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Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:21:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 06/05/2008 22:06:19

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CSM Manifesto 2008 - Jade Constantine

Eve Online is a very special game. Love it or hate it, (and sometimes both at the same time) we all acknowledge it has something unique that keeps us coming back, keeps us training those skills, evolving with the technology, fighting our virtual foes and chasing the dreams so beautifully envisioned in every fabric of this engaging and utterly ruthless MMORPG.

It’s about the universe: it’s big, it’s brutal, and it’s totally uncompromising. It’s filled with predators and bullies, rivals and spies, assassins, psychopaths, patriots and the occasional hero.

The environment can grind ambitions to dust and send you packing with relentless, terrible cruelty; you can see your hopes broken, corporations and alliances crushed and devastated, you can witness fantastically expensive and rare spaceships burning and annihilated before your astonished eyes and the work of years undone in moments in a frenzy of betrayal and intrigue that wouldn’t be out of place in the darkest espionage novels of the cold war.

But all this matters; it’s remembered. Because Eve is a single universe with a single history, and whether we play villains or heroes or driven individuals just trying to survive, our stories remain.

Talk about Eve and you talk about Eve. Talk about the death of the Phoenix Alliance in the GNW of 2004 and you are talking about something everyone of that age lived through. Talk about the Great War and it’s a subject with a common frame of reference for all Eve players - our characters are not lost in an endless repeating mirrored maze of shards and instances and duplicate game-worlds, they stand their place in the one universe and as they succeed or fail they leave their mark in the virtual history.

To play Eve is to live Eve and experience the aggregate accomplishment of a hundred thousand players who have come and gone in this same universe before you.

Eve is unique amongst online games; a single virtual world where consequence and reputation are universal and accomplishment is absolute. It’s a rare treasure and compelling vision, and truly something worth fighting to preserve.

The State of the Art

My favourite review of Eve online in any medium remains the brief quote from PCGamer Magazine that is repeated each month in the top games column:

“A slow burning, complex and utterly beautiful MMORPG. Live that Iain M. Banks dream.”

Those words have always done an excellent job of summing up for me the player what I see in the game of Eve Online and how I describe my hobby to non-gamers and people fascinated by this strange universe where I play a green-haired pseudo-French revolutionary back-lit by a demonic red glow of shipboard machinery.

I grew up with Iain M. Banks, you see; I read his great reinvention of the golden age space opera novel Consider Phlebas when I first started university and was smitten by the visions of vast star-faring civilizations at war with energies putting the suns to shame and wasting planets and space stations and vast fleets of warships in a bitter ideological war for domination.

As a novel it works on so many levels: it has a sense of wonder and scale and terrible devastation, it has very human protagonists, spaceship fights and flights, rogues ducking and diving beneath the notice of near-omnipotent artificial intelligences and the sense that the wider universe is shifting in the chaos of total war while the characters chase their own ambitions with single-minded energy.

Eve Online is precisely that.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:22:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:42:01

As I fly Jade’s customised warship of choice through the chaos of border systems in Providence I know that elsewhere in the single universe capital vessels are dying in sieges and traps, battleship fleets are clashing for the ambition of their captains and leaders, blockade-running smugglers are taking the wealth of 0.0 back to the core markets for profit, religious zealots are clashing with their victims, traders are falling for scams and petty intrigues, and war profiteers are counting their profits while dreaming of plans to hurt their enemies a hundred systems away with complex schemes within schemes in this interconnected universe of bitter chance and endless possibility.

The universe is vast and the cast of combatants, friends, enemies and neutrals just trying to make their own way is immense. It has a sense of scale that all other games lack, but I’ve never once felt irrelevant in this setting. I’ve never lost the sense of wonder just looking at my starship in the void and wondering what can happen. Never doubted that words can persuade and spark conflict, never forgotten that the right actions at the right time can be the fulcrum of accomplishment and change the whole virtual universe for better or worse.

We are tiny specks against the tapestry of stars but our characters are everything an individual yearns to be or darkly dreams of becoming, every deed has consequence, every act of violence impacts the collective balance, every betrayal can be repaid and vengeance (though rarely swift) is always a shadow rising on the windward horizon.

Any Eve character can rise to found an empire (or destroy one). Any can strive to be the most famed warrior, the deadliest pirate, the most loathed betrayer, the great statesman and peacemaker or the hair-trigger protagonist of the war that destroys the ambitions and hopes of thousands united under the fragile banners of territorial pride.

All we need is wit and will (and a little luck) and some sweet words of persuasion and the universe of Eve opens up before us. Just like the characters in “Consider Phlebas” we’ll be immortalised with our shining moments of choice in the heart of the political maelstrom without.

A lot of words, I admit. But then what less does one say about a game that’s kept the interest for five years and still occupies an iron grip on gaming choice and preference?

Truth is Eve is a seductive and addictive mistress with alluring smile and flashing eyes and a cruelty beneath the surface of her moods like rocks beneath the sometimes placid ocean. It’s not just about numbers and nerfing and units and balancing. It’s not about whether we side with pirates or mission runners, or traders, or tech2 cartels or whatnot. Its not about whether we give advantages to side X,Y,Z in whatever war is raging. And it’s not a popularity contest between counterstrike players dueling rapid-fire frags in the neon glow of their monitor screens.

No, it’s deeper than that. Eve is a game but it’s also a passion and a place of shared community, imagination and enjoyment. The other players in your corporation or alliance, those names in text or voices in Ventrilo, come to mean a lot more than the players of other games that came and went and got sequels and burned out their licenses while Eve was still maturing and evolving.

