Category eve online

Does Freedom Need To Come With Such A Price?

Darkfall startup

Get if off! Get it off! Get it...oh, that's the UI.

I decided to take up Aventurine on their $1 for 7 days offer and created a Darkfall account for the US server. After all, I have wanted to give that game a try for a long time and it seemed like a good way of doing it without having to pony up the ridiculous amount of money they charge for it.

Most Darkfall-fans often point out that you will hate the game at first, because the UI and controls are so different from other MMOs. I would like to second that. The UI and controls are not only bad, they are both a piece of stinking dung. They are completely and utterly worthless, like they have been created for the sole purpose of driving new players insane by just being stupid.

I haven’t played much more than one hour of Darkfall in total, rerolling three times because my character looked too silly when I finally got in the game. The one I have now looks pretty cool, a wolf-man pirate ready for some sandbox action. But the game is such a hassle to play, there’s nothing intuitive about it at all. Fighting goblins, looting, harvesting…all a pain to everything my gamer self has learned about design over the course of my gaming career.

I can’t help feeling that the UI is a prototype, that it was built this way to get the game up and running so it could be shown to investors. Then Aventurine ran out of money and didn’t have time to replace it, instead the game kept being designed around that mess. Darkfall-fans, including SynCaine, often say that it is like that for design reasons. I don’t buy it. If it is, it’s at least not good design.

UI setup

My UI after fiddling around with for a while.

While I will keep playing Darkfall for a bit, for despite the glaring flaws of the new player experience and the insane babble in the chat channels the world is quite inviting, I was reminded of my first time in EVE. Three years ago, EVE Online was hardly a very nice place to start out in. The introduction to the game was, just like in Darkfall, a mess. But the cluster was inviting enough for me to hang around, and slowly the designers at CCP have created a better way for new players to get a feel for its potential.

Perhaps Darkfall will go down the same route, perhaps with future patches or expansions Aventurine can dig deep into their own designs and rethink certain aspects of their game. Because seriously, just because it is a full PVP, full loot, warfare-focused MMO doesn’t mean that it has to be designed in a way that would give most intelligent people a headache (I am sure Darkfall has many intelligent players, they just seem to stay away from the chat channels – like in most MMOs, come to think of it…). Or does it? Ryzom can also be quite hard for people to learn. Do “sandbox” and “convoluted controls and game mechanics” go hand in hand?  Do you think that a MMO with mechanics similar to World of Warcraft or Allods Online ever could be the foundation of a good sandbox game?

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Loving The Sandbox, Missing The Fantasy

EVE Online

I pwn noobs in space.

I do love EVE Online, even if some online drama and paranoia over the last week or so made me wonder if I really have the energy to move to 0.0 right now. Application has been processed, roles dropped, assets liquidated and jump clones prepped (more or less) but seeing the true paranoid face of EVE’s political alliances and corps is putting me off.

If I do the move I will end up in one of the most volatile areas of the cluster as well, straight into a war that will probably spiral out of control at some point. With Against All Authorities/U’K moving in on CVA-space in the south (death to the slavers!), Goonswarm losing their territories in Delve (and, well, the alliance itself) and Mostly Harmless fighting ev0ke in the north, the whole stage is set for all out war in more or less all of 0.0 space. It could turn out to be very interesting, and in some ways I want to get in there and get my hands dirty in case the whole madhouse starts crashing down. Then again, nothing might happen. I’m not that updated on the politics as I want to be.

For the record: Against All Authorities is the coolest alliance name in EVE. And no, I have not applied for membership with them.

Anyway, while the wonderful sandbox that is EVE Online is calling to me, I also miss fantasy. Yes, we have way too many fantasy MMOs to choose from, but still I miss it. Dwarves and elves and swords and stuff. I miss Lord of the Rings Online, which I haven’t played in a while. Between EVE, Global Agenda and Star Trek Online, I have enough sci-fi to last me a long time. I want a classic fantasy epic adventure! And no, I do not want World of Warcraft!

Darkfall

I pwn fantasy noobs.

So I’m looking at Darkfall…not to join up with a large guild/alliance, but perhaps settle down in a more tranquil area while the wars rage around me. You can only listen to Beu and SynCaine for that long before you want to give it a try. It also seems like Aventurine have done a lot of work when it comes to ambient things like monster and creature AI.

