There’s a new EVE expansion out! And also, Christmas!
Catch up with the latest in the cold, dark, unforgiving void of space here:
- Stabs argues that whatever’s wrong with nullsec right now, the players can’t fix it – “The combined power of the Honeybadger Coalition and the Clusterfuck Coalition is now too strong for any third party to stand against them.”
- The Ancient Gaming Noob takes a look at the new expansion, finding it full of circles – “They certainly makes targets more visible in space. And, when combined with the new camera target tracking option, which shifts the camera to point in the direction of your currently selected target automatically, you can maintain better situational awareness when you need it. “
- And Jester gives us a glossary of ancient EVE trivia, which is related to some Christmas content but I found fascinating even without it – “Little Helper, Female: This is a reference to the fact that many, many, many EVE players carry one unit of Exotic Dancers in their cargo.”
Enjoying Retribution if you’re playing it?
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Rumours of EVE’s blogosphere dying continue to seem spectacularly exaggerated. Indeed, this weekend there’s been a load of great writing, from discussion of the future of Nullsec (formerly the most dangerous space in EVE, but arguably no more), to a description of just how to complete a successful killing spree.
In the GAME, Googlebots. Killing SPACESHIPS. Nothing else.
- Stan at Freebooted gives us a massive roundup of all the EVE blogosphere Blog Banters to date – “During my tenure, 123(!) bloggers have taken part in those 14 banters, with Blog Banter 39: Home breaking the record with 46 participants. That’s a whole lot of column inches.”
- Stabs takes a look at the future of the formerly-no-man’s-land Nullsec, and asks whether it needs to be fixed – “So what now is the point of nullsec? It’s not the most lucrative, it’s not the most dangerous. It’s probably not the most interesting, null sec sov grinding being notoriously dull.”
- Rixx Javix gives us a guide to successful spree killing – “The process involves having a lot of fun, tons of danger and the potential for interesting kills. And sometimes, the horrible slaughter of innocents. I’ve really grown to enjoy it.”
- And Brendan Drain at Massively writes a great overview post of the New Eden Open event – “With real cash prizes on the table, players have worried that even more rampant spying would ruin the New Eden Open. After three weeks of great fights, however, the tournament seems to be going strong.”
Are you playing EVE at the moment? Considering giving it a try?
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Is anyone else kind of intimidated by all the new MMO content right now?
I mean, we’ve got RIFT: Storm Legion, Mists of Pandaria barely a month old, Guild Wars 2’s new patch, Riders of Rohan, SWTOR F2P, Everquest 2’s expansion, WoW Patch 5.1 in the wings, new indie MMO efforts everywhere (Dragon’s Tale, Salem, Day Z or whatever it’s called now)… It’s exhausting.
Fortunately, a lot of bloggers are writing some great reviews to help us all decide what to do first:
- Lono shares the impressions of a friend of his who was new to SWTOR when he started playing the Free To Play version – ” Soon enough Jay realizes he needs more space in his inventory so he’s off again to the store and finds out it will cost him 175cc for 10 inventory slots.”
- MMO Muse shares first impressions of new sandbox Wurm-a-like game Salem – which sounds very interesting – “Another one of those sandbox games, isn’t it? Yes, pretty much. But not one of those “I sit here and craft 60 pointed sticks” one; while playing, I was moving and exploring most of the time, and only stopped for crafting once or twice in the whole time.”
- Rixx Javix considers what a sports enthusiast who didn’t know EVE would think as he watched the latest EVE tournament – “This reminded me of the first time I saw Australian Rules Football on ESPN. I ain’t got no idea what the heck is going on, but I know it is a sport. I’m thinking this is European since the announcers have got some kind of accent, and they are rather pasty, like they haven’t seen the sun in awhile. “
- Chris at Game By Night gives us a detailed rundown of his first impressions of RIFT: Storm Legion – “Another thing that I have to give Trion props for is the scope and beauty of their vision. The expansion is just VAST and everything is so BIG.”
- Healing The Masses dives into the new Guild Wars 2 Fractals dungeon and comes out with a rundown – “these new mini dungeons seem like the perfect length in a way as it is rather easy to keep them feeling fresh during a run in terms of visuals and mechanics but when added together they make for a rather cohesive little gaming session.”
