EVE – Hauling to W-space

I spent the next few days moving PI items into W-space: command centers, so I can harvest and produce commodities.

There’s a lot of juggling that goes on. First, the scan/bookmark procedure to leave the wormhole and be able to re-enter. Then, navigating from whatever hisec system the N110 exits into to a system with a decent market. After buying and fitting a hauler, in Summer’s case I started with an Iteron because I needed enough room to move a few command centers, I also bought a shuttle. The thinking here was after moving everything to the wormhole and dropping stuff off into my Personal Hangar Array, I’d somehow assemble the shuttle and fly back to get my Imicus. I need my scanning ship in W-space!

This mostly worked as I thought it would, except for the assembly portion. The only snag was the PHA was about 10km from the Large Ship Assembly Array (LSAA) and using either one requires a max distance of 3 km. I just had to keep approaching the structure I was using.

I warped in with the Iteron, moved cargo into the PHA, and then… well I wasn’t sure. I moved the unassembled shuttle into one division of the LSAA which was left for general usage. But I couldn’t “board” it after I assembled it. So I clicked on the Ship Maintenance Array (SMA) to store the Iteron, and got a popup about ejecting from the ship. Well, it isn’t very dignified to fly around the universe in a capsule, but I didn’t think there was another way. So I clicked yes and then tried to board the shuttle. Cue the first of several “you are too far away” message. Sigh.

After approaching the LSAA and attempting to board, I got a new error – something about not having the proper role. Before panicking πŸ˜‰ I re-read some info that Foo emailed me, and found the proper procedure is to assemble a ship in the LSAA and then move it to the SMA. Aha! That’s how I could board the ship I brought in.

Except there was another snag or two. I tried to drag the shuttle from the LSAA to the SMA, but got an error, something about not having enough room on the ship for the move to occur. What?! Oh yeah, I was in a capsule. So, I boarded the Iteron I just stored, and tried again.

This time it worked, the shuttle was now in the SMA. So to board it, I again stored/ejected from the Iteron, and then boarded the shuttle. Whew. It seems like this process could be simplified; the SMA should just allow assembling ships that are moved straight into its container space.

Anyway, today’s N110 exit was to Hitanishio, so I wound up doing a lot of shopping in the systems around Nourvukaiken. My goal was to load up on command centers so the next few hours I get over a weekend, I could actually start doing some Planetary Interaction. I hear that wormhole planets are extremely resource rich so I’d like to take advantage.

If I ever get all the stuff I need into the wormhole. It’s been hours of flying around and hauling stuff and not much actual gameplay in the wormhole. So far it’s been a package shipping simulator of buying and moving stuff around.

EVE – Learning Curve

Wilhelm posted an entry on EVE and the Learning Curve; check it out! But then if you’re reading my blog you are undoubtedly already reading his so you’ve seen it. πŸ˜‰

First of all, 50% retention split between 40% short term and 10% long term doesn’t seem that bad to me. These days we’re all familiar with the drop off after the initial month, and how many bloggers refer to a game as a “3 monther”? CCP is the only company publicly discussing their numbers so they might be average. Undoubtedly CCP would rather be above average and nudge their numbers up… but how?

Well, it seems to me the answer is in the chart. If that 10% long term subscribers are having a group/diverse experience, then figure out how to get more players into a group/diverse situation.

To encourage that, there needs to be less risk to a newbie player joining a corp, less risk to a corporation for accepting a newbie, better tools to match players to corporations, and maybe some other pixie dust sprinkled on top.


I’ve never been on the management side of an EVE corporation, but maybe more controls would help. Ways to throttle how much damage someone can cause, even one granted higher access. Maybe some kind of two-factor agreement for major changes – someone with permission to destroy a hangar can’t actually do that without a second round of approval, or some way to spread out responsibility around. That way your board of directors or whatever can’t go bananas and sell everything or lock it away and delete the key (didn’t this actually happen?). Think of how nuclear missile launches are handled: supposedly two people need to agree the order is valid and both have to get their key and turn it at the same time, etc. Well at least that’s how the movies show it!

Corporations can already limit directors and create divisions and request API keys and whatever else, yes that’s good but more, unless the claim is the existing systems are already sufficient and cannot be further improved. In which case there isn’t a retention problem at all now is there – it’s merely a task of matching newbies to corporations?


