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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Interview with Dierdra Vaal

Do you have a website and forum thread? If you've got links that would be good.

So, how long have you been playing?

I started playing in august 2006, so over two and a half years now.

What have you done in Eve during that time?
I've been with Eve University, new eden's largest new player training corporation, for almost my entire eve-life. I'm the director of training at the moment. Besides my director duties I do a lot of exploration, and when Eve University is at war I participate in fleets and pvp gangs, both as FC and regular pilot.

What real life experiences do you have that will aid you in your elected position?
First, I was a member of the first Council of Stellar Management, and as representative I achieved a very high succesrate in bringing items to the council, justifying their merit and bringing them ultimately to CCP.

Second, I'm a computer science student with a personal focus on game design. Understanding how software development works has helped me understand why CCP does or doesnt do certain things.

What's your favorite thing to do in Eve?
That is a difficult question to answer - and it really depends since my favourite aspect of Eve is the variety of things one can do. Right now, low sec exploration and wormhole exploration is probably my favourite past time.

What changes do you believe could be made to make it easier to do that?
As the exploration system has recently had a large overhaul already, I'm quite happy with the way things are now.

What do you think of the recent Bob/Goonswarm fiasco?
Its not a fiasco, depending on who you ask :P It also is a multi-facetted ... 'incident'.

I've talked to both sides of the conflict and I've heard conflicting reports on the mechanic that allowed BoB to be disbanded. Goons say the setup BoB had for their alliance was a choice, and one that left them vulnerable to a defecting director. BoB say directors in an executor corp can always disband the alliance and that there is no alternative setup. I havent been able to verify either way because I don't want to risk disbanding my own alliance, however at this point it doesnt matter much. Stealing the BoB name is an understandable move on goonswarms part, although not a very nice one. Still I suppose war isnt very nice :P I'm not a huge fan of BoB's new name though.

Its too bad that a big alliance was so suddenly removed, however it also seems it was the only way possible as the years of warfare haven't really pushes either side out of 0.0. If nothing else, it was very interesting to see how people fought without the aid of cynojammers and jump bridge networks. Additionally, from what I've recently seen BoB/Kenzoku is slowely regaining systems in the southwest, so I think the battle for delve isnt over yet.

Do you have an opinion on the Renaming of KenZoku to Bob Reloaded?
CCP, eventually, followed their own policies correctly and didnt rename Kenzoku. I do wonder why it initially took them so long to 'investigate' the petition, only to totally overlook the age of the Kenzoku alliance. I'd like to hear from CCP exactly how the whole mess happened.

What do you think of the re balancing of ECM?
I'm ambivalent on the issue. I'll start by saying I was an avid Falcon pilot with Recons V and one of those annoying 210km optimal range Falcons. While I can understand that such a long range is hard to counter, I also believe ECM was one of the few anti-sniper methods out there. The longer range also allowed tactics that rewarded fleet commanders to think ahead, tactically. Bringing them into close range combat (my rigged Falcon now only has 70km optimal) is a mistake I think. The rook with its higher damage and higher tank would've made a better close range brawler.

Do not forget that the other recons all have a secondary EWAR type (webs, warp disruption, nos/neut) bonus, giving them added utility in combat. ECM ships only have ECM. On top of that, it is much harder to fit a decent tank on a Falcon and still have it being useful as an ECM ship, whereas my Curse has great EWAR capabilities and a great tank!

Ultimately, while ECM (specifically the Falcon) may have been a bit too strong before, I think they nerfed it more than was necessary now.

What do you think of the re balancing of Stealth Bombers?
I think there's good and bad changes. Giving SBs a covops cloak was good - something they've needed for a long time. Increasing the usability of bombs is a good thing as well - they still remain underused but hopefully they'll become a bit more popular now.

I'm not sure how I feel about the torpedo changes. Comparing the alpha damage from my cruise missile SB to my torpedo SB it seems alpha damage has been reduced a lot, while the torpedoes are no longer effective against anything smaller than a battlecruiser. And it is the bigger ships that have enough tank to withstand a few volleys of torpedoes. Meanwhile, stealthbombers are as fragile as ever, and require to fight closer to their enemy now.

No doubt the new SBs will be used in different tactics than before. Afterburners and tracking disruptors instead of sensor dampeners, working in groups to take down bigger targets (as long as said targets dont have drones, and just about every battleships can carry at least 5 warrior II's or Hobgoblin IIs...). Still I think I'd have preferred it if they had kept their cruise missiles. We'll have to see what tactics people come up with.

How much of an affect should players have on the broader Eve storyline?
A difficult question. While I love reading the Eve background stories, I'm not really a roleplayer. One problem with people participating in story events is that its easy to get a LOT of people wanting to participate - especially in Eve where we have such a large single-shard community. The other problem is ofcourse the time and effort it takes on CCPs part to write alternative storylines (which would then go unused), organise ingame events, etc etc.

I think it would be great in an ideal world, but I dont know if its realistically possible.

Does it bother you that Veldspar is more profitable than any low sec minerals?
Since I don't mine it doesn't bother me personally, but I recognize that it is a problem. Mining as a whole can use many improvements I think, in terms of gameplay and profit. Getting miners into low sec will always be a problem though, regardless of the ore value, because of the high piracy risk.

What will you do personally to bring about true transparency to the position you're seeking?
Both the logs and minutes are already publicly available and the CSM wiki helps as well. I don't think there is a real problem with transparency. Additionally, I'm always willing to talk to people in private convos.

What's your opinion on current war declaration mechanics?
War dec mechanics are a big issue for me, and I believe they are thoroughly broken. This was covered in my CSM term and CCP have agreed that the current system is basically 'pay to grief' rather than a proper way to escalate conflicts into empire space. Although there are many ideas for fixing the mechanic, I think the core problem is that currently the aggressor has full control of the war (when it starts, when it ends, how long it takes), while the target has no control whatsoever. I believe a proper war dec system will allow both parties to have equal control over the war. How should this be done? Well that is a more difficult question and one I cannot answer right away.

What changes would you make if any to create a more newbie friendly environment in Eve?
As a member of Eve University, I see newbie problems a lot. The new New Player Experience and certificates have improved matters quite a bit but there is still a lot that can be improved. One thing we keep seeing is that it is hard for new players to choose a corporation to mission for. There are so many, and new players do not know yet how to pick the right one for them. This is an aspect of the NPE that can be improved.

Other than that, a more intuitive interface would benefit everyone, including (maybe especially?) new players.

What is the single largest imbalance in game, and how would you fix it?
I dont think there is a single largest imbalance. Some people will say Titans are overpowered. Some will say mining is not profitable enough. Some will say empire war decs are the biggest problem. Ultimately, the largest imbalance changes for everyone depending on their playstyle. For me personally at this moment it would be empire war decs, however that may not be the biggest imbalance in the game.

So, I cannot answer this question.

Anything to add?
Only that I've proven myself in the first CSM, and have received recommendations from past and current CSM members (LaVista Vista, Ankhesentapemkah, Bunyip). A vote for Dierdra Vaal is a vote for quality representation!


  1. Great interview and I'll be watching this CSM contest very closely. As a newer player, who joined with several friends last year, I can attest to the difficulty of finding a good corp. Despite having widely divergent game-goals, we ended up banding together, so all was not lost, but this is not an optimal situation.

  2. You didnt talk about your bounty system!
    Is the strongest point on your campaing!

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