, handed to a moose who will trek it to the nearest beaver station and then tail slap-shot on a puck to the border and then into civilization.

Join in, confuse the poor folks in the frozen darkness and bury them in cards.  Christmas, winter solstice, Hanakkuh , Kawnzaa, whatever your holiday . . . go for it.  A fancy card or crayons on a paper bag.  Handmade or store bought.  Just do it.

and fly it like you won it



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PvE’s Future

Eve is a PvP game.  I have heard that yelled often enough by so many people trying their damnedest to be loud enough to make it true.  Except . . . it isn’t.  Eve is a living work of science fiction where we play.  Yes, you can shoot someone else and take their stuff but you also can mine, build,  play successfully for years without killing or being killed by another player.  Now understand that I define PvP as direct person on person violence and none of the namby-pamby ‘if I mine then it is pvp because I deny someone else those same rocks’.  Bullshit. The same goes for MOST market transactions.  (Although I will make an exception for major market manipulations).

So we have a game with PvE in it and the PvE is considered the low end, predictable, safe. (Until the pvp folks drop in to say hello)  Some of it is also needed. I honestly would love to see what would happen if players actually did stop mining.  Yes, there are reserves but they would run out.  But I am chasing a distracting squirrel.  PvE is changing.

Some if it comes down to newer, better coding.  The AI has improved three times over the past few years.  Sleepers were tough, Sansha was tougher, and now the Drifters who WILL pod you, will follow you into warp, will call for reinforcements.  Cool.  I almost think we are ready to see even stronger regular forces who run when overwhelmed or get more help  proportionate to who is hitting them.  The there is the idea that we are in a living universe and not the only space jockeys out there.  So NPC convoys and caravans roaming the spaceways.  Space will happen even if nobody is there to hear the trees fall.

But part of space happening is other players as well.  So enter the tribute system.  Encouragement to be in the game, if only to do a mission or two.  An extra thing for the average casual player who doesn’t play for 5 hours straight.  I already can hear some of you screaming ‘Oh God, he is talking about dailies’  Yup.  But before you follow that cry with the suggestion that I go back to WoW (which I have not played) think about what dailies are and WHY they are.  Think about number of people online and the user count.  The people who only log in for Pap links and wars.  Think about the ‘one more turn’ habit of gamers and rell me how many will just log on for the daily.

A lot of this came from the Eve Vegas PvE roundtable with CCP Affinity.  Things like NPC’s that will follow you, system to system.  Drifter Capital ships.  Fleets that react to the size of the force facing them.  But all was not sunshine and roses.  Standings may change . . . you cannot be friends with everyone.  (darn it) Sansha will not keep throwing bodies at us forever.

Affinity has a 2 year plan and I, for one, am looking forward to blogs from her as well as plans for the short range.  She knows as well as we do that PvE is part of the game and that it needs a solid jolt to make it more alive.  This is not a theme park where we can put in a new ride and call it an expansion.  Tools have to be made, coding done to make the NPC’s dynamic and interesting.  It has to fit with the play in place and not suddenly start handing out isk like there was no tomorrow.

Bottom line?  There is still hope for PvE and incentives for the casual player coming soon(tm).  Now if we could just make mining interesting.

fly it like you won it


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What the CSM isn’t

The CSM roundtable at Eve Vegas was . . . interesting.  If you have an hour of your life that needs filling and you can see for yourself.  Sound quality is not my fault.

