Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Next Steps

I find myself within 1 day of having to respend a lot of SP across various accounts.  I've decided what to do on several accounts, but I'm not sure about the others.  I only need so many commandship/t3 command pilots.

My thoughts on some of my accounts:
One character will definately get some decent t3 command skills, and another will finish off some trading/corp management skills. Some of my other accounts will finish off jump skills, or maybe train titan to a decent level just to say I have it.  How is everyone else planning on spending their SP?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mea Culpa

I have to admit, I made a rather stupid mistake when formulating a University policy.  We decided to start having a period of 0% tax for 2 days after each war, so people could pack in some mission running and rebuild their personal wallets.

However, when doing this I completely missed the fact that by setting it to 0, I would have no data on how many people took advantage of this. As a result, I lost all ability to compare that mission running spurt with previous data, cannot comment on how changes in tax rate influence number of mission runners, and lost a valuable data point in predicting future revenue at various tax rates.

In the future, the tax rate will be set at .1%, instead of 0, allowing me to gather data while also giving people some nice mission running opportunities.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Noctis was a Success

Last week the noctis was introduced, and we at Eve University had to find a way to get it into our player's hands as quickly and easily as possible.  It helped that a BPO was donated to the Univeristy, so that all we had to do was start building.

We did a simple auction, where our students just placed a bid (anything over mineral price), and we starting building noctis as quick as possible using 2 prints.  The highest bids were filled first, and we proceeded down the list.  By the end of the week, we had put over 60 noctis into the hands of our students.

The majority of the bids were close to mineral price, but several was significantly higher.  As a result, we made some isk off of this deal.  As soon as we had firm numbers on the isk, we started looking into ways to use the isk to help Uni players.  Since the mission runners of the Uni had been the Noctis' primary consumer, and they supply us significant isk in taxes, we decided to do something to help them. 

After the wars ended, we lowered the tax rate to 0%, and will keep it there for 2 days for people to enjoy the new ship and rebuild their wallets.  After 2 days, it'll reset to the normal rate. We will continue this tradition of 2 days of 0% tax after wars until we've gone through all  of the Noctis isk.

Enjoy your ships and fly safe.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Late to the Party

I'm back from my vacation with my wife, and ready to get blogging again.  The internet at our resort was fairly bad, so I had difficulty just checking my PMs and director forums, let alone trying to blog.

I know its old news by now, but one of the best things I saw when I came back was the news about learning skills.  In E-UNI, I've constantly seen how new players are encouraged to do learning skills early.  A lot of older players, myself included, would try to reinforce that they should concentrate more on skills that will make the game more fun in the beginning, but human nature would always win.  People who play videogames will often go for the min/max approach, and this trait, combined with learning skills, would lead to a poorer new player experience.

CCP's plan to remove learning skills isn't perfect, but it is a great plan.  Some of my chars (older) have had the skills long enough to almost pay it off (except for some of the adv learnings to V), so those bonus SP are extra.  Others of mine, because of younger age or not training the adv to V until further into their life cycle, haven't had a chance to pay off the SP invested in learnings, so the extra reimbursement is very nice.

The plan of reimbursing skillbooks in hangars is also nice, as E-UNI would take a hit if those skillbooks just disappeared on the patch day, as would a lot of older players I know that have some in their hangar to hand out to new students. 

Yes, min/maxers won't be able to get quite as high of an sp/hour value, but I consider that slight decrease well worth the benefit to new players and EVE as a whole.  I've heard a lot of people complain that this is dumbing down EVE, but I really don't see it.  EVEMON told people exactly which learning skills to train to maximize their time in a plan, and its almost impossible to be a new player and not get advice about learning skills. There was no real thought about it.  It was just "If I plan on being in game for x years, train y."  The slight lose of complexity is vastly overshadowed by a more new player friendly plan, removal of a pointless and flawed mechanic, and removing skills that were some of the least fun skills in the game to train.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Away for a Bit

I'm going to be heading out of town with the Wife this weekend for our honeymoon, and won't be back for a week.  That means I will probably not be checking into EVE (at least not much), and will only be checking forums and evemails once a day or so.

BYOM and refining will not be operating during this time period. If you drop a container for me to process, it will not occur until I get back.

The blog will probably not see many updates :(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Noctis- What to do once we have the BPO

The Uni is planning to acquire a Noctis BPO to make available to our students. Despite what students may think, the biggest concern is not acquiring the BPO, but coming up with a fair distribution of how to allocate the BPO once we have it.

Once we do get the BPO, I may put it into research, at least for a few levels of ME. If I do or not will depend on the pricing structure we're using to distribute the new ships. Let me explain several different suggestions that have been given to the Uni for how to use the Noctis, and what I feel are the pros and cons of some of the approaches.

1. BYOM:  This approach would involve putting the BPO in for the BYOM program.  Here, students bring us the required minerals, and we build them a ship. Any student would be allowed to produce the Noctis for mineral costs. It would keep the ship very affordable for Uni students, even when it is brand new. However, we have some downfalls. First, students will be getting it for significantly below market prices. 

Why is this a bad thing, you may ask.  If the Uni is giving Noctis away that cheap, students will have a huge incentive to sell it on the market at the drastically inflated prices people will be paying for the first few weeks or days. A lot of students wouldn't actually be using it for their own use, so its the equivalent of the Uni just donating the price difference (at least tens of millions per ship) to the students.  If the Uni had just sold to the market themselves, and cut out the student middleman, then the money could be applied to uni programs.

Secondly, and compounding the first problem, is that demand at these low prices will be MUCH higher than supply.  How can the Uni fairly determine who gets the first few ships, and who won't get their request filled for weeks later? This could cause a lot of drama and accusations of favoritism, especially as the first people will make huge profits reselling, while later people will not make nearly as much.

2. PYOS: This option involves using the PYOS program, where students just buy the ships at mineral prices plus a few percent. It saves the effort of gathering minerals, but has all of the same problems as the BYOM option.

3. The Auction:  This is the approach I personally favor, where any Noctis we produce will be set up on contract in the Uni to auction to the highest bidder.  This has the advantage of keeping it within the Uni, and at a more market drive price (but probably a bit lower than the price in Jita, considering the Uni demographics).

However, the higher prices also mean that the first Noctis will go to the richer Uni students.  Conversely, those richer students will drive up prices for the Noctis by bidding against each other, and reduce the obscene profits that they would make under the other options.  However, this does open up the Uni to the charge that it's exploiting its students.  I don't really understand how we can exploit people by offering them things at market prices, but I can guarantee some student or outside person will make a drama filled post complaining about it.

4. Taxes:  The last option I've had proposed to me is to do a review of the wallet, figure out which students have contributed the most in taxes over the last x weeks, and give them first chance to buy the noctis at mineral cost.  While it does reward the mission runners in the Uni, it also seems to imply that we value their contributions more than PVPers, traders, or wormhole raiders, which we don't. I'm not a big fan of this approach.

5. Auction: Simply do an auction for the first 10 Noctis off the production run, at a profit to the Uni, but not what we would get selling to market.  I also like this idea, as it does make it accessible to new students, as well as removing some possibility for drama.

6. Sell on Public Market: Just sell it at the local market hubs at market prices, and use the isk to fund Uni programs.  Students don't get a Noctis for cheap, but the Uni as a whole may benefit from our increased revenue being used to fund some nice new projects.

7. Not bother. The last option is to just say that its too much headache, and doesn't really benefit the Uni enough as a whole to make it worthwhile.  We'll just get a Noctis print at a later point of time when it is a more reasonably priced ship, and treat it like all our other blueprints (BYOM and PYOS).

What do you think? How do you feel the Uni should distribute the Noctis?  What would you do if it was your decision?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Artificial market hub

In an effort to help encourage Uni students to try some more t2 frigs, instead of just trying to work their way up to cruisers/BCs/BS as quick as possible, I have transported a lot of t2 frigs to aldrat and listed them for sale.

So far, I have listed all the interceptors, and all cov-ops (except for the helios) at the equivalent price of the nearest market hub.  If this works, I will begin transporting other T2 frigs (probably SBs and AFs) in similiar quantities, and some popular t2 mods (Tank mods, Tackle Mods, Damage increase mods, AB/MWD), along with small faction ammo.

To head off possible complaints:
-I cannot list them below market hub price, as people would just buy them, move them to the hub, and resell
-I refuse to do 100+ contracts to offer then under market price within the Uni.  That just isn't time efficient.

Anything anyone else would like me to consider moving to aldrat for sale?  This isn't exactly a huge moneymaker, but it might help Uni students, especially during wartime.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Importance of Patience

One of the biggest problems I see new students make in the Uni is to rush into new ships.  I see players that want to get to cruisers as quick as possible, as as soon as they touch cruiser, they're already rushing for battleships.  Now, in PVE, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  PVE typically requires much less in the way of skills than PVP, and newer people can pull off L3 or L4 missions without great skills.

