Bits & Pieces: December 2015

A few miscellaneous items have been piling up in my EVE Online-related inbox - here's a quick comment on each.

Morning Maniac Grants 

I announced a new program to fund worthy projects for EVE Online players, called the Morning Maniac Grant Program, over a week ago, and the response has been gratifyingly positive. So far, I've awarded five grants, or more than 1.1 billion ISK, to these constructive projects:

  • 250M ISK for a +3 attribute implant subsidy program for an alliance's newbros
  • 150M ISK for frigates and fittings for a null-sec corp's new pilot PvP training program
  • 250M ISK for ships and fittings for another alliance's PvP in low-sec training program for newbies

I also donated 250M ISK each to two already well-established programs for helping new players, Sindel Pellion's Angel Project and Mike Azariah's Operation Magic School Bus initiative, because they can both put the funds to very good use.

I was also very humbled and gratified to receive an amazing 6.5 billion ISK donation from Asayamani Dei, w-space expert, CSM member and long-time friend of novice players. My most sincere thanks for this extremely generous contribution go out to him. I promise it will fund worthy projects and programs that will make a positive impact on our community!

If you have a project in EVE Online in mind, and could benefit from some in-game funds, consider applying for a Morning Maniac Grant. You can find full details here.

The Fountain War book Kickstarter fiasco

The Mittani announced that the Kickstarter campaign to fund the publishing of a book about the Fountain War in EVE Online has been cancelled. 

I was very critical of this project. While I supported the book's potential for attracting new players to EVE Online, the Kickstarter campaign was badly mismanaged. You can read my criticisms in this article on Crossing Zebras, along with others' observations, most of which were similar to mine.

But  I must say I've been impressed with how The Mittani has accepted and adapted to this failure. I was convinced that the Mittani Media team would not learn anything from their mistakes, but I've been proven wrong. They intend to re-launch the project in March, with a more reasonable goal and better planning for a renewed Kickstarter campaign, and I am sure they they will be successful on the second try. I look forward to contributing my own donation to the project.

In addition, the drama around this episode has indirectly generated some fun content in game, with the announcement of a Viceroy tribute system, which the Imperium alliance intends to impose. It has been fun to see how players have reacted, and it is clear that there will be considerable resistance. I'm sure many ships will explode and much mirth will be had. This is a good thing.

Here's an example of how some players are reacting to the Viceroy tribute demands of the Imperium - this shirt is available from  Rixx Javix's store .

Here's an example of how some players are reacting to the Viceroy tribute demands of the Imperium - this shirt is available from Rixx Javix's store.

Farewell, off-grid boosts. Hello, giant grids.

Though CCP Games devs have stated their desired intention to reduce the range of boosting ships from system-wide to local-grid for years, it now seems likely that this will finally happen in the near term. CCP Fozzie has been especially vocal about this. The impact to combat in the game, when it actually happens, will be enormous - and I think all for the better. 

This is one of the reasons why the new Command Destroyers, to be available in the update coming next week, will include limited support for boosting modules. This will provide cheaper ships that can provide small boosting advantages on grid, if fleet commanders don't want to risk more robust Command Ship battlecruisers or boosting-fit Tech III cruisers. 

I can't wait to get a new Magus Command Destroyer - because Gallente rule.

I can't wait to get a new Magus Command Destroyer - because Gallente rule.

More interestingly, these new destroyers will include a new area-of-effect module, the Micro Jump Field Generator, that will, when activated, move (nearly) everything within a 6km radius of the ship 100km in the direction that the ship is facing. This will be the ultimate anti-blob weapon, and should break up concentrated fleets to hilarious effect. Speculation about how pilots will use this new capability abounds, and I can't wait to fly one myself.

As for me, I'm thinking how on-grid boosting limits will affect how I use my Orca for mining support. I usually just park mine next to a station, under the nominal protection of nearby station guns, and then enjoy mining boosts throughout that system, but that won't work anymore with the elimination of off-grid boosts. I suspect that gankers will love this change, as it will make nice, juicy Orcas much more vulnerable as targets. This is going to make high-sec mining a little more interesting. This is a good thing.

Also coming soon are much, much, much larger grids.  Currently a "local grid" is a cube that is 250km in all directions from a central point. This relatively small space has enabled smart pilots to manipulate grids for tactical advantage. With the imminent introduction of citadel structures, which are enormous, and the change to on-grid boosts, making local grids much larger has become a practical necessity. The new grids will expand to a whopping 7,800km from a center point in all directions - a grid size that is over 30,000 times larger. (Thanks for correcting my math, Sjaandi HyShan.)

