Regular Updates Weekly

My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eve News Now: Episode 9

I've often said that the only person I can trust to do something is myself, and this video editing is no exception. My video editor didn't have time to do it this week, so I'm on the lookout for folks that do have time for it.



EN24 Writeup.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Faces of New Eden

Good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture.

I've been playing around a good bit with the character creator, and I've actually finished a couple of portraits.
First is Hallan

He looked a whole lot older on my first try, but I think I got it this time. Regardless, anything is a marked improvement on the OLD picture. I even incorporated a bit of Shae Tiann's original image at the top of this blog into the picture, which I was glad I could do.

Speaking of Shae...

I suppose the girls are doing better jobs with these because they don't spend forever laughingly making the boobs as big as they can make them. Some of the efforts I've seen out of guys(trying to make girl portraits) are pretty cartoonish.

The chicks though...

The only thing missing from Mynxee's portrait is the mischievous spark. It's very simple and not overdone, which is rare in portraits I've seen so far.

Here's a look at Venom Orchid.

Now that's a strong female presence, which I kinda like. I had an alt to make, and I spent some time with it, but nothing too fancy. I still wasn't too sure what to do, and had to deal with the incredible stress the portrait creator puts on my system.

But here's Jenny Heet.

It's fun, but not something I want to spend all day on, so I just spent a minute or two randomizing things until I got a look I wanted.

By the way, I believe Chribba may've been a little to eager to get back to mining...

Not sure what to make of that one. Jeez.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Can Change the Nature of a Man?

We do not fault the wolf for killing the sheep.
He is a wolf, and that is what wolves do.
The shepherd can stand back and say,
"Hey, Wolf! Go fight a lion, or a bear,
Leave these defenseless sheep alone!"
But it is the shepherd's job to defend the sheep.
If the wolf kills one, it is the shepherd's fault.
Old Brutor Proverb

First of all, I'm not sure if it's up yet, but I guested on the Lost in Eve Podcast. When it goes up, this link should take you there.

So, here we are again. Patch day. And with it, a discussion question: What was the most fun encounter/moment/roam you've ever had in EvE, and why? Leave a comment below.

My Answer:

I remember when I was back in Noir., and a couple of lucky rapiers had killed an Initiative Crane carrying 2 billion isk in loot. Stuff we getting moved out through wormholes when a Nighthawk was called. We were already on our catch bubble, just salivating in anticipation. We had 3 stealth bombers, 2 Rapiers, and a Falcon. This is as close to a perfect small camping set up as I can imagine. This guy was boned.

Or so we thought. Guy lands in the bubble, Rapiers get a tackle. Both Rapiers web him up, Falcon gets reliable jams, and we start pounding away. Only... he doesn't die. His shields barely even move. I'm doing the most damage to him and he's still taking like 30% of my full damage. WTF?

I remember saying clearly on Comms, "Don't worry guys, the Falcon will keep him jammed, he won't be able to kill anybody, it's just a matter of time before he dies,"

Then the Rapiers were complaining that somehow their drones were taking damage, and we immediately thought smartbombs, so they got pulled back in. Then... the Rapiers started to get hit, not hard, but often. Logs showed that FoF missiles were in use. And since the Nighthawk stubbornly wasn't going ANYWHERE, this started to be an issue. When one of our Rapiers was forced to warp out, I knew we were facing a problem.

If we put the drones out, we'd lose their DPS, because eventually they'd die... but if we didn't, the rapiers couldn't stay on the field. So we kept the drones out and tried to kill him.

Very, very slowly his shields were whittled away. We shot him while at his peak recharge for what seemed forever, and I overloaded my torps as long as I could. It was just enough to break it, and finally after 10 minutes the Nighthawk was on the wrong side of 33%. After that, we spent another 5 minutes burning down the rest of his shields, the whole time he was spamming FoF missiles at us.

Now I don't know this guy from Adam, and a quick look at his Battleclinic stats would indicate he's not the best pilot in the game by far(him getting caught in the first place was probably proof enough of that). But for one brief shining moment, he had all of my respect.

Simply because the end result was in question for so long, that's the most fun I've had ingame period.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crime and Politics

Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss.
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Part 1: Basic Government

Lets face it: nobody is a huge fan of government. Even if you enjoy the security of knowing someone's in charge, you're going to disagree with them. The problem is of course that government must exist, or else anarchy reigns.