PVP, however, can be an entirely different beast.

PVP is one place where you want to be able to get the best out of your ship, as you know your opponent will be doing the same.  You won't be fighting against rather stupid AI, but against players who want to win, and will do everything they can in order to win.  As an example, here are some stats from my standard Thorax (t1 cruiser- unrigged) fit.

My thorax is entirely gank oriented, with 640 dps (without implants or heat), 12.5k EHP, and a top speed of  1400 m/s.  The range is 2.3+6.3 with antimatter. It has a web and scram as well.

If I fit a thorax with 3s in most of the skills, a massive change occurs.  I have to downgrade several modules, and end up with a fit that only does 260 dps, 10k EHP, and a top speed of 1230 m/s.  The range is 1.6+4.3.

The extra skills make a HUGE difference.  Now, I don't expect people PVPing in a cruiser to have the same skills I do (Cruiser V and AWU V definately aren't must-haves), but this example should show how skills can drastically change the performance of a similiarly fit PVP ship.  Students who rush into the cruiser without those supporting skills will often have a poorly fitted, poorly performing cruiser, where their FC might have preferred them in a medium fit, medium performing frigate instead.  Additionally, losing the frigate is a much cheaper learning experience than losing the cruisers.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see the general PVP pilot  (ewar is a slightly different thing) spend a few months at least doing nothing but frigate PVP before trying cruisers, and a few months doing cruisers before ever stepping into a BS.  PVP is a lot more fun if you're really flying a ship well and learning how to use it, instead of just trying to rush to the next thing too fast. Frigates are very fun to fly, and people miss out by not spending enough time in them.

I would recommend that someone have 3/4s in common supports, a 4 in the ship skill, with a handful 5s in important supports that deal with their ship before really doing PVP in a cruiser regularly.  For BS, I recommend 4/5s in supports.  Frigs can be a lot of fun with almost no skills, but are also great fun with massive support skills. This works out to roughly a few months in-game before Cruiser PVP, and 6-8 months before BS PVP. Obviously, this would change depending on if you've trained non-pvp related skills, etc...

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that students have to wait till they have 2m, 5m, or 10m SP before PVPing.  People should always be willing to grab a frigate and go pew pew, even with <200k SP.  They just should rush to bigger ships without the support skills. The game is much more fun when you aren't losing 10m worth of cruiser fits that you really can't perform well in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PVP In the Uni

My last post talked about how I think the University should focus more on offering pvp gangs that have set skill or ship requirements.  Here are some examples of what I'd like to see:

RR BS gangs


Agony style hydra frigate ganges (very low requirements)

AHAC /logi


Blackops/SB (We've done these in the past with great success)

Heavier small gangs for wormholes, not 1 BS, 1 BC, 5 cruisers, and 17 frigates.

Each of these gangs exposes players to a type of PVP that they may see outside of the Uni, and helps gain skills that normally wouldn't be focused on. 

Now, its easy to say what we need, but its hard to actually put it in place.  With our demographic, we can't manage a lot of these on the fly.  It just isn't possible.  However, we could easily dedicate a week for a specific type of gang, and announce it ahead of time to get people prepared.  For example, we could say that Dec 5-11th will be drake gangs (yay for FOTM), Dec 12-18 is RR BS, and Dec 19-25 is Blackops/SB gangs.  This gives people advance notice to get ships available and ready for pvp, and lets prospective FCs know that during those weeks that can take out a regular style Uni gang, or try the specialized gang of the week. 

Of course, it wouldn't be required to take out that type of gang, but it would let FCs know that people will have ships ready for that type of gang if they want to try it.

If properly done, this could be coordinate with classes to be offered the week before, so we may have a class on Friday on Agony style hydra frigate gangs, with the following Sunday-Saturday set aside as a time for people to practice and share their knowledge with the rest of the University.

Any thoughts? What type of specialized fleets would you like to see? Do you feel this is an effective way to look into organizing our instruction and PVP?

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Inclusive Atmosphere

The university is known for having a very inclusive atmosphere when it comes to forming fleets for pvp.  When we call for a fleet, we'll get x's from players ranging from 1 week old to 3 years.  This is great for our students, as it means that anyone can safely jump into PVP and learn whenever they want.  That 1 week student may have just set up an overview and gotten a free rifter and mods, but now they're off with a fleet to attack some low-sec pirates.

I love this aspect of the Uni. That we don't deny anyone access to PVP based on skills or experience. However, this atmosphere of inclusiveness also has a few downsides.  For example, since we tend to have a lot of low skilled players, we tend to steer them towards tackle frigates, as thats a good way for a low-skilled player to contribute to a fleet.  Unfortunately, this can sometimes create an impression that frigates should only be cheap disposable tackle ships, or that they are only suited for new players.  Frigates can be very powerful if used by experienced players in roles other than straight tackle, and thats an aspect of instruction that I feel we fall short on.  I'd like to see a more balanced approach to frigates, showing all that they can do, especially if multiple types are used in concert (see Agony basic classes).  I also would like to see more experienced tacklers in dedicated ships, like interceptors, HICS, or gallente recons.  Our older players tend to move out of tackle as they gain experience, instead of seeing that it can be a role for experienced players as well.

Additionally, our method of forming fleets limits what types of fleets we have.  While there is no rule against it, we rarely have ops with custom built fleets that use a certain tactic, probably because it would limit the number of students that can participate, and no one wants to do that.  However, I think its important for the Uni to have events where we form a strict RR BS fleet, or HACs with logi support, etc... Fleets that aren't suited for new players, but that let older players improve their skills, learn aspects of pvp that we don't normally teach, and share that knowledge with our students as they grow into those roles.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trading - Can we remove the mystery?

Trading has always been good to me.  I've managed to make some significant money off trading, and have always recommended it as a great money maker for others.  However, most traders are very unwilling to share what items they are trading, for fear of destroying their own market.

Most successful market traders I know in the UNI are trading hundreds of millions or billions in items each day.  This is also a different beast than players just starting out and trying to learn how to trade.

To help new traders, I'd like to propose an idea for all the veteran traders out there.

1. Create an alt trader (could even be trial account)
2. Give that alt trader 20m (not a bad sum for a new player to raise through other means).
3. Actively trade for 1 week.
4. As you trade, take notes on which items you are trading, and why you chose that item.
5. Publish your results to the Eve forums.  List your transaction log for that alt for the week, along with your notes about why you chose the items you did.

This will give new players a unique insight into how beginning traders should approach the market.  Since it is on a significantly smaller scale that what you normally trade, the traded items will likely be very different. This means you can share your thinking and items without destroying your own markets. If several people do it, new students will be able to compare several different viewpoints on how to approach trading at low isk levels.

Do you think this is a decent idea? Who is willing to participate and share their alt's logs and items for a week? If the idea gets some following, we could even have trading contests where people use a new alt and a small amount of seed money, trade for a set amount of time, share market logs, and compare results. Best trader wins isk.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

People like talking about money?

Yesterday, people were joking in one of the Uni channels that the directors must be getting rich off of all the money we're making in taxes.  This led to an impromtu talk about how the Uni manages its finances, and how money is directed to projects.  Luckily, I'm the perfect person to give the talk, since I'm the guy in charge of managing our iskflow and generating a monthly budget report.  This is a somewhat involved process, as I use an api generated log to review each transaction and wallet journal entry and classify them into the appropriate categories.

I decided to use this blog post to briefly talk about some of the things I covered in that discussion.

What suprised me was that students had a wildly inflated view of how much isk the Uni makes from taxes.  To put it in perspective, we'd need students to do a total of 335 hours of level 4 missions at 20m/hr (from bounties and rewards, not salvage loot) in order to meet our bill just for the skillbook wallet program (almost 500m a month).  When you start adding in other programs, such as ship replacment or our hangars, the number of hours of mission running gets significantly larger. The Uni does not support that large of a number of people collecting 20m an hour in bounties. A lot of our students are still doing L1, L2, or L3 missions, with a decreasing number for each higher level.  While it only takes 335 hours of an experienced level 4 missioner to meet our costs for 1 single program, it would take tens of thousands of hours of l1 or l2 missioners. This just won't cover all our bills.

Our income for the University is only partly based on taxes.  Taxes are a somewhat predictable source of income, once you factor in what percentage of time we expect to be at war for a given month.  War heavy months are less income, but peaceful months are higher. Over the long term, it averages to be a more constant value.  Donations, however, are much more unpredictable.  Some months show huge amounts of donations, and others are almost nothing. But, we do depend on donations for a large part of our funding.  They help make up the difference that taxes can't cover alone.