- Jaysla has been trying out Challenge Modes in Mists of Pandaria, and offers an enthusiastic recommendation – “Challenge modes are a lot of fun and I recommend everyone give them a try. They’ll really make you work hard to use every possible advantage available to your class and spec and allow for some creative puzzle solving.”
- The Ancient Gaming Noob tried out Guild Wars 2’s free trial, and came away with mixed feelings – “nice game. But not different enough that I am going to drop what ever I am doing now to run off and play it. “
- And Entombed tried out the Guild Wars 2 Fractals dungeon too, and loved them – “What I experienced was nothing more than a wonderful addition to the game. “
Overall, the winners from the weekend seem to be GW2’s new dungeon (but not the live event – see our next post), Storm Legion, and Challenge Modes!
Are you feeling MMOverwhelm right now?
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Is EVE blogging dying, as some people were wondering earlier this week? Judging by the interesting posts coming out of the community every day, not at all:
- Stan at Freebooted looks at the question of whether EVE should introduce formations as a factor in its combat – “A blob is so-called because it is a disorganised collection of ships, fleeted together but arranged pretty much at random in a spherical formation. Being able to match speed and direction could give rise to more thoughtfully arranged blobs with central or back-line sniping ships, outlying tacklers, vulnerable ships placed appropriately before an engagement begins.”
- Jester performs the difficult task of making the debate about CCP’s changes to EVE’s command ships intelligible even to the non-EVE player – “To me, the capital class ships are the highest priority of broken, but maybe I’m just too close to that problem to see it clearly. “
- And Rixx looks at the features coming in the next EVE expansion – Retribution – “I’m a spaceship fan. It is the primary reason I play Eve, to fly spaceships in space. So any expansion that adds more spaceships to an already spaceship filled game is automagically a good expansion in my book.”
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You may have noticed that we haven’t seen or heard that much from the EVE Online blogosphere recently. And it turns out that there may be a reason for that.
Some EVE bloggers are concerned that the blogosphere around the unique space game is dying – killed, amongst other things, by the best-known EVE player of all, The Mittani, and his new site TheMittani.com.
Rixx at Evoganda is one of those people, and he explains what he believes has happened –
“Heck, do we even need bloggers anymore? The fact is that The Mittani site has added weight to a side of the coin that didn’t really exist three years ago. More and more bloggers are joining the ranks of that news service, add that to EveNews24 and others and you have a very powerful brain drain that has been sucking the need for bloggers away for months now.
The Mittani has killed Eve Blogging. Why read thru dozens of sites when you can just visit one? You get features, news, opinion, and the unquestionable loyalty of the largest single block of players in-game, fed daily thru forum support that rivals none other.”
Of course, other games have professionally-run blogging/news sites that don’t strangle their blogospheres – notably WoW, of course, with WoW Insider and MMO Champion prominent as TheMittani equivalents. But EVE is both smaller and very different to other MMOs – and WoW Insider isn’t run by a guild that claims a massive percentage of the game’s players.
But that still doesn’t mean EVE blogging is doomed – or so Stan at Freebooted says, in a rebuttal post that looks at the other reasons things might be a bit quiet in the EVESphere right now –
“I think TheMittani.com is a magnificent thing. There is regular, high-quality content to be found there and, as Rixx says, several bloggers are focusing the lion’s share of their efforts on providing content there, Marc Scaurus amongst them. EVE News 24 continues to deliver and has even had a facelift to keep up with the Joneses.
But that doesn’t mean that all that there is to say has been said. Far from it. Not every blogger will be producing material that fits a commercial news site. As new bloggers hone their craft, they may not feel ready for the challenge but may aim to contribute in the future. It’s all part of the same grand ecosystem. Bloggers are a unique breed and I’m sure a community of independent blogs will continue to thrive in the EVE metasphere.”
Stan has a great point, of course. Whilst there’s even one blogger writing about EVE – and I can’t imagine that ever not being the case whilst the game’s still active – there’s still an EVE blogosphere.
