July 23, 2014

Pod Journal: Girlfriend Edition

My girlfriend helped me with my last entry, which is why it actually looks like a thing. She also wanted to play around a little herself. She's always been artistic, she almost went to art school before deciding on education. Anyway, here's what she did. She forced me to agree not to claim it as my own.

She doesn't play EVE, hasn't ever played EVE, and never wants to try EVE, but she still had fun with this picture. She decided to paint one of my favorite ships!

Have I mentioned how much better she is compared to me?

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July 22, 2014

Pod Journal: ATXII Practice

I logged in for some actual flying a few days ago for the first time in a long time. It was nice to know that I haven't lost all my piloting skills, but was a definite wake up call. I found myself a little flustered a few times. How did I get all the way out here? Where is everyone else? Where'd my logistics go? But it was a lot of fun. I didn't get to participate much, but it did make me want more!

I decided to do a piece on one of the ships I've flown recently, a fine example of Ammarian supremacy. It's not one of my favorite ships, but there is definitely something special about the Amarrian Navy Issue models.

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July 20, 2014

EVE Has the Most Negative Players

OK, this isn't news but I haven't really been paying attention to the details like I used to for a while, so this thought has been coming up more and more when I read blogs or comments throughout the Eve-o-sphere. Honestly it's really annoying. It feels like people go out of their way to be negative just for the sake of it. Or maybe they do it because it's so rewarded and celebrated in our community. Say something snarky? Have an upvote. Your blog's entire focus is to sound derisive and gloomy? Become famous.

Look, I get it. We have a very cynical community. Our average player's age is much higher than other games. Maybe that means that we've lost our innocence as a community many years ago, now we can only see mortgages and bills and another day at an office we hate. These aren't problems that the average World of Warcraft player has, right? So it's only logical that our community is so much more downtrodden. Get over yourself!

We play an amazing game, one that's unlike any other game in the entire world. People try and emulate this game, people write thesis on this game, people study this game. Our game is wonderful, and incredible, and it's tons of fun. If you're not having fun, what are you doing here? I hate math. You don't see me showing up at math competitions and complaining about how derivative it is (pun totally intended).

If you love the game but hate what you're doing - do something else. This game doesn't tie you down to any one thing. You're not forced to continue playing as your Space Trucker class because there is no Space Trucker Class. You can be a pirate! Go for it! You can be a whatever! Go for it!

I understand that some career paths are harder than others, and it takes effort to do some things. Let's not forget I play as a mercenary in today's EVE. But I have fun, so I keep doing it. If you like something that's not easy, that's not lucrative, that's not popular, who cares? Quit being so whiny that you're not having everything you want.

And don't get me wrong. I don't think that EVE Online is perfect by any means. You can take a look at my blog and see quite a few examples of suggestions for changes or improvements. But it seems like our community has forgotten the difference between criticism and complaining. Instead of acting like adults, working together for a better future, we reward one another for pitching tantrums and congratulating the one who throws the biggest, most clever, and loudest fit. Is it any wonder CCP rarely listens to us as a collective whole?
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July 19, 2014

Pod Journal: ATXII!

Noir. has been putting in some hard hours for this year's tournament. I haven't been able to participate much, unfortunately, but I've seen the work that the guys have been doing. I have high hopes for us this year, and I think we'll impress some folks. Once it's all said and done, this is what I'm presenting the corp - no matter what!

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July 18, 2014

The Current State of....What's Next?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish up The Current State of Bounty Hunters like I wanted. I never did find enough bounty hunters to actually interview. Only one person responded, actually. I guess if you guys showed enough interest in hearing a conversation between me and that one person I could make it happen, but I think there really should be a few people in the conversation at the same time.

So my attention turns to what subject I'll tackle next on this series. I've decided I'll take on industry next. This one is probably the biggest, most expansive subject I've thought of taking on so far, which is a bit nerve-wracking. Especially since I'm nowhere near an expert on the subject. I'm going to have to rely on a lot of people to get this one right.

I'll be waiting a few weeks after Crius before I start writing it up though. I want to allow the changes to have a chance to be felt by those who interact with it before I begin exploring the subject too deeply. So I guess it's still a ways off - the first post may not happen for a month. I'll spend the time between now and then refreshing (read gaining) my knowledge on the subject in a general sense and trying to establish a starting point from which to measure its current state. Not an easy task in and of itself!

One of the cool things I've found about doing this series so far, even in its short life span, is how much I learn about the topics - even when I would consider myself to be very knowledgeable about the subject. So I'm kind of excited to see how much I can actually learn about something that has, traditionally, been completely opaque to me. I've never gotten into the crafting side of any MMO and EVE is no different. Will I come away an avid industrialist?! I kind of hope not, but who knows!
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July 17, 2014

What I Want from EVE

By this time in my life I think it's safe to say that I'll be playing EVE until it dies. Hopefully I'll be playing EVE as a part of Noir. until it dies, too. But I've found that as time goes on, and the game changes, what I get from it and what I want from it change too. This is only natural, of course. As humans, we grow and mature and desire things that once we had no interest in. What fulfills us changes as well, even when it comes to video games.