Eve continues and the friendships and camaraderie we make in this game mean something. We’re sharing something special; we’re building a community and the trust and friendships that come from teamwork, mutual interest and collective imagination.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:23:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:45:38

The Council of Stellar Management

With this document I’m hoping to seduce you into voting for me to represent the Eve community on the founding Council of Stellar Management (CSM).

It’s an important position and this inaugural council is going to be under the spotlight for its manner, its own accomplishments and its general approach to the task at hand. It’s going to be highly controversial in some ways (we all know this), there are going to be debates and arguments, and there are a lot of improvements that need making.

We’re going to see big alliances dominate the proceedings on pure number base; we’re going to see special interest groups arguing for radical re-balancing of core mechanics, we’ll see cults of the personality and superstars arise in the player domain and we’re going to see CCP publicise the new oversight and capitalise on player involvement to improve tarnished aspects of their reputation.

Some good some bad, some scandal and some genuine improvements are possible, but ultimately we have an opportunity here to find a voice and take responsibility for pushing the game of Eve in the directions we want to see it go, and that’s got to be a good thing.

But what I want to make sure is that in all the politics and alliance interest and ego-polishing there is a representation for the player who, like me, truly loves that “Iain M. Banks dream” and finds the imaginative potential of this gorgeous single server environment as strong today as it ever was five years ago and will fight with every breath for the continuation and enhancement of that splendid vision.

I love this dark and dangerous universe with an adult twist of nihilism and intrigue; I adore the battlefields strewn with the wrecks of a thousand ships and the sweet taste of victory made sweeter yet for the memory of defeats in times before.

Eve is a game where a player can make a name and reputation and rise from obscurity to command the attention and notice of the universe. I did it once and it was the greatest ride of my gaming life. Now I want to make sure that every new player starting out in this game has the same potential and opportunities I had and that Eve continues to be the truly open sandbox environment where everything is possible for the reckless and the wise alike.

Apologies then for the long preamble but I thought it best we make sure a compatibility of imagination, vision and outlook exists before we get into the nitty-gritty of the policies and interests I’ll be presenting below.

If you’ve come with me this far then I think we might be onto something, you and I; maybe we won’t agree on everything (who does?) but you will at least understand why I’m going to say the things I do below and all I’d ask is that you think a while with an open mind and cast your vote with conscience after considering all the options and possibilities before you.

And I won’t be offended if the vision of chaos and destruction scares you a little bit, but really, don’t we all enjoy being scared from time to time?

CSM Policy Advocacy

Let’s get something clear from the beginning. I’m not going to promise to be all things to all people, other candidates will do that and if you like the safety-blanket of a universal “trust me I’ve got all your best interests at heart” message you might not find my politics entirely to your taste.

I have enthusiasms and interests of my own you see; I have things I care about and wish to see improved and promoted within the environment of Eve Online. I imagine that makes me an unwise politician in the context of the CSM elections but it does at least ensure that you are going to see well in advance exactly what you are going to be getting from my candidacy if you choose to trust me your vote. So here goes:

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:25:00 - [4]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:48:05

Enhancing Dynamism in 0.0 Space Warfare

There is a problem with the current empire building and endgame conflict engine in Eve. POS structures for Sovereignty, the prevalence of Cyno Jammers strangling open space and nullifying entire ship classes, the danger of indestructible outpost spam in 0.0 cheapening the business (and risk) of establishing territorial roots.

At present, the speed of territorial conquest in 0.0 has slowed to a crawl with dynamics akin to the trench warfare of WW1 with fixed positions and machine gun nests dominating the landscape. Its stopped being fun, its stopped being accessible, its become a typical MMORPG grind which is a cardinal sin for a game that was designed from the ground up to avoid typical boring grind gameplay in its fluid sandbox environment.

The art and vision of Eve the epic space opera has been damaged by the introduction of empire-building elements prioritizing defence and safety and consequence-free building in what is supposed to be the most hazardous environment in the game universe.

The dark and dangerous 0.0 void where all can be lost to war and fate has changed to “Sim-City-in-space” where all you need to defend your interests is to keep towers fuelled 24/7 and ensure your cyno jammer is anchored at the nastiest POS tower configuration possible.

Small scale territorial conflict is not practical anymore since the defence advantage is so vast that massive assets are required to assault even the smallest 0.0 landholders. In essence, the balance between attack and defence has gone wrong and needs to be adjusted.

1. The cyno jammer module needs to be addressed urgently. They should never be the kind of starbase module that one anchors in each system in 0.0, flicks the on-switch, and never needs to worry about maintenance or priority ever again. At the moment the game encourages each alliance to anchor these things *everywhere* and in doing so encourages precisely the kind of massive numerical fleet warfare that the game infrastructure clearly cannot handle.

Nobody enjoys laggy blob warfare. But that is exactly the kind of fighting required to make any kind of progress against the ubiquitous cyno jammer defended pocket empires across the map right now.

For Eve to reach its beautiful potential as a space-conflict simulator with grand fleets clashing in vital engagements across multiple fronts in 0.0 as empires rise and fall the developers need to take a serious look at the implications of all POS technology in general and the jump-blocking cyno jammer module as an item of the highest priority.

2. Make outposts vulnerable to destruction. For some this is a taboo subject. The idea that a multi-billion ISK investment in fixed infrastructure in 0.0 should be destroyable in some fashion frankly horrifies some residents of nullsec and the alliances there, but really, isn’t it contrary to Eve’s nature that its possible to build something in open space and have it stand as an indestructible monument forever more? Where is the accomplishment in building a station if it cannot be destroyed if your forces are defeated?

Where is the drama and the grandeur of a desperate defence if the aggressors cannot burn and pillage your possessions and obliterate your dreams in a cataclysm of fire and fury?

