Trying again

Well.. it’s been almost a year I haven’t done anything with this.  I had all kinds of things I wanted to say; I even had a few posts typed up in Word but I just never get around to finally putting them up.

I really don’t know why, other than that it perpetually becomes something to work on “later” and.. well, here we are.  Another thing may be that while I have a lot to say on games, ultimately they’re still games and other things in life just come first – particularly, playing the games themselves.

Nevertheless I want to have another go at it.

So, let’s start off with a few words on Elder Scrolls Online, which has also suffered from not getting played a lot this past year – until about 6 weeks ago.

My oldest daughter, who will be 23 pretty soon was home for 3 weeks over Christmas.  Since she’s been in college and started working her own job and paying her own rent we only see her about 5 weeks out of the year, so for me, my wife, and our three younger daughters this is a time of immense joy.  I love the holidays, and especially Christmas, and I’m sad when the decorations come down and it all ends and my eldest goes back to college.

But, while she was home we revived an activity we used to partake of together – World of Warcraft.  Although I haven’t played in years and getting back into the game was fun for a bit, once she left my enthusiasm dimmed again.  It was fun to re-visit, but my days of serious WoW dedication are long gone.

Still, it was great fun and it gave me a needed EVE-break.  I was the top participator in fleets in my corp this year, and hit the fleets hard in November and December and the ratting almost as hard or harder.  Then, rather suddenly, I lost 3 strategic cruisers inside a week.  One to my own stupidity and two on fleets.  While I avoided the skill loss for one of them, having to do 2 level V skill retrains back to back plus the sheer weight of so much EVE last year finally did it to me.  I had barely logged into EVE for a month, and only managed 5 fleets in January and only 1 this month.  I need to catch up before the end of February.

I am not done with EVE but this year I am going to enjoy my other games and not try to be the participation winner again.  While I got a nice cash award, it feels like it wasn’t worth it – doctrine changes turned around and ate that money right back up again.

More on that later – the upshot was that after my oldest left I still was not ready to fully get my EVE on again, which had the positive side effect of me deciding to play Elder Scrolls Online some more.

It’s been fun – more fun than my last few forays.  I’m actually getting groups now – not as readily as in WoW but enough that I don’t feel like I’m playing the game solo any more.  Crime is implemented and we now have the Imperial City and Orsinium.  The Thieves’ Guild is imminent and the Dark Brotherhood on the horizon behind that.

I really enjoy pledges, in a large part because the veteran pledges in particular, are hard.  It’s actually cool failing them sometime at VR16 because completing them is then so much better.

I have 8 characters now, and in a way it bothers me because I like making new characters.  However, I’m happy with the 8 I have.  Right now, my goals are to have one at VR 16, have the 3 item-making tradeskills at 50, and have all my characters at least level 15 for their second action bar.

This is who I have:

Kiryen, my Breton Nightblade is a fairly stereotypical assassin, built around stamina and using dual wield and a bow in medium with a light armor hood, since the breton light hood gives the facemask I want.  She’s a female version of the black-and-gold-wearing assassin from the “sign up for beta” trailer.  She has blacksmithing and clothier maxxed completely out.  She is also my main and presently at VR11.

Diamondeye, named for my old EQ character is my Nord Dragonknight, is my woodworker and rapidly approaching maximum in that.  She’s my “ranger” like her predecessor although it’s surprisingly hard to make a convincing Ranger in TESO – Dragonknight was selected more by process of elimination than anything else.  She wears medium with a little heavy and uses a big nordic 2-hander and bow – I’ve always preferred Rangers with 2handers.

Caelei, my high elf sorcerer, is a medium-wearer as well.  She’s a lightning tornado/critical hit build based on the critical surge/steel tornado/lightning form synergy.  I did modify her to use axes though, just because I wanted a melee character that didn’t use swords or daggers.  She’ll eventually probably become a prime PVP character.

