Thursday, 26 September 2013

Eve Online: Blink Announced as Winter Expansion

CCP announced the eagerly awaited Winter 2013 expansion for Eve Online today, revealing it to be called 'Blink'. Although the feature page is somewhat incomplete at present, it and its accompanying Dev Blog do give some indication as to what we can expect to see.

Every special edition ship - from Gold and Silver Magnates to Etanas and Cambonians - will be resurrected, with fifty of each hull being provided to the controversial lottery website SOMER Blink. A variety of monocles will also be raffled on the site, along with various other rare items. A button will also be added to the wallet window that will allow players to directly deposit isk into SOMER Blink's account, cutting out the need to search for the corporation through the People and Places window - which previously deterred many people from blinking.

Understandably this has caused a lot of anger in the Eve community; some believe it is wrong that previously dead ships such as the Golden Magnate are being revived, some believe CCP are showing favouritism towards SOMER (which some members of the community were banned for implying earlier this year) and some people just hate SOMER Blink. While some of them voiced their discontent in a forum thread, others chimed in their support for the expansion. Turelus, one of the advocates of the expansion, told us of his excitement: "I just can't wait for this expansion, it's going to be so good! I've already lost over 4 billion isk on Blink, but now I get the chance to waste even more on something I've got nearly no chance of winning! I know that sounds sarcastic, but if I sink all my isk into blinking I'll have a 1 in 20,000 chance of winning a monocle! Those are the sorts of odds I live for!"

CCP Navigator replied to the mob, though it's not known if this was a serious post as it contains several false statements, such as "SOMER Blink have been one of the most philanthropic groups in Eve." It appears Navigator has confused the meaning of 'philanthropist' with the meaning of 'thief', as SOMER has been known for making a lot more players bankrupt than it has solvent. Even those who don't support the move itself can see the positives of it though. Eve-bet have already started a bet on the number of industrials carrying the CCP-gifted prizes that will be killed in Jita. 100 billion isk has already been bet, "more than 8" is the most popular option with 1.2 odds.

Other features included giving away five PLEX to everyone who goes to Eve Vegas, along with a free ticket to stroke CCP Hellmar's facial hair for up to half a minute. This has been the most well received feature of the expansion, with hundreds of 'beard tickets' being claimed.  Warp speeds of all ships will also be increased, to allow prize carrying SOMER Blink freighters to get to their destinations faster. Although many players find some aspects of the expansion undesirable, most of them believe the beard stroking ticket promises to be an exciting feature that can be built upon in the future. Time will tell whether the expansion will be able to beat the legendary Incarna. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Freighter Rebalancing Annouced

CCP Fozzie has posted his latest round of rebalancing work on the Features and Ideas subforum. These changes affect freighters, which will be gaining a lot more EHP in a similar way to mining barges and tier one industrials did when they were balanced. The alterations have been criticised by the majority of Eve players, with freighter owners saying the changes don't go far enough and gankers the opposite.

Freighters will receive an increase in hitpoints - taking their average EHP up to around 300k. In addition, each race will receive a special fitting attribute that will come in the form of a module or drone bay. The Caldari freighter, the Charon, will have a turret slot along with 100 PG and 40 CPU, which is designed to be used for a Heavy Assault Missile launcher. The Amarrian Providence will acquire the fittings for a Cap Recharger II, while the Fenrir will gain two module slots - a high and a low. However it will get just 10 CPU and 2PG, along with a CPU bonus to salvaging modules; it seems this new Fenrir is designed as a spacious ninja-salvager. Finally, the Gallente's Obelisk will receive no modules but will gain a 10mdronebay along with 5mbit/sec of bandwidth.

The reasoning behind the move was stated as being 'to bring the EHP of freighters in-line with other capital ships', but some are speculating it was done to nerf freighter ganking. With the number of freighter ganks on the rise, particularly in Burn Jita, ice interdictions and other emergent gameplay events, CCP has sought to end the departure of many freighter pilots affected by suicide ganking. Their plan seems to have worked, with many people considering resubscribing. One former freighter pilot posted "I stopped playing because Burn Jita made me paranoid about flying freighters - I lost three Nomads over two days. With these new changes hopefully I'll be able to fly safely in highsec without being attacked by Darius JOHNSON's SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO's or whatever they call themselves these days."

