eve

See: EVE Online

Global Chat: World of Warcraft’s wild frontier

How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.

“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”

Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to  the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!

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EVE Evolved: The strategy and narrative of EVE’s revenge war

At the start of this month, we reported on a massive new war that was kicking off in the north of EVE Online. The words “The Imperium Strikes Back!” rang across the game as one of the game’s largest military coalitions moved thousands of capital ships north in preparation for what it called a “dirty war.” The group planned to dump hordes of capital ships on the enemy aggressively and with little regard of the financial cost, using its vast economic wealth to spread pain and misery. This was going to be The Imperium’s great return to nullsec warfare after a year of farming ISK and building up resources, and that narrative was used to get thousands of players on board.

The reality hasn’t been quite so dramatic, but it’s been very interesting on a strategic level. We’ve seen the narrative of this war change substantially over the past few weeks and watched as every victory or loss is quickly spun into propaganda. The Imperium has lost several key battles and appears totally outmatched by the combined supercapital forces of the north, but has also destroyed a few enemy citadels and is already claiming victory over its primary strategic objective. TEST Alliance has seen its own share of victories and defeats in the region against Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion too, but is now in the process of packing up to go home.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine the major strategic goals during this war, the apparent change in The Imperium’s narrative, and the effect on the average alliance line member.

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Massively Overthinking: Alone together vs. forced grouping in MMORPGs

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.

MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.

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EVE: Valkyrie allows players to ditch the VR headset

This is just your weekly reminder from CCP that EVE: Valkyrie wasn’t a figment of your imagination, it still exists, and please for the love of all that is holy, buy it already. Please.

Oh, and it’s also a major announcement that Valkyrie — a multiplayer sci-fi fighter spin-off of EVE Online — is preparing to ditch the expensive requirement of a virtual reality headset. That’s right: Come September 26th, you won’t need a VR headset to play this VR game.

This is thanks to a new version of the game called EVE: Valkyrie — Warzone, which allows both VR and non-VR players to battle together on the same server. The Warzone update will also introduce a new generation of ships, add a mod-based progression system, include “ultra” abilities, trot out more maps, raise the rank cap to 60, toss in mouse-and-keyboard support, and more.

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EVE Online pushes back its August patch until August 16

There was supposed to be an EVE Online patch here. It’s not here now, though; instead, it’s being pushed back by a day until August 16th. Considering the fact that said patch contains important changes to structure combat mechanics and insurance, this is likely to have a major impact in the game’s current ongoing war. It’s unclear if the delay is to allow for one last major push for the war effort under the existing mechanics or if it’s simply for some last-minute tweaking.

The recently released economic report on the state of the game may play into this as well, showing off the overall production, mining, and alterations made in the game’s economy over the prior months. If you’re watching all of the conflict unfold as a spectator or an uninvolved player, it’s going to be very important to see how production and economies are shaped by this conflict.

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EVE Online revenge war update: The war machine stalls

Last week we brought you the news of a massive new war brewing in the north of EVE Online, and The Imperium’s threat of revenge to the alliances that live there. The Imperium has been farming hard in the southern Delve region for months and has built up a massive war chest since it was kicked out of its northern territory during the colossal World War Bee conflict last year. Meanwhile, military alliance Pandemic Legion has been throwing its weight around all over nullsec, interfering in TEST Alliance’s war with Guardians of the Galaxy in the north and dropping supercapital fleets on The Imperium in the south.

The revenge war kicked off as The Imperium formed a pact with TEST Alliance and then moved over 1,000 capital ships to a staging system in the low-security system of Hakonen in the north of EVE. This war seems to be mostly about creating engaging PvP content, but for The Imperium it’s also an opportunity to get revenge on those who sided against them during World War Bee. For TEST Alliance, it’s a continuation of its conflict with the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition and perhaps a way to give Pandemic Legion the bloody nose it deserves.

This week has seen some interesting developments in the war, with several failed attempts to anchor citadels and possible strategic blunders and supply issues. Read on for a breakdown of the latest in EVE Online‘s latest revenge war.

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The PAX West City of Heroes and Ashes of Creation panels are a go

A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.

“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”

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EVE Evolved: A massive war for revenge is brewing in EVE Online

Just over a year ago, the largest PvP conflict in gaming history kicked off in EVE Online as war erupted between the game’s most prominent territorial alliances. Over 60,000 pilots were initially drawn into the interstellar war that came to be known as World War Bee or The Casino War, and thousands of ex-players and newbies signed up during the war just to get involved. We followed the landmark battles and political twists of World War Bee intently for several months as it unfolded like a living work of science fiction. Our coverage ended with The Imperium, a large military coalition led by alliance Goonswarm Federation, being kicked out of its territory in the north of EVE and losing thousands of members and allies.

The story could have ended there as alliances often collapse following a major defeat (in what players affectionately refer to as a “failure cascade”), but the core of The Imperium stuck together and vowed to one day get revenge. The group has since managed to conquer and hold the lucrative Delve region in the south of EVE and has been farming resources en masse for months, rebuilding its war chest and waiting for an opportunity for revenge. It looks like that moment has now arrived, as the group has reportedly moved a huge fleet up north to a staging system within striking distance of its former home.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the war brewing in the north of EVE got started and what shape it might take over the coming weeks.