Anarchy, while a perfectly valid form of government, is incredibly bad at waging war. Sadly, in EVE, the success of any one corp or alliance is measured in it's ability to not just wage war, but to win them. So if you want to have any sort of success, you've gotta submit to a government of some kind.

The most common, of course, is autocratic rule. Not because it's more effective(though it is), but because EVE's broken corp and alliance system mostly lends itself to that form. A CEO has ultimate control. And while he/she can appoint directors to handle things, that director cannot create shares to appoint a new CEO. And despite what damage a director can do, he cannot remove a CEO. The CEO, however, can revoke directorship anytime.

So the CEO has autocratic control, regardless of the governmental system we're talking about. Alliances are just a bit more complex, but mostly the Corp system just scales up. Ultimately the choice of an "executor" corp falls on the individual corps. In the end, any actual shake up can/will result in dissolution of the alliance. The CEO/Directors of the Executor corp can kick any corp he/she feels is disloyal.

So what we're left with is a system of autocratic control, with alternatives only presented as a function and choice of the players exercising that control. This is fine, and I'm not going to go into it too deeply, but there should be a CHOICE of governmental types outside of using the very broken "shares" system. Or fix that maybe. Simple solution? Give the CEO an ability to set a quorum required to bring something to vote. Then allow shares to be flagged non-transferable. Again, I'm not going into that too deeply for this discussion.

Regardless, we have no real democracies in the null sec alliances of 0.0, and if I'm wrong please correct me.

One might ask: Wait a minute, doesn't Majesta Empire have a democratic system? No, that's an oligarchy. The corps don't elect their CEOs, even if the CEOs vote on stuff. A true democratic system has to have at it's base the vote of the average member in mind. A representative democracy would elect it's CEOs, a consensus democracy wouldn't function at all, and a direct democracy would be scarily inefficient.

So is democracy possible in EVE? Yes and no. On corp scales, democracy can work. The choice of your CEO, the choice of wars, the choice of officers(or ministers, as some might call them), and the choice of direction an alliance takes can all be voted on.

But lets ask a question here, how up to date are you on the comings and goings of your members? How well informed are you on the success or failure of last night's mining op? The 10/10 plex attempt? The roam your members took into Delve this morning? How informed are you personally on the ship types and capabilities of every single member in your corp?

Are you informed enough? How about the next guy? How about that one really vocal guy you hate? Are you confident in the ability of even 51% of them to come to the right conclusion on something?

So am I saying democracy won't work? No, I'm saying that it won't work for a null sec alliance. 1000+ member alliances are generally big and sluggish to act. One should not add to that with an additional layer of red tape. Those who are slow to adapt will die. Ultimately, democracy won't work for even a small military corp either, for the same reason the real military isn't a democracy. For a smallish carebear corp? It's fine.

So the best we hope for is an oligarchy then. But even that will lend itself to a limitation in size. Ultimately you run into the same problems the Imperial Senate of Star Wars had. Too many people with various goals that don't sync with the common good.

What we see is that the best solution is an autocratic leadership structure, with governors controlling smaller plots.

So why isn't this the case in real life? There's a scale issue to start with, alliances in EVE are 5000 member entities at their peak. Democracy works on smaller scales(say, 3-100), and dictatorships work on the scales EVE experiences. As nations increase in size, democracy becomes more viable. However, you're slaved ultimately to the whims of similarly powerful entities with more effective governmental structures. Since EVE levels the technological playing field, as long as a similarly sized entity has a dictator at it's peak, you will need to make decisions equally fast.

Athens, as an example had a peak voting population of 40,000(and a full population of 140,000). Sparta on the other hand(with a much more dictatorial government) had a population total of 16,000. Guess which of these two dominated Greece militarily? Guess which one conquered the other? If you guessed Athens, you'd be wrong.

Ultimately this is just a description of how things are, rather than how they can be. My idealized system is a simple tiered autocratic system. That's not something I should go into, since it's mostly a mathematical exercise(instead of the sociology you've been subjected to already). It's also outside the scope of this discussion, since I'm just talking about the basics of government, not the internal workings. If you want a bit more on that, read this. It's not exactly accurate, but if you can separate the chaff from the wheat, you will learn a thing or two.

Part 2: Interaction of Alliances

Now in EVE, we don't just have single alliance governmental systems, we have "pet" alliances and "rental" alliances, along with regular old allies, working with parent alliances.