Right now, the income/expenses of the University are fairly well balanced, and we are in a sound financial position that I anticipate will continue for some time.  I am highly conservative financially, and insure that the university always has a sufficient contigency fund for any emergencies that arise.

If you're interested in more information, or have specific questions, feel free to comment and ask them in this thread.
Also, the directors make no direct income from their position. I audit the transactions each month to see what corp cash is being applied to, and question any expenditures that aren't obviously tied to a program. I have yet to see any directors or managers appropriating funds since I took over this duty.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gambling can be fun

I have to admit, I was initially fairly wary about using Somer Blink

I was wrong.  This site was incredibly fun all weekend.  For those of you that haven't read about it, you transfer funds (isk) into your account.  Then, you can use those funds to bid in Blinks, which are fast paced lotteries.  Each one can be from 8-almost 60 tickets, and the ticket price can be from 70 isk (promos) to tens of millions.  The best part is, the lottos are usually over in minutes, and if you don't see the item you want up for grabs, you can start a blink and bid to get a chance to win that item.

Once you win an item, you can arrange to have it dropped at a hub, transported to a station you want, sent as straight isk to you in-game, or sent as credit to your blink account. 

I originally put in 500m, then dumped another 500m in a bit later.  However, that 500m won be a few recons, logistics, an archon, macherial, scorp navy issue, and a set of +4s in game.  The best part is, even if I hadn't won as much, I would have still had fun.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Returning to Normal

Our recent spate of wardecs has come to an end, and the University is making its way back to normal.  People are rejoining, income is starting to flow in (the University makes no tax money during wars due to SOP), and we start to get back into the flow of peacetime.

However, this situation is not without drama, not without those who attack the opinions of their betters, spread misinformation, and sully the very world with their presence.  I speak, of course, about the Recruiting department.  This group of 30-50 players has thrown the gauntlet at my division, Logistics, threatening us and challenging us to a duel.  Of course, my division, all 15 of us, expect to handily wipe the floor with them.  We will show them the power of teamwork and coordination, backed by the greatest minds and industrial might of the Uni.  Our greatest challenge will be concealing our strength and power in order to get them to actually take the field against us.  For if they truly grasped our magnificence, they would be reluctant to undock from their stations, let alone approach our ships with live weapons.

We plan on crushing our enemies -- watching them driven before us, and  hearing the lamentation of their women.  We will tear their shields, rip holes through their armor, and send their weak pods scurrying away back into the darkness from which they came.

We will field a team of talented individuals in impeccability constructed wholes, purpose fit to coordinate efforts to demolish our enemies.  We will employ ingenious tactics, superb target calling, complementary fits, and unprecedented pilot skill to dominate the field.  Or, we may just purchase a MS and hotdrop it on them.....its still up in the air. The rest of the department wants plan A, I want plan B.

No matter what happens, rest assured, that the greater side will win. Logistics will rule the field of battle.

(If you couldn't tell, this post isn't meant seriously.  The ROs really aren't bad guys, and dueling each other is just a fun way to blow off steam)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I Love Eve

If you've been reading my blog, you'll recall that I previously blogged about someone who had decided to form an alliance, dec Eve University, and welcome anyone who wanted to join in their war. 

I have to admit, I was wrong in my original post. I had assumed that the 1 person corps forming their alliance were their own alts trying to make it look more successful than it was.  However, a recent post on C&P makes it seem like one of the great people in that channel saw an idiot and decided to take advantage of them.

I've done some looking into it, and my sources are relatively certain we've identified the person behind it, and I'm pretty impressed. Using a few disposable alts and a couple of million in isk to form some alt-corps, this person managed to take away the alliance someone else spent 1b on. 

This is why I love Eve.  Someone can use some planning, a tiny bit of effort, and completely capitalize on the stupidity of others.  If someone forms an alliance and doesn't understand alliance mechanics, you can use that. If someone forms a corporation and doesn't understand corp mechanics or security, you can use that against them.  Its a land of possibilities where planning goes a long way.

Its also why I love reading C&P, though it seems to not be quite as much fun as it used to be.  The poasting isn't living up to old standards.

I may have a problem

I posted in the Uni management section this week to say that I would be out of town for part of November for my delayed honeymoon.  I commented that I probably wouldn't be able to get in-game, as the laptop I was taking might not handle eve, but that I would still be checking forums daily.

Some of the other people said that if i was checking Eve on my honeymoon, something is wrong with me. I reminded them that I had actually logged in on my wedding day to deal with some issues....  I think I may have an addiction...

Also, my wife is very understanding.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Corporate Identity and Large Numbers

The Ivy League is a very interesting case for most alliances, as it has 1500 members, all but probably 5-10 of which are in a single corp (EVE University).  This leads to some strange dynamics.

In a lot of other alliances, individual corps can be much smaller, allowing them to form very tightly bound associations within the corporation, and a much looser loyalty tie to the alliance, and a looser one still to the powerblock of which their alliance is a member.  This can frequently be seen when corporations stay relatively stable and just switch alliances whenever alliance drama hits.  It usually takes significantly more drama to make an established corporation collapse when its alliance collapses, unless it was the central entity of that alliance.

Ivy League alliance is fundamentally just EVE Unversity, with a few support chars (very few) in associated corporations.  This alters the normal alliance/corp bond, as the two are interchangable entities.  However, it can still be seen to some extent even in E-UNI by the number of pilots who only identify themselves as E-UNI pilots, not IVY pilots.

In the University, this leads to some interesting social dynamics.  With 1500 people, we have too large of a community to allow more personality based leadership styles to easily function. Dunbar's number helps explain this to some extent, especially when combined with the global nature of the alliance and the fact that no central leader will ever be equally present in every TZ.

This causes subgroups to form within the University.  Sometimes they are groups of friends that share a same TZ, or other groups that share a central activity they enjoy (missions, PVP, wormholes, etc...). Some of the groups are established by the University to organize students (such as ILN battlegroups), while others are formed by the students themselves.  However, the University has to insure that all of the subgroups that form are always oriented towards the central goal of the corporation, which is to educate students.  This can cause some drama from time to time (see D6 - just an you guys).

In my opinion, any organization of 1500 people will never be able to prevent unoffical groups from forming.  Its just trying to stop human nature.  People have a much easier time bonding to a close group of friends than to a 1500 person entity organized around an ideal.  However, as long as we can insure that the groups that form are inclusive, not insular, and that the groups continue to contribute to and participate in the University community as a whole, problems can be avoided. The largest problems develop when groups become closed off and develop a them vs us mentality.

Without mentioning specific groups or individuals, just discussing the concepts, what are your thoughts?

-----Warning: Comments on specific people and/or groups will be removed------

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Drakes - Suddenly overpowered?

Anyone reading the Eve forums has probably seen mention that CCP is going to be looking at the drake and seeing if it needs to be balanced.  We've always known that it was a spectacular mission ship, but only recently has it been used in large number in PVP.  CCP seems to be seeing that as signs that it should be nerfed a bit.

However, I completely disagree with their reasoning.  Drakes are seeing a lot of use because they function well against AHAC gangs.  The sudden proliferation of Zealots didn't seem to make CCP post about Zealots should be nerfed.  Drakes just happen to have some characteristics that work well in high-lag situations, such as weird capacitor issues, missiles hitting in huge bursts, and a decent buffer for logis to rep up.

Not too long ago, sniper BS gangs were what everyone was using, and I didn't see anyone complaining that the commonly used sniper BS were overpowered.  A few mechanics changed, along with some lag situations, and sniper BS just weren't a good choice anymore.  If lag clears up at all, or something else changes, drakes will once again be relegated to a decent PVE ship without CCP intervention.

Nerfing the FOTM this quickly is rather new for CCP, and seems to be strangely applied in the Drake's case. When was the last time you saw a CCP employee posting about nerfing the dramiel, and thats been FOTM and definitively overpowered for its ship class for quite some time.

But don't fear, once CCP nerfs the drake Caldari pilots will still have their great lineup of large-medium fleet ships, such as the .............

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Failure of a Master Plan

Last week, we had a brave opponent decide to step up and set up an alliance to declare war on us. His stated goal was to destroy Ivy League (Eve University) and ruin us.  Well, a few small corps of 1-2 people have joined his alliance, but from the looks of things, are all alts of his trying to make his alliance look bigger.

He posted to the C&P forum to try and drum up support, but mostly got laughed at by the regular members of C&P...and when C&P is laughing at you, its pretty funny (I love C&P btw...its a great read).

