March 20, 2015

CSM X Results

Well, I can't say I'm not disappointed a little, but it really isn't bothering me which is nice. I would have loved to have been on this CSM in particular, but who knows? Maybe I'll run for CSM XI! No promises though. Besides, I don't have time to be bummed because I'm going on a company ski retreat eight hours after I write this! I'll try my hand at snowboarding for the first time, and I predict painful results.

Back to the CSM.

I was surprised to see a few people elected, and surprised a few people weren't, but overall the CSM is pretty much a done deal save one or two seats. That's not really the most ideal end result as far as getting a lot of different world views, but it is what it is, and that is as much EVE as anything, so I'm not complaining in the least.

I got to catch a little bit of the keynote, just until right after the CSM announcement basically, before heading into meetings, so I'll have to go back and watch the whole thing in total. I tried catching up via Reddit, but it's not enough detailed information for me. I'm especially intrigued to see what was said about the roadmap and all this I hear about gates with fittings. Hopefully it'll be up tomorrow so I can watch them all over the weekend, if they're on a day-long delay.

I also saw something about alliance logos. Have you seen our alliance logo yet? It's amazing. Lioso made it. He does cool pictures. He did my last website header in fact. Anyway, if you haven't seen it before: BEHOLD!

This will definitely be in game when the logos are available again!

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March 10, 2015

Contract Recaps

I just realized on the way home from work tonight that I had skipped a contract recap! That means you'll be getting two in one post this time! We'll just jump right in:

Contract Type: POCO Destruction

Our employer wanted us to destroy some POCOs in a wormhole. Some of these were NPC POCOs and others were player POCOs. We didn't expect much resistence, but there was a decent chance of a response fleet.

This was a pretty straightforward contract except for one thing: the timeline required that we launch the contract at a fairly bad time. It landed a few hours before the EU timezone really kicked in and way before the US timezone was active. I wasn't sure if we were going to have enough pilots for the initial push to make headway early so we could wrap it up quickly. Luckily we had some allstar EU and US players who weren't at work that handled it all very quickly. They reinforced or destroyed every POCO in the wormhole back to back, and by the time reinforcements came to relieve them, there weren't many left to hit.

Two days later they came out and we re-emerged to destroy them all in pretty quick succession. We had to wait a few minutes in between some of the POCOs, but that was nice since the wait was just long enough for a bio break and some food, but not so long that you got bored.

The contract itself was completely successful, but obviously it would have been nice to have a fight too. We ended up with six player POCOs and two NPC pocos destroyed.

Our second contract was very last minute, and pretty late US timezone. Once again, our heros in the allaince stayed up way past a sensible hour to help make this contract successful as well.

Contract Type: POS Defense

Our employer had a POS that had been reinforced by a kitchen sink: Tornadoes, Ishtars, Dominixes, and a handful of stealth bombers. We expected a similar fleet composition for the destruction attempt with the possibility of Dreadnoughts so we fielded an Ishtar fleet with Lachesis, Scimitar, and Maulus as support. The plan was to time our arrival with the enemy fleet - to let them get into position and begin their assault and have our employer and his corp grab tackle as we swooped in.

Things moved according to plan: we were moving a dozen or so jumps to get into position and were four jumps out when the employer announced the enemy fleet was on grid. He was in the POS shields ready to nab tackle when given the order. There were a few other members of his corporation online, but to our dismay they weren't capable of participating due to lack of combat-allocated SP or understanding of mechanics that weren't realized until too late. We had to make due with one tackle and hope for the best.

Once we got two jumps out the employer was told to go ahead and start making his approach for tackle. Unfortunately that attempt failed and as we were landing, no one was tackled so they just warped away.

We found their POS and kept eyes on them while our Scimitars began repping the tower. The employer brought in his Thanatos to hep rep but he didn't have any triage. He was strongly encouraged to go fit triage and instructed on how to position his Thanatos so it wouldn't be in any real danger if things went down after all. That took probably 15 minutes before he was fit out properly and in position though. Our scimitars did some serious work.

Eventually the enemy fleet began to log off, realizing there wasn't much they could do here and we left the employer to finish repairing his POS after about 45 minutes or so of our logistics helping in that regard.