Back when I started seriously playing, in 2011, I was as inexperienced as anyone. I was just happy to be in fleets and to be part of Noir. Mercenary Group. Honestly I still am happy to be a part of NMG. But over the years, I realized that the traditional gameplay isn't what really excites me. I think the final piece of the realization-puzzle came at Fanfest, or perhaps a short time later when I was working in Washington DC. I came to realize that I enjoy the interaction of the people much more. Why can't I just play like this?

I've always been a natural leader, and I enjoy leading. I thought, once, that this trait would be a perfect fit for fleet commanding. I dabbled in it, never really becoming that proficient. I didn't really enjoy it as much as I thought I would though. It wasn't really the type of interaction that I was after. This thought struck me just a few days ago, in fact. It surprised me, since it came to me as I was playing Arma 3 as a fireteam leader. A fireteam leader, or FTL, is in charge of three other people, usually an automatic rifleman, an assistant automatic rifleman, an anti-tank rifleman.

A direct comparison can't be made between an FTL and, well, perhaps anything in EVE. An FC in EVE would be more comparable to the Commander (who is in charge of six or more fireteams and their squad leaders) than to an FTL. An FTL would be sort of like a wing commander if a wing commander had any actual duties, I guess. I haven't had the chance to lead a squad in Arma 3 (that is, two or more fireteams), but I think I'd like it too. So why do I like leading fireteams into battle but not fleets? Honestly, I don't know exactly. It's probably just the mechanical differences that I enjoy more in Arma than I do in EVE when it comes to leading.

I was talking with Sugar Kyle last night after I had been mulling it over in my head a few days. I basically told her I want to play by conversing with people more than I want to play by only shooting at them. She told me what I already knew, but was good advice nonetheless: it's a difficult way to play, and you have to be persistent. Oh, and you have to login, something I haven't been doing. Oops.

I know EVE has more to offer me. I'm not of the opinion that I've used the game up or anything. I just don't know how to jump into that area yet.

Anyway, what is it you guys want from EVE? Thinking about all this makes me wonder how other people are setting their goals and what they're using as benchmarks for achieving them.
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July 10, 2014

Summer Slumped

If you're a regular read of this blog, you've probably seen that I used to work for a company that had me working and traveling all of the United States for the past year, rarely having a day off. On multiple occasions I didn't have internet for over a month at a time, sometimes I didn't have reliable internet. I had very few friends in some of those locations (although I was fortunate enough to have friends in every location that I visited), so a lot of my time was spent with EVE, when I was able - which wasn't always often. So you can imagine the excitement I had when I was coming home for good after resigning from that company. More time for EVE was right behind more time for friends, family, and my own bed.

Now that I'm home, I've found that it's just the opposite of what I expected. I don't have any desire to log in to EVE. And that happens sometimes. You have to take breaks from this game every now and then, it's natural. But I didn't expect it to happen now of all times. This should be my glorious time of return. I should be waking up looking forward to getting in my ship and just undocking. But I don't.

Most of that, I think, is because we're off contract in Noir. I've historically always had lower participation off contract than on. I play for the contracts (although I've really been enjoying a new side of "playing" recently, which is as an unofficial diplomat). I get really excited when we have a specific objective that's being paid for by another player. I don't get excited about a random roam with some of our friendly blues. Maybe I should, but I don't. I probably should right now. I could use the practice. But I can't find it in me.

I think another small part of it is that I'm just a grunt now. I spent a year as the CEO of Noir. Academy and I could contribute, even when I couldn't log in, by doing a host of other things. I always enjoy being in charge, and now I don't have anything to really do. I've found that I enjoy the administrative side of leadership a lot more than I do the FC side of it. In EVE, anyway. I don't really relish the idea of reclaiming a position of leadership through FCing, but in Noir. (and EVE in general), that's the most surefire way of doing so.

I'll be logging in more often soon, for reasons, so I'll have to see what happens then. Maybe I've just fallen out of love with FCing because I haven't been able to do it in so long. Or maybe I'll just need to find a new way to play within Noir., something that excites me. What interesting ways have you guys found to play that you didn't first imagine?
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Arma 3 Mission Creation

I created my first mission for Arma 3 yesterday. It took me quite a while to get used to the editor, but once I got a handle on the basics it took me no time to make a full mission. I don't know how well it's going to be received yet, but I hope people will like it! It takes the situation with ISIS in northern Iraq as inspiration where an oil refinery just north of Baghdad has been taken. The Iraqi army, unable to stop the string of successful capturing of multiple key installations, has repeatedly requested assistance from the United States. While a small Marine force has been in the country for months, they're only acting as consultants. Until now.

Direct intervention has been granted, and a USMC platoon will move on the captured oil refinery, neutralize all enemy threats inside, and retake the refinery while avoiding critical damage to any of the sensitive infrastructure.

At least, that's the plan. It's yet to play out. Although in just a few minutes, we're going to do recon on the area and try to gather some information about the location and forces that we'll have to deal with once the official operation begins. It's a new thing Phantactical is doing, recon before an operation, and has some interesting effects on how the actual mission plays out. For instance, if the recon element is spotted, the enemies present may be reinforced, or they may shift their positions. All of this is done by the mission creator, not organically, of course, but it's still a cool function. If the recon element is successful, the operation proceeds with a host of intel that wasn't there before, giving a huge advantage to the main operation.

I've been really enjoying Arma lately, more than I ever have before - and I already loved this game! I can't wait to see what else is to come! I've got an idea for a DnD-esque game using Arma 3. We'll see how it goes though.
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