It's also been hailed as the 'death of nullsec emergent gameplay' by some. One inarticulate highsec carebear named Gevlon Goblin commented on the changes. "lol now those gewny faggots won't be able to killed me. i already UBER-TROLLED them in my proccruer, imagine how much fun im going to had with these new freiughters. I might just load up my fenrir with officer modules and take it through VFK!!"

James 315, Saviour of Highsec, has urged his subjects not to panic. He said he will point out why this will make no difference to freighter ganking when he finishes his 15,000 word TMC article on the topic. The CFC have announced they will try to award bounties for freighters killed in a similar way to how they are offered for exhumers killed at the moment. This has gone down well with line members, one of whom pointed out that "renter pubbies are funding the deaths of non-renter pubbies. It's the circle of life."

While EFT warriors will be relentlessly crafting new fits for these beasts, it remains to be seen whether this will stop freighter ganking or just cause more expensive but infrequent losses. With rumours of asteroid doomsdaying Orca on the horizon, carebears around the world can sleep soundly tonight.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Eve News 24 Grammatical Errors on the Rise

An independent and impartial research organisation has found that the number of grammar and spelling errors on the popular reporting site Eve News 24 has increased by 39% this week. The report, which compared all articles written between June 2-9 2013 to those published between August 25-31 2013, found that Eve News 24 standards are 'gradually decreasing.'

The evidence was put to the General Discussion subforum on the official Eve Online forum by Goonswarm's Minister of Propaganda, receiving a mixed reaction from the Eve community. Riverini of Eve News 24 told me "we're committed to delivering quality news to eastern nullsec and empire space players 24/7. This drop in standards appears to be due to an operational fault with our editing system, which has existed for around three years now and seems to be getting worse. We're looking for ways to improve our publishing process, and I'm sure we'll remain the best news reporting site in Eve forever."

 Many of the anti-EN24 commenters in the forum thread said they were 'displeased' by EN24's decreasing lack of quality over the past few years. One disillusioned former EN24 reader told me "I don't know why riverini still employs Gevlon. I literally don't understand him at all. They could at least try to correct his poor grammar in the editing stage, but somehow it just slips through the net. It's like they don't actually care about their standards at all." Gevlon Goblin, a veteran Eve News writer, commented in the thread "I was trying to improving me standards of write, with helping from riverini I am to confidence I will achieved success in English EN24."

A recent Eve News 24 post, entitled 'Corporations/guilds only have their restrictions to offer' drew criticism from readers, who vented their anger in the comments section of the article. They argued that the post had many flaws, namely that it was written by Gevlon Goblin and the article was 'completely incoherent'. The top comment informed Gevlon that he 'sucks dick' 78 times. The article contained no less than 37 grammatical mistakes, as well as a large number of factual errors. However the article was praised for its hilarity, with one commenter saying "I'm starting to like the comedy value of these posts."

Readers have also suggested that news coverage seems to be consistently anti-CFC and anti-Mittani. One fan noted he hadn't seen a single report where they admitted the CFC actually won a battle, or that The Mittani was actually a nice guy. "It's slightly suspicious to be honest, I'm not sure I even trust EN24 anymore." Despite the apparant decrease in standards, many people remain loyal to riverini's website. "Anything's better than what that goon cunt sperges. He's killing off Eve bloggers with his sperge, which is just a massive goon propaganda machine. The reason I read EN24 is because I love their completely sperge-free, high-quality articles."

There is hope on the horizon for Eve News; they are trialling a new strategy to avoid errors in their writing. They plan on copy and pasting the main source of text, with a small commentary at the start of the article. This has already worked well on one article reporting on Test's deployment to Curse, with a mere two punctuation mistakes over 17 words - an error rate of just 8.5 words per fault. There's real promise that Eve News 24 will be regarded as more than a joke one day in the distant future.