Of course, guild names like “No daddy not again” and “Genital Asphyxiation” make me dread the community (even though the latter is kinda fun). And yeah, the whole PvP forum warrior gang that seems to infest the game. Imagine, a sandbox fantasy PvP game without the nutcases. What an utopia that would be.

So, anyone with me? Let’s all move to Darkfall, be nice noobs, find ourselves a calm area of the world (ha!) and just…fish. And cry if someone starts ganking us. I practiced in EVE a few days ago, when a Mega had my Brutix as a snack in a low-sec exploration site.

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EVE Blog Banter SE – Follow Up

I’d just like to say thanks to CrazyKinux and how honored I feel for ending up on second place in the Blog Banter Special Edition. An extra shout out and congratulations go to Lea, who won, and ChainTrap who came in third. Of course, an extra-extra shout out to all the contestant, all 56 of them! A lot of great entries on that list! (extra note to CK – my e-mail is petter at dontfearthemutant dot com)

I had certain plans to write about how annoyed I got in (not at) EVE a few days ago, but I will save that for another day.

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A Grand And Pretentious Love Declaration To EVE Online

In this special edition of the EVE Blog Banter, CrazyKinux himself asked “[w]hether you’ve logged into the game every day since its launch in 2003, or you’ve taken one or several sabbaticals from your capsuleer career, you’ve always come back to New Eden don’t you. Why is that? [...] To put it simply: Why do you love EVE Online so much?”

The EVE Blog Banter invites an enthusiastic group of EVE Online bloggers to address–within a specified time period–a common topic related to EVE. The resulting articles may be short or long, funny or serious, but are always great fun to read! Direct questions about the EVE Blog Banter to crazykinux@gmail.com. Other EVE Blog Banter articles will be listed at the bottom of this post when the final list has been compiled!

My EVE Online avatar

My Internet spaceships face over the last three years. Can't wait to see her walk around in a station.

Over the last year or so, most of my time in EVE Online has been spent docked up. My skill points have slowly ticked upwards, I’ll be hitting 40 million soon, while my own skills at the game have deteriorated. The corp I’m currently in is a nice place, and I do leave the station to hunt down rats in nearby low-sec, but most of the time I’m just sitting there, chatting or staring at my Brutix’s giant navel.

It’s weird, I should be incredibly bored with EVE. Most of the time, my account is just there so I’ll be able to log in to see the changes introduced by CCP first-hand. As a member of the press, with MMOs as my main interest, it can be important to do that from time to time. But that part aside, I should not even feel compelled to log in. After all, it’s not like I do very much.

So what is it with EVE that makes me come back? In some ways, it’s nostalgia. While I have never been involved in massive 0.0 warfare, I’ve never seen a Titan or even a Dreadnought in anything except screenshots, I had my glory days a long time ago. I flew with a rebellious outfit, I felt the rush of PvP, the excitement of politics, the despair of losing an expensive ship or the thrill of taking down a powerful enemy.

But real life, that other MMO that we all have to play, got in the way. I left EVE, at least I thought I did, but I kept logging in. I sat in Perimeter for ages, a member of my own alt corp, not talking, not moving, only planning my skills and dreaming of a better tomorrow. I’ve even blogged about it here, which feels like ages ago.

EVE Online has something no other games do. It’s getting old, six years and counting, but it never stagnates. The boys and girls at CCP work hard to keep it fresh, update graphics and content. The players, from small Empire corps to the gigantic galactic empires of 0.0, keep it just as fresh, with constant wars and intrigue that keep even the mainstream non-gaming media fascinated with the game. I don’t log in to only my ship, I log into a breathing universe that evolves without me.

Brutix

My Brutix, hanging outside a Gallente station. I love that ship.

It sounds corny, I know. In many ways it is. But EVE keeps pulling me back, even when I am busy with work or other MMOs. It’s a true gem, a unique MMO that has managed to stay relevant through its whole life. With Incarna, the elusive “walking in stations”-expansion, still on the horizon, I can’t see myself leaving for a long, long time.

Incarna is also one of the reasons why I’m fed up with sitting around waiting, doing nothing. When it comes out, I’ll be ready. I’m currently talking to a new corp, I’m sharpening my sticks, gathering up my anti-matter rounds to once again bring fire to the sky and death to my enemies. I am getting ready to once again declare war on the universe.