As for the newbie side, one tricky thing is figuring out who is actually a newbie player. Since that scamming and griefing is legal, and so is spying and theft, there is a balance to strike of risk to a corporation admitting a new player, who could very well be an alt of some experienced ΓΌberspy intent on destroying said corporation, and the new player, who might very well follow instructions “just load up all your stuff and fly to XYZ system; we’ll meet you there and escort you the rest of the way” only to find a bunch of griefers that derive their fun from blowing up new players in the middle of nowhere, recording it, then posting the video to youtube for laughs.

About the only way I can think of to discourage ganking newbies is to make harsher penalties in-game. That’s if this is a major problem in the first place, but CCP would know that. If it is a major issue, many newbie players quit due to ganking – then their future revenue stream is being put at risk for someone else’s “enjoyment” and CCP should respond in very harsh ways. Things like massive drops in security status for ganking someone under a certain number of skill points, fees or outright denial of stargates for problematic players. Imagine that, having to fork over X million ISK per jump because you’re a ganker, or eventually being denied the use of gates? That’ll put the brakes on bad behavior – and the dedicated ganker can still play the way the want (go sandbox and all), it’ll just cost them a lot of ISK to travel or they’ll need to handle their own cyno/jump mechanics. Or maybe gankers can’t buy insurance for ships anymore, the NPC insurance company just refuses. That doesn’t prevent anyone from playing the way they want, it just makes losses a bit more painful.

Instead of warning for criminal flagged players (ones that get that status from ganking newbies), how about CONCORD sponsored gate-camps for them? The gate knows who you are and that you are warping to hisec, let’s say it calls ahead and you’re just destroyed when you arrive. Perhaps not a guaranteed destruction, the game can be sporting and give you a chance against some ugly odds, but by and large it can be arranged for you to have an extremely tough time moving around if you become a criminal by ganking newbie players.

CCP could even do something like crank up taxes/fees for basic services in all stations to those players, to reflect poor status/reputation. Maybe this already happens. Again, a wealthy ganker can work around that and at a certain point this kind of gameplay is allowed/encouraged, so CCP can’t be too unfair with the penalties.

However, if scamming/ganking newbies is really a major retention problem, then CCP needs to respond, not by disallowing it, but by adding lots and lots of pain or making the penalties hurt more and more until the problem gets under control. The right amount of flamethrower to the nuts will cause the desired behavior change, and CCP can keep adding heat.


As for matching players to corporations, that’s a tough problem. The in-game tools aren’t too helpful – you can search but have no real way to choose from the results, assuming you aren’t merely picking based on a cool name or logo. But other games have this issue, I don’t remember WoW having great in-game tools, or LoTRO, and so on. I researched out of game via blogs I read, but I can see where that won’t work for every new player. How does recruitment in WoW work? The end-game guilds become famous on their server, and draw applicants… but every one of those I’ve seen has an out-of-game website, forum, and presence, an application link on that external website, etc. However, surely not every WoW guild recruits with posts on Elitist Jerks or their own website. Perhaps make better in-game tools. On the other hand I’m sure CCP doesn’t want to get in the business of hosting player websites. The point here is to make it easier for a corporation to advertise how cool they are, since not every corp can or will want to create their own site and host their own content, all to better recruit.

Blind invites may work but can’t have a high success rate. As for me, I delete unsolicited in-game email and ignore unsolicited chat invites, since they are probably scams. πŸ˜‰ Perhaps the general reputation of EVE players is such that the many with good intentions are drowned out by the few bad actors. Well that isn’t an easy problem to solve either.

I can see why Brave Newbies and Goonswarm get so much traction – they have a massive presence outside the game, on Reddit and Something Awful. I’m not sure about Pandemic Legion or Nulli Secunda and where they get folks, but I’m betting it isn’t straight from the new player stream. The fact I’ve heard of them is half the advertising battle; meanwhile there are lots of small-medium corporations that would be awesome to be in, but they have a tough time getting the word out about themselves.

Pixie Dust

By this I mean outright bribes offered in-game for newbies matched to corporations. I don’t have a good idea of what those might be (actually I have one and will describe that in the next paragraph; it may be ridiculous) but essentially some nice bonus for accepting new players, some way to make corporate/alliance life easier. Ideally something temporary, or based on new players brought in on a rolling basis. Not something combat related since that would cause everyone else to shed many tears.