Sir Rothgar is my Nord Templar and one of my two healers.  He’s a paladin, using a 2 hander, full heavy armor, and eventually will add Restoration Staff once he gets a 2nd weapon.  He also will eventually take on a tertiary roll as a tank.

Lord Beld Demonblade is my Redguard Nightblade, and is Sir Rothgar’s evil counterpart.  He’s a heavy armor nightblade, probably with a piece or two of medium eventually for stealth and is a Shadowknight, modeled on the EQ class.  He uses 2-handers and sword-and-board and also happens to be my enchanter, at which is barely starting.

Rayya is my dedicated healer, another Redguard and a Templar, in light armor, who will use both types of staves.  She’s my cook, and also is a dedicated purpose roleplaying character so her eventual advancement is something of a question mark.

Countess Astra is a dark elven sorceresss in heavy armor with sword and shield.  She is based on a Pathfinder character of mine in a semi-regular campaign I’m involved in, and is built here as essentially a battlemage; her second weapon will be destruction staves.  She’s a source of immense frustration for me because the Pathfinder Astra is a cold-magic enthusiast (think Queen Elsa only in heavy armor with a sword and much more willing to fucking kill you) and cold magic is fairly hard to come by in TESO – there’s Destruction Staves, weapon enchants and the morph for the Mage’s Guild ultimate and that’s about it.  She also functions as my alchemist

Finally there is Master Echo Ravenblood, who is actually a girl.  I like girl characters, sue me.  She’s a light-armor Dragonknight with a touch of medium and uses 2-handers at the moment; eventually to be combined with dual-wield, although it’s possible the 2-handers will be replaced with restoration staves.  The reason is 2-fold; I have 3 other characters that use 2-handers, and she’s supposed to be a “monk” (hence “master” not “mistress) – Dragonknight was picked so I have 2 of each class but also so that I have Take Flight which is much like a flying kick.  Restoration staff feels more monkly than TESO’s 2-handers which so far are not really the katana-substitute I want.  She is based off a D&D 5e character in another campaign I play in, and is an Imperial.

Other than Kiryen, I am having some trouble picking a second favorite.  Diamondeye has a history with me, but I’m not as excited about a Ranger here in TESO as in many other games, even though Nords are one of my favorite races.  Echo and Astra have connections to other games that make them interesting, and Beld has that black knight appeal to him.. I just don’t know.

I’m also looking at getting into Black Desert just for something a bit different, and I’m keeping my eye on Crowfall.  I guess we’ll see where this goes.

 

 

 

 

 

Toxicity continued

I was hoping to move on to other things, but this topic just seems to be a thing these days.  This thread appeared the following day, and promptly attracted every shitlord, badposter, troll, and feminist nitwit on the EVE forums.

Bearing in mind that EVE’s Executive Producer is, you know, a woman, and prominent EVE women like Sugar Kyle and Sindel Pellion do not run around whining about the status of women in the game all the time I really do not give much of this credence.

I don’t intend to discuss feminism at any length, but I will point out again from the thread that feminism tries to evaluate science rather than the other way around.  Like certain religious fundamentalists (and make no mistake, I am a Christian, although not an evangelical, fundamentalist, nor Creationist – and if you are inclined to nitpick these claims take it somewhere else) they do not seem to realize that it is for feminism to put forth hypothesis and science to evaluate them.

It is not the reverse.  Feminists, however, tend to jump straight to the “theory” (which is supposed to come when you have tested a hypothesis and found a certain amount of information in favor of it) of PAtriarchy or whatever, and when it’s challenged, they just throw “misogyny”, “sexism” and other such terms at it.  If they’re challenged scientifically, we get questions about “science’s ability to detect systemic bias”.  In other words, if science is not giving them the results they want, the problem obviously lies with science.

