Friday, April 29, 2011

The Beauty of EVE



Welcome to the twenty-sixth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's topic was proposed by @KatiaSae of the much praised "To Boldly Go" blog. Katia asks: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As an astrophotographer, I've found it in the stars and planets of New Eden. Where have you found it? Perhaps you've found beauty in the ships we fly? Maybe it's the sight of profits being added to your bottom line? Or maybe it's the pilot portraits you see in the comm channels? Where ever you've found it, write about it and post an image." Don't be afraid go beyond the simple visual aspects of EVE as well. Is the EVE Community in itself a thing of beauty? What makes EVE the game, the world, the Community, so appealing to you?


This topic is a great follow-up to my last post, and since I just recently built a new computer with an amazing graphics card, I've come to re-appreciate the beauty in EVE in the past couple months. 



For the first 6 or so months I played EVE I had a pretty crappy graphics card. The nebulas were sad, planets were merely single-colored spheres, and many of the stations and stargates simply wouldn't load. For some reason, my graphics card refused to render certain station and stargate models, and I never saw them until I powered on the new computer. I'll detail a few of the features that I especially appreciate. I've tried to put some decent screenshots in this post. Showing is better than telling, especially in this instance.




The first thing I noticed when I played EVE with the new graphics card was the difference in my ships. I fly mostly Amarr ships. I picked Amarr because I liked the look of their ships the best, and almost all my favorite ships in the game are Amarr. But I appreciated them for their organic curves and high symmetry. 




The next thing I noticed were the gleaming metal plates on the Amarr ships. They remind me of chrome, only they're more of a bronze color. I'd seen these plates before, but they'd been dull. Now they are so polished, sometimes I can see reflections of surrounding planets, stars, nebulas, etc. in the armor plates of my ships. 


The planets are much more impressive as well. EVE has some truly beautiful planets. Many of my favorite planets have been oceanic or lava, but I have seen some beautiful examples of the other planet types as well.


Hell, I've even seen some beautiful asteroids. I haven't done a lot of mining, so I don't have many asteroid screenshots, but I saw this one the other night and thought it was kind of cool.


I wasn't originally very excited about the new character creator. I didn't see how my character looked as being especially (or at all) relevant to playing the game. I was more dreading the hour or so it would take me to remake my character than I was looking forward to the new features.


However, I have to say that I've been very pleasantly surprised by my reactions since the character creator has come out. The moment I realized I was really digging it was when I was checking out the official forums (which I almost never go to), and I noticed that the CCP personnel have new avatars. It's really cool to be able to see what they've created.


It's also interesting to see what the players have created. One thing that has surprised me is how many guys don't seem to be able to create an attractive female avatar. Slapping on breasts set to the maximum size and spread just doesn't seem to work.


I don't think I can really say that I find much of beauty in EVE beyond the graphical elements, but I'm very happy with those. I especially enjoy living in wormhole space. The various nebulas, wormholes, etc. that you see out there are really cool and beat anything I've seen in empire space. I think my single favorite site in the wormholes is a pulsar system. I don't have a good screenshot of one, unfortunately, but screenshots don't do them justice anyway. You have to see them yourself in real time to really appreciate them.


I'm really looking forward to Incarna, which will add new graphical elements to the game. I've thought about doing a trip through New Eden to see the sites. When I do, I'll be using EVE Travel to set my itinerary. For now, though, I'm content exploring wormhole space. I'm looking forward to reading other blog posts in this blog banter.

Fly smart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

EVE Video of the Week: The Butterfly Effect

This is the first trailer I ever saw for EVE, and it's what made me want to try the game. It's still one of my favorites.

Released August 21, 2009



Fly Smart

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Enjoying All EVE Has to Offer


It's easy to take the things around us for granted. Sometimes it's good to stop and take a look around, try to see with new eyes. Especially in EVE, it seems so many become jaded. It's easy to complain; it takes more effort to be positive. It takes even more effort to see things as they truly are.