The bonus that springs to mind comes from reading Reddit about how Brave Newbies moved from Barleguet to Sendaya, and are now moving from Sendaya to V-3 in Catch. It’s painful to move, people are complaining about how tedious it is to setup the logistics of jump freighters and/or shipping in general, everyone hates it. The general advice is often “just leave your stuff and purchase more”. As for a quick way to travel, just pod yourself. I’m all for consistent game mechanics but this borders on WTF territory.

Well right there is something that CCP can literally make better: introduce some absolutely unfair way for a corporation/alliance (with the right makeup of newbies) to relocate systems, especially when the move is towards null sec. That’s the ultimate idea right, move towards null? Well make it easier to do, especially if you are herding a bunch of newbies, like Brave Newbies is. Right now it seems to take 5-8 players plan for 3+ weeks and then spend even more time hauling… no, that sounds very tedious. Somewhere along the way you stop being a UPS/Fedex shipping/logistics simulator and focus on the space gameplay instead.

The move can have some restrictions, but as a reward for whatever metric CCP comes up with, create some one-time or once-every-yearish way to easily move to a lower security system. Easy as in, click a button and all the stuff transfers. On the back-end, some item database gets an updated “current system” field and *poof* the alliance moves over downtime. Undock in new system and start doing whatever, exploring, fighting, claiming sovereignty, blowing up anyone not blue, etc.

There could be other outrageously unfair yet convenient and not horribly game breaking reward as well; this is the only one I can think of.

But it all circles back to the initial premise about subscribing and new players. The bottom line is EVE might not have wide appeal and perhaps those subscription numbers are to be expected from the game design. A large chunk of the game is watching your ship move from system to system. The activities that most people appear to have fun doing, and that is PvP ranging from small gang roaming to fleet battles, are a steady drain on ISK. Maybe retention would improve if the basics of producing goods weren’t so tedious (I know Sugar Kyle has blogged on how absolutely miserable it is to update a large number of market orders, or fit a huge number of ships, or create dozens of identical contracts; unfortunately I can’t seem to find any of those posts) which would go a long way to encouraging more money making activities.

Focusing efforts on getting more of the current 40% soloers/miners/missioners to the current 10% diverse/group might be the best use of resources.

EDIT: more persistence and I found some of the posts I remember from Sugar Kyle. These aren’t necessarily newbie issues and are more enhancements and improvements for the non-combat players. It could be not every newbie wants to pewpew and everybody does need a way to make ISK… enhancements along these lines might assist in retention as well.

Contract Feedback – how tedious dealing with lots of contracts is
logistics – tedium with shipping, fitting 200+ ships

EVE – Looking for the Exit

Since I moved into a wormhole, I spent some time practicing what will be a typical ritual: scanning for the static exit. I need to be able to do this in general, and especially for those times when I need to go back to K-space to buy stuff and then haul it back in.

So I logged in on Aurora, got situated, and launched probes.

I did the exploration tutorials several times, but this was different, it seemed a lot harder. I spent a lot of time shift-dragging, centering probes, trying to manipulate the 3D starmap view – all the while thinking that fundamentally projecting a 3D map onto a 2D surface will make things challenging – and dancing around the objective for a long time.

N110 Unstable Wormhole
N110 Unstable Wormhole

I made some progress after about 10 minutes and got a definite wormhole. In fact, I could see it was an N110, which leads to hisec. But I couldn’t get good enough resolution to warp to it.

Wormhole Found!
Wormhole Found!

After fiddling around for at least another 10 minutes, I finally resolved the signature enough to warp to it. In the pic above, I’m all the way zoomed in, which makes mouse movements awkward. But even though I was all the way zoomed, I wanted to zoom more. Somehow I need to figure out a more systematic way to zoom in (via mouse wheel), center the view (right click drag), rotate about various axes (left click drag), move the probes (silver handles, grab bubble edges to shrink scan area), and hone in on my target faster. I suppose practice makes perfect and unlike the tutorial exploration missions, I’ll need to do this potentially every time I leave to go buy stuff in K-space.

I think some UI changes would help with the star map manipulations. I’m not sure what, perhaps something like a mini globe in the corner with clickable arrows for rotating latitude and longitude (more accurate astronomical terms: right ascension and declination).

