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?