Friday, 29 June 2012

Thukk You, Frill Me! July 15th Protest March

At-a-Glance Itinerary
(subject to change)

1800 'My Loot, Your Tears' Suicide Raffle in Jatate
1900 General Stabber/Vagabond muster to form the "Frill Me" fleet at Jita Memorial to flash our knickers at the AT10 camera.
1929 "Thukk You" RvB-led Outlaw fleet enters Jita, performs monument alphastrike flyby. Pinata self-destructed.
1930 "Thukk You, Frill Me!" combined fleet departs Jita on Protest March
2000 Rendez-vous with remaining outlaws in low-sec
2100 Fleet arrives in M-MD3B to deliver a sternly-worded letter of complaint to the Thukker Mix CEO.*
2101+ Tea & Biscuits/Death or Glory
2130 Surviving Protesters will head to Delve via Curse and Catch.

*this may involve a degree of carnage. ;)

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Useful Links

What's the Point?

Like a gentle echo of last year's acrimony, capsuleers have once again been voicing their dissent at changes brought about by the latest expansion. This time it is the removal of the Vagabond's "frill". Chief amongst those protesting is Rixx Javix of Eveoganda notoriety, but there has also been much chatter in Tweetfleet, on the forums and elsewhere. It seems that finding something to rage about is fast becoming a Summer tradition in New Eden, but this time there's a distinctly more festival feel about things.

That's not to say there isn't a point to be made. It would be a magnificent showing of player solidarity if we could get a bit of a crowd together to tub-thump about the needless circumcision of the Vagabond, but equally to celebrate EVE and its communities, and also to remember that 20% of CCP staff lost their jobs as a result of last Summer's mistakes. Whatever axe you've got to grind, bring it along, I'm sure we can blow something up in its honour.

As I posted in Swearte Widfarend's CSM proposal thread:

"Disgruntled capsuleers have previously had some success making their point through in-game actions, most notably during last Summer's uprising which resulted in the "destruction" of the Jita Memorial monument.
Shooting a static structure is so last year, but a similar event would have the advantage of showing numbers, being something active and positive and it would also be a talking point.
So how about a protest march?
Thukk You, Frill Me! - The March Against the Vagabond Revisionists
The corporation responsible for the production of the Vagabond is Thukker Mix and their HQ is listed as the Thukker Mix Factory in the null-sec system of M-MD3B.
How about we organise a Stabber/Vagabond gathering one weekend, when the entire fleet will muster at the Jita Monument, but will then take a leisurely protest tour of the major trade hubs, before heading out through low and null to "suicide gank" the Thukker Mix HQ.
This will have the following benefits:

  • It will be an entertaining event.
  • Numbers providing, it will be high profile.
  • Screenshots could highlight the lack of visual difference between the models.
  • The high-sec portion of the march will be very visible to other players.
  • The low/null section will result in lots of explosions one way or another.
Any takers for a bit of friendly civil disobedience?"

"What's that little Vagabond? You can't hear very well? Did the bad men steal your ears? Tsk, tsk." 

Organisational Notes:

There has  been quite a positive response to this suggestion, so will invest some time into organising this event, but I am going to need some help.


All times above are EVE time (GMT), I picked a weekend evening as I hope that will be a convenient time for the majority of timezones (sorry far-Eastern folks).

I felt a couple of weeks would be necessary preparation time to give some momentum a chance to build and for word to spread (plus that is the only day in the near future where I can play spaceships all day without double-booking or getting wife-aggro). I am aware it coincides with the group stages of Alliance Tournament X, but perhaps that can contribute to the carnival atmosphere I hope we can generate.

Promotion, Organisation & Build-Up

I'd be more than grateful for any assistance in promoting and organising this event. Ideas are welcome; I appreciate not every pilot can enter high-sec, so I would like to make this as inclusive as possible. Perhaps there could be some lead-up events over the course of the day before the Jita Memorial muster. For example, some celebrity PvP exhibition bouts, a treasure hunt, or anything else people can think of and are willing to organise. Anything that will encourage folk to put in an attendance for the march itself.

Associated Events (updated 01/06/12)

  • During the build-up, Khalia Nestune of My Loot Your Tears is organising a prize suicide gank event in the nearby system of Jatate.
  • Red versus Blue organiser Mangala Solaris has pledged the regular RvB Ganked event to synchronise with Thukk You, Frill Me.

The March

The route should take in a number of high-profile systems, with the purpose being to raise awareness and recruit marchers to the cause before the exodus through low-sec and on into The Great Wildlands. I would like to ensure that a significant portion of the route will be outside high-sec to enable outlaw supporters to be involved.

Edit: To address the concerns of those not able to enter high-sec without consta-warping, how about a display-team-like alpha-strike flyby of the Jita Monument? We could self-destruct a pinata Vagabond at the same time, then they outlaws can lead the high-sec contingent back down into low-sec for the remainder of the march.

Clearly there's little point in being too regimented about what happens once heading for null as there's likely to be some kind of ambush, but it would be great if we could get a swarm of Stabbers/Vagabonds into the target system for a glorious last stand.