It probably took 30 minutes total, counting all time spent since I logged in. That’s fine, but I need to get faster because I don’t want to spend that much time every time.


Anyway, I warped to the N110 wormhole to look at it up close. And it looked pretty cool, with a nice shimmer effect.

I figured I might as well solidify my understanding of static exits, entering the wormhole from the W-space side. I expected to appear in hisec right next to a K162, formed by my travel. The K162 would also be my way “home” to my W-space system.

K162 to home
K162 to home

Thankfully, after reading and skimming a lot of info on wormholes, this is exactly what happened. The hisec system I showed up in turned out to be Yarebap, and sure enough, a K162 was right there next to me. And humorously enough, I took the screenshot when I was 1337 m away.

Once back in W-space, I attempted to share the bookmark (to the N110) with another character. This proved to be surprisingly tricky. I CTRL-dragged it to my cargo hold, and then dropped it into email, but Summer couldn’t use it. Yes, CTRL-drag even though everything I read said SHIFT-drag – maybe my keyboard is mapped oddly.

I tried to contract the resulting Wormhole Bookmark, but the contract UI would only let me pick items from a station, not the item in my cargohold. OK I can see that, since it isn’t like I’m leaving the item where the other char can get it. So then I tried to jettison the bookmark… it showed up in space as a Cargo Container and I logged in on Summer to see if I could retrieve it. And, I couldn’t find it, even after adding “Scatter Container” and “Spawn Container” to the overview.

Dammit, nothing is convenient in EVE, is it?

After digging through more menus, I found “Cargo Container” under Celestial. I can’t say I expected it there (mostly because all the containers I’ve dealt with in missions have been Scatter or Spawn, not Cargo), but it worked – allowing me to open the cargo container and grab the bookmark. In turn, dragging that to the Personal Location section of People & Places added the N110 Wormhole to Summer’s bookmarks. Whew, what a lot of work to share info between two chars.

Somebody else in the corp happened to bookmark the same static exit, so perhaps the easier way for me to share the location info is to file it under the Corporate Locations section, if I have the ability to do that.

Anyway, it felt like a productive session even though all I did is figure out how to leave and come back, and share a scan result from one char with another. Back on Aurora, the bookmark I dragged away was gone so I suppose the next step is to figure out how to non-destructively share the info, if that is possible. Or, I’ll always have to make sure I leave one char in the wormhole in order to scan for the static exit. I hate to depend on somebody else being on and having the time to scan so I can re-enter!

EVE – Looking For My Corp

I’m now a member of Foo Jung Daan, on Aurora and Summer!

It took a few days to get through the application process, and few extra questions/answers email. I understand, EVE is a different as far as well, nearly everything. For example, after joining FJD, I had to… figure out how to get there. I can’t think of another MMO where this might happen, on the same scale at least!

There’s a little more to that story. FJD operates out of a wormhole, and there isn’t a fixed location from K-space (known-space, the regular systems EVE is set in) to get there. From inside the wormhole, there is an exit to somewhere, but the system the exit links to isn’t constant – after some time, it decays and spawns to a new location.

When I joined, that K-space system was Nirbhi. It wasn’t particularly convenient for me (granted, it probably wouldn’t be in general), since it was ~28 jumps away for Summer and ~4 jumps from Aurora, but I got them both there to scan.

After arriving and scanning, all I found in the system was a Gas Nebula. That’s cool but no WH to my corp mates.

Closing in on a Gas Nebula
Closing in on a Gas Nebula

The next day, the new system was Otomainen, only ~35 jumps away from Nirbhi. And, a system without contiguous hisec access. In other words, getting there meant going through losec… ugh.

Many Jumps Away
Many Jumps Away

Aurora can fly a tech 2 covert ops frigate (Buzzard) but Summer isn’t there yet, so I did the best I could placing a Prototype Cloaking Device 1 on her Imicus. Autumn can also fly a tech 2 covert ops frigate (Anathema) but just barely, but I left her out of FJD – she’ll just be my wandering capsuleer, besides I only plan to PLEX one more month training on her.

Anyway, I set my destination to Otomainen, but stopped in Airmia to check the map, particularly nearby systems for signs of PvP activity (Stars->Statistics and “Escape Pods Destroyed” and “Ships Destroyed”).