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:26:00 - [5]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:50:29
And, less poetically – what happens to Eve when all of 0.0 is covered in indestructible outposts at some point in the future? When there are so many of these structures that nobody considers them worth defending and they remain as empty shells bereft of purpose or emotional meaning.

My point is that for something to have value, it has to have vulnerability – to build and maintain an outpost should be an accomplishment and defending such things should be a major endeavour and never involve “let’s go to empire and bore the aggressors and return and put up more towers to get it back in 3 months’ time when they’ve gone away again.”

Players risk more total ISK loss in the hull and fittings of Motherships and Titans, the game of Eve doesn’t need indestructible capture the flag gameplay in 0.0 space.

3. Introduce competitive Mobile Infrastructure. The balance of power in 0.0 has tipped wildly in favour of the fixed territorial paradigm. All technology and advantages encourage (and necessitate) the establishment of static base building and sovereignty maintenance. This forces players through one single set of hoops if they want to reach the highest tech levels and end content for the game.

The problem is that it damages Eve’s original vision as a player-led creative sandbox for open experimentation and diversity of playstyles. Sure, we need territorial empires and tyrants and star bases and exclusion zones, but they are just one part of the ecosystem - they should never be the only option.

Where are the cloaked pirate bases? The mobile refineries? The guerrilla resistance movements operating from converted freighters in enemy space? Smugglers and blockade runners, spies and assassins, rogue traders and loners scraping an existence from the underbelly of these empires?

There should be advantages for the fixed power, but there should be options and alternatives for the mobile force. A balance needs to be rediscovered and the high level content options for Eve need to be widened and made more diverse to maintain its appeal for existing and new players. Owning sovereignty 4 and an invulnerable outpost should not be the universal endgame for every organisation in Eve.

4. Encourage diversity in PVP engagement opportunity. Deriving from all the above. The challenge for the CSM and game direction in general is how to raise the beautiful PVP combat aspect of Eve Online from its current doldrums to a new height of variety and enjoyable opportunity.

Combat in 0.0 currently is about POS warfare and siege or securing gates during POS siege. There really isn’t anything else of value to attack or defend. The stated intention of delivering midrange targets for small unit PVP needs to be revisited and made to work this time.

Infrastructure items need removed from POS gun proximity – POS themselves need re-working from the “Swiss Army Knife” tool they are now to things with variety and specialisation. Moon mining Towers should not be as difficult to attack as Sovereignty claiming defence towers.

Elements in the defence grid like system scanners, jump bridges and cyno jammers should be vulnerable structures in their own right – not simply modules spammed out within the universal aegis of the ubiquitous “Death Star POS”.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:27:00 - [6]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:53:55

New environments and precious items need to be found and secured, in-game hacking of defensive objects, counter-siege deployable objects (anti cyno jammers!), forward bases, warp range standoff batteries; even using asteroids as weapons!

Basically, we need more places and environments in which to fight and reasons to do the fighting there. Diversity and variety are the spice of life AND Eve combat in 0.0. Give players a diversity of targets and multiple objectives in war and skirmish and you’ll make valuable progress in the fight to reduce dependence on blob-warfare.

Promoting improvement and variety in Empire Warfare

While the 0.0 dynamic in conflict has benefited from a vast amount of developer attention over the years, the core mechanics of empire war and the conflicts and smaller battles between predators and vigilantes on the verges of policed space has received virtually none.

At core these tiny struggles between pirate and victim, between small corporations fighting turf wars over lowsec assets and trading slights, these conflicts in empire between rivals and bounty hunters searching for profit in the slaying of illegal’s are every bit as important as the vast games of empires raging in deep 0.0.

These conflicts are the content that attract and maintain new players and enrich the environment for all of us.

Not every Eve player has the desire or ambition to fight vast fleet battles; some prefer their PVP in small unit scale, some like the thrill of lone hunting, and there is a whole ecology of stainless steel rats living in the wainscoting of Eve’s society between the safe zones of core empire and the high-pressure sovereignty war of player-controlled 0.0.

And this is not mere minority interest; this is a major area of the game for many, many people. Not everyone who plays Eve is a 24/7 alliance warrior in it for the alarm clock POS sieges and black-screen lag clashes for the honour of the supreme commander of their coalition.

Empire conflict is important and it needs advocacy at the CSM to ensure it gets the attention and developer support it needs to reach real potential.

1. Piracy, bounties and transferable kill rights. There are some very simple but compelling ideas doing the circuits of the Eve Ideas and Suggestions forums. Allowing surrender for victims (powering down of weapons), allowing pirates to shoot to “disable” (ie disable a ship rather than destroying it when it runs out of structure); both great ideas, that would immeasurably enrich that career choice.

And as for transferable kill rights - it’s a brilliant concept. If you get killed by an illegal in empire, you get a kill right on the aggressor. Why shouldn’t you be able to sell that kill right to a 3rd party “bounty hunter” (who must be +sec status)?

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:27:00 - [7]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:57:23

So let’s go a step further and allow the sold killright to function as a special kind of location agent that lets the bounty hunter track down the illegal and take a shot to deliver a form of justice to the victim.

It’s neat, it’s simple, and it brings another form of PVP to the game and will make Eve more exciting for pirates and bounty hunters both. (Oh yes, and make it so bounty can only be collected by the person who owns the kill right. No more self-termination by alts for profit.)

Successful completion of a kill right contract by an accredited hunter gets LPs from Concord and can buy special, pretty things from the LP shop. That’s right, missions that trigger PVP – why not? It’s this kind of idea we should be exploring to widen the appeal of the game and break the obsession/domination of massive slug fests only.