So bring your tinfoil carnival hats and a sense of humour and let's get protesting. Spread the word, organise some stuff or just turn up on the night. Let's get the poor deaf little Vagabond his ears back.

[I have replicated this blogpost in the In-game Events section of the EVE forums here. Please feel free to spread the word on other forums.]

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Searching for Sandbox Sociopaths

EVE Online is a morally diverse gaming environment. It is part of what makes participating in the dark universe of New Eden such a freeing and memorable experience. No player is railroaded into behaving in any particular way, everyone is free to choose how they conduct themselves and how they interact with fellow capsuleers.

Contrary to the uninformed opinions of many a passing critic, EVE Online is not simply a "sandbox for sociopaths". It is just a gaming environment that allows choice. At its core, EVE is a social game. The social structures that have formed organically over the years are as a direct result of this freedom. In an accelerated imitation of real life civilisations, groups have banded together for mutual advantage, protection and interaction.

Most EVE players are aware of this and revel in it, understanding its nature and enjoying the benefits. So diverse is the myriad of communities that make up the Nation of EVE, that there is a place for almost every behaviour.

It is armed with this knowledge that I hope to use my column at Guild Launch to present a glimpse into the many varied organisations that contribute to EVE society. As Guild Launch provide hosting services to gamers from a multitude of MMOs, it is a great opportunity to showcase the many facets of New Eden's player culture. It would be very satisfying to show the world that EVE Online isn't full of sociopaths. That said, I aim to present a fair and unbiased view of EVE, so I hoped to stumble across the occasional poorly-behaved, antagonistic griefer who represents the gaming world's opinion of the average EVE player, if nothing else but to understand them better. We know they're out there somewhere.

It is with a keen awareness of irony then, that I write the remainder of this blogpost.

My Sister the EVE Player

Eighteen months ago I introduced my little sister to EVE Online. It wasn't intended as a social experiment, but her progress as a rookie became the subject of the blogpost series My Sister the Rookie early last year. They documented Lozyjoe's early struggles with the complex user interface, her tribulations with the tutorial missions and her steadily growing grasp of industry and manufacture.

As she became more comfortable with the game, she introduced her husband (she needed a mule to assist her mining habit) and together they began to build a tidy little high-sec manufacturing operation. Lozyjoe and her husband were very much the cosy, high-sec carebears. This suited me as I flitted around exploring, missioning and occasionally roaming in low-sec. From time to time I would check in on them and get them to build stuff for me, but generally I left them to their own devices. They enjoyed the sedate pace of their chosen play-style and had no real desire to hunt for high-octane thrills.

Injustice in High-Sec

One night, I recall receiving an phone-call from a furious Lozyjoe. She was ranting about how their quiet high-sec mining session had been shattered by the vile injustice of her husband Caveat's Iteron hauler being unfairly destroyed by another player! How could this have happened in high-sec? She cursed the scumbag frigate pilot who must have somehow cheated in order to get away with killing Caveat's industrial ship without CONCORD reprisals.

After further investigation, it came to light that Lozyjoe had been mining into a jettisoned container which Caveat had been routinely taking from in order to ferry the ore to station. It became obvious they had been the victim of a can-flipper. Eventually, Lozyjoe (and Caveat, fuming in the background) calmed down and accepted that no further action could be taken. They had learned an important lesson about EVE.

Seeing how their view of the EVE universe was so blinkered, I realised that it would be worth expanding their horizons and my own too. One of the few things I had not really experimented with in EVE was being part of a null-sec alliance, so I made the necessary plans and relocated our corp to the Tenerifis region as new members of the ill-fated Split Infinity alliance. Although our time out there was educational, the shifting sands of null-sec saw me into a period of burnout, whilst Lozyjoe and Caveat found new friends and headed off on their own path.

Full Circle

Skip forward to this evening and again to a phone-call with Lozyjoe. The usual family pleasantries dispensed with, she regales me with tales of her latest exploits with her corp BSC Legion, who are now members of the Tactical Narcotics Team alliance, part of the Goonswarm Federation-led Clusterfuck Coalition. Laughing, she tells me how she delights in dragging her reluctant corpmates away from their belt-ratting and their anomalies to surge out on relentless hunts for enemy players.

One such roam she led saw the unexpected collapse of a wormhole force them into high-sec in search of a way home. Realising that they were forty-odd jumps from their territory but determined to find some entertainment rather than just start the long slog back, they quickly made plans. She cackles as she describes how they purchased some Thrashers and spent the evening gleefully suicide-ganking miners. She apparently even mocked them in local afterward. This from the girl who only a few paragraphs ago wanted to ban all high-sec aggression.

I reminded her of that incident from the year before and asked her if she felt she was now in a position to exact her revenge on that pilot for whom she had harboured so much vitriol. You know what she said?

"Nah. Good on him."

Ladies and Gentlemen may I present my EVE-playing sister Lozyjoe: No longer the rookie, now the suicide-ganking, quasi-Goon, PvP-obsessed, null-sec fleet-commanding griefer.