Most of the time, it will probably be my own ships that will fill up the killboards. I don’t care, it will be beautiful. And while real life will interfere again, as it always does, I know that EVE will still be there when I get back. For some reason, when you’ve dug yourself down deep enough, you can check out whenever you want or need to – but you can never, ever leave.

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Back in the saddle/pod/ship

Enough with the rotting away in The Forge. Enough sniffing the money moving hands in Jita, just a few jumps away. I decided to give EVE a proper go again, found myself a new corp and moved up to Placid – sweet, sweet Gallente space. I never liked the Caldari, their ships and stations look awful, so it feels nice to be surrounded by beautiful Gallente architecture again.

Come get some.

Come get some.

Also enough with the rotting away in a single station, not getting anything except training done. The last couple of days I’ve been flying around with my Brutix in lowsec, armed and fitted for both ratting and PvP, and it’s great to at least feel the thrill of the lowsec hunt again. Not that I’ve ended up in any trouble so far, people seem to either stay in station or just pass through the systems I frequent. Which is good, since the 0.2 and 0.1 systems I’m in have offered some nice battleship and battlecruiser spawns so far.

My only problem right now is that I keep longing for some real action. The corp I found is an academy corp for a 0.0 alliance, so I’m considering trying to move on quite soon. I need some money first, but I might pick up two PLEX to get me started. I’m not in the academy corp to learn anyway, I’m there because of a RL-friend and that the CEO promised me a casual experience of mining and mission running.

Either way, I want to be ready for Dominion this December and already well on my way when CCP finally decides to shove Ambulation out the door. In many ways, EVE is the ultimate MMO. I’ve missed it.

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GRTV: Hilmar on Dust 514 and EVE Online

You can never get enough Dust 514-interviews! So here’s one from GRTV, which we recorded at Gamescom this year. Me and Hilmar Pétursson talk about Dust 514, how it is supposed to be connected to EVE, future console generations and what planets we might get to see when CCP’s first-person shooter is released.

(If you want to embed, we are still suffering from that stupid bug where the first height and width elements need to be switched around. Sorry! Information is at the end of the video.)

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GRTV: Interview with CCP’s Nathan Richardson

I had the opportunity to sit down with CCP’s Nathan Richardsson during the Nordic Game Convention earlier this year. We talked a bit about the future of EVE, of course, and how CCP handled the economic crisis – something that Gamesindustry.biz made quite a bit of fuzz about a few days ago. Heh. Nathan is a great guy, although a bit hard to talk to sometimes. I hope to see him, and the rest of the EVE crew, at Gamescom next week.

Feels rather fitting that I’m wearing a Wanted: Weapons of Fate t-shirt during this interview, since Grin sadly closed their doors today. Not all that surprising, but always sad to see more people in the industry lose their jobs.

(If you want to embed the movie the information is at the end. There’s currently a bug somewhere so you have to shift the first height and width parameters around, though.)

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Fighting the good fight

When I started to play EVE Online I wanted to be a trader. I wasted a good amount of my attribute points on Charisma, which I at the time had no idea was more or less completely useless. I quickly discovered that trading took a lot of work and since I suck at math (always have, probably always will) and after joining my first larger corp I decided to stick with PvP skills instead. Since I am still a roleplayer at heart, I decided that my Gallente pilot was a dedicated freedom fighter, wishing to fight the good fight – especially against the slaver empire of Amarr.

That whole idea, that my character wants to bring down what she sees as the Evil Empire of the EVE cluster, has been central throughout my whole career. For a brief period I joined up with the Star Fraction, one of the most radical guerrilla groups in EVE, and fought the CVA – an Amarr roleplaying alliance – up close and personal. Sadly I didn’t have much time to play back then (not that I have more time now…), and me and SF soon parted ways, but it was during those brief months that I had the most fun playing EVE. But more or less constant warfare, and letting my mission running account lapse, was taxing and since I couldn’t dedicate that much time or energy on keeping my funds up to replace lost ships, I didn’t have much choice in the matter. I set up a personal corp in The Forge, one jump from Jita, and took a break from all the fighting.

Damn, I miss it.