Ships Killed
Ships Killed

The map looked decent, or decent enough. There was ship killing activity – hey it’s losec! – but not on the gate camping scale (serious gate campers would likely prefer a system that is a transit pathway, not an island). So I jumped…

Gate to Losec
Gate to Losec

… with the goal to get the heck out the other side ASAP.

Fortunately my transit through losec was without incident, and once in Otomainen I quickly found the wormhole.


This is the first wormhole I’ve seen in-game, and it’s really cool looking.

After jumping through, I basically warped to the corp’s tower and then logged off to do the same thing on Aurora.

So basically my first few hours in the corporation, spread out over several days, was spent traveling around New Eden to get to W-space to where they are.

I’m looking forward to trying out some exploration and/or planetary interaction, but I’ve got a bunch of stuff to figure out first: the logistics involved with living in a wormhole. I’m gonna be swamped learning stuff in the short term!

On Being Social

Well I got busy recently, and was out of town over the weekend, so I haven’t done much in any game. What I have done is open up Steam and have been going through my collection of games with the goal of playing every one at least an hour and then either keeping or uninstalling.

I’m guilty of grabbing games during a sale, and then ignoring them. I don’t feel too bad, since those sales can be spectacular, but all the same I don’t need dozens of games taking up space or cluttering up my library. What I’ve done is make a category called “hidden”, and when I uninstall a game I set its category to “hidden” and just keep that folder (tree view) closed. So I don’t see those games listed unless I click the “hidden” category. It helps me organize a little bit. πŸ˜‰

So far I’ve played and recategorized about 10 games, with a few more to check out in the near future.


I finally applied to a corporation in EVE. There are various well known benefits so it is time to stop being a solo player and get a little more involved. I’ll write more when I hear one way or the other… I figure I can’t really say too much right now. EVE is just different with respect to joining others due to the possibilities of spying and theft or even providing info on where they are located.

So I trained the suggested minimum skills and sent off an application with an API key. I guess I’ll hear back sometime…

As a side note, several recent blog posts discuss a related topic: group content and the ability of a “new” player to enjoy game content:

All in all, lots to think about and some great point about what EVE does do right (i.e. the design of the game allows it).

I’ll say that for me, I fall squarely in Mabrick’s description of things; the idea that Jelly Knight’s experience is what a new player will have is almost unbelievable. More like maybe 10% of new players are lucky enough to get that and probably a lot less.

EDIT: Wilhelm replied and I wanted to add a clarification. The above posts focus on different aspects of EVE. Wilhelm and Syncaine are pointing out that new players can get to “end game” content in EVE, right off the bat. EVE doesn’t prevent that; a new player can contribute immediately. Mabrick points out (and I agree) that this is atypical; the average new player doesn’t get that experience. CCP’s own data on player retention supports that – see Jester’s post in the next paragraph.

Just in case you skipped those linked posts above, CCP itself mentions new player retention issues. I’ll just link to Jester’s post with additional info including the chart of interest. I get my 10% number from CCPs stats on new player retention, 50% quit, 40% solo, and only 10% group/diverse. So I’m guessing that at best roughly 10% of players that hang around for a month get to see stuff as cool as Jelly Knight did on his first day.

When I first started, it took a while to figure out what to do and eventually I joined EVE University. Everything I was able to learn about EVE came from outside EVE – websites, even what corporations were good for beginners to join – and not within the game. EVE prides itself on allowing various play styles and latitude on what is acceptable, which happens to include scamming and ganking. Newbies are the lowest hanging fruit to pick on so they make the easiest victims. This in turn makes it tough to encourage grouping or joining a corporation, due to a vast array of choices that are out of the game’s control (specifically, what player corporations form and how those players act) and the fact that a certain percentage of new players aren’t going to have a good experience. No matter how awesome Jelly Knight’s first day was, that simply isn’t typical.

It’s a tricky problem but I know this: it is up to CCP and/or the playerbase in general to fix it, because the new player doesn’t have the knowledge or information to figure it out. CCP can encourage group content, but if the game funnels new players to PvP or grouping (i.e. to other players), then be assured the scammers/gankers will also note this and figure out a way to be there with open arms to victimize the steady stream of easy pickings.