I think I've found my sociopath.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

EVE is Dying: The Four Developers of the Apocalypse

“EVE is dying” is an oft-written mantra espoused by many a disillusioned EVE player. The forums are awash with glassy-eyed bitter veterans who, like digital zombies, can do nothing but shamble from thread to thread searching for dreams to crush. Like care-in-the-community mental health patients, they wave their placards and don their sandwich-boards proclaiming “the end of New Eden is nigh” whilst being largely ignored, reviled or occasionally smiled at pitifully for being vaguely amusing.

But one day, they will be right.

Is the End of New Eden Nigh?

A shocking recent find in the bowels of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull tells of a day when CCP - and EVE - will fall. In an archaeological discovery to equal the Dead Sea Scrolls, an ancient memory stick, thought to pre-date the settlement of Iceland in 874 AD, contains a prophecy foretelling a technological cataclysm. The 32-kilobyte stick, made of bone and feathers, is said to contain data predicting dark forces working within CCP and how they their unification will bring about an irrevocable catastrophe.

A statement released by the Icelandic Government spoke of “sinister characterisations” and “occult powers” but they are taking the threat seriously;

“We are working closely with CCP to ensure that no supposed prophecy can have a negative impact on CCP's products and the part they play in the Icelandic economy. Whether this discovery is part of an elaborate hoax or if there are indeed agents within CCP who can wreak the predicted damage, we are not at liberty to disclose at this time.”

An anonymous source has provided details of the prophecy, which suggests four demonic entities already dwell within the ranks of CCP. Each of these modern-day devils are supposedly already at work attempting to bring about the downfall of New Eden, but the prophecy claims that only when they unite will EVE Online finally fall.

The Four Dark Powers of Crowd Control Productions

Leaked information taken from government dossiers details these harbingers of digital doom – referred to as “The Four Developers of the Apocalypse”. They are as follows:

CCP Legacy

CCP Legacy is the Gremlin General and the eldest of the Apocalypse Devs. His nefarious plans involve confounding all development progress by using his army of invisible techno-minions to defeat mortal developers with a complex web of brittle design elements which underpin the very structure of vital systems within EVE Online's architecture. CCP Legacy is a demon obsessed with history and does everything in his power to preserve the Old Ways.

His gremlin armies are locked in a forever war with the mortal developers. CCP Legacy knows that time is on his side, with every passing moment more systems fall to the embrace of Legacy, forcing the resolute developer teams to risk ripping them out and causing a cataclysmic failure or leave them to cause a slow, rotting atrophy.

CCP Hubris

Son of CCP Legacy, CCP Hubris works his dark arts from the shadows. Feeding the egos of the weak with images of distant glories, he creates a dreamlike state in his victims, leaving them suffering from reality blindness and selective deafness.

CCP Hubris' name is often invoked at critical moments of EVE Online's development history. His most recent victory was in the Summer of 2011 where his whispered promises of glory and power led EVE Online's development into the shambles that has been called variously Monoclegate, The Summer of Incarnage, Incarnageddon and many other names that has CCP Hubris slavering at the grinning maw.

An ever-present threat, CCP Hubris was briefly cast out in the Battle for the Crucible late last year, but evidence has started to surface that he is gaining influence once more.

CCP Competence

Wife of CCP Hubris, CCP Competence uses the natural human inclination to err to further her own malevolent goals. Using unique powers of psychological manipulation, she can empower her victim to great feats of competence, allowing them to be elevated in status, with colleagues and superiors convinced of the individual's inflated ability, only for that ability to be stripped away at a key moment.

She works closely with her partner, CCP Hubris, to create a web of false epiphanies, fragile promises and seductive dreams which most mortals find hard to resist.

CCP Myopia

The idiot dwarf child of CCP Hubris and CCP Competence, CCP Myopia was born without eyelids or the ability to move her eyes or head. As a result Myopia can only focus on a single goal and can do nothing but run headlong into it, often chanting a nonsense battlecry, “herpderpherpderpHERPDERP!”. This, of course, would be a problem only to her parents, were it not for CCP Myopia's gift for demonic mass possession.

By possessing the souls of CCP developers and decision-makers, CCP Myopia has developed a talent for misdirecting focus. This can cause entire groups of people to become utterly convinced of their single purpose, whilst disregarding the desires and needs of others. Her talent has been seen used effectively to derail recent CCP victories, causing them to single-mindedly focus on appeasing specific customer types whilst disregarding others. CCP Myopia's influence has been particularly effective in the marketing department.

Prophecy or Pap?

The prophecy itself suggests that only when these four powerful entities unite their influence in a single event will the damage cause an irreversible fail cascade leading to the end of New Eden. It is of course easy to dismiss this as senseless hokum, but a brief review of EVE forums and discussions across the internet will reveal repeated mentions of the above entities. There's no smoke without fire and there is a grain of truth in every lie.

Of the digital reign of warring spaceships, a termination is foretold,
Some threats averted, some lay in wait, perhaps ships and ammo of gold?
Whilst form unclear, the Powers Four, stalk the Halls of Ice.
Come Legacy, Hubris, Competence and Myopia to bring forth developer vice.