The war has been going on for a week, and other than some small single player stuff trying to pick off loan people, the lack of action has been amazingly predictable.  At some point, you'd think that the 1b spent on an alliance and the 50-100m a week would be better served in some other means, but i'm not seeing that happen yet.  We'll see what the next week brings us.

Aesthetics- Time to earn some Isk

My forum signature isn't really functioning well as the banner for this blog, so I'm opening up a contest.

50m isk to the best Banner design for this blog.  It should match the existing color scheme, and include some nice pictures of spaceships (amarr and gallente PVP are preferred, but fleet action is cool as well). 

Possible other things to include: Pithy saying, my name, blog name, something about the Uni, etc..

Should not include: My current avatar picture, as that's changing soon.

I have absolutely no photoshop skills, so I really could use a hand on this.  I can't wait to see what people can generate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My new face

I've been experimenting on Sisi, trying to practice making a new face for myself.  The new system has a lot of promise, but there are a few parts that I really dislike

-Long hair styles.  I cannot get a long hair style that doesn't make my forehead look like it is monstrous.  I really wanted a picture that is similiar to my existing style, but its difficult with their pre-rendered choices. A greater selection of decent hair styles would be nice.

-Eye position. While I can edit quite a bit about my eyes, I'm limited as to eye tilt or verticle eye placement.  This limits the variety of face types I can create, and makes it hard to capture Azmodeus Valar's current look.

-Face Shape. While I can edit a lot about my face shape, I'm having trouble capturing the face shape of my existing character. The new system needs to be able to create the same face shapes as the previous system.

-Assymetrical Editing. Right now, anything I sculpt is changed on the other side of the face as well. While not quite as bad for me, I'll miss seeing faces like Backdoor Bandit's.

-Sliders. The grab and pull interface is fine, but I would like to see some representation of how much I have sculpted as compare to the range of how much i can sculpt.  A visual x/y axis would really help.

-Wheels. They are just horrible.  Some way to instantly see what each option is (sims interface) would be much better.

-Breasts. It is suprisingly hard to come up with options that don't look outlandish.  Some more variety would be nice.

-Clothes. Not every material is latex. Don't treat it like it is.  I'd love to see fabric hanging and swirling.

Without the ability to recreate an identity that looks similiar to my current one, I am very disappointed with the system. I've grown quite attached to my current look, and while I appreciate the updated graphics, I hope a lot more work is done before it goes live in Incursion.  Maybe they need to consider delaying this till Incursion 1.5 to make sure there is a decent wealth of options to truly let us customize our looks.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Amateur Hour- Cost considerations of Scamming

We recently had someone do a minor scam (4b) in Ivy.  Now, scamming is an amazing thing when done well, but there was already somewhat decent chance this would go sour from the very beginning. In fact, myself and Master Akira both posted something to that fact.  Despite this, I decided to invest 750m just to see what would happen.  At the worst, I'd lose some pocket change. At best, I'd make a bit of isk and see what was going on.

It did turn out to be a scam, and the person was quite proud of it.  However, I am having trouble understanding the economics of the scam.  For one, the setup for the scam (first legitmate run), may have cost anywhere from 0 isk to 1.6b isk to do.  Even assuming best case, where they walk away with the full 4b, I have trouble seeing how that payoff was worth the damage they did to their character.  Due to api information and their own admissions, this person has several public alts.  While some of them may have no skill training, others (including the scam char) do.  I cannot see how 4b isk is worth burning those characters.  Especially where more patience and planning could easily have upped the payoff to something that would allow them to just buy a new comparable character.

This makes me wonder how many scams are really planned from the beginning, and how many are just people who get sick of their endeavor and decide to take it all and pass it off as a master plan. I know that if I had done M&D IPO scams in the past (neither confirming or denying), I would make sure its on an unaffiliated account, spend some time building reputation, and if the account is linkable to any other account, make sure its one with a relatively low amount of training. This allows the payoff to cover buying a character that can easily replace the ones used in the scam. Only if the scam is very large would I consider using a character with significant skill training (depending on the function of the character. Characters that are trained to never leave a station don't matter, as long as they aren't linked to other characters that do).

My issue isn't with the scamming, as thats a celebrated part of EVE, but instead with the seeming lack of planning to truly make it a worthwhile scam.  While 4b seems like a lot to newer players, it really isn't going to do much in the long run, or probably make it worth burning the reputation of a character that could be used to make much more.

What are your thoughts? Is 4b enough for you to take a hit to your main's reputation?  I know I wouldn't doing anything to hit Azmodeus' reputation for 4b.  It would have to be substantially more (several orders of magnitude) for it even to make economic sense (I'm ignoring any ethical/moral considerations in internet spaceships to instead concentrate on economic factors only).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

W-space: The next frontier?

W-space is a great opportunity for many players.  Not only does it offer some possibities for group PVE and decent isk, but it also exposes players to small gang (and larger) PVP.  No local is a great refinement, as it forces players to really pay attention.

In the past, the Uni has tried to have a w-space presence, but the last w-space group split off and formed their own corporation.  In many ways, this was unexpected, as a full-time w-space occupation takes the entire concentration of the players involved, in some ways isolating them from the rest of the corporation community.  For the players in the wormhole, it gives them the chance to truly work together as a tightly bound group, and explore some content that they normally might not be immersed in. 

However, it isn't without its downfalls for the University as a whole.  First, the nature of wormholes lend themselves more towards higher sp players (at least higher sp in University terms).  There is little point to the University occupying a lower class wormhole, as it doesn't give much more advantage then just doing day trips to w-space, and it doesn't really support older players or groups as well.  But, these lower class wormholes are places where some of the younger players could be active.  A mid level wormhole offers older players a chance to use their skills, and really benefits group operations (they are required for most of our students to tackle the sites).  But these types of wormholes aren't easily accessible for new students,so it tends to become seen as an "elite" project for older players in the UNI. Secondly, security concerns tend to make the wormhole a closed group, not easy to penetrate.

We're kind of torn about how we should approach w-space in the future.  Should we look for a permanent presence, and what type?  How do we make it approachable for all students?  Are the types of opportunities offered by w-space (new ways to make isk, exploring other aspects of the game, different types of PVP) something we should pursue despite the risks?  How do you feel this can be accomplished without fragmenting the University community?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Plex Prices: Overinflated?

The last few months have shown a steady rise in plex prices, followed by a quick rise over the last few weeks.  There are several factors that have been contributing to this price increase.

First, CCP allowed the donation of Plex to charity, and we've seen the ability for plex to be moved in space introduce last Spring.  Both of these factors result in plex items being removed from the economy, lowering supply.  This is most likely a significant part of the price increases over the summer.

Second, CCP has announced that Plex will be used to get remaps once Incursions hits.  Currently, there is a huge divide in the playerbase with regards to this issue, but it motivated speculators to heavily enter the market, both for this exchange and possible future plex uses.  However, has the plex bubble gotten too big? Are speculators misjudging the increased demand that will come into effect this Novemeber?  At this point, I'm unsure of which is the case. Personally, I plan on using a few extra plexes for remaps across my accounts, but I don't forsee this becoming a typical use.  Most likely, I'll use it to optimize shorter plans of 4-8 months.  However, my current plex usage is already around 72 plex a year just to stay subscribed (depending on the amount of accounts I have active).  6-10 more is an increase in demand, but I'm not sure that its enough.  As plex prices rise, the incentive for players to purchase and sell them for isk also rises, and some players may have to transition from using plex to using real money for their subscription costs.  The equilibrium point is completely unknown at this point.

What do you think will happen to the market? Do you see Plex pricse stabalizing near where they are now (Jita, 380m)?  Or do you see them rising or falling from this price in the long term?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We're doing great, but we can always do better

The UNI has been in existence for years, helping new students learn the ropes and guide them towards their future homes in EVE.  We've constantly evolved our services and structure to better suit students, and will continue to make changes as necessary.

During my tenure,  we've drastically increased skillbooks and items available to students, and added several ways for students to acquire bigger ships at discounted costs.  We've restructured the ILN into BGs to help PVP oriented characters.  We've ravamped recruiting to help streamline the process and make it both more uniform and secure.  Our chatchannels were redone to help assist people who drop during wartime and create a larger E-UNI community.  W-space and low-sec ops give much more small gang opportunities that we had previously, and our wiki has helped centralize information for our students.

How would you like to see the UNI change in the future,, and how can you help make that change happen?

The Next Step

As I've continued in Eve, I've always had some next goal for my character to help train my next skill.  Sometimes it might be something simple like "get better at interceptors", gradually progressing to "learn t2 crusiers" to finally things like "get recon V and AWU V for that build you wanted." 

