New Favorites

Not long after launching this blog two years ago, I started maintaining a list of links to handy EVE Online tools and utilities, mostly for my own convenience, on the home page. Soon after, I added links to EVE-related news sites and blogs that I liked, and soon after that, some links to EVE podcasts of quality. Most recently, I compiled a list of links to resources about EVE Online lore, which I've found helpful for deciphering in-game news and events.

There are many, many good sources of information about EVE Online - far too many to read regularly. So, I only maintain links to media that I find consistently useful or entertaining, or both. And I only check a small number of these every day - I've written about these favorite sites previously.

I've since heard from a few of my fellow EVE Online fans, who asked why I did not include their preferred blogs in my favorites list. Generally, their exclusion is not due to any detriment in quality, but rather to their utility to me in supporting my style of play in EVE Online - semi-casual, industrial-oriented, and mostly in high-sec. Other players certainly will have a different list of favorites than mine, and they should, reflecting their preferred playstyles.

Nevertheless, these complaints have caused me to take another look at the myriad of choices available, and I have found myself visiting some additional sites with greater frequency, warranting their inclusion in my acknowledged list of favorites. If you aren't familiar with these EVE Online information resources, be sure to check them out.

EVEOGANDA

OK, Rixx Javix, you've won me over, finally. I'm not a pirate and will never be one, but your site often celebrates more than just the joys and tribulations of being a low-sec privateer. And so, I now find myself dropping by on a daily basis, just to see what creative endeavors you've been up to lately, in and about New Eden.

For those who don't know Rixx, he's a very talented professional artist, profoundly nice guy (we met at Fanfest this year), and leader of Stay Frosty, one of the more successful and fun-focused pirate corps in EVE Online. He has long been at the vanguard of promoting fan-generated artwork in the EVE Online community. He also dislikes warp core stabilizers, and pilots who fit them over-enthusiastically.

EVEOGANDA is a consistently entertaining site to visit, and Rixx's point of view is always interesting and engaging. He also writes clearly and well - qualities that sadly are missing in far too many EVE Online blogs. He posts frequently on a wide variety of EVE-related topics, so it's definitely worth checking out on a regular basis, even if you aren't a filthy pirate. Be sure to buy his cool posters, too.

New Eden Update

This is a new podcast, but wow - is it done well! Produced expertly by EVE-Radio's DJ Wiggles and Dirk MacGirk, the folks who brought you the super-handy Total EVE! news digest site, each episode is only a few minutes long, summarizing the key stories about EVE Online that day. They even include a quick daily report on trends in mineral and PLEX prices.

Two things jump out at me when I listen to NEU episodes: the production is at professional broadcast standards, and the writing is extremely tight and pithy. NEU really raises the quality level far above the average EVE-related podcast.

Plus, their editorial selection is spot-on perfect. Wiggles and Dirk focus on the important news events, with the occasional special interest story for color. But each report is brief, relating only the salient points. They list useful links on their website for those who want more details.

The two hosts alternate delivery of each episode. They each have their own respective narration style, but they both do so with an air of professionalism that is in stark contrast to the relaxed fan-generated content we hear in other EVE-focused podcasts.

I only hope they can keep up the consistency in delivery. NEU has become a staple part of my daily EVE Online diet.

The Neocom

I admit that I did not particularly like this podcast when it first came out, finding the initial episodes overlong and unfocused, but with each new release, the quality improves. I now find myself listening to each episode with enthusiasm.

Further, the website that hosts The Neocom has proven to be an interesting read, as well. Some of the articles and links there are truly useful, especially to new players. This is no surprise, since the hosts Proto and Kira both hail from the new-player friendly corp, Brave Newbies.

Definitely worth revisiting, if you haven't checked it out recently.

EVE Entity Timezone Activity Calculator

I have no idea who created this incredible utility, but thank you, whomever you are. The aforementioned Rixx Javix posted a tweet linking to this site, and I've been playing with it for the last couple of days, analyzing the play habits of a few friends and enemies.

This utility analyzes the last 1,000 kills of a player, corporation or alliance, and charts activity by time zone, so that you can see when certain entities in New Eden prefer to log in and wreak havoc. Plus, the charts just look cool.

reddit gives me a headache

Someone asked me why I don't list the EVE thread on reddit in my list of recommended links. The reason is simple: I don't recommend it.

