Monday, May 28, 2007

I know it hasn't been a month since my last entry , but I had to write some stuff here. It just helps me clear my head a little.


First off, I found this nifty little program for EVE Online the other day. So I resubscribed and booted the game up.

"Wait ... did he just say he's playing EVE Online /again/?"
"Fuck, this guy is back and forth so much I can't keep track!"

Shut up you two.

Anyways, the program runs in the background and takes the data you export from the EVE Market window, and calculates trading runs for you. You input your ship's cargohold capacity, and available money, and it does the rest. Even figures out security status and everything. So you don't jump into dangerous territory and get blown up.

I used it a bunch in the last couple days and I've made 12 million credits. All fairly quickly, and without needing to worry about lag, losing my ship, looting/salvaging wrecks, or finishing my mission quickly enough that I get the bonus credits and my loot cans don't de-spawn.

It's been great. It's finally given me back what I used to have in EVE. A casual way to make money, that I can do whenever I want, and can leave the computer at a moment's notice. The Level 3 missions I was running before weren't like that at all. Lag was a MAJOR issue. Then there was the fact that you never knew what mission you would get, so it could be a nice 20 minute one, or a 3 hour epic. Add to that the time to loot and salvage the wrecks. It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't a penalty for turning down a mission offer. But you can only turn down 1 mission every 4 hours. So you're pretty much stuck with whatever you get.

Now, with my Trading, I can go get a drink if I want, go to the bathroom, logoff, etc. There's no requirement for me to play for a certain amount of time. I /really/ like that. A lot. Having that much freedom in an MMO is one of the things I think most MMOs lack. CoX is the only other MMO I've played with the same low time requirements. For example, the other day I logged on CoH for a half hour before work, and I managed to complete 2 missions for my contacts. I don't think you can do that in most MMOs at all.

In another story, still about EVE, there's been /more/ allegations of developer/GM misconduct by staff at CCP. I can't believe these guys. They can't keep a tight reign on their staff to save their lives. I won't describe all the details here, but I did find it interesting that a former Blizzard employee wrote a letter (ie. forum post) to CCP about how he finds the companies' differences in business practices ridiculous.

Here's an excerpt of the post:

As an ex-Blizzard employee, I am flabbergasted at the extent to which developer presence contaminates the player pool. With WoW there wasn't a line between our player accounts and our personal accounts- there was a wall, a moat, a spike-filled trench, and electrified barbed wire. You so much as tried to enter a developer command into the console, you'd be kicked from the server, your account would be flagged, and unless you had a really damn good reason for attempting to bring developer capabilities into the game your ass was fired. You told no one anything about the game behind the curtain, you never told anyone in-game that you even worked for the company, or your ass was fired. The impetus for crossing that line in eve is entirely beyond me.

And don't start for a second with "We need to see how things work." Rubbish. You've got one of the most robust test servers known to MMOs, you've got ridiculously fluid interaction from your player base (At least from the bottom-up) and if nothing else you could have internal servers to try things on. Having anyone with even the possibility of developer powers in the public server is nothing short of madness. Having powers above and beyond normal players, or having access to information beyond the average player, is akin to putting water in chocolate- a single drop can cause a whole batch to seize and it's ruined just like that.

"But what about GMs?" you ask. Fair enough, they need certain powers to set things right. But they should only ever exist in the game when no other option presents itself. They should be invisible, intangible, a last resort for a coding malfunction or dispute that requires GM omniscience to solve. They should not be people but a service, identifiable only to the point that they can be held accountable for their actions. If you tried to log in as a GM account anywhere but at Blizzard's GM center, hell, if you even hinted that you had a GM account, you'd be canned so fast your head would spin. That CCP would willingly and intentionally contaminate the public player base with what amounts to demi-gods with varying degrees of moral fortitude just boggles my mind.

That speaks volumes I think. The people at CCP haven't made the line between developer and player clear enough. They need to make all their Dev/GM enabled accounts flagged as so, and visible to all the players, and only make them available from work. The staff can have their own personal accounts to play on their off time, but cannot use them from the office. Plus, they need to have a system to track /every move/ the GM accounts make. Maybe even track the employees' personal accounts as well. When the game is all about competition with other players, the temptation of cheating becomes all too real.