I want to hit a few points about the CSM because the debate has been kind of loud, of late.  CSMX has had some turnover.  One resignation, one removal for inactivity and one removal by CCP.  There have been rumours of leaks, of insider trading, of us being in the pockets of CCP, Goons, or both.  I know that several of us get very angry letters or attacks on our purpose or usefulness.  For me, most of the times, the attacks are in the forums or on reddit.  They may be elsewhere but I have a limited time to spend looking for people out to get me.  (And I use that time in game, as I should)

  1.  The NDA.  Sorry, I cannot say anything about that . . . kidding.  If CSM is to be able to advise CCP on what are good ideas and bad ideas then we should see things before the main gaming population does.  While they do not have to listen to us they can at least get a hint of what is going to happen.  Both scenarios have happened in the past.  CSM has a small closet of ‘I told you so’s’ that we call out from time to time.  If there was not an NDA then we would be . . . well a focus group just like the other two that are currently formed but without any of their focus.
  2. Politics and Drama.  I was not joking when I said in the Roundtable . . . ‘stop electing politicians’  Mr. Karrde swiftly pointed out that I am a poor one to make that comment since I have been in 7 elections and served 3 terms.  Put 14 motivated people on a council and some will rub others the wrong way.  It is inevitable.  Sometimes we can get hung up on a single word and argue about it for hours, seriously.  But the greatest crime, imho, is being elected and then doing nothing at all.  The one thing I seldom see in the council is politics based on who serves whom.  We may tease now and again (I always reserve the right to say Grr Goons) but when push comes to shove the job at hand is what we focus on, not what imaginary internet tribes we belong to.  Oh there are exceptions, there always are.  But overall?  We are probably a lot less political than you might expect.
  3. It is just a Popularity Contest.  Yes, hello, welcome to ‘How Democracy Works’.  To be elected and get on the council you need to get people to vote for you.  This could be considered a popularity contest.  You lot elected us, live with it.  (My favourites are the people who complain about who got on the council and yet proudly say that they did not bother voting).
  4. Nobody listens.  Oh I hear a lot of forms of this (irony intended).  CCP does not listen to players, to CSM, to their gypsy corporate guidance counselor.  CSM does not listen to players or if they do it is to the wrong players.  Players are mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed bullshit.  We never let the players have a voice or when we do it all goes horribly wrong.  (see sov townhall).  Thing is?  We do.  Can I prove it?  Yup, I point at Sugar, at Steve, at Corbexx, at the other people who engage players and take active part in discussions.  Hell, in the Roundtable, above, only ONE of us was silent.  The rest engaged.
  5. It is a publicity stunt.  If that were true then we should have shut down a long time ago.  Do the math on how much it costs to fly 7-10 of us from around the world to Iceland and put us up in the upper end hotels.  Do you honestly think they are gettin much bang for their advertising buck at this point?  CCP sees a value in us.
  6. well?  come on, gimme 6, 7, 8, whatever.

Bottom line?  I am still on the CSM for about 5 more months.  I will continue to do what I do and hope for the best.  I will get my supporters and my detractors and I will still have my book of notes.  Come the new year there will be another summit and I have no idea if I will be invited, can go, or will telecommute.  But I have YET to see an argument against the CSM that is not steeped in its own bitterness or just plain wrong.

But then I am an anarchistic optimist.

screw the rules, hope for the best

fly it like you won it


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OOC In Vino Veratis

Disclaimer, I am home from the pub crawl and still Drunk. Any spelling errors I blame on autocorrect.

First? Snapshot memories,  Guard, pole dancing on the bus.  Greygall helping herd folks out of one bar and into the next.   Going into the wrong  bar. Saving one token as a souvenir. Sad that we neither peddled a cab nor made it into Fremont Street proper but just drank on the edge of it.  One bar showing ‘Faster Puzsycat Kill, Kill.’  on multiple screens. Talking to so many folks that I am totally hoarse right now.

Downside ; Oddest thing about Eve is that most people that come to Eve Vegas or Fanfest belong.  An alliance, Corp, something. Me? Not so much.  I have the CSM but I feel isolated, apart from the groups that forms.  As it should be.  I  do my own thing and this is part of the price. Not belonging to a group means that you have no place to call home. You are on the edge of groups.

. Sorry, I get melancholy when in my cups.   I actually am having a good time.  Lots of people greeting me and so many stories to hear and tell. If you get the chance, attend a player event, especially one like Fanfest or Eve Vegas. I look forward to meeting you and having a drink or three.