This method has worked well up till now, as I've progressed through two races and cap ships for both.  But now I find myself in new territory...I don't have a next goal.  Yeah, I could work on getting those cap ships skills to V, but its not like I'm ever going to use them in the Uni enough to make it worth while.  I could train Titans up for laughs, but thats a few months and I'm back to the same point.  I could add another race (minnie), but I don't really have any desire to fly minnie ships right now. Lastly, I could spend a few months getting some of those supports to V, but how much am I really going to need t2 weapon specs to V?

What do you guys do if you've run out of short term goals?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Multiple Personalities and Eve

I've found that as I play different characters, my personality in eve will actually change.  My playstyle for the character in some way dictates how that character interacts with others.  Azmodeus/Irjuna are much more helpful than my PVP alts, and not nearly as ruthless as some of my trading alts.  (Some of my trading alts get some interesting hate mail, and in one case, a "I'll hunt you and burn down your house.") In many cases, people know multiple of my characters, not knowing they're all me behind the keyboard, and have very different opinions of each character as a person. Azmodeus/Irjuna are probably the closest to me in real life, as I have to do a variety of tasks and they aren't as focused as other alts.

Do you find that your different characters have different personalities in game? How does your playstyle effect your characters personality? Are any of them really you, are just isolated parts of you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Job History

I had a request to post on my job history in the Uni, and how I got to be Logistics director.  I'll try to summarize as best as I can without loading up my chatlogs from 3 years ago (yes, I do save all my chatlogs. I'm weird). Dates will be somewhat approximate, as I'm trying to reconstruct this from memory as best as I can.

I first joined the Uni in Sept of 07.  For the most part, I just hung around in forums, chatted with people, and wrote a few short guides, covering areas such as types of tanking, how a passive tank works, etc...  As time passed, I tried my hand at a few other jobs, such as mentoring some people.  That spring, I was approached by a director named Acacia Incana.

At that point, there wasn't the same type of organizational chart for the Uni that we have today. People didn't necesarily have defined job duties, but she was in charge of the hangars and most tackling 101 classes.  She had been put in charge after series of industrial people had left the uni, such as kodell and finrear. I'm not sure who was exactly in charge of what previously (and I'm not sure all the directors even knew). She hired me as a hangar officer, which was an interesting job. 

I was given a set of screenshots and told "make the hangars look like that."  Apparently, hangar officers (meaning just Acacia and Dlar) had simply just compared what was in the hangar to a screenshot, then pulled modules from our sorting hangar to refill it.  This was extremely time consuming, and not exactly user friendly, as the same hangar might be in 2 different screenshots from where she'd had to scroll down to get all the mods.  Additionally, there was no monitoring of backstock except by eye.  A lot of times, we'd be completely out of a module before we noticed we needed to restock our backstock, let alone our front hangar supplies. The hangars lacked any sort of overarching organizational scheme, and  frankly scared me quite a bit at the thought of having to deal with it.

I did some work to make hangars a bit easier, and got some assistants.  I had the idea of using API pulls to automatically generate stocking reports and production requests (turhan would implement and surpass my idea later), but lacked the coding skills to really implement it. I did put into place some procedures to try and make things easier than just looking at screenshots, and to simplify how to order new items when our backstock was low.

That June (i think), acacia moved on to Bob and I was promoted to full hangar manager (not director). Dee Carson (Director of Ops under MM, who had just replaced kassie that winter) had begun organizing the Uni into something that looked like an organizational chart. During the summer, the Director of Logistics job was either unfilled, or filled by Sabre A (a pvp guy and director who had been in and out of the Uni several times). Sabre A left the Uni once again, the position was unfilled for a while, and I was promoted to Director of Logistics at the end of the summer.  I had only been in the Uni for less than a year, and hadn't even been playing eve for 2 years. I now had a staff, and managers underneath of me (as a sidenote, one of my managers was Irdath, who's mining classes continually started wars). Turhan got my old job, and I started trying to figure out the other divisions and integrate them into a collective unit.

Since that time, we've completly revamped how every one of the divisions under logistics works, added new programs like copying services, refining services, byom, freighter production, and pyos. I've added an entire new division (marketing - Pyos), and am looking into future expansion into a transport division.  We've redone our entire hangar structure (got rid of some hangars, retasked others, changed what was stocked). I've seen Dee, Acacia, and Sabre (along with some other directors from my time as a student) move on in EVE, and Keld (then the Diplomacy Director) get promoted to Director of Operations, and eventually CEO when Morning Maniac stepped down. Its not always been a smooth transition, and sometimes change took longer than it should have, but I think the current Logistics Department and Uni is much better than what we used to have, and think it will continue to improve.

Its been a lot of changes during my time in the Uni, with each individual I've mentioned (and many more) all changing the Uni and leaving their mark.  While some of the names are more remembered for the drama when they left, they did have positive effects during their tenure.  If I ever leave the Uni (I really don't want to. I like my job), I plan on learning from what I've seen with them and leaving quietly, so only my accomplishments and not the drama are remembered.

What is it like to be a Director?

I've found that people don't really understand what directors in the Uni actually do, so I decided I'd try to help shed some light on our job.  I can't speak for other departments, as they have drastically different areas of responsibility, but I can sort of help people understand what my normal day is like as a logistics director.

First, I tend to set my alarm to wake me up 15-20 minutes early each day so I have time to log into the forums and read whatever has been posted while I'm asleep.  I will admit I don't read every thread (Hi&Bye forum, I'm looking at you), but I read all the ones posted to common E-uni areas.  In addition to the normal areas that students see, there are several forums that are only available to directors/managers.  There are actually 3 levels of leadership forums, one for directors only (And Korr), one for directors and managers, and one for all staff.  This is in addition to the forum section specifically for my department (other departments have their own forum section as well). Also, there is a forum section for student records, where it is posted when people have broken a rule (get popped in an orca during wartime), the consequences, communication logs with the person, etc...  I comment in any of these forums if I feel its necessary. I usually only post in areas that are directly logistics related, are industry related, have something to do with Uni policy or changes to it, or seem like humor threads.  I rarely post in the student records forum, as there are directors much more suited to this role than me. 

Next, I'll check forum PMs and evemails to respond as needed.  These could includes status reports or requests from my managers, questions from students, logistics requests from the ILN, or requests directed at a uni program I directly administer (Byom, copying, refining,etc...). I'll log in to process any refining jobs or BYOM jobs that have queued up overnight. I'll check the Uni wallets for any changes overnight, and occasionally review hangar stuff through our automated reporting program (turhan is a genius). Logging in by itself is an interesting process, as I have 2 main characters devoted to Uni duties (Azmodeus and Irjuna Valar), along with 4 supporting characters who are tasked to helping the uni (2 x OOC hauler, OOC producer, and ooc scout/prober).

Throughout the day I may check on my eve blog, or look at the google docs we use to administer several uni programs (work blocks the e-uni forums and eve gate, but not these).  When I get home from work, I usually repeat the entire process listed above, and do it again before I go to bed (my wife is a very forgiving person).  During this time I'll also spend some time logged in chatting with management/directors about anything that is going on, hanging out in the ILN channel, logistics channel, or chat.e-uni making the occasional really bad joke, or just answering questions that pop up.  I also spend a lot of time in the logistics channel plotting world domination with my staff.

Now, these are just the normal daily activities related to my job in the Uni.  As a director, I have additional duties that pop up.  Once a month I prepare a financial statement for the other directors, summarizing income, expenses, finacial projections, etc... I also will have to look at the director's forum section and comment on any policy or rule changes being proposed.  We also have the occasional fires to put out between students, or between directors. We have official meetings where we discuss what is going on, any changes that need to be made, recap the time since the last meeting, and prepare for the future.  Contrary to poplar belief, the directorate is not a unified front on many issues.  We debate some things back and forth each meeting (or in our forums), before deciding what direction the Uni should take on an issue. Even if we lose an argument (and I've lost several in the past), we accept it and move forward, supporting whatever the official uni stance will be. Part of being a director is being able to put aside some of your own personal wants in order to support the Uni.

The most interesting part of this, is that I actually enjoy it.  Yes, its a lot of work, but for some reason I have a psychological need to help people (i blame my mother), I enjoy the challenge of running some of these programs, and truly enjoy leading my department.  When i was first named logistics director, we'd have something like 4-5 people in that post within the previous year, with no established procedures, and no real hangar organization. In fact, the sorting hangar deeply scared me when i first took over.  Organizing the chaos was not easy, but it was somewhat fun. My staff is quite honestly one of the best groups of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with.  In fact, I really wish the people I worked with in my real life job were as dedicated and competent as my managers and staff in the Uni. If they were, my real life would be a lot easier.