So again, a nice, clean, successful contract but kind of a bummer that there wasn't a fight. Our employer clearly wasn't experienced, but I can't blame him. That's what we came for. It's unfortunate that it was such short notice or I think we could have helped prep him a bit better. I always like doing that, helping the employers that want to get involved to be useful. Often it's a new experience for them and is out of their comfort zone, but they always have a ton of fun. In the end he was still very happy with the result, and as a mercenary I certainly can't complain about a paycheck.
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March 7, 2015

California Summer, June Can't Come Fast Enough

My first week in California comes to a close! It's been absolutely awesome. My work is amazing. The entire office is full of really cool people who show up every day with passion and energy and focus with a desire to kick ass. It's such a refreshing change from my last work where every day was like pulling teeth, everyone was always angry, and people were more interested in not being blamed for things than getting work done. What a massive difference the cultural atmosphere makes. I come into work early and leave pretty late every day because time flies by. I've got so much work, but it never feels like a drag.

My first week here also coincided with GDC. I didn't get to spend any time at the conference, but I did get to go to a few GDC parties and meet a lot of cool people which was great. It turned out to be kind of a bad week to actually start working here since it was so hectic, but it's worked out alright! Next week should be a better indication of a normal week.

I'm still trying to find a place to live which is really difficult. I'm surprised that it's such a struggle. As you may know if you've been reading for a while, I used to be a sales and marketing consultant in apartment leasing. I figured I'd be able to use that experience and wam, bam, thank you ma'am find a place to live really quickly. Newp. It's ridiculous. I've been staying with a really nice family during the weekdays, but I can only do that for another week so I hope I can find a place by then!

So I was going to try and segway the California weather with summer, but it doesn't really fit anywhere, so let's just say: I'm super excited for this summer! I'm sure you've already read Fozzie's Novella Part One and Two, and that's the crux of my excitement. There are some tweaks that will likely be made, and I think others have done great service to that topic already so I won't rehash that information. What I want to do is talk about how this is going to effect mercenaries.

In short: big boom.

I can pretty safely predict a huge upswing in sovereignty changing hands as soon as this system goes live. We'll see everyone pretty much scramble to take what they can, play with the new mechanics, and generally just have fun. But shortly thereafter, and probably in the midst of that, we're going to have some very interested people who are having trouble any gains and they're going to call for help. Some of those people will be in alliances and coalitions large enough that they'll look internally for that help, and we likely won't have much involvement with them. But there's a size of nullsec-interested groups, call it medium, that don't have that luxury or even combined force who are going to want to get in the game and ensure their efforts succeed the first time. And they're going to look for mercenaries.

I predict a really strong upswing in the mercenary business come June. Obviously we'll reap the benefits of that, being able to support offenses or defenses, control territory for node-grabs, disable station services - you name it. But I also predict an upswing in other mercenary corporations that are going to get hired for this type of thing. Right now nullsec mercenary work is pretty much a barren landscape. There's us, BL, and PL. I imagine the latter will see more than one contract every few years that they're currently receiving, but I'll be interested to see how their members react to having to move so often if they want to actually become a player - my guess is it won't go over too well.

That's another interesting part of this system that mercenaries will have to contend with: the length of these events. Currently, a sovereignty focused deployment and contract would last a few weeks if not longer. That's fine for deploying 100-ish carriers of stuff. Plenty of time to recover your in-game fatigue and your RL fatigue from the boring mechanics. But post-June these things aren't going to last a month or more, it's going to be a matter of days. There's a delicate balance here between the employer and the mercenary too. An employer may be willing to pay you to stay for a week to make sure everything is smooth, but if the actual content only lasts for two days it's boring and let's be honest, the mercenary career is still about having fun. So the mercenary CEO can't just take long contracts to cover the Fatigue aspect because the fun has to be a consideration.

Instead, and I can only speak for ourselves, I think we'll be looking to reinvent the way our supply chain works. We haven't discussed it internally yet because there's simply not enough information to start making plans for a redesign like this, but if it does end up looking like most of these contracts are going to be super short term, something will have to be done. Either way, I can't wait to find out!

Hurry up, Summer!
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