I have recently joined a new corporation, Lone Star Exploration. I had a lot of fun yesterday doing some combat ops in the corp, and I found myself thinking about what an amazing game EVE is. To make my point, I will compare and contrast EVE with another game I used to play that some of you may be familiar with--World of Warcraft. Now before the groaning starts (I'm already too late, aren't I?), let me just say that I'm using WoW as an example of your "standard" "run-of-the-mill" MMO. I could just as easily be talking about EQ, D&D Online, Lord of the Rings Online, or RIFT.


In WoW you had some options for how to play the game. In an attempt to keep this post from becoming a novella, I'll simplify. When you logged on to WoW, you could basically choose between 4 play styles or activities. You could:
  1. Quest
  2. Run Instances
  3. Run Battlegrounds
  4. Raid
Again, this is a bit simplified, but good enough to illustrate the point I'm making here. In a nutshell, those were your choices when playing WoW. As much as I love RIFT (and I do), it's very similar. If you're anything like me, by the time you played a character to level 80 in WoW, you were pretty sick of questing (especially since there are only 4 or 5 quests in the game--all the rest are just variations on the theme). You'd done the instances appropriate for your level. Battlegrounds can be fun, if that's your thing, but surely they get boring after a while too (I wouldn't know; I'd get bored in a battleground within minutes). Raiding was supposedly the be-all-end-all of WoW, but you had to sign large portions of your life (aka time) away to participate, and even then you faced the long grind of "gearing up". To me, the results of a cost-benefit analysis of raiding came out as a joke.

A lot of people seemed to do the same thing when they got bored with WoW--make up an alt. And another. And another.

As an aside, let me just say that RIFT is a huge improvement over WoW in my book. I'd predict it will be the WoW killer, but that would hardly be original. I think the writing is pretty clear on the wall to anyone who's played both games. Their character-customization is second to none in the genre and will hopefully lead to fewer altaholics (although I hear purple fever is still at epidemic proportions).


When I think of EVE, on the other hand, I can make quite an exhaustive list of things I can do and the various play styles that exist. No matter how well I do with the list, I'm sure I'll miss some. Here are just a sample of ways I've played the game since I began last August:
  1. I've done the whole missioning thing. Kind of like questing in WoW and just as boring, monotonous, and repetitive (not to mention having zero impact on the world/galaxy).
  2. I've done ore mining. A perfect activity for those who want to do something so boring and monotonous in a game that they spend most their time tabbed out doing something else. Oh, and you get to do it for a pittance too. And yet miners abound...
  3. I've had a small amount of experience in small fleet PvP. Now there's some real fun.
  4. I've done solo-roam PvP. Not a lot of it, but enough to discover I have a lot to learn about PvP. Loads of fun, though.
  5. I've done high and low sec exploration, and then run the sites. I really enjoyed that, and for some reason it seems a lot more fun than missioning.
  6. I've flipped some cans, just to see what it was like. I'm still amazed there still people silly enough to jetcan mine. The first couple times were fun, but after that it was like spearing fish in a barrel--no challenge and therefore little real fun.
  7. I've ninja salvaged, just for kicks. Same problems as number 6. Picking fights with those unable (not to mention unwilling) to defend themselves is just not my idea of a good time.
  8. I've done some trading and hauling. Boring but profitable.
  9. I've done loads of scanning in wormholes. Kind of a mini-game that is fun at first but can quickly lead to burn-out.
  10. I've done gas harvesting. A little more fun than shooting rocks, if only because it pays a hell of a lot better and doesn't take as long.
  11. I've run sleeper combat sites. The best PvE experience I've had in EVE hands-down. Unlike missioning in high sec, at least it's somewhat of a challenge.
  12. I've done planetary interaction. Kind of a diverting mini-game. As far as play experience, I'd rate it up there with Minesweeper or Bejewled. If I could do it on my iPod it would be a great way to pass time while standing in line.