Being a director isn't easy, and it is very time consuming (at least my department is), but it is rewarding for me. There are some aspects of my job I wish I didn't have to deal with (freghter runs of minerals...), but its been great helping the Uni for the last few years, and I don't regret my decision to take the job. Its been an honor working for the Uni, and I look forward to more great years to come.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blasters, or how I learned to switch to Amarr instead of dealing with them

When I originally started training, I focused almost entirely on gallente.  I loved the idea of ships that went straight intothe enemy, opened fire, and just tried to kill them before they killed me.  However, the game has changed a little since I first started, and one of the biggest changes was to webs. 

Now, a change to webs doesn't seem that major, but it had profound effects for blaster ships.  Blasters are purposefully created to have high damage but very low range.  Blaster ships depend on getting ships into the killzone and pounding them.  However, changes to webs made it harder to hold ships in place once you had them in close. 

Secondly, blasters have very poor tracking as a result of their low range.  While the tracking numbers look fairly good when you just compare the value to other weapons systems (lasers), factoring in optimal range shows a very different picture.  Now, you see that it takes very little transversal inside of blaster range to mitigate the damage, as opposed to the amount of transversal required to escape damage from a BS using scorch ammo.

These factors have a huge effect on actual dps applied in a fight, as opposed to theoretical dps.  In a long slug match against bigger ships, gallente ships can be top damage dealers as they can actually operate in their optimal range and tracking.  But in quicker fights, or more more evenly sized or smaller opponents, lasers have a huge advantage.  They can start applying damage much more quickly, as they don't have to burn into range, and don't lose much time switching targets, as there is a good chance their new target will also be in range.  These factors, combined with their fairly high level dps, make lasers a great weapon, and made me train Amarr.

I still have a soft spot in my heart for some gallente ships (Taranis, I'm looking at you), but think that blasters could really use some extra help.  A lot of ideas have been thrown around on forums, from a huge increase in damage, or tracking, or some combination of the two.  I have another possibility to throw into the mix, split webs the same way that scrams/disruptors are split.  Have a 40-50% web that reaches to 14k (t2), and a 80-90% web that reaches to 5k (t2), as one example.  Now, we have a layered set of disruptor, weak web, scram, strong web that an opponent has to consider.  Also, now when a blaster ship manages to get you in kill range, you're going to feel it for a long time. However, with the agility of gallente ships, you also have a good chance to use a war of manuever and a long range web to stay out of their optimal.

What are your suggestions?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Group vs the Individual

EVE corporations frequently have to decide their philosophy on group dynamics.  Which takes precedence, the needs of the individuals, or the needs of a group as a whole?  EVE corporations all make this decision, and their answers are scattered across the entire spectrum of possible answers.

E-UNI is a corporation with a specific state goal; the education of new players in EVE.  Unfortunately, commitment to this goal makes us continually have to choose what is best for the majority of our students as a whole, and not what is best for each individual pilot.  Our wartime SOP is a group example of this type of decision. We have a strict set of rules to limit wartime losses and encourage aggressors to go elsewhere for fun.  However, this constrains the actions of everyone in the corp, not just those that are incapable of taking precautions and continuing their play during wartime. By getting wars over with a minimum of losses, we hope to get back to normal operating procedures as quickly as possible so we can get back to educating students.

Another example is our ROE.  We have set policies for who we can aggress and why, not because we are worried about annoying group X, but instead because we want to keep as many doors open for students in the future as possible.

An unfortunate side effect of our goal-oriented decision making is that players will outgrow the uni, and find that they are no longer comfortable within our rules structure.  This is an expected outcome.  The problem exists when players feel that the Uni should grow to suit their new needs, instead of that they should move on to explore EVE how they want.  This causes frequent drama (usually every 4-6 months) as players realize that they want to see more of the sandbox that what is permissible within E-UNI's rules. We always regret when this type of drama occurs, but we have to stay dedicated to our goal of educating new students, both current students, but also students yet to come.

In a perfect world, we would be able to set up an institution that not only did the best job possible helping new players learn eve, but also provided a corporation where all of them could grow and explore EVE for the rest of their time with no problems.  However, we have yet to find a way to accomplish both goals in the same corporation, and must always decide towards staying operational for new players.  No matter where you decide to go after leaving E-UNI, we hope you remain part of our larger community, stay active on the forums, pop into the public channel from time to time, and most of all, enjoy EVE how you feel it should be played.

NOTICE: This blog post is designed as a conversation about the ideas and conflicting pulls on our corporate focus. It is not intended to be a discussion of specific people. Comments naming specific people will be deleted.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Problems with War Decs - Part 3

This week I'll be doing a series of posts about some of the problems I see with high-sec warfare in EVE.  I would like to make it perfectly clear that I believe war decs have a definite purpose, and that they should not be removed from EVE.  High sec should never be a perfectly safe place. However, the current mechanic and implementation has some drawbacks.

Part 3: Cost
Simply put, the costs associated with a war-dec are obsecenly small when compared to the ease in which isk can be gained in eve. Wardeccing a corp is a few minutes worth of work for a single mission runner, and the funds to dec an alliance can be raised in 2 hours of missions.  The base cost for a week of war needs to be dramatically raised so that it is a decision of some import. 

In addition to the base cost, I would prefer to see several other changes to wardecs.  First, the way that war-dec costs scale with additional wars is far too exagerated.  I can understand the need for an increasing cost for each additional war, but would be much more comfortable with 20% to 50% higher for each war, instead of the current pattern. If an organization wants to have 20 wars going simultaneously, it should be economically taxing, but possible.

However, I would like the changes in escalating costs for additional wars combined with several other factors.  First would be a size difference multiplier to the base war cost.  The sizes of both entitites (aggressor and defender) are compared, and used to change the war dec cost.  If the size difference is a factor of 4, you'd pay twice as much. A size factor of 16 would be 4 times as much, up to a hard cap of 10 times as much (factor of 100 difference).  This would make wars between dissimiliarly sized wars possible, but encourage wars between more equally matched adversaries.

Additionally, I believe war decs should have an escalating cost factor for each additional week of war.  This would help focus wars on actually being fought, instead of being maintained for easy ganks week after week. War deccing corps could choose to pay the higher cost, or just move on to a new target.  When a war is ended, a timer is begun that is equal to two times the war length. A re-dec during the time causes the war to start back at the same price point it would have been.  If the war was 1 week long, a re-declaration within 2 weeks will jump in with the same escalating cost as if the peacetime hadn't occured.  If you wait longer than 2 weeks, war costs would reset to the base cost again.  A 4 week war would have an 8 week cost cooldown, etc...

Any thoughts on these suggestions?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Problems With War Decs - Part 2

This week I'll be doing a series of posts about some of the problems I see with high-sec warfare in EVE.  I would like to make it perfectly clear that I believe war decs have a definite purpose, and that they should not be removed from EVE.  High sec should never be a perfectly safe place. However, the current mechanic and implementation has some drawbacks.

Part 2: Lack of Objectives
Currently, war decs have no real objective other than the right to kill people.  While that is fine, I believe the mechanic should be much more goal based. I'd rather have several different possible objectives an attacker can pick when they declare war, with a corresponding set of objectives that are then given to the defender in order to end the war.

For example, the attacker could decide that they want their goal to be the destruction of a particular enemy POS (or poses). In order to select this objective, the attacker would be required to own their own high-sec pos as well, and the defender would be given the objective of destroyer the attacker's pos.  If either objective is met, the war would be ended 24 hours later and a cooldown period of days/weeks entered before war could be re-declared between those two entities.

A second option might be a tonnage option, where the attacker can choose how many ton of enemy shipping (within a game selected range ) they wish to destroy.  Their options of tonnages would be based upon the size of the enemy alliance, where if attacking a 10 person corp they might be given the choice to pick between the equivalent of 10 cruisers to 20 battleships worth of tonnage.  A 1500 person corp target would give them a range of between 200 cruisers to 400 battleships they could pick.  The tonnage would not scale linearly with corp size, as that would create unrealistic goals for a high-sec war.  In return, the defender would be given a goal of proportional size depending on the attacker's size and choice.  So, if the attacker picked a goal that was at the top of the range of their given options, the defender's goal would be set as the top of the range based on the attackers' size.

Another option might be to kill person X a certain amount of times (1-10 times).  In return, the defender would be allowed to pick a certain member of the attacker corp, where if they kill that person X times, the war ends.  In these cases, corporations would be informed that their opponent had chosen to target a specific individual, but not who that individual is.

Now, these are only some options for objectives, but I believe that mechanics along these lines would help give wars a purpose beyond just pew-pew (not that just pew-pew is a bad thing), and make it a richer experience.