Fly it like you won it,


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CSM Mike does Maths

Dave Stark got me thinking with a post to TMC ( a comment actually)

        • upon revision it’s probably a bit cheaper than that. closer to 12b but it’s still hardly cheap.

          as to how i did it; to train 500,000 sp (for one packet) that will take you 7.7 days based on +5s and a perfect remap.

          you get 50,000 sp back if you’re over 80m sp. so you’re going to need 10 of those every 7.7 days. there are ~4 lots of 7.7 in 30 days (one month).

          that’s 40 (well, 38.9 but i’m doing quick maths here) skill packets.

          the price of a plex is 1.2bn, so that’s 300m isk per 7.7 days (in my original calculation that i did at like 5am when i was half asleep i mistakenly said this was 400m). so it’s 300m per packet just for the training time.

          if you now multiply 300m by 40 you get 12bn isk.

          that’s WITHOUT the cost of the extractor.

So I decided to play with numbers for a bit as well.

Basic assumptions I took.  1)  Daves quote for training speed at +5 and well optimized (2) 15$ for a months playtime  (3)  People are not stupid (ok, 3 is a stretch)

Say that I want to train skills ahead of the ‘real time drag’  and suppose I can afford it.  What would be a reasonable cost to pay?  Well, less than plex value would be nice but someone had to pay for it so suppose the base value was that someone sold it to me at cost (their cost)  If they can farm 2 million sp a month on their brood mare then it would be reasonable to expect that they want to get paid for that.  1 plex for one month work seems like a reasonable ‘at cost’ assuming that Aurum is free (bad assumption but I wan to roll with it)  That means that each TSP would be worth .25 plex.  ($3.75)

So I asked around what a well skilled number would be for subcaps.  25 mill was a popular figure bandied so let’s roll with that.  From .5 mill to 5 mill the new character being ‘helped’ will need a 1:1 ratio of skills so he/she will buy 9 TSPs for the 4.5 mill boost.  From 5 mill sp to 25 mill sp there is that diminishing returns to account for so the next 20 million sp will actually need 25 million sp bought which is 50 TSP’s.  That give us a grand total of 59 TSP’s to get from starting out to fully ready to rock.

It would take one brood mare 15 months to pump those out.  Or 15 brood mares 1 month.  But either way, 15 months of someones time to bake those TSP’s 14.75 if you want to get exact about it.  A quick 14.75 * 15 Gives us the value of $221.25 .  That is the base cost for a character bought up with plex if you paid for the plex.  Again, this ignores CCP’s cut since we do not know what the extraction device and such will cost.

I cannot see anybody selling for less than this since that was their base cost unless they are fire-selling while quitting the game.

So, the most common defense of this proposal I see is that ‘it is the same as the Character Bazaar.’  I went and looked.  Now, for the record, I don’t like the character bazaar but I understand why it exists.  I looked at some older threads to get a feel for what the going rate was.  I started laughing.  A LOT of bumps for 25 mill characters if they ask more than 10 billion for them.  10 billion is less than 10 plex.

A few conclusions.  1)  If this goes through then someone could make a killing buying up characters and chopping them up for parts.  But if it does not go through . . .   (2)  It is cheaper (right now) to buy a character than the base cost of the TSP’s will be.  ‘But the character bazaar does demand a fee’ you exclaim?  Yes, yes it does, $20 I think?  Still cheaper even with that added in.  And there are character farmers who make very clean and focused alts, no embarrassing mining skills and all.

Economically?  I just don’t see it as a viable thing to buy a character up unless they do close the Bazaar down.  It is good, maybe, for a one shot boost to get into the flavour of the month.


I still do not like it.  I oppose it and have since it was shown to the CSM.

I will try to write a post elaborating why . . .soon.

but then, Vegas is coming and I fly out in a couple of days.  so don’t hold your breath.

or, do, I don’t tell you how to live your life.

fly it like you won it


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The temperature was too high and the air tasted stale. Too many people in a small room for too long. At times Mike had to fight for the ability to properly pay attention to the business at hand. It was worth it, though.