Bear in mind we are talking about a school of thought that claims to be about gender equality, while assigning the quality of equality to one gender via it’s own name (“feminism”) and claiming that the inequality that allegedly “hurts men too” is a quality of maleness (“Patriarchy”).  While they might insist otherwise, the simple fact is that these terms are intended to convey that impression, and strongly – no matter what verbal gymnastics are used to justify it.  If there was any actual interest in equality, neutral terms would be used, progress would be acknowledged – oh, and we wouldn’t see people “standing with” a “rape victim” who is pretty obviously a bald-faced liar and attention whore.

But what’s even more interesting is that the entire thread seems to be a veiled assault on how EVE is played.  It talks about what’s said in voice comms and naughty language, but then it goes on to how male aggression in general is bad.

It’s astounding how much this sounds like the arguments “carebears” supposedly make.  “If you want more women, you need to accommodate how women want to play”, hinting strongly that women do not want to have to deal with aggression, which is pretty central to how EVE is played.

Disregarding how silly it is to claim that the gender role of women needs to be accommodated and then also whine about gender roles in the first place…EVE cannot survive without it’s niche nature as a hardcore PVP game where people can and will ruin your day.  It’s approaching 12 years old and despite improvements, it will never be a progression PVP MMO.  It cannot compete with other MMOs at being what those MMOs are.

Neither the carebears that advocate for it nor the highsec criminal community that don’t understand that CCP is protecting their playstyle, not nerfing it, nor evidently the feminists, white-knights, and other shitlords either.

There is not a need for more women in EVE just for the sake of more women.  If EVE gets more women by just being more appealing in general, or just because it happens to become more so as a byproduct of development, so be it.  We do not need to either attract, get rid of, or do anything at all about the number of women.  It really does not matter.

What’s more, you do not get rid of “toxicity” by engaging in uninvited moralisitc preaching at people and rejecting any attempt at counter argument because disagreement makes you Obviously A Horrible Person.  Yet another way in which feminists resemble more aggressive religious denominations.  “Sexist” and “Misogynist” sound a lot like “sinner” and similar terms.

Just because something seems sexist, misogynistic, or whatever does not make it so.  Your state of offense does not mean you are necessarily entitled to others adapting their behavior, or even that you’re being reasonable by being offended.  This is a final theme of the thread “but people don’t really need to engage in this offensive behavior!”

What offensive behavior?  Like I said last week, I think “Rapecage” is pretty offensive, but this isn’t about that one term.  There are a lot of people that are offended by far more insignificant things than that.  I could easily turn this around to say “but maybe you don’t really need people to stop being offensive”.

Is “being offended” really that hard to deal with?  No, it’s not.  We’ve made it so by turning victimhood into political capital, but it shouldn’t be,  If you’re offended, look at yourself first.  Chances are good that what you really need is people going out of their way to offend you more so that you learn to take it.  Those of us that are members of all the groups it’s ok to offend already have to.

Toxicity

Over at EVEOGANDA, Rixx Javixx had a guest poster the other day who provided this post, purporting to discuss corporate culture in EVE and the evils of “toxicity” in that culture.

The article makes some good points in that if you are constantly saying offensive things, don’t be surprised when people that are offended by them decide to leave.  If you are constantly using terms like “rape cage” don’t be surprised if women, and for that matter quite a few men don’t like it.  I find the term “rape cage” to be rather offensive mainly because I view rape as a very serious matter.  I take great umbrage at feminists trying to use falsified rape claims and statistics for political gain, and for that same reason I do not appreciate rape jokes or trivialization.  It makes feminists, liberals, and social justice warriors look much more appealing when people use terms like “rape cage” and make us wonder if maybe the feminists don’t have a tiny bit of a point.

The same thing applies to the f-word for homosexuals and the n-word for black people – which I don’t spell out here mainly because I don’t know a lot about internet searching and associating and I don’t want this post associated with anything it ought not to be in someone’s algorithm.  Color me paranoid.