But what will happen now? Will The Mittani continue to dominate the EVE universe? Or will bloggers rise from the ashes and find ways to adapt to their new world?
What do you think?
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It’s time, I think, for Random Stuff – the cool, interesting posts or stories that don’t have a specific thread between them. Here we go!
- Chris at Level Capped looks at the Kickstarter for a non-combat MMO called Greed Monger – “In reality, there’ll be a land rush where those who get in early and pay the most set up camp in the most desirable locations, bringing along their friends to circle the wagons around the best resources. Anyone coming in later, or without a support group, will be limited to the dregs of the land, locked out of opportunities controlled by the land barons who are more interested in extortion than in creating a greater community.”
- Keen argues that the price of an MMO subscription is almost never what stops us playing it – ” Blizzard still charges $15 a month for WoW because they are not competing on price. $60 boxes still release every Tuesday, and some sell multiple millions. Be unique, develop a reputation, improve, or find some way to differentiate. “
- Rowan Blaze gives us the tremendously exciting news that an MMORPG player is now a US State Senator in Maine.
- CNN brings us an entertaining story of a man who became inspired to start bodybuilding by his EVE character – “Brand loyalty is one of the reasons Dickinson first decided to shape up. During his trip to the 2009 “EVE Online” FanFest, real life hit him smack in the face. Walking into the convention, he didn’t feel like Roc. He felt like a stereotypical geek, surrounded by other stereotypical geeks.”
- And Zubon cautions us that just because an event was fun with friends, that doesn’t mean that the fun came from the event, rather than the friends – “Just because you had a good time does not mean that it was good. “So bad it’s good” is still bad.”
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And finally today, we take a brief detour to the cold, hard, pitiless void of space for a look at what’s cooking in EVE this week.
And the main news seems to be Guild Wars 2, oddly, with two bloggers comparing the fantasy juggernaut with the famously unforgiving EVE. Plus, Freebooted looks at the road ahead…
- Mat at Freebooted takes a hard and often critical look at the history of EVE’s “vision”, and where the game is going today – toward ESports, in his opinion – ” I completely appreciate CCP’s current position and why they have chosen the direction they have. Their hand was forced by market forces and they clearly needed to reform their development strategy. They have retreated to the core traditions of EVE and are pushing effectively in a single direction rather than ineffectively in multiple ones. Sadly, this will come at a cost. “
- The Nosy Gamer looks at grinding, and asks why he’s happy to grind for goals in EVE, but not at all in Guild Wars 2 – “The big difference is that a lot of the goals I set in my first six months of playing are still useful today. That ammunition I made for my Rupture is still useful when I fly a Hurricane. The ammunition I made for my Rifter is still usable when I fly my Jaguar. “
- And Jester also compares EVE and GW2, as he argues that EVE’s implementation of soulbindless items was nothing short of genius – “This is another genius of EVE, copied straight from the real world: we’re all using the same gear. It’s just that some characters are better at it than others. GW2 really really really should have gone with this sort of model.”
Enjoyed today’s posts? Please let your fellow players know about them!
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And elsewhere in the MMORPG world, things are still very lively indeed. From positive feedback for RIFT from a very unexpected quarter to an EVE player saying “no thanks” to the tears of his foes, here’s the cream of this weekend’s crop:
- Random Average looks at the reasons he fights in EVE – and surprisingly, delicious tears aren’t amongst them – ” I wouldn’t have undocked if I didn’t accept some risk, and if I didn’t want the risk, I’d play Wizard101.”
- I don’t often link to awesome MMORPG in-game outfits, but when I do, I do it right – this one’s fantastic
- Who is running Syncaine’s blog, and what has he done with the real Syncaine? This weekend, he’s positively enthusiastic about a sneak peak he got of “themepark” game RIFT’s new expansion – “If themeparks are your thing, I’d say the way Trion handles Rift is how you’d want your themepark handled, and I’m actually curious to see just what players eventually do with the housing system. I think Rift players and general themepark fans will be very happy with Storm Legion, and the general direction Rift is moving in.”