I'm just enjoying my time in EVE right now, trading and seeing the sights. I'm really just waiting till they release the next patch, as it has a whole whack of stuff I've been waiting for. Co-op missions, revamped exploration, etc.

Hopefully it doesn't take them forever to get the bugs worked out.


Heroes was awesome last week. I'm sad that I won't be able to see the next episodes for some months. But at least they left the show at an ending, of sorts. They gave a glimpse that more is still to come, but this "chapter" of the story is done. I like that. The shit that Smallville pulls each season just pisses me off. Apparently, my old friend, who now lives over 800+ km away (500+ miles), loves comic books and used to be a huge fan of the show, can't stand to watch it anymore. I'm starting to agree with him. There's only been a handful of episodes that have been truly great this last season, IMO. The good ones are getting too few.

Maybe next season will get better. But I'm not holding my breath. Fucking Bizarro ....


In the tabletop front, my friends and I got to play last week. I truly glad we did. The amount of crazy shit that happened was awesome, and most of the session wasn't even any dice rolls or combat. I think we were really getting the one guy who's very "Hack 'n Slash" into playing in character. It was great.

I also need to work on my space campaign a lot, I'm coming to realize. I don't have anything really started, and I found out my other friend wants to run Cyberpunk again, using the GURPS system. He's going to run it on one of the technologically driven planets in the space game. So, if I get my parts written up, we can play GURPS all the time, and only use DnD as a fallback game. We'll have Space Marines, Cyberpunk, my Space game, Aliens/Post-Apocalypse, and Vikings. I'm sure the other guys might be bummed, but I'm sure they'll get over it.

I think I might even do some write ups this afternoon. Or maybe tomorrow, I dunno. I'm such a procrastinator when there's no real deadline.


In other gaming news, I tried playing Battlefield 2142 the other day, but I just can't get into it anymore. It's weird, cause I can play FEAR all the time and be fine. I think cause Kofi (my co-worker, who I play BF2142 with) and I haven't played it together in almost 2 months, it's lost it's magic. I've got all the Recon and Support unlocks, and the Assault and Engineer ones just don't interest me in the slightest. Maybe the Medic tree of Assault, but I'm going to grind out 3 more ranks to get them all. Besides, I'm one of the /worst medics ever/. I'm usually the first one killed. How the fuck am I supposed to heal/resuscitate people when I'm already dead?

The glitchy nature of the game, and the complete shit design of the EA matchmaking service also piss me off. Having to refresh the /entire server list/ every time I try and join a server and find it full is a fucking huge pain in the ass. Why they didn't make it check if the server was full first, and then give a pop-up message if so, instead of trying to load the server and map, fail, then kick back to the server list is beyond me. They definitely have never taken a course on efficient program design. Or at least they don't remember anything from it. I sure do from when I took it.

As for FEAR, I still love it. I can't believe how much fun I can have with it. And it's so simple, and shallow. Yet satisfying to the extreme. I think I would have get a lot more into Planetside if the game wasn't so exceedingly laggy and glitchy. Fighting a huge battle with tanks, planes and everything to take over entire planets sounds awesome.


In personal news, it seems like my dad and I won't be able to get in the hiking trip we wanted this year. We were going to go hike Mt. Temple, a 11,000 ft mountain in the Rockies, before the bear season hits and they close that part of the park. But he's busy with his work, I'm overworked at my work and low on the list for getting holidays, and I have to move soon too. Maybe we can find something else to do later on in August.

Or maybe I'll have to go on a trip without him. It won't be the same though. It's always been something we've done together, I've never gone on a trip without him. I don't know what it's going to be like when he gets too old to hike anymore. I probably won't even go at that point.


Now, I think it's time for some gaming. I've been wasting this day off sleeping, eating and doing other mindless things. That just won't do.

See y'all later,
The Rev.

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