The second day had been another one of mixed reactions where hopes were raised but so were tempers. It was not always the council vs the powers that be, either. At times the council, itself,  would disagree and interrupt each other. That was fine and as it should be.

The third day  was full of hope and smiles and by halfway through Mike’s mood had improved measurably. The information was often still ‘secret’ but the plans raised people’s hopes. They all knew that not everyone would be satisfied but given the pilots of New Eden that was a given. As always it was impressive, the level of open dialogue that they engaged in. There was a topic or two that they were always steered away from.

The council itself was the usual mix. They would meet in the mess for the morning meal but separated in the evenings only to all wind up in the same drinking establishment by halfway through. Mainly they all headed back to their quarters to process minutes and cover the news of the day from beyond the planetary isolation that they were stuck in.

Mike chuckled at the arguments that followed the AllianceTournament, happy that he did not have a duck in this pond. (or a camel in the war).


You have seen the first minutes, second will be along shortly. When this is all over and I have a brain again, we  can discuss them… Or you can scream at me about things not said or done.

Fly it like you won it


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Rainbow smoke

He sat in the observation bubble staring up at the night sky as he reviewed the first day of meetings. Overall? They had gone well but some issues had come up that seriously concerned him. He hoped that there would be more opportunities to voice that concern in the days to come.

An armored vehicle patrolled in the distance but Mike ignored it as he watched the light show, above. Ribbons of light, like rainbow coloured smoke shimmered and stretched across the night sky to become a standing wall of green and red flames. A shooting star crossed the wall and then vanished.

Taking a sip of his drink he sat back and allowed the beauty of the moment wash across his mind and let the days stresses ease. Three days of meetings still lay ahead and there was still much higher to do.


OK, how cool is it to see an astronomical light show from your hotel window while attending a summit on an Internet space game? 

I am sitting in the light of sunrise, writing this and grinning like a fool.

Thank you all for helping get me to this point.

Fly it like you won it


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He looked out of the window of the ground shuttle, his hands twitching to be at the controls. Jayne sat to the left and the security detail front and back. The landscape was a surreal barren stretch of rocks, boulders, and very small plants fighting for a foothold on the once lifeless terrain.

“The terraforming hasn’t finished the initial stages. ” Jayne explained.” The planet is still listed as  lava class.

“Nobody would expect a Summit on molten rock. ” The commander of the detail said from the front. ” We are coming up on the handoff. You will be going into the wreck while we stay up top overwatch.

Mike nodded and hefted his gear. Jayne grabbed his larger case and they were out the door as soon as the shuttle stopped. A rush of dust and wind and the shuttle was on the move again.

“They don’t linger, do they? ”

Mike just shook his head and lead the way to the access hatch of the wreck of what looked like an ancient colony vessel. Once they passed security and handed over their gear their liaison issued them their multipasses and they were given some time to rest and prepare for the days ahead.


In Iceland. If you have twitter I will try to send the  occasional message. 

Otherwise,  watch this space for more to come.

Fly it like you won it


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OOC: Packing

I may, just to hear some of you cry, do a post or two from Iceland ‘in character’ but right now I am trying to figure out what I am going to forget, this time.  Last time it was my phone.  As usual I do a briefcase and a small carry-on bag.

Being Canadian I am not worried about cold or rain or wind.  I have a layer of fat (like a walrus) to insulate me from sudden temperature changes.  Pads to take paper notes and the ever-present ‘book’ that has requests in it.  Two of my favourite pens (sharpie fine and a zebra f-701 stainless steel), tablet, phone, music player and chargers and cords.  Huh, wonder what is missing.

Ah well, travelling solo is always an adventure.  Gate camps have a different meaning in airports.  Nice thing is I know where I am going, who I am looking forward to seeing and talking to and what I want to get done.  The rest is just icing on the cake.

oooh, I hope there is pie, screw cake.

fly it like you won it


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Mike grimaced and swiped his hand across the comm blanking it, again.