Yes, there is some useful information to be found there, and occasionally there is something of value and high interest published, but to put it bluntly, most of the EVE-related posts on reddit are evidence that too many brain-damaged people have access to the Internet. The commentary that follows a post often devolves into insipid propaganda, or veers wildly off on tangents that are such a non sequitur, I find myself saying "WTF?" with great frequency. In fact, I now have a rule when reading reddit: I allow myself to continue reading until I have said "WTF?" to myself three times. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Today, parts of reddit went down for a while, due to some kerfuffle about an admin getting fired, and this ensuing tweet pretty much summarizes my point of view on reddit as a useful EVE Online resource:

Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

Build your own favorites

If you don't have your own list of routinely reviewed EVE Online sites, I encourage you to build one. I probably spend 30 minutes to an hour per day perusing my list, usually while munching a sandwich for lunch. I always find it highly enjoyable, and sometimes extremely useful. New Eden is a big place, and the EVE Online community is extremely creative, so you are definitely missing out if you're not checking out the media with some regularity.

Fly safe! o7

Turnover Makes Me Sad

Whenever I discover an EVE Online blog that interests me, I save a bookmark to that site in my browser. Over the last year, I'd collected over 60 such links, and upon examining the list, I realized that I'd not visited some of those in several months. So, I decided to go check out all of my saved EVE Online blog links in turn, and see what people were posting recently.

I soon discovered that over a dozen bookmarks in my collection led either to defunct sites, or ones that had not been updated in over five months. Of the inactive sites that were still live, comments in their most recent but now very stale posts all ran along similar lines:

  • "I've not had much time for EVE lately."
  • "I'm a bad blogger - Real Life is getting in the way of my EVE Online playing time. I'll post something relevant soon, I promise."
  • "Been too busy in other games to post anything interesting about EVE Online. If I get back to the game, I'll say something about it here."
  • "I've grown bored and tired of EVE. Going to take a break from the game for a while."

It was a little depressing, especially since some of the blog posters were some fairly well-known players when they were active in the game.

I bid a sad farewell to  Jester's Trek , one of my favorite blogs.

I bid a sad farewell to Jester's Trek, one of my favorite blogs.

The saddest example of good blogs gone inactive is Ripard Teg's Jester's Trek, which was one of my favorite to read. At the end of May, he announced that he was discontinuing posts on his blog. I didn't always agree with Ripard's prolific musings, but I was always interested and engaged in what he had to say. More importantly, he taught me a few things about EVE Online, and for that, I'll always be grateful. I'm disappointed to see him hang up his blogging hat, and I hope that he'll come back one day.

Overall, over one-fifth of my selected EVE Online blogs have gone stagnant or have vanished altogether. That's a pretty substantial turnover rate, especially since I selected the original bookmarks based on merit - it's a shame to see so many interesting blogs fade away in the course of a year.

The In and Out Doors

What does this say about the EVE Online community, in general? I don't pretend to draw any significant insights from my haphazard survey of pertinent blog sites, but it does make me wonder: if more than a fifth of EVE Online's most serious fans lose interest every year, what is the turnover rate for the subscribing population in the game, in general?

At the most recent Fanfest, CCP Rise presented a session on the new player experience. He said that about half of new players who join the game stop playing after just a month. It appears that the percentage of players who remain subscribed to the game for more than a year is a relatively small minority.

If the discontinuance rate of my selected blogs is any indication, then EVE Online is also losing a similar number of players who were long-time subscribers, which explains why the number of online players in EVE Online has remained relatively stable for quite a long while now. I speculate that the 10-20 percent of players who are trying the game and remain are balancing out the 10-20 percent of veteran subscribers who drop.

What will the ef

I'm encouraged that CCP Rise and his Team Pirate Unicorns are focusing on improving the retention rate of new players - that is a good thing for everyone who plays EVE Online. I'm discouraged, though, that the veteran drop-out rate could be as high as I think it may be - and I'm not clear about what can be really done about that, beyond what CCP Games is already doing to continually enhance and improve the game - now ten times a year.

Would changing sovereignty mechanics improve veteran retention? Perhaps, but of course it all depends on what those changes entail. Any significant change always drives away people who simply choose not to adapt - in EVE Online or in Real Life. It creates quite a quandary for the devs in Reykjavik, I am sure: should they overhaul established mechanics to make the game more attractive, but at the risk of alienating the current player base?