- Shintar considers the lively atmosphere of SWTOR’s starting zones, and for the first time starts to think that F2P could be a good thing – ” Star Wars is an incredibly popular IP – the problem is that only a small fraction of those Star Wars fans are traditional MMO players. Maybe Bioware isn’t completely crazy with their reasoning that too many of them don’t want to pay a mandatory sub these days, when you can access so many online games and services for free.”
- And at the same time, Jason at Conveniently Placed Exhaust Port looks at the way that SWTOR’s F2P is being implemented, and believes EA is learning more from Farmville than other MMOs – “Based on what we know so far, it’s looking like EA trusts their players as much as a creepy uncle who just got out of prison for the second time. “
- Syp makes a great point about MMOs – that maybe they should be judged more on the extent to which they produce magical, brilliant moments of gameplay – “A good memorable moment, whether it’s a great story, a funny aside, something interesting another player does, or a spontaneous event, usually makes me far more affectionate toward a title than before.”
- And finally, A Ding World looks at how City of Heroes players are reacting to their game’s last days – “On the other hand there are people who just move on at this stage. Perhaps that works as a better closure, with all good memories and move on right away, now that the end has been given a specific time.”
What do you think? Are MMOs more than memorable moments? And is Alternate Universe Syncaine in charge over there?
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Between EVE’s own council, the ongoing debate and occasional organised lobbying in the world of MMORPGs, we’re getting more political by the day. But could MMORPG players do a better job than our actual politicians? One blogger’s arguing so. Plus, two fascinating posts on the basis of MMORPGs – playing together.
- Nozy Gamer suggests that some of the top journalists, podcasters and debate moderators in the EVE community would have done a lot better than certain better-known debate moderators – “Am I idealizing the jobs not only these three but the entire Eve podcasting and radio community do? Perhaps. But I still maintain the hobbyists who are learning on the job still do a better job than the trained professionals.”
- Tobold looks at the way that limited group sizes result in an exclusion-happy MMO environment – “. That is more or less the principle behind Guild Wars 2 events: Any help is welcome! If you would add a 6th character with 10k dps to your existing 5-man group where everybody else does 20k, the added character would still help, not hinder the rest of the group.”
- And Zubon considers the spectrum of alt-friendliness to alt-unfriendliness in modern MMOs – “I have been calling this alt-friendliness, but in a broader view, this is easy grouping. Alt-friendliness means not needing an alt to play with your friend’s alt. “
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Could Guild Wars 2 be a vision of a happier world?
Jester may be becoming convinced – at least in MMO terms. The veteran EVE blogger, hardened survivor of a thousand griefers, has been playing Guild Wars 2 recently – and he’s shocked at what he’s seen.
Friendly cooperation –
“When you’re playing GW2, from time to time you’ll get markers indicating that a nearby player or NPC has been defeated. You can head for those markers and “revive” them… basically the game’s resurrection system. The important bit, though, is that these markers are placed on everyone’s map. Reviving someone is slightly annoying: it can take upwards of 10 to 15 seconds and the reward for doing so is paltry. And I was off the beaten track, not even in an event, and with a dangerous creature close by. I was idly curious… would someone come along and spontaneously revive me? I decided to give it a few minutes to see.
Now in EVE of course, the response to such an event would be very predictable. Other players would go by saying “lol noob” in Local leaving me to my fate… or more likely there would be a deliberate shake-down attempt: “I’ll revive you for 10 silver.” Would an EVE player assist a stranger at little benefit to themselves and at a cost of 15 seconds lost time? I think we all know the answer to that! We’ve been trained virtually from character birth not to help our fellow capsuleers. That’s quickly morphed into “make fun of our fellow capsuleers when they’re down on their luck.” That’s EVE culture.
In GW2, I had to wait less than two minutes before someone came into the cave, revived me, and then helped me finish off the veteran wolf and the associated minions.
Who are these people and how is it that they’re playing an MMO?”
I’ve often found some of the most interesting insights into MMORPG culture come from people moving between wildly different games, and EVE to Guild Wars 2 has to be one of the biggest leaps possible. Jester’s an excellent writer, and his stories here are both fascinating and heartening, as he wonders just how the culture can be so wildly different in the two games.
Are you finding Guild Wars 2 as friendly as Jester is – or EVE as brutal?
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