2. Enhanced corporate strife, open mercenary contracts. The war-dec system in Eve is pretty ancient now and a very blunt stick. It’s largely unchanged since the beginning of the game five years ago. One side picks a target, votes or selects the enemy, pays the fee and corporate / alliance warfare begins.

There are no win conditions save “blowing up ships” / “outlasting the endurance of declarer” – no real structure, no penalty for doing hideously badly or award for doing well. At the minimum we could do with some kind of corporate / alliance statistic showing their ratio of wins / losses / ship tonnage / efficiency just to know who was really terrible at conflict and who did well (very important for merc corporations’ credibility).

But what we really need are terms of the fighting – is it to kill ships? Is it to drive the target from XYZ system? Is it to reduce target membership? Is it to destroy a POS? Is it to protect / nullify somebody else’s wardec? There needs to be some variety and there needs to be a penalty for failing in the objective.

I remember five years ago noticing the “surrender” option in the war panel and wondering what the cost was going to be for “losing” a war. That question needs to be revisited and it’s something we all need to ask and consider.

Plus, when a victim corporation has an incoming wardec shouldn’t they be able to automatically advertise for help by publishing the plea on a roster of requests for aid that mercenary corporations could answer and accept as a binding contract?

The mercenaries get involved and automatically get paid a bounty for each vessel of particular type from a fund that the victim corporation establishes at point of bid. Establish a proper game structure for mercenary work, Eve is the ideal environment for this. I would like to see proper ranking tables and in-game adverts for mercenary agencies trading on their reputation and past accomplishment.

Endless development time has gone into POS mechanics; let’s have some devoted to encouraging the spread of player-led professions with actual player on player action rather than beating the dead horse of player on POS grinding.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:28:00 - [8]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 21:59:23

3. Fix black ops technology! It’s a great idea on paper; we’ve had covert frigates, cloaking, light raiding cruisers and now jump capable stealth Battleships that can make miniature jump-portals for mobile forces to use to jump behind the lines of sitting territorial powers.

Sounds really exciting, guerrilla ops, tense manoeuvre with cloaks and secret jumps and espionage but the potential has suffered with a sloppy deployment and the universal spam of cyno-jammers (those things again) on most approaches to 0.0 from Empire.

Eve is a game of intrigue and spying and all kinds of information and psyops warfare, lets ensure that technology to support this career choice is correctly implemented and available to the player base as a valid and entirely playable option.

I believe the field of black-ops should include methods of “hacking”/disabling player structures, planting tracking devices, listening bugs, and making the business of espionage less “meta” and more in-game technology with systems, modules and skills produced to empower and balance such endeavors.

The current crop of Black Operations Battleships represent a very interesting game development that could deliver variety in play style and great opportunities for new conflict but they’ve been introduced sloppily without properly understanding the reality in game at the moment and they need attention so they can support an appropriately sneaky play-choice for players wishing to specialise in battlefield recon and special operations in the Eve universe.

I think most agree at the minimum covert cyno-fields need to be immune to conventional cyno-jammers, but in addition these ships need increased jump range (to allow them to traverse the long real-space “pirate jumps” between regions) and they certainly need radically increased cargo bays to store the fuel needed to jump themselves and other vessels into the combat zone.

4. Ensure faction warfare is done right. This is the big one. It’s been promised for years, the great hope of the roleplay community post-Aurora and something that could be absolutely brilliant for everybody who seeks roleplay conflict and PVP entertainment in empire.

The concept at core: we’re playing in a living universe where NPC empires (Amarr, Matari, Gallente, Caldari and other minor factions) are intriguing, plotting, scheming and ultimately fighting each other. Our characters, corporations, and alliances develop standings and loyalties for one side or another through the process of game activities (agents and such) and could get embroiled in actual conflict with player entities supporting the rival powers.

Faction warfare promises actual game consequence for these conflicts and reasons for people to get involved in RP campaigns between the NPC powers. Maybe the Federation moves on the State and tries to take over a border region, thus evicting all those lovely level 4 agents the Caldari fans were farming for years?

Wouldn’t that convince the Caldari agent runners to get involved with the fight and confront the Gallante loyalists and runners in a pitched battle to defend their interests?

Is it something anyone could get involved in? Maybe external corps and alliances sign up for one side or another and fight all opponents in free sanctioned war decs and at the end of the month the side that inflicts the most casualties gets awarded the win!

Real game changes happen! War heroes and combat aces are made; medals get handed out - rare faction kit to the victorious corps! Everyone cheers! Maybe it’s a dream, but it’s a good dream and it’s something the CSM definitely needs to encourage because it’s precisely this kind of thing that Eve needs to remain fresh and competitive and healthy in the wider game market.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:29:00 - [9]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 22:01:34

Fleet Battle Lag and Blob Warfare

So I think by now you’ll be getting the point of my candidacy. These are the things I care about and I’m convinced that arguing for increased developer priority in these areas will improve the game and enrich the game experience for everyone.

I’m not one of these people that believe there will ever be a silver bullet lag solution that miraculously solves the problem of blob warfare and makes 1000 ship battles run with silky smooth responsiveness. I believe the “solution” to lag is breaking down conflict opportunities into smaller theatres – I’ve played and enjoyed Eve combat for almost five years now and to my eyes and judgement the game simply works better at certain scales than others. This is my conviction and it’s what I’ll be arguing for – so I guess that means I’m an anti-blobwar candidate as well as anarchist outpost destroyer!

But that’s my position, and it’s the platform I’m going to be standing on for the CSM elections. I think we should be improving the game by adding new things and more variety and enriching the possible career options for new and existing players in smaller corporations and alliances.