This is also going to dramatically affect combat mechanics. The field of battle just got much larger. It's clear that CCP wants battles to be more spread out over a larger area, to give them a more expansive feel. With the coming changes to capital ships - in particular, carriers, which will employ long-ranging squadrons of fighters over considerable distances - this means that situational awareness is going to become even more challenging for fleet commanders. I can't wait to see it.

BattleClinic closes

I was saddened to hear of the closing of BattleClinic, a site known primarily for sharing ship fittings. Many of the fits there were frankly horrible, but it was fun to examine them and see what made them bad. I learned a lot about how to fit ships more effectively from this site, as a result. And occasionally there were some useful and innovative configurations to be found there.  

I'm not sure what this means for EVEMon, the invaluable skill planning and remapping utility which has always been hosted there, though I'm sure it will relocate somewhere.

Wardecs Revisited

As a result of my earlier post about revamping the war declaration mechanics, I was asked to contribute to a document about a variety of ideas on improving wardecs. It's been an interesting exercise and discussion. Not everyone likes my ideas, but that is perfectly OK. Perhaps even my bad ideas might stimulate a good one. Anything would be better than the mechanics we have now.

The document is interesting reading, and worth a review. Kudos to Jason Quixos for organizing this effort. Hopefully, it will stimulate some action by CCP Games, and we'll eventually see a wardec system that is more fun for everyone.

Until next time

That's about it for now - I'm looking forward to seeing how dirty my ships look when the December 8th update comes out. I suspect they will be filthy - I have some really old ships in my hangar.

Fly safe! o7



Time to Give Something Back

Despite many mistakes and setbacks along the way, I have managed to amass a small fortune in EVE Online, mostly in Tech II invention and manufacturing. My balance of ISK also jumped upwards recently as a result of some savvy PLEX trading, and also from a few lucky bets on Kelon Darklight and Team Tash-Murkon in the recent Amarr Championships.

Nev counts his piles of ISK, bored, and ponders what life holds next for him...

Nev counts his piles of ISK, bored, and ponders what life holds next for him...

Over the last few weeks, I've wondered what to do next with my success. I imagine my character, sitting distractedly in his captain's quarters, reviewing his accounts and re-counting his ISK for the hundredth time, and realizing suddenly that success soon leads to boredom, if there are no new goals to conquer.

And then I read Proto's latest column on The Neocom blog, and was struck by inspiration. Proto had written his post in response to the recent fluff-up about the failure of the "Fountain War" book campaign on Kickstarter - something I will comment upon in a future post - but that controversy was not what stirred my epiphany. More importantly, Proto makes an excellent point, which is sadly not often acknowledged: There are many, many ways that EVE Online players make a positive and constructive contribution to our community.

I will not enumerate the many selfless programs that EVE Online players have established to help people, in game and out, as Proto did an admirable job of doing so already. But as I read his post, I quickly came to the conclusion that I could do something similar, albeit more modestly, and perhaps make a more significant impact on our community.

Behold - the Morning Maniac Grant Program!

When they have more money than they know what to do with, the idle rich often become philanthropists.  I have found myself in exactly this situation, bored and wondering what I shall do to occupy my time in game. But now I feel my interest renewed in EVE Online. I can use my excess funds to give back something, and try to help our player community, at least in some small way.

So, I have set aside a sizable portion of my funds - 20 billion ISK, to start - to begin a new charitable service: The Morning Maniac Grant Program

For those who don't know, Morning Maniac was the founder of EVE University. Because of his selfless efforts, I found a place in EVE Online that enabled me to learn and develop the skills and knowledge I needed to succeed in the game. He was one of the most generous philanthropists in EVE Online history, and because of his contributions, thousands of players now fly successfully in corporations and alliances throughout all of New Eden.

Inspired by Morning Maniac's example, I have established a program where players can apply for grants of ISK, to fund creative in-game projects. I ask only that grant recipients pledge to help other players or contribute constructively and positively to our community in some way.

With this program, I hope to accomplish two goals: help more players to succeed in the game, and also foster a more positive attitude about helping other players in our community.

It's a small effort, compared to the success of similar programs with established track records, like Sindel Pellion's Angel Project or Mike Azariah's Operation Magic School Bus, but perhaps it will help enough people to make at least some difference.

I'm looking forward to seeing applications from creative capsuleers, and issuing grants to worthy recipients soon!

Fly safe! o7

Many thanks to the ever-awesome Rixx Javix for the logo design for the Morning Maniac Grant Program!