Whew! Quite a list. And then there are all the things I haven't tried. Things like:
  1. Invention
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Ice Mining
  4. Moon mining
  5. Nullsec blobbing
  6. Pirating argh!
  7. Corporate espionage/takeover
  8. Other forms of metagaming
  9. Being a director or CEO of a corp
  10. Logistics
  11. Scouting for a PvP fleet op
  12. Running with a Black Ops/Covert Ops fleet. I'd really like to try this some day. Sounds like a lot of fun.
  13. Epic story arcs. I've heard great things about these. I did most of the Sisters arc and wasn't impressed, so I haven't tried any of the others.
  14. Playing the markets
  15. And so much more
Once Incarna is going strong, I think EVE will truly be a game with something for everyone.


All of this makes me suspect CCP may be right. EVE is forever, or at least, it could be. I've never played another game that has so much to do. I haven't even been playing a year, and already I have a good list of things I've tried in the game, and a longer list of things I haven't done yet.

In WoW, if you got bored you had to either make a new character or find a new game. In EVE if you get bored, you can find a new area of the game to explore. I've been in high sec corps and wormhole corps. If I ever got sick of wormholes (I'm sure it will happen eventually), I could join a low sec PvP corp or a null sec alliance. There are so many options, the main limitations are ones I put on myself. For instance, I have no interest in blobbing or in manufacturing.

It's really amazing how much there is to do in this game, how many ways there are to play it. I can't help but wonder what other play styles there are. If you play the game in a way I haven't mentioned, feel free to comment and add to the list. You might just give me an idea for my next endeavor.

For another article about a similar topic, check out Sleepless in Space.

Fly smart.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ISK 3.0 in Hardcopy!


Greetings fellow capsuleers! I received the following press release from EON and thought I would pass it along to you. I'm ordering my copy today!
"As most of you know, we released the ISK 3.0 Guide in February as a free download – to huge critical acclaim. [ISK = Industrial-Sized Knowledgebase]. This is the exhaustive manual, which EVE has been crying out for since 2003!
"Since the release of that free PDF edition, we’ve been inundated with requests for a printed version, a physical product you can hold, pick up and refer to either AFK or while playing the game. We’ve listened, and we’ve responded.
"So here it is; ISK Volume 1 as a physical product is now available to pre-order. This monumental near 400 page wiro-bound volume covers everything there is to know about EVE – whether you’re on a 14-day trail account or you’re an experienced long-termer. As a special offer for the early birds among you, there’s even a $5 discount for all pre-orders; in order to receive the discount you MUST apply the code ISK305. If you don’t see the discount being applied immediately, check again before completing your order.
"The pre-order period (and therefore the $5 discount) lasts until April 14th. Click here and we’ll take you right along to the Store…"
Fly smart.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1.4 Patch Note Highlights


I found some real gems in today's patch notes. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.
  • Team Commie Pinkos is gradually releasing new DED Complexes in our efforts to close the content gaps in EVE. Seven new complexes are now available in the game; more information is available in a dev blog by CCP Big Dumb Object: http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=861
  • All NPCs that use jamming have been streamlined in functionality and you can now fit your ship to counteract them.
  • Individual bookmarks may now be permanently removed via the right-click menu while flying in space.
  • Now you can select all items, click 'repackage' and the process will simply skip those items on which the operation cannot be performed without stopping the repackaging process. (Thank you CCP!)
  • Character portraits in 'Show Info' may now be viewed in a separate window at a higher resolution.
  • When using the Autopilot, Waypoints will display as separate icons so pilots can tell them apart from regular jumps.
  • Players can now store 50 fittings on the server, making them accessible from any computer. Additional fittings may be saved locally into an XML file.
  • Code optimization has increased overall performance in the character creator.
  • Characters now have the option to add vicious hero scars and burns.
  • A collection of piercings, studs and facial modifications have been added.
  • Represent your bloodline in ink with new and classic tattoo designs from the EVE universe.
  • Added a new pair of sunglasses.
  • Added male and female tank tops.
  • There is now a free station service to allow you to re-customize your appearance from any station.
  • Capsuleers no longer have to get into their un-piloted ships in order to strip the fittings. A powerful imaginary electromagnet now removes fittings remotely via the right-click menu of the ship.
  • Career and Tutorial missions now have a massively increased duration and you will not lose standings for quitting, declining or timing out.

Fly smart.