What are you feelings about wartime objectives? What types of objectives and counter-objectives would you like to see?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Problems With War Decs - Part 1

This week I'll be doing a series of posts about some of the problems I see with high-sec warfare in EVE.  I would like to make it perfectly clear that I believe war decs have a definite purpose, and that they should not be removed from EVE.  High sec should never be a perfectly safe place. However, the current mechanic and implementation has some drawbacks.

Part 1: Assymetrical Warfare

Assymetrical warfare is a powerful tool in real life, but it is even more powerful in EVE.  Several factors combine to make assymetrical warfare a serious weakness in its current implementation.

1. No proper lines of battle:  High sec is relatively impossible to secure territory, so there is never really a "homeland" for a corp to control.  OOC alts can easily haul in ships, mods, and ammo, and any competent attacker can get to the station to fit their ship and undock whenever they want.  This means that the typical advantages of a defender do not exist, allowing asymmetrical warfare to be used anywhere. This makes it impossible for high-sec corps to have secured areas they can operate in with a higher degree of safety.  Login traps, OOC scouts, and other factors make a simple high-sec mining op into a risky undertaking at any time.  Eve simply lacks a way for high-sec corps to have a defensive perimeter, which means that an opponent can always choose to avoid battle whenever they wish, and only attack vulnerable opponents without having to go to any particular effort to infiltrating the space.

2. Alt:  It often seems like everyone in EVE has at least one alt (I have many), and this contributes to the overpowered nature of assymetrical warfare.  I could easily have a second account dec a target, and simply not log in on that account until the odds are highly in my favor.  This means that my opponent has almost no chance to prepare against me, while I can continue playing as normal on my main account. This takes away from the immediacy and totality of how war should be portrayed.

3. Lack of a logistical backbone: Unless a corp decides to put up a pos, it is impossible to effect their logistics in any way. OOC haulers, market chars, etc... can keep a warring corp supplied forever, with no possible way to stop it (especially if the chars are in NPC corps).  This is a flawed mechanic, as it gives one side nothing at all to attack to disrupt the other's operations. Typically, in assymetrical warfare, the more powerful established force would have some way in which it could attack the logistics of its opponent, no matter how time intensive or inefficient.  EVE lacks that option.

4. Cost:Wars are simply too cheap.  A 2 person corp can declare war on a 1000 person corp for a few million a week, which can be paid for a minutes of effort by an alt.  If they get one good kill with tens or hundreds of millions of isk gained, it pays war costs for months.  War should be an expensive undertaking, with scaling costs based upon the length an entity has been at war, to properly reflect the escalating costs of a wartime economy.

I am unsure of how many of these problems can be fixed, but maybe these blogs can generate some meaningful conversation about war decs in EVE. War decs have and should have a vital role in making high-sec PVP possible, but their weaknesses take away from the effect.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Corp members and the market

I checked the forums to see the following post from a corp member

"I just bought a 1600mm plate in aldrat earlier today expecting it to be from an out of corp trader. It was from a manager in the uni. The only problem I have with that at all is the fact that the module was 1mil isk over market value. Now, I understand people want to trade and make a profit. But personally when I do put up market stuff in aldrat I make it for only very slightly above hek price during war times and most other times. Sure I make a small profit but the point is really to make things available to the uni during war. At least have the decency to use an alt to put things up for sale.

I think that's a dirty move especially coming from someone I see freely commenting on what people should be doing for the good of the uni. Don't think people don't notice these things. I for one keep track of who I feel is after personal profit over the good of the corp. Not that I'm important in uni or can do anything about it, but in my opinion if you're a manager or really any leadership position in uni and you're fleecing people for 1 mil per module under your uni character you're kind of a tool. Just an opinion. I'm fully prepared for "waaaaaah that's why I haul and trade, traders need to make a profit too, etc. etc." That's bullshit imo. There's plenty of trading to do, you're making easy money by taking advantage of your corpmates. End of story as far as I see it. Is it against the rules? No. Is it a wanker move? Up to you to decide I guess.

Just an opinion, care-bear traders flame away, but taking advantage of the war-time sop and fleecing your corp mates is a low move in this uni member's eyes."

Now, for a lot of alliances (mostly 0.0), its rather routine for people in the corporation to stock the market, and to make a profit doing so.  They do the effort of hauling, and someone else pays them for their convenience.  Now, the Uni already has numerous programs to help students gather their needed items and fittings.  The conversation started along those lines, with the next post being

"If you didn't like it being high, don't buy it? Or maybe buy a lower meta item? or purchase ahead of the war?
Don't see the problem here, as no one is forced to purchase anything, and the uni provides plenty of modules for wartime use free of charge."

The conversation then had the normal amount of EVE trolling, followed by several umad comments (gotta love normal EVE discourse).

However,  the general tone of the conversation was inflammatory, including the by author who posted the original comment about people in the Uni not treating others right via the market (love the irony).

My first response "Oh dear, I really don't know what to say to this one. I typically never play the markets @ hq (mostly because they are too small), but god knows how many uni players have bought something overpriced from me in Jita at some point. Playing the market is an officially recognized way of making money during wartime.

Now, if someone was purposefully manipulating the aldrat market to raise prices and rip off students, I still wouldn't criticize their morals, just their I or any other market trader would quickly bring a freighter load of stuff in to undercut them, and a 1500 person corp has plenty of traders.

People will ALWAYS pay more than market hub cost to buy something nearby, as they value the convenience of the item immediately to be worth the price difference (as you did). There is nothing abnormal about having off-hub items priced high. In fact, I'd also criticize the intelligence of someone who posted things in aldrat for lower prices intending them for uni students, as those items would just be bought by an OOC person and relisted.

The uni has numerous ways to save players isk, but we don't like to interfere with the money making aspects of our members, except when it will cause harm to the Uni's reputation (scamming, ninja-salvage, etc...)"

Of course, it then devolved even further, with the OP continuing to express his feelings.

How does everyone else feel about this?  Personally, I see it as pointless drama over a normal EVE function, and can't really figure out why someone would be so worked up that an item they voluntarily bought at above market in a non-hub system was listed by a corp member, and their own attitude greatly annoyed me.

Opportunity Cost - My perpetual battle against idiocy

Opportunity cost seems to be one of those concepts that pops up in EVE frequently, but people really have comprehension of it at all.  In the last few months I've had to describe

1. How datacores you research yourself are not going to save you any significant isk over ones purchased from market.

2. Why asking inventors in the Uni to offer t2 ships at cost to other uni members is the equivalent of just asking them to give us a few billion isk each year.

3. Why having us build ships at cost for members is actually the equivalent of a small isk donation to everyone who uses the program.

Now, we are aware of the opportunity cost of some programs (#3) and accept it, but some people really don't understand the concept.  I've had to explain it so many times (often to the same people repeatedly) that I really want to beat my head against a wall sometimes.  As someone involved in the industrial side of EVE, people who have no understanding of opportunity cost are the bane of my existence. As someone who plays the market in EVE, it can lead to huge profits when people don't understand.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Yet another war has started, this time a 4 person corp has declared war on us.  I can understand why these corps do it.  Most 1500 person corps would be easy pickings for some jita gankers.  Its a simple way to pad some killboard numbers with occasional mission runners and industrial ships.

However, our wartime operations are significantly different than the normal.  People who really want to mine or mission are encouraged to drop corp, and are accepted back after the war with no penalty.  We still have classes, and the only people undocking are players who are seeking PVP, oftentimes in large groups because so many people want to go blow something up.  We did lose an industrial yesterday, but that was a bit of a fluke, as we'll actually blow up our own players that we see undocked in an industrial during wartime.

We've had some corps in the past that did a great job bringing a fight to us, and whipping us around space (atomic battle penguins, I'm looking at you), but most seem to come expecting one type of fight, and are not capable of adapting when we don't play the way they want us to.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Win $ through Eve University

Reposted from Here

For over 6 and a half years, Eve University has been on a mission to educate and assist all new players of EVE Online, and when we launched UniWiki, followed by our Planetary Interaction guide for Tyrannis, we moved a big step closer to documenting the game mechanics in EVE. But while we have one element documented, there are still many many more to go!

So, we are running a bit of a competition. The contest is open to almost all EVE players, and to enter you simply need to update or write new articles on UniWiki. The four people with the most detailed, comprehensive and professional looking article edits will each win an EVE Store coupon code worth $50, provided by CCP, and postage and packaging costs will be covered by them too! Should you have any queries please submit a petition to the EVE Online Community team and they will be happy to help.

The contest will start at 00:01 EVE time on Monday 20th September, and run until 23:59 EVE time on Sunday September 26, so you have a bit of time to prepare and choose your subject.

Entering the Contest
To edit UniWiki, you do not need to be an Eve University member or alumni, simply a forum account with us - simply an active EVE Online account. To set up a new account, visit from the in game browser.