I really think it’s a mistake to keep banging our heads against the wall of lag cures while we do nothing to practically discourage massive uberblobbing in 0.0 combat. If you make mechanics that force people to blob they will blob.

The solution is almost childishly simple – change those mechanics so players don’t have to blob to compete, introduce realistic intermediate objectives and spread out the field of combat:

What if taking down a station took a simultaneous assault by an attacking force on several different “power cores” at different places in the system? (not at deathstar POS!) In one move you’d have split up one big blob fight at X point into multiple smaller battles across a variety of objectives. The attacking and defending commanders would have to split up their forces into genuine “wings” and allocate resources intelligently.

The point is that we should be looking at ways of breaking down the advantage of blob-warfare as a disincentive for alliances choosing it as their preferred option in waging wars. At the moment if you have greater numbers there is no reason not to blob out your enemy - the lag and damaged module response time of the big “blob fight” generally removes all player skill from the environment and turns it to simple weight of numbers and attrition and this is really not anything CCP should be encouraging.

Virtually all “clever” technologies die pointlessly in the lag environment and render their presence irrelevant, and this really is the biggest challenge to the state of the pvp game in Eve at the current time.

Case in point the “bomber” role for Stealth Bombers - conceived as an anti-blob weapon but its really not going to work when the incoming paper thin bombers are going to be zapped before they load the grid to no appreciable effect.

The developers need to ask themselves a question … “is the best defense to this technology going to be to put more ships on grid and produce lag reducing the ability for anyone to do anything clever?” If the answer is “yes” then its back to the drawing board.

Eve needs more technology (vessels/weapons) that actually punish the fleet blob cruelly and without mercy. How about putting the bomb warheads on a cruise missile that can fly at warp speed for 1AU and explode against an object in space with an area effect? Put 200 ships round a gate and you’re really going to be hurting when warp-speed cruise missile bombs start exploding on that gate. It punishes the defender for blobbing for a change and that is precisely what is needed.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:30:00 - [10]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 22:03:01

So lets think seriously about the implications of new technology and battlefield weapons and positively discriminate in favor of ideas that break up the blob, that drive commanders to make more intelligent decisions and split up their forces to achieve multiple simultaneous objectives and give a role back to smaller corporations and groups of skilled and daring players.

The Titan was a great anti-blob concept for example. Doomsday weapon destroying hundreds of ships with one shot – superb! It actually encouraged mixed fleets, lighter ships that could escape the blast, better scouting, splitting groups – added a big risk to static gate camping and thoughtless blobbing.

It was something that meant the commander had to be aware of the danger of a tactical nuke on the battlefield and avoid the unrealistic “uberblob” that had previously haunted the game.

But combine that with ridiculously simple to deploy and maintain cyno jammer module (that requires truly massive blob of ships to destroy at powerful deathstar POS) in an environment where only one side is going to have capital ships in the fight and everyone knows exactly when and where the fight is going to be and you have a terrible mess.

You have gameplay priorities at conflict with themselves and utter contradiction of purpose in reducing blob-warfare. Can’t blame the players for blobbing up when it’s the only way to remove a module that prevents them bringing in siege ships and getting an even fight. And you can’t blame the players for opting out of territorial warfare when they are forced to blob in an environment when the anti-blob doomsday weapon is king.

Somewhere along the road there needs to be some common sense and a general rationalization of the problem with territorial warfare in Eve so that improvements can be made to the clear benefit of all.

It doesn’t need tinkering with these things in isolation; it needs clear and rational plan with the objective of reducing the necessity for lag-inducing blob-fighting while increasing the speed, enjoyment, and opportunity for player interaction in the territorial conflict model.

It’s a tall order and a complex task. And end of the day you the electorate have the responsibility for selecting candidates who’ll be able to make these arguments and correctly advise the developers in the choices to be made.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:31:00 - [11]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 22:04:39

Candidate Credentials

So there you go, as I said I’m not I’m not all things to all people in this campaign. I freely admit I have a very personal interest in making Eve better through the specific policy items I’ve discussed above and I’m not claiming to be able to represent everyone and everything else with an impartial and dispassionate reserve.

What I can promise absolutely is that I love this game of Eve Online with genuine enthusiasm and if you share my desire to see it improved and enhanced in the areas I’ve discussed I’ll do my level best to make sure the developers are persuaded and debated in the right directions to make these things happen.

Game Experience

So to the funny bit, I imagine its possible you’ve read all that and still don’t realise who the heck I am so I’ll give a little overview of my experience as a player of Eve Online and what I’ve spent my time doing over the years to demonstrate, if nothing else, that I’ve had the opportunity at least to understand the things I’m talking about!

I started playing Eve with the character Jade Constantine way back in 2003, a few weeks after the retail release of the game. I didn’t play in Beta, I didn’t even know about the game until a friend of mine convinced me to buy it and plan a corporation that could fight the system and set the universe ablaze on a diet of revolutionary zeal and free space ethics.

I was intrigued, then addicted, then ended up doing exactly what was written on the back of the game and started a sequence of wars and conflicts in the interest of free trade and commerce in the player sphere of 0.0.

Amusingly enough, Jade was rolled up with mining skills and more than anything I visualized her as a workers revolutionary organising against the big cartels and founding a breakaway movement of capsule pilots devoted to fighting the imperialism of the core empire and founding their own roving communities on graft and free space economics.

Quite quickly the focus shifted ingame to trade in robotics and plutonium running and the corporation I founded, Jericho Fraction, became one of the earliest really serious blockade running outfits bringing rare goods with excellent profit margins from the wilds of Venal through empire to the receptive markets of Khanid and Domain for 20m ISK profit a cargo (back when that was a lot of money).