“Problems, hun?”  The waitress refilled his coffee and cleared the remains of his dinner service.

“Nah, just imagining what I would do if I were in the ATXIII”

“And what would that be to us mortals?”

Mike grinned.  “I feel like I have had this conversation before.  It is watching a bunch of capsuleers participate in a fair fight.”

“I thought your kind were allergic to that.”

“For the most part, yeah.  But Once a year pilotes train and theorycraft to see who can do the best design and flying within specific guidlelines.”  He turned his comm for her to see.  “This is this years rules.”

She glanced over them and shrugged.  “Means nothing to me.  What makes it so special?”

“Points allocation combined with what your pilots can fly, for one thing.  My fav part is the Flagship.

Any standard T1 or Faction battleship hull may be designated as a flagship.

Team captains must indicate to the GM managing their match if they intend to use their flagship in any given match, and which pilot is flying the flagship.

Flagships may ignore meta level restrictions for the following module types (this means they may fit faction, officer, cosmos, and deadspace versions):

  • All Legal Highslot Modules (not including remote armour repair modules or remote shield transfer modules)
  • Electronic Warfare Modules
  • Weapon Upgrade Modules
  • ONE Shield Booster or up to TWO Armor Repairers

Flagship ship types must be decided in advance and their ship type submitted to “CCP Alliance Tournament” character via EVEmail no later than August 7th. The fittings for a flagship do not have to be disclosed. The names of flagships do not have to be disclosed or remain constant. Fittings may also be changed from match to match.

All flagship hull types will be published in the flagships section of the EVE Online Alliance Tournament site following the deadline date.

“So the enemies know what your best ship is?”  She asked, tilting her head to one side.

“Yup, though you do not have to bring it . . . but if you are eliminated, never having fielded it . . . ”

“You feel like an idiot.  But bring out the best too soon and you might lose it, right?”
“Now you see why I like it.”  He spun the comm and tapped it then spun it back.  “These are the flagships for this year . . . ”

So out of 64 teams………….

51 submitted a flagship

Bhaalgorn – 27
Geddon – 9
Vindi – 3
Bhargest – 3
Rattlesnake – 2
Phoon Fleet – 2
SNI – 2
Domi – 1
Typhoon – 1
Mach – 1

“Bhaalgorn, that is a Blood Raider ship isn’t it?”

“In more ways than one.”  Mike nodded.  “It specializes in neuts so it sucks the ships engines dry, just as the raiders do to their victims.  In a combat that means that the power to run your ship is going to be a big worry if one of these is on the field.  But do you assume they are going to bring it?  Or hope they don’t?”

“13 teams did not list a flagship. Why?”

Mike grimaced and shrugged.  “I can make a guess, some cannot afford one but they could have declared and not brought so that is dumb.  Others were probably too disorganized to get their paperwork in on time so now they are denied that strength other teams will have.  I don’t know for sure.  But of course all the tournament news fades as new news takes centre stage, eh?”

“Oh My Gods.”  She said.  “Did you see the news footage?  Those Drifters shot an Aeon.  The Empresses Aeon.”

Mike nodded.  “Yeah, I know, I was there.  And yes, it was as fast and efficient as it looked.  Blink and you might miss it.  So there will be some interesting times ahead for the Amarr Empire.  I hear they might even have another ‘right of succession tournament‘ which will make the Alliance tournament fade in comparison.”

“Going to theory craft that one?”

“Oh probably but darlin I am Gallente so I doubt I will be invited to the proceedings as a guest judge.”



Life kept getting in the way of getting this post out so it is a jumble written over a week.  Finally came down to hit the publish button or the trash.

Eve is a game where there are events inside and outside of the normal play.  The ATXIII has been fun to watch and I was there for the empressive death.  Keep an eye open and being able to say ‘I was there’ is fun.

Oh and Test?  Mad props to the Battle Badger.  LOVE IT

End of month is coming up.  I weill try to come up with a draw in the next week or so.

fly it like you won it



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