Allies operate on a mostly equal footing, where militarily and culturally similar goals lead to an alliance of interests. Sometimes it's as simple as protecting yourself from another group, and other times it's extending your collective influence. Either way, the coalition can dissolve with both entities still controlling whatever they controlled before. Most long term coalitions in eve are effectively Confederations.

Pets are effectively colonies and satellite states that fall in the sphere of influence of their neighbor. They can choose to be subservient or they can choose to leave, but there are no other choices. Though they are subservient, they have some value as allies, since they are kept around. Almost invariably that is a military value, because other assistance puts them in the renting category. Pets can evolve into full partners eventually. However, in EVE they rarely last long enough.

Renting alliances are in the worst position. Whereas pets have something inherent to them that gives them value, renting alliances must provide isk, ships, or services to keep what space they have. This is a more annoying place on the ladder to occupy, because even your allies hold you in poor regard. It's rare for a renting alliance to graduate to pet status, much less to a full ally. This is because even if you develop some value as an alliance, status quo is god. You were paying before, and unless something extraordinary happens, you'll keep paying.

The history of EVE is littered with literally hundreds of Alliances that thought they could parley renting null sec into a full fledged empire. The number of alliances that have succeeded are few.

All alliances in a particular sphere of influence, however large, are expected to provide material assistance to the war efforts of their side. This system is feudal in nature, and that will probably not change. The process is simple enough.
  1. The parent coalition(an Alliance of Kings) either engages in a war or is attacked.
  2. The parent coalition asks it's members(The Kings) to provide support.
  3. The coalition members(The Kings) ask their own pilots(Knights) and their renters/pets(Lords) to provide support.
  4. The Renters/Pets(Lords) ask their pilots(Knights) to provide support.
The support the pilots provide is a condition of their continued membership in the leadership structure(and by extension their control of land). The issues arise when the Knights show up on the field with a pitchfork and rags. They attempt to provide support, but fail miserably. Or an alliance of 600 provides 10 pilots. This brings up questions of "what is your value here,". Every alliance would do well to realize there are 50 or so Alliances in empire right now that would take your space in second. If you control it at the whim of your masters, eviction can be a swift and unpleasant process.

This I would not change. At the scales we're dealing with, the best system has already worked itself out. People can choose to operate with full allies or pets or renters... whatever works for their play style. The NC is more likely to consider it's pets/renters "allies" than IT is, for example. This is evolution in progress, and as with any social system, the end result will remain unknown.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Killmail Whores

You raise up your head
And you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says
“It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?”
And somebody else says, “Where what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God
Am I here all alone?”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
Bob Dylan - Ballad of a Thin Man

I had an interesting interaction with someone in my fleet chat Sunday that really irked me.

I'd said over comms that the killmails don't mean anything to me, and that I just want the NC to get it's moons back in Venal. What I got in reply was this:

Name Redacted > I care about KM... f**k moons.. and pve

Do I really need to explain everything that's wrong with that statement?

Say it with me guys: PvP does not mean killmails.

PvP means beating the guys you're fighting. Beating the guys you're fighting means denying them the goals they've set out to achieve and succeeding in the goals you've set out to achieve.

I've often wondered about the killmail culture of EVE. What kind of small minded person started the trend that merely killing another ship was important?

Are the the scouts, the probers, the logistics, the people who aren't actually doing the shooting somehow less than you because your ship got active modules on a target before it died?

There is so much more to EVE. Honestly, if all you go for are killmails, you're denying yourself a wide expanse of PVP in EVE.

That isn't to say that killmails aren't an integral part of EVE. Lets face it, even winning a battle and holding the field while losing 20-50 carriers is a terrible win. But you did win that battle. You might not win the next battle, and you might lose the war, but you won, for the moment.

A killmail is not itself success or failure. Instead it is one indication of success or failure.

Don't worry about beating the guy in front of you, worry about beating the other guys.

Oh, and I've bumped my scheduled post to Tuesday(yeah I'm publishing early), to better accommodate my work schedule. The ENN posts'll still be up on Saturday. Have a nice day.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eve News Now: Episode 5

Happy New Year Everybody.

I switched it to my main YouTube account. Didn't make much sense to use a separate one for it, and I figured switching now when I only have 25 subscribers would be easier than later. Again, I retooled the video style. Let me know what you think.

Listen here.

Watch and listen here.

Watch, listen, and read here.