Dodging pirates - most notably the famous Space Invaders - we made a lot of money just moving goods around, learned our PVP lessons through evasion tricks and misdirection, and invested wisely in funky modules to make our Bestowers the fastest industrials in space capable of evading gate camps back when instajumps hadn’t been invented and you could still squeeze eight extruded heatsinks into an Armageddon without any hint of a stacking nerf.

Eventually though the pirates got organized and the risks were increasing so I decided to join one of Eve’s first alliances and convince them from within to be freespacers in exchange for teaching them about the hallowed plutonium trade runs that were still massively profitable.

This led to the first incident in a recurring theme of my Eve experience – the clash of freespace vs territorialist ethics. Eve’s first megacorporation, namely Taggart Transdimensional Industries under the notorious Randite ideologue Ragnar, had moved into the Venal alliance alongside our own Jericho Fraction and they wanted mineral rights, territorial exclusion to protect those rights, and moreover wanted to run Venal as a private fiefdom to enhance the power and prestige of Taggart itself.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:32:00 - [12]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 22:06:25

This was the archetypal big bad player-led imperialist hierarchy right in my face and I opted to destroy it. I committed myself to preparing for the fight to come, winning allies, hiring mercenaries, spies and agents; I funded allied corporations, manoeuvred, wrote press releases and readied my weapons and realized just how alive this environment felt – Eve was a fabulously compelling game, grand strategy, game of thrones, intrigue and bravery and brutal realpolitik rolled into one and I was hooked.

What happened is a tale for another time, but suffice to say it propelled my character into fame and notoriety and kept her there for years to come. Other wars came and went and would conclude for me in the greatest conflict in the game to date that we called The Great Northern War that saw thousands of battleships clashing in the void of 0.0 while the politicians and heroes of the warring sides fought tooth and nail in the sphere of public relations and influence on the Eve forums for the very real advantage of foreign intervention, morale boosting and brutal political parody. What a game!

Along the way I’ve changed from rebel miner to rogue trader to revolutionary ideologue and guerrilla firebrand. I’ve fought desperate battles, I’ve commanded fleets, I’ve had a loaded freighter killed by war targets in empire that I managed to forget all about! I’ve fought in empire; in 0.0; I’ve summoned fleets of frigates and deployed massed groups of dreadnaughts in desperate sieges.

I fly all races of ships and consider the best defence against nerfing is to train whatever looks artificially weak at the moment (so one can only be pleasantly surprised when the balancing comes).

I’ve experienced some of the best events ever run by CCP, duelled with murderous right-wingers at the Elarel Pleasure Gardens massacre, ran against trade-rivals for immense profits in the Transcranial Microcontroller craze, debated with Sisters of Eve and Mordu vessels and been condemned as a dangerous outlaw by Amarrian patriarchs and enjoyed it all.

I’ve played in three Alliance Tournaments, given in-character interviews for EON, the ingame news service, third party fansites and seen my words translated into many languages and made friends around the world in the course of playing this lovely game.

At the last though I’d say my proudest accomplishment is sticking with the vision and ideal we had with the establishment of Jericho Fraction corporation at a friend’s house in Watford almost five years ago now.

We wanted to take revolutionary ethics and anarcho-capitalist free trade bias into this red in tooth and claw game universe and make ourselves famous for the deeds and accomplishment to come. We wanted to write our corporate name into the history books of the single server for all to see and live up to the claims on the back of the box.

I think we probably succeeded wildly beyond those dreams and it’s a testament to everyone that’s ever played a part in the story of Jericho Fraction and the Star Fraction alliance that we’ve come so far and achieved so much against dreadful odds and terrible foes to stand where we are today.

So if I can promise nothing else then I promise great endurance and commitment to the cause!


Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:33:00 - [13]
 

Player Notes

My real name is Andrew Cruse; I’m 39 years old, a self-employed communications and business writing professional from the south of England. I’ve had a varied education mingling sensible qualifications with the esoteric (I’ve got a Master’s Degree in Arthurian Literature) and in the course of earlier adventures in the realm of venture capital startups I’ve appeared on television in the guise of an expert on Internet censorship and consulted for the Gartner Group at international conferences.

Though Eve was the first massively multiplayer online game I ever played, I do have a long history with social gaming and game communities, having been involved with societies in Oxford and Bangor and spending most of my adult life playing games in all shapes and sizes within my extended group of friends.

It’s a little strange to step beyond the veil of character anonymity to the general community in this way, but hey, ultimately I imagine none of us have anything to hide and we’re all decent normal people behind the avatars and online names.

So there you go, that’s what you get for voting for me. Long term Eve player, loves Iain M. Banks style space opera and wants to see the drama maintained in Eve online with enhanced and brutal warfare in 0.0 and empire. I’m not associated with any particular large player alliance ingame and consider myself independent of alliance politics and able to make my own decisions on principle and conviction.

Vote Jade Constantine for exploding outposts in Eve Online!

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:34:00 - [14]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 07/05/2008 15:47:34
Edited by: Jade Constantine on 28/04/2008 22:33:51

This is a post I'm going to reserve for links to interesting threads and general discussion items that arise during the campaign:

(space reserved)

Winterblink's CSM Infozone Thread

CSM Discussion - Local Chat Removal

CSM Discussion - Bounty Hunting/Kill Rights

Eve Cast Candidate Interviews (mine is the last third)


Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:36:00 - [15]
 


Anyway, all that said and done and if you chaps are still alive after reading my CSM campaign manifesto I'll be happy to answer questions about my candidacy, game interests, voting preferences and general approach to the CSM and all matters eve online in the remainder of this thread.