1. Log into UniWiki via
2. Use the search function to find the article you will edit.
3. Click the "Edit" link at the top of the page.
4. Make your changes or add your contribution.
5. Add the text "{{uwc}}" to the top of the page if it not already there.
6. Fill in the summary box, and click preview.
7. Ensure that everything looks as you would expect, then click Submit.

Wiki Editing Tips
- Find a subject you know well which does not already have a detailed guide.
- If possible, avoid working on articles which are already identified as being entered into the competition.
- Where you can, concentrate on one single subject.
- Include images where appropriate, and use formatting to ensure high quality results, and link to sources.
- Keep your content EVE related! Guides on sniping in Medal of Warfare: Call of Honor won't win!
- Avoid making multiple small changes, and use the "preview" function to check things are right before submitting.
- If you aren't familiar with wiki markup, you can use the WYSIWYG editor instead.

Terms and Conditions:
1. An Eve University forum account is required to participate, and those accounts which have previously been banned for abuse are not eligible.
2. Abuse of the Eve University forums, wiki or other resources (including significantly inappropriate or destructive edits) will lead to a ban and reversion of your changes, disqualifying you from this and future competitions.
3. Eve University Management and Directors are not eligible to win any of the four prizes.
4. By submitting any edits, you agree to our that the content posted is not copyright of any other person or organisation, and its is licensed as per the notices on UniWiki.
5. Only one forum account per person must be used, and you may win only once, however you may make edits on multiple articles.
6. All entries must include the text "{{uwc}}" and been made between the times specified above or they will not be considered in the judging.
7. The winners will be notified by EVEmail and forum PM from the Eve University Forum, and your registered email address on the forum will be passed to CCP to award the prize.
8. Neither CCP nor Eve University will be responsible for lost or misdirected mail, customs charges, local taxes or any additional costs when the winners use the code in the EVE Store.
9. The judges for this contest are the Eve University Directors and CEO, and their decision is final in all matters related to this contest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Ship!

CCP announced their new ship a few days ago, the noctis.  The Primae is a great hull base for a salvager ship, but unfortunately, there are a few weaknesses that prevent this ship from being the ultimate salvager we'd all like.

First, the slot layout: With limited mids, it isn't as useful in W-space as it could be.  Optimally, we'd be able to fit a propulsion mod alongside a analyzer, codebreaker, and some sort of utility/tank slot. This would let it be a useful professional exploration ship alongside a gang of combat ships to clear the site.  Instead, we're somewhat limited to using it only in high-sec missions.

Second, probing.  Its sensor strength, combined with size, is going to make it fullhardy to use in anything other than highsec.

Lastly, the seeding of the BPOs and skillbooks.  While I can definately understand the reason for seeding the BPOs in ORE space, much like other ORE ships, the skillbook should be seeded in highsec.  Other skillbooks used by ORE ships are in highsec, and this skillbook should be treated no differently.

While it will still be a solid ship if released with its current stats, I hope CCP will make some minor changes to the ship stats and skillbook locations before they release the ship.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Gauntlet has been Thrown

The recruiting department has decided to have a moment of insanity and challenge the Logistics Department to a PVP tournament. At first, some of them were saying the only rules were "fly what you can afford to lose."  Eventually, I think they got a bit smarter and realized that it might not be the best idea to have that contest with the people who make everything for a 1500 person corp.  Now it looks like we're going to do a more traditional point value and fitting limited setup, which I agree with.

I need to find some way to structure this so that the newer members in our departments can play a vital part in the tournament, and maybe make this a regular event.  I just wonder if they'll be enough interest for it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Work in a Game?

Something that came up recently was the idea that some people seem to work in EVE just like they would in a job.  I can easily understand how it would seem strange, as EVE is meant to be a game, not a second career (for sane people).

However, you need to understand that people get satisfaction from a variety of different undertakings. Some of my "job" in EVE is challenge.  Coordinating supply lines, figuring out security procedures, and determining building preferences is a challenge, and I get a sense of accomplishment when it is done well.  Working with my staff to meet goals, and enjoying their conversation and company is a great experience. Those factors, combined with the fact that I am supporting a community that I believe in is sufficient motivation.  Yes, it isn't nearly the same type of fun as blowing up someone's ship, but it is rewarding nonetheless, just in different ways. Some aspects of my "job" aren't challenging.  They are the equivalent of work; refining jobs, installing byom, etc...  But I try to insure that these aspects don't become so much workload that they overload me, or any of my staff, and that they are tasks that can easily be done while multitasking other more rewarding activities.

If I wasn't doing any of these things, I could devote more time to PVP on my alts, or industrial ambitions, or trading, and I'd probably be much richer and have better killboard stats as a result.  But I like the balance that I have now, where I can participate in all three without any one overwhelming me.  Sometimes the logistics tasks of the Uni do grow to monopolize a large part of my time, but I know those times will pass, and it is the price I pay for having the job the rest of the time.

Much like the rest of EVE's sandbox, your behavior in a corporation can span a wide variety of playstyles.  I personally believe that people that gain satisfaction by working towards the benefit of the group are an invaluable resource that every corp is lucky to have, and should be thankful. However, corporations need to make sure that those people don't have responsibility and duties given to them that push them past the point where they find it rewarding and burn out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ship Replacement

The ship replacement program is getting moved under the Logistics department, so I find myself having to work out supply lines, backstock numbers, isk commitments, etc... for another program again.  Sometimes, this game really does seem like work.

Hopefully if this works out how I like, and if we get some good numbers coming in from the PYOS program, we can look into the feasibility of expanding ship replacement to some bigger ships or t2 ships, at least for official ops, or ops with experienced FCs.  What do you think?  Is this something we should consider, or would you rather see our isk sent elsewhere?

Right now this is all just possibilities if the numbers work out well, and we wouldn't be seriously looking or implementing any changes for a few months at the earliest, but I'd like to get as much educated input as possible.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Collision of RL and EVE

I was in a professional meeting today, and we had to do some math that involved repeated percentages until we reached success.  I flew through the calculations, and had all the branches and possibilities (within reason) worked out very quickly.  Everyone else was still trying to get their head around the problem.  They asked me how I was able to do it so quickly, and I wasn't sure what to say...

How can you say "I knew it from repeatedly calculating and explaining jamming possibilities for caldari e-war ships" in a professional setting?  Instead, I had to go with "I don't know. It just made sense."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Volunteering and Participation

One common question I frequently get is "How can I volunteer or help the Uni?"

The answer is often much easier than people think. Now, there are official avenues to volunteer, such as being a hangar officer, industrial officer, mining officer, recruitment officer, diplomatic officer, forum or wiki moderator, helping the uni with print research, assuming a leadership role in the ILN, mentoring students, or teaching classes. 

However, that is only a short list of "official" volunteer positions. There are plenty of jobs that you can do for the Uni that don't require an official title.  Help people that request funds for skillbooks, hand out mods from our hangars when people need them, answer questions in Chat.E-Uni, lead some fleets or be squad commanders in fleets, run some mining ops to help new players learn to mine, group missions, and just basically be a resource to help new students.  While you may not have an official title while doing these roles, rest assured that the leadership will notice people doing this, and so will the other players.

The managers and their official officers can only do so much, and if the Uni depended entirely on our efforts, it would fail.  What makes the uni great is the shared knowledge and assistance of 1500 players, all working together to teach eve to new students.  Without all of you participating in small ways, we couldn't do what we do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Things

Its been a busy summer for E-uni logistics.  In addition to several wars, which require us to ramp up production of wartime mods, we've also had a huge number of students going through.  For my department, this means more items being made, stocked in hangars, and replaced when the students use them.  For myself, this has also meant more refining requests, byom jobs, and I've also taken over the job of financial analysis of the entire University's income and expenditures.  This was a job that has been unfilled since Spring of 2009, so its been a bit of work to implement some new accounting procedures to keep everything in line.

Lastly, I've also hired a new manager to oversee an entirely new program under the logistics department, a corp ship marketplace.  The initial response to this program has been great, and I'm sure Cervator will do a great job with it. Of course, setting it up meant coming up with an overview of the program, specific procedures for students and staff involved in the program, rearrangement of corp wallets to free a wallet up, hiring Cervator, and stocking a LARGE number of minerals to give us a headstart on demand.  Thankfully, Cervator took some of my ideas and didn't just run with them, but improved them 500% and made them his own.  The work he has done on this is nothing short of amazing.

Time to give this a try

I've been considering posting a blog for years, but never managed to get motivated enough to do it.  It always seemed like I had enough paperwork to do in my Eve life.  Hopefully I'll manage at least one post a week here, detailing my life in eve, details about the E-Uni logistics department, and my random musing. 

Hope everyone enjoys the new blog.