I really have no problem with banning these terms in one’s corporation.  I don’t like them, they make me and a lot of other people uncomfortable, and I don’t see any real reason to use them.  They are not like “shit” or “fuck”, which are just foul language.  BRAVE didn’t permit this kind of talk, and whatever the merits or lack thereof of their culture I think this was a strong point.  FCON does not, as I understand it, permit the use of those terms either.

The problem with the article after that is twofold:  First, the discussion of “toxicity” is based entirely around “offensive to females” and second, contained near the end of the third paragraph: “and the subtler forms of misogyny were permitted to continue unchecked (and indeed unexamined).”

What are “subtler forms of misogyny?”  I wonder?  I can certainly see why women would not like the term “rape cage” and why they would not like to be referred to as “bitches” or “cunts”.  I don’t like women as a group being referred to that way.  However, if some woman is acting like a totally obnoxious snot and someone calls her a “cunt”. that’s not sexist or misogynist no matter how much she dislikes it or even the fact that it uses an obscene reference to female genitals as an insult.  Men get called “dicks” when they act that way, and no one whines – because they shouldn’t, and because any gender issue these days is discussed in terms of a mssive feminist double standard, based on nonexistant “male privilege”.  Stop acting like that and you won’t get called those names.

Language like this – “subtler forms of misogyny” without then explaining what’s meant by that, and he never does, just goes on to relate that the women left because of it, and that there was some level of controversy about it, but never quite what is meant – and then later tips his hand.  He gives us this line:  “Once you look for this stuff, you’ll start seeing it everywhere, and that awareness will do a lot of the curbing on it’s own.”

Curbing of what, precisely?  I’m really not sure.  Of “toxic culture” or perhaps toxic masculinity, as indicated in some of the comments.

A toxic corp culture, however, is not limited to one that’s toxic to women, whether a few specific women or women in general.  There’s lots of kinds of toxicity, and not all of them are defined by potentially offensive language.

And if you start looking for toxicity, yes, you will find it everywhere.  There’s a reason – when you go out and look for it, you start seeing it there just from confirmation bias because you are assuming its presence. 

What’s more, you will quite rapidly start fostering a new and different type of toxicity, where you are going around and assigning hate labels to people and things.  When you call someone a “misogynist” or a “racist” that’s the equivalent of saying “I deem you unworthy to speak”.  Hate labels are not about getting people to change their viewpoints; they’re about belittling people and opinions you don’t like.  No one, except maybe some politicians, will come to agree with you because you assigned them the label “misogynist”.  No, they will assign you your own label based on your own behavior, and they do so because hate labels are not to foster discussion, but for ad hom.  When you call someone a “sexist” or a “racist”, you divert the discussion onto them rather than the topicand force them to defend themselves against this accusation – that is, defend themselves against a term that means whatever the labeler wants it to mean.

This, in fact, is the reason why “toxic” corps exist.  They are not populated with people that hate women and minorities; they are populated with people that want to talk a certain way because everyone else tells them not to.

These corps are their space.  If you don’t like it, leave it to them.  Because they are not likely to change for you.  The problem is not the leadership not booting them, it’s that you expect that just becuase you are in a space that it must adapt to you.

Find another corporation.  Then you can ban the term “rapecage” if you want to, or whatever else.  You can have daily whinefest about “women being treated as sex objects” if you want.  You can go on roams and blow up the internet spaceships of the people that tolerate terms like the n-word and the F-word.  You can do like some women in Elder Scrolls Online and form a feminist guild that only lets in women and you can sit around ship-spinning while you piss and moan that men might find your breasts appealing – if you have breasts.  If you’re of the male persuasion, you can bellyache about whatever it is that gets male social justice warriors all excited.

Either way, don’t come crying to me about it.  Because while I don’t care to hear language like that, I also don’t care  if they want to do that in their space.  Just leave them alone.  When I hear you carrying on about it, all I can really think is “what kind of shitlord are you that you can’t just go play in your own space tribe?”