Please keep it constructive and respectful and I'll certainly do the same. Fire away!


Serenity Steele
Dynamic Data Distribution
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:40:00 - [16]
 

Jade .. you edited your title out. It's an unfortunate feature of previewing an edited post before submitting.

Cailais
Amarr
Nasty Pope Holding Corp
Talocan United
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:50:00 - [17]
 

Jade,

Obviously as a known RP'er / immersionalist or whatever tag people want to stick on it these days I assume youre pretty interested and encouraged by the forth coming ambulation project.

However...

What do you think Ambulation should have thats trully interactive beyond clothes shopping and running bars? Is that all ambualtion can or will ever amount too and if not what should its final realisation be?

C.


Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 21:52:00 - [18]
 

Originally by: Serenity Steele
Jade .. you edited your title out. It's an unfortunate feature of previewing an edited post before submitting.


Got it thank you Serenity - I'm still busy touching up the format a bit Cool

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 22:16:00 - [19]
 

Originally by: Cailais
Jade,
Obviously as a known RP'er / immersionalist or whatever tag people want to stick on it these days I assume youre pretty interested and encouraged by the forth coming ambulation project. However... What do you think Ambulation should have thats trully interactive beyond clothes shopping and running bars? Is that all ambualtion can or will ever amount too and if not what should its final realisation be?


Well it definitely needs gambling games, brutal death match fights, hi-stakes poker, cruel blood sports and semi-naked karate girls fighting for money in gallente lowsec hubs. Serious answer is content that promotes the seedier side of Eve and makes the game universe come alive.

I have to admit ever since I heard about ambulation I had this secret fantasy about playing a ten billion isk sit down poker game on a soon to be exploding player outpost out in 0.0 with ISD covering the detonation and imminent bankrupcy of many of the players. (which as anyone who might have read it will recognize as close to a famous scene in Consider Phlebas.)

Bars and shopping are all very well, but it needs the ability to gamble and win and lose and change the situation in the game to be meaningful as well.

I don't think it would be appropriate for eve to have a combat engine that affects pod pilots though - just detracts from the nature of immortal captains with instant recloning for my taste.

Maybe espionage, hacking, planting sensors on the avatars, disguise kits, listening bugs on the HQ, maybe that sort of thing would be interesting?

But honestly, I think its going to going to be seedy bars in empire styles, adult-themed entertainment, hi-stakes gambling and people playing space-pool for the pink slips of their faction battleships and at the end of the day ... doesn't sound too bad Cool


Dungar Loghoth
Caldari
Gank Bangers
Posted - 2008.04.28 23:52:00 - [20]
 

If I said I would vote for you under the condition that you reply to the question following mine in one sentence, do you think you would be able to?

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.28 23:55:00 - [21]
 

Originally by: Dungar Loghoth
If I said I would vote for you under the condition that you reply to the question following mine in one sentence, do you think you would be able to?


I'd give it a go.


Viper ShizzIe
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2008.04.28 23:58:00 - [22]
 


Please summarize why you not only think destroyable outposts are a viable application to EVE-Online, but the methods of which they could be destroyed, salvaged, rebuilt, and defended. Would you change the current POS structure as well within EVE, and are these thing that you'd push for if elected to CSM?

Dungar Loghoth
Caldari
Gank Bangers
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:00:00 - [23]
 

Edited by: Dungar Loghoth on 28/04/2008 23:59:48
Originally by: Jade Constantine
Originally by: Dungar Loghoth
If I said I would vote for you under the condition that you reply to the question following mine in one sentence, do you think you would be able to?


I'd give it a go.




Originally by: Viper ShizzIe

Please summarize why you not only think destroyable outposts are a viable application to EVE-Online, but the methods of which they could be destroyed, salvaged, rebuilt, and defended. Would you change the current POS structure as well within EVE, and are these thing that you'd push for if elected to CSM?


i rule

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:05:00 - [24]
 


Destructible outposts promote genuine risk/reward dynamism in the 0.0 environment and provide a focal point to exciting war climax engagements, they would be destroyed by self destruct sequence triggered by the conqueror, defended by potential re-conquest during destruct timer to cancel the explosion, rebuilt for a discount from the ruins of the destroyed station and “salvage” would be in the form of hanger access in the wreck; additionally I’d like to remove Sovereignty claims from POS and return these structures to a purely industrial function, and yes these are things I’d advocate to the CSM if I’m elected.

Viper ShizzIe
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:08:00 - [25]
 

Originally by: Jade Constantine

Destructible outposts promote genuine risk/reward dynamism in the 0.0 environment and provide a focal point to exciting war climax engagements, they would be destroyed by self destruct sequence triggered by the conqueror, defended by potential re-conquest during destruct timer to cancel the explosion, rebuilt for a discount from the ruins of the destroyed station and “salvage” would be in the form of hanger access in the wreck; additionally I’d like to remove Sovereignty claims from POS and return these structures to a purely industrial function, and yes these are things I’d advocate to the CSM if I’m elected.



****.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:23:00 - [26]
 

Originally by: Viper ShizzIe
Originally by: Jade Constantine

Destructible outposts promote genuine risk/reward dynamism in the 0.0 environment and provide a focal point to exciting war climax engagements, they would be destroyed by self destruct sequence triggered by the conqueror, defended by potential re-conquest during destruct timer to cancel the explosion, rebuilt for a discount from the ruins of the destroyed station and “salvage” would be in the form of hanger access in the wreck; additionally I’d like to remove Sovereignty claims from POS and return these structures to a purely industrial function, and yes these are things I’d advocate to the CSM if I’m elected.