There isn’t an easy way to say this, but the kinship I’m in is dying. Well more like atrophying. Over the last several months, the active membership has dwindled away to 4-5 people, as far as I can tell.

LoTRO is very solo-friendly and I haven’t been stopped trying to do any content, but looking at the guild roster and seeing that only 3-4 others log in on a weekly basis makes me think of looking for a more active kinship.

After I get settled in EVE, where being in a corporation is more important for stuff I want to do in-game, I’ll probably do some looking in Middle Earth.

Nothing against my kinship – back in the day it was a ton of fun to raid, run dungeons in Moria, help with epic quests – it is only that the level of activity has almost disappeared.

Guild Wars 2

I kind of ran out of gas in the 70s with my ranger. The completionist in me is bothered by this and I want to get back and level that char to 80, and do some stuff I liked such as jump puzzles and slowly work on map completion. If I can do that, I’ll have two level 80s to adventure in Tyria with.

When GW2 came out, my old guild from Guild Wars went to Kaineng. Meanwhile, a RL friend started up on Maguuma, so that’s where I went. After a few months, everybody in that Maguuma guild drifted away except me, dabbling on in an apparently dead guild on Maguuma. Due to ANET’s curious design of not being able to tell when the last time somebody in a guild logged on, I had no idea of players were still around and I was just missing them, or if everyone actually stopped playing. My RL friend stopped so he didn’t know if others did as well.

A few weeks ago ANET allowed free transfers between realms, in an effort to balance competitiveness is WvW (I think). It just so happens that Kaineng was available for free transfer, because it was near the bottom in WvW rankings, but I didn’t care. I took it and transferred from Maguuma to Kaineng. The way I see it, if I do any WvW at all and Kaineng rises from the bottom of the rankings, I can claim some credit for helping out. πŸ˜‰ haha

However, I haven’t contacted anyone from my old guild just yet. Not that I don’t want to say hi and rejoin, I just don’t want to do that and then not be reasonably active. So I’ll wait until I’m sure I’ll be somewhat active before contacting anybody.

The GW guild used to have a core of 5 or so players that were active, including myself, so if that holds up in GW2, that would be just fine. I know that if the same group is even half as active as we were in the GW days, I’d be able to do a bunch of the group content, all the dungeons in quest and story mode, WvW, etc.

Secret World

I hate to mention this game only because of the lack of playtime I’ve put in.

This game has great, challenging quests, an interesting storyline to follow, a unique skill system, all classes available to a character… I just need to find a consistent amount of time each week to play.

I enjoyed the time I’ve spent, but haven’t made it very far at all. One RL friend picked it up but we haven’t met up in game yet. Maybe that would help if we could set up 2-3 hours a week to meet and play.

I think it would be ideal to play this game (modern world horror/conspiracy setting), EVE Online (sci-fi setting) and LoTRO or GW2 (fantasy setting), to balance out different game mechanics and designs, so as to not overload on fantasy MMOs for example.


Anyway, I mostly solo in MMOs, but that’s just for convenience – being able to hop in/out whenever, set my own schedule, play as long or as short as I want, take long break, come back, etc. There are lots of advantages. But it would be fun to group up occasionally, that’s a lot of fun as well. So I’m eyeing changing things up in EVE and LoTRO, maybe in GW2, and figuring how to get some TSW in there as well. Whew!

LoTRO – Helm’s Deep Arrival

Naerys finally made it to Helm’s Deep… I’m in danger of catching up to current content in Middle Earth! If that should somehow happen, I’ve got Dhrun to advance and Autumn as well, thank goodness for alts. πŸ˜‰


The scenery in Westfold is pretty: here we have a calm meadow, with a majestic mountain in the background, along with a scenic waterfall and river, a sneaky photo-bombing goat partly hidden in the tall grass, and on the left, a city going up in flames… ?! Fortunately I arrive at Helm’s Deep just in time… to help carry some barrels of weapons around. Well it isn’t glamorous but every little bit helps, haha.

Horse Art
Horse Art

The artwork is amazing, I think Turbine’s artists do a great job with every zone. I like these horse tapestries and sculptures and the shield-maiden banner.

Naerys reached level 94 and is at Vol 3 Book 13 Chapter 3. I peeked ahead in the LoTRO Wiki and I will soon experience an “Epic Battle”. I’ve heard mostly bad things about them but I’ll go in with an open mind.