I will be interested to see the subscriber numbers after the massive industry overhaul in Crius has been out for a few months. I suspect that they might actually dip slightly from what they are now, as industry tends not to be something that attracts new players to the game, but which is important to veteran skilled players - most of the latter will adapt to the new mechanics, but some will simply find it easier to give up and walk away. Big changes are hard for some people to take, especially when they are used to how things have been for a long time.

As for me, I'm interested the upcoming changes, and am looking forward to learning to master them. I only hope that my attitude is more of the norm for veteran players, and that CCP Games' plans for more frequent updates will translate into fewer experienced players dropping out, as well as more new players coming in. Then perhaps we'll start to see the numbers of online players begin to trend upwards again.

Until then, I worry about the current state of turnover in EVE Online. Turnover makes me sad - and nervous.

Fly safe! o7

 

My Favorite EVE Online Blogs

PCmeme.png

This fledgling weblog is just one of many dedicated to EVE Online. I read a lot of them, almost every day. Some are not so great, many are uneven, and a few are truly insightful and useful.

What makes a good EVE online blog? To be frank, I'm still trying to figure that out, but based on the reading I've done so far, the best ones all excel in several important ways:

  • Accuracy - the best blogs provide high quality content, with minimal errors or gaffes - or when they make an occasional goof, they admit it and correct it quickly. You can count on them to get their content right.
  • Audience identification - the best blogs know who they are talking to, and how they should be addressed. For EVE Online blogs, that almost always means they are talking to fellow players, and they know how to speak to them clearly, respectfully and meaningfully.
  • Frequency - the best blogs follow a predictable pattern in how often they update. This does not mean that more is necessarily better - but blogs that post new content on a regular cycle are better than those that go dormant for inexplicable periods.
  • Point of view - the best blogs have a voice. That is, they write from a particular perspective, and that point of view is never concealed from the reader. You may disagree, or even dislike, that perspective, but knowing where the blogger is coming from is half the journey to understanding.
  • Insight - the best blogs are the ones that make you say to yourself, "Hmmm, I did not know / realize / understand that, until now."
  • Fun - the best blogs don't take themselves or this subject matter too seriously. EVE may be "real" but it's not really critical to mankind's survival, relatively speaking - the best blogs remember that.

Given these criteria, what EVE Online blogs do I find myself going back to, again and again? Here they are, in no particular order:

  • The Altruist - Azual Skoll is a PvP master, and his blog is full of wonderfully useful insights on surviving combat in New Eden. This is because he not only practices his craft, but he also develops theories about it, and then tests them. He does not update his blog as frequently as others do, but it doesn't matter - every article is a perfectly-cut gem.
  • Jester's Trek - I don't always agree with Ripard Teg's opinions, but he is a consistent blogging machine who provides frequent and useful commentary on matters in New Eden. His player guides are also quite excellent. If my own blog ever becomes half as good as Jester's Trek, I will consider that a respectable accomplishment.
  • The Mittani dot com - You have to understand the perspective of the publisher (the leader of Goonswarm) and filter the content accordingly, but TMDC has become one of the most useful EVE Online news and commentary sites. Required reading for anyone playing EVE regularly.
  • EVE News24 - It's always good to check multiple news sources on the same story, so you get a complete perspective on events, so I check EVE News24 from time to time. You should, too.
  • Interstellar Privateer - Rhavas is steeped in EVE lore, and he is highly knowledgeable about some of EVE Online's finer points. He's also a clear and engaging writer. Worth a look-see every week, at least.
  • The Nosy Gamer - another well-written blog, with lots of interesting personal insights and commentary on EVE events from . This blog is one of those that shows me some different perspectives from time to time - and therefore deserves a hearty recommendation.
  • EVE Travel - a truly beautiful blog, it is an excellent travelogue about wonderful faraway destinations in New Eden. Mark726 is also the author of the fascinating EVE Lore Survival Guide, so he really knows his stuff.
  • Crossing Zebras - my favorite EVE podcast and occasional blog site, Xander Phoena does a great job asking the tough questions, and getting good answers. His interviews of the CSM8 candidates were outstanding. I listen to every one of his podcasts now - check it out.

I have a bookmark folder with over 40 EVE-related blogs, and I try to visit them all every couple of weeks. They each have their own merits and faults, but I never tire of checking them out. If you don't have a similar folder of EVE sites, I encourage you to start with the ones above, and add your own favorites as you discover them.

Did I miss your favorite blog? Send me a comment and if I agree, I'll add it to my Favorite EVE Links, too.

Fly safe! o7