****.


Does that mean I get your vote Viper Very Happy


Viper ShizzIe
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:28:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: Jade Constantine


Does that mean I get your vote Viper Very Happy




As much as I'd like to see quite a few of your points implemented ingame, I think it's a bit too early, or perhaps just the wrong time entirely, to see them worked into current game mechanics.

Also, do you feel there is a problem with "nanoships" currently, and what would you do to "fix" if so.

Jade Constantine
Gallente
Jericho Fraction
The Star Fraction
Posted - 2008.04.29 00:46:00 - [28]
 

Edited by: Jade Constantine on 29/04/2008 00:49:47

Originally by: Viper ShizzIe

As much as I'd like to see quite a few of your points implemented ingame, I think it's a bit too early, or perhaps just the wrong time entirely, to see them worked into current game mechanics.


Well ultimately for these changes to make it onto the dev schedule the community need to be in favour. If I get elected I can advocate these changes, IF the community wants them I can vote for these changes to make it on the agenda, but ultimately it will come to a discussion with CCP council. Question you need to ask yourself is are you FOR a candidate who has these interests in the game and has the kind of vision for Eve I've expressed in the manifesto.

Every example and idea in the long text above is there simply to inform you how my mind and imagination and sense of game balance and development works. Its so you get a handle on how I'm likely to vote in the event I make it through the election. I'm being completely open about my interests and personal preferences here and if you like this stuff then I'd like your trust and vote.

Quote:
Also, do you feel there is a problem with "nanoships" currently, and what would you do to "fix" if so.


I think its more a problem with Conquerable 0.0 infrastructure and defense advantage. Nano-fleets are popular/essential because any raiding force in 0.0 sovereign space is likely to get jump-bridge hot-dropped on by twice the number of defenders utilizing the rapid logistics of their POS network.

This means attackers honestly can't fly anything other than Nano-raiders with any reasonable expectation of getting out of engagements that turn bad quickly.

The problem is the prevalence of jump-bridges and horrible sovereignty mechanics that allow the defending sides to insta-blob large ships and hot-drop on any engaged raiders.

Short answer, I don't think the nano-ships are to blame. Reduce or restrict jump bridge spam and slow down the rate that defenders can congregate on any incoming raid and you'll see more conventional gangs and fewer pure-nano fleets.

I fly these things myself Viper, at the moment SF raids 0.0 almost exclusively with polycarb-fitted ships because to do otherwise is crazy - you just get bubbled and hotdropped any time you commit to a larger fight with slower ships.

I'd love to be flying battleship gangs again but its not going to happen by nerfing nano - that stuff will just reduce ALL incidence of raiding playstyle not convince people to suicide vulnerable slowboats to the inevitable hotdrop.

Nano-ships are expensive, vulnerable and easily countered by the appropriate counter-measures. At the moment they are niche performers in a landscape of hot-drops and jump-bridges and 0.0 blobbing. Outside of that landscape all traditional balance still applies and nano isn't a problem.

Bad Harlequin
Minmatar
Sebiestor Tribe
Posted - 2008.04.29 02:39:00 - [29]
 

Edited by: Bad Harlequin on 29/04/2008 02:45:07
Originally by: Jade Constantine
I grew up with Iain M. Banks, you see; I read his great reinvention of the golden age space opera novel Consider Phlebas when I first started university and was smitten by the visions of vast star-faring civilizations at war with energies putting the suns to shame and wasting planets and space stations and vast fleets of warships in a bitter ideological war for domination.

One of the things I love is how many Culture-variant names i see on ships in game. There's a chap i see with the surname "Horza," as well. And it's interesting that in Banks' first novel, the (anti? Proto? Tragically Greek? Git?)-hero is an enemy of this amazing Culture he's created.

I suppose you're aware of how Horzalike you are in this context, Jade; there are several candidates I'd like to support (and will, should they be elected), but i know that if there's anyone who can be counted on to balance the MegaHugeAlliance's interests in space in favor of keeping freedom and openess in game, it'll be you; so given one vote, I give mine to you.

Everyone hopes and wants a neutral CSM board; everyone also hopefully realizes that it's impossible to achieve fully. I think (and hope :D) you'll keep out your own issue-bias when you can, but i want some of that bias represented on the CSM. For the benefit of the big players as well as the small; few things can kill a game as quickly as massive vet-blocks getting everything they want too fast Twisted Evil.

Regards,
BH
and yeah i'm piloting a ship named the Bora Horza Gobuchul.

edit: oh brilliant. I get around you and my posts get all wordy and by the time i get to the end i forgot my original question Twisted Evil:

I *hate* to bring any hint of the "Local rules!" "Screw Local!" "Screw YOU!" brouhaha in here, but... when Ambulating, and no excuses about being Pod-tied into CONCORD and sensors and comms and godlike infosystems can be made: should we know who else is in station in any way? Or find out the hard way by running into them?

Dammit, i don't WANT some godmode knowlege of who else is in station. I want to walk down a corridor, turn a corner, and stop dead as Hardin and I come face to face, blinking for a second...

...or go instation, ask my Agent where someone is, and get the answer, "Two floors down." Shocked

Hillarity shall ensue, oh yesssss.

LaVista Vista
Conservative Shenanigans Party
Posted - 2008.04.29 05:51:00 - [30]
 

I wanna know what experience you have with industry in general.

Are you able to represent the people who care about the secondary market, for instance?

I mean, i guess most people have high-sec characters, in order to make isk, which does something carebearish. But is the same true for you, and do you have any experience?

If yes, what is the most annoying thing for you, when you do these things?


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