I’m in a new corp now, but “ordinary” corp life does not sit right with me. Mining, mission running, the random PvPing/ganking…it’s just not my cup of tea. I could go back to The Forge and put some actual effort into my alt corp, but that will mean either industry or mission running on my own. I want to fight and I want to fight the good fight again. So what choices do I have? Join the Minmatarr militia and factional warfare against the Amarr Empire, look for a corp in Ushra’Khan or see if the Fraction will take me back? Either way, I am still flat broke and could use a quick infusion of cash – perhaps I should pick up a PLEX or two (omfg, RMT!).

I miss the thrill of jumping into a system you know has hostiles waiting on the other side of the gate, the adrenaline rush of warping in on a enemy fleet or the frantic giving of orders when you are probed down and ambushed in what you thought was a safe spot. It’s either that or rot away in Perimeter again, gaining more and more skill points that I never put to good use.

EVE Online is war, the constant fight for a place in the universe.

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This little rogue had to stay at home

Colin over at Massively has written a new Anti-Aliased post about dual-specs in World of Warcraft. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the system, at least not the way Blizzard plan to implement it, but I haven’t really figured out why I don’t like it yet. I’ll get back to that subject at a later point. But there’s one thing he writes, something that I’ve seen written across forums and blogs before, that I’ve always wondered about…

Groups will find that they can do dungeon easier with less people, as players will be able to switch across multiple roles. This means pure classes, such as the mage, priest, and hunter will also have a tougher time finding groups. Why take the hunter when you have a paladin who can do protection and retribution and has the gear to outclass the hunter in both cases? Certainly it’s bad now, but it can get even worse because now the paladin can fulfill both roles while in the dungeon, when the hunter cannot.

Seriously, what kind of people do you guys play with? I’ve played a “pure” class, a rogue, in World of Warcraft for the last three years or so. I do DPS, period. Even when the rogue QQing on the official forums was at its peak, when rogues everywhere were lamenting the fact that there were so many classes that would be chosen before them in raids, have I had to stand on the sidelines because of another player with another class taking my spot.

Really? Rogues might not be the insane DPSers they once were, but if you are playing with people that won’t have you in raids because of your class and the minuscule amount of damage difference between you and someone else, quit your goddamn guild and find a new, more understanding one. And if you don’t get into a PuG because of your class, do you really want to be in that particular PuG to begin with?

People keep whining about other classes making their own obsolete, but does it ever actually happen? Or is it just a typical example of misplaced QQ? The grass is always greener and all that.

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Pop goes the Thorax

Now you see it, now you don't.

Now you see it, now you don't.

About an hour ago, I decided to head up to a nearby patch of low sec space in EVE to check out the rats, perhaps make some fast money before down time. The only ship that I had available in the area was my trusty Thorax, I haven’t had the time or energy to move up any other ship to my new home yet, and it’s been known to take quite a beating from rats because of my skills so I didn’t really think twice about it. A few quick jumps later I was in a 0.1 system, alone in local, and I headed for an ice field to see what I could find.

To my great happiness I found a battleship spawn and three cruisers, which I decided to take on. The battleship went down pretty fast, but just as I had started to work on one of the cruisers and seeing my drones doing good damage to it I notice that I am no longer alone in system. Space is usually quite blue in our area, but the thought to warp out straight away did hit me. I decided to recall my drones just in case, which is about the same time as I see a Myrmidon warp in on me…

A second later, I’m scrambled and can’t get out. The cruisers are still shooting at me, my shields are more or less gone, and then the Myrm starts eating away at my armor. I try firing back, but at this point I’m in a panic – I haven’t been in a PvP-fight in EVE for a very long time, so I notice that I am still firing at the rats. Things go downhill fast and my beloved Thorax is soon blown to space dust. Luckily, I manage to warp out before the Myrm can target my pod.

Me and the Myrm pilot exchange pleasantries, including him pointing out that I didn’t even fire on him (thanks for noticing), and then I jump out of system and make my way back to high sec before logging. It was a good wake up call for me – never, ever, go unprepared into low sec space. You will get in trouble. I behaved like a naive newbie and paid the price for it. My own Myrmidon is 26 jumps away, I hardly have the money to reinvest in a new Thorax and fit it out the way I had. Stupid, Petter. Stupid.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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