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EVE Online engineers a patch full of quality-of-life improvements

Maybe it’s a sign of age or maturity as a video gamer when you start to rejoice over less flashy “quality of life” patches. New features and content is all well and good, but taking something broken and fixing it or making a decent thing way better can completely change your outlook on a game.

EVE Online has such a patch in the works for August 15th, but it’s not waiting until then to talk about it. Among the QoL tweaks coming with the update are improvements to the beta starmap and a much more user-friendly scanner system.

The team’s also developing new interface that will more clearly explain how standings with various NPCs will unlock specific content: “NPC standings are an important part of EVE. They govern which missions you can do, your ability to join faction warfare, and when you will be attacked in NPC controlled parts of space to name a few. With this in mind, we’ve been working on a way to show you when these things either become available to you or when you will lose access to them.”

Source: EVE Online

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EVE Online is making guided void bombs weaker in its structure revamp

It’s not as much fun to attack a structure in EVE Online when there’s only one way to do it correctly. That’s one of the issues that the game is looking to address with its newest structure revamp by making guided void bombs a bit less potent. Players are limited in the fleet compositions that can realistically take the battle to the station by the overwhelmingly powerful nature of void bombs; having them deal less damage while firing more slowly means they still hit hard, but hopefully no longer serve as an overwhelming option.

The patch will also make it clear where flight paths will emerge from a station to avoid mistakes during initial placement. Corporation insurance is also coming to upwell structures, make possible by some behind-the-scenes technical shifts. Whether you own structures, enjoy attacking them, or just want to see what’s changing in the game’s set of fortified locales, you should get the full rundown of the numbers being tweaked.

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Dean Hall’s Stationeers don’t want no scrubs

DayZ’s Dean Hall says his new sci-fi survivalbox Stationeers is launching early access in September, and he isn’t sugarcoating the game’s difficulty.

You might remember Stationeers from its rather casual reveal back in March, hot on the heels of the apparent cancellation of Dean Hall’s other big sci-fi game, Ion, an EVE Online-inspired MMORPG that dissolved in a puddle of cagey and contradictory statements from the studios and platforms involved.

Stationeers, however, isn’t an MMO; it’s a sandbox, and it hates you, so don’t be fooled by the adorable graphics. “This is not a casual game,” Hall’s studio, RocketWerkz, says.

“Easy to start but hard to master. Well, kind of easy. Maybe not really. This game has been designed for the hardcore players who want games that are very systems oriented. This is a game about complex systems and how you optimize them. The game presents a variety of science-based survival problems that you have to solve yourself, and then try and optimize your solutions over time. For those not seeking a very intensive and hardcore experience, this game is not for you.”

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Global Chat: Dipping into Albion Online

Now that Albion Online has officially launched, what’s the verdict? It’s a little hard to get a feel for that, since I haven’t seen a huge crowd heading off to play it, but I do know that there are some that have been waiting for this colorful sandbox MMO.

Occasional Hero posted his launch impressions, saying, “Playing Albion feels a lot like going back to RuneScape. It’s an isometric, crafting-focused, click-to-move game where players have to compete for resources. Even the graphics are similar […] If I get to the endgame and everything I need is walled inside PvP zones controlled by massive, EVE-style guild conglomerates, I won’t be sticking around. Sadly, from a lot of the player feedback I’ve been hearing, it sounds like that’s what a lot of it is going to end up being.”

And SparkoMarkoGaming has done us all a service by blogging through his first few days in the game. “I knew what to expect from playing the beta and nothing seemed to have changed in the gameplay,” he noted.

Continue with us on our journey through MMO blog essays in this week’s Global Chat! On deck is a look at Star Citizen’s alpha, an evaluation of Secret World Legends, and a look at gamers’ “play personalities.”

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MMO researcher Nick Yee is ‘dispeling myths about female gamers’

Quantic Foundry researcher and long-time MMO academic Nick Yee has an intriguing blog post out this week titled Dispelling Myths about Female Gamers in which he purports to do just that. Yee has been shuffling the data from over 300,000 submissions to the Gamer Motivation Model project to see what they reveal about female gamers. “Over and over again, we have noticed that cursory examinations of the data often support a gender-normative narrative,” he writes, “but diving deeper into the data reveals far more surprising (and interesting) relationships between gender and gameplay.”

For example, consider the lazy stereotype that women are innately averse to violence or competition in online games, a claim often used to dismiss female-dominated games as casual or not “real” games.

“At first glance, gaming motivations among men and women seem to align with gender stereotypes: Men are primarily motivated by competition and destruction, while women’s primary motivations are completion and fantasy. But this is only part of the story. For example, consider competition—the motivation that varies the most between male and female gamers – for which, it turns out, age accounts for twice the statistical variance than gender does. Or, to put it another way, the delta in the appeal of competition between younger men and older men is much bigger than the delta between men and women.”

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