Because here’s the truth – you are not standing up for anything.  You are not fighting racism, sexism, or misogyny, and while you might be combating a little real homophobia you aren’t doing it in a meaningful way – labeling someone a homophobe doesn’t change their attitude.  You are whining about hurt feelings, and justifying it based on ideas of social inequality 35 years out of date.  There are people getting beheaded and burned to death by lunatics, and having their country dismantled by a powerful neighbor that it’s just too fucking inconvenient for the West to deal with.  You are not them; you are getting to play internet spaceships.  99+% of all those that ever lived do not have it as good as you, so quit your fucking whining.

Leaving BRAVE: Part II

First, a quick note.  I really have not played Elder Scrolls Online lately.  After our move, we switched back to Time Warner from AT&T U-verse, which I was sorely disappointed in.  While a lot faster, Time Warner had a very bad problem with dropping signal which seemed for some reason to be worse whenever I got onto TES.  The “dropping” problem seems to be resolved, but I still need to get back on TES.

In the meantime though, I really need to continue talking about leaving BRAVE.  I have started this post three times and every time it turns into a history of BRAVE doctrines which sounds terribly dull.

So, just to get that out of the way, BRAVE in the time I was there initially had it’s Talwar, Pocket Rocket (Thorax) and Furrox (Ferrox) doctrines, adopted the Harpy I talked about a while back, adopted the Baltec Megathron, promptly ditched it again, picked up the Augror Navy Issue, and finally settled on the Moa and Eagle, and now appears to be adding Tengus.  The Talwar has survived (with less and less use) and the Harpy remains.

I loved the Pocket Rocket doctrine and would have loved to see it altered to fit Null.  Perhaps I’ll discuss it at some length later on.  I enjoyed the Eagle and Moa, although I felt both fits lacked a bit in damage application, and I liked the Baltec Megathron which was abandoned almost as fast as it was adopted due to FCs not knowing how to use it.  The Augror Navy Issue was horrible – it suffered from poor lock range and appalling capacitor consumption despite having only 3 guns.

Overall, however, BRAVE was pretty fun to fly doctrines with aside from the perpetual overabundance of fast tackle.  Manfred Sideous talks about BRAVE’s fundamental tradeoffs a bit in his CSM candidate thread.  I think he’s got a good grip on the basic tradeoffs BRAVE has made, and that the game should not be balanced specifically to make BRAVE’s playstyle more viable.

But let’s talk outside of fleets.  Outside of fleets, you will find a lot of BRAVE pilots flying, for PVP: atrons (and slashers), interceptors, RLML Caracals, and then a smattering of more expensive stuff, sometimes ridiculously so; it’s not unknown for a single BRAVE pilot in a Garmur or something like that to go out and get killed by a roaming fleet in his system thinking that he has the backup of a defense fleet that’s barely forming – or worse, just can’t warp to him in time.

As I mentioned before, BRAVE has all kinds of people showing up to content-farm them all the time.  An FC I flew under recently characterized BRAVE’s local defense as “drone boats and atrons”, and while I’d add RLML Caracals and the occasional other unfortunate to the fix, he’s fundamentally correct, becase BRAVE has a lot of newbies and atrons are cheap.  Drones are preferred for ratting in Catch because you can select any damage type, the tracking disruption on Sansha’s doesn’t affect them, and most importantly, if you take care of them you have little to no ammo cost.  Important for newbies on a budget.  The Vexor Navy Issue is the boat of choice for ratting because you only need Gallente Cruiser IV for it, rather than needing it at V plus HACS to III+ for an Ishtar.

Where this all gets frustrating is if you are the guy trying to bring something a little more appropriate or survivable to the fight than the aforementioned.  If you have 8 guys trying to kill a Deimos and 7 are in T1 frigates and you are the only one in a Jaguar it gets pretty annoying that no one can undock something worth more than 5 million to kill a 200+ million (fitted cost) ship.  When 5 guys have a Vagabond tackled and can’t kill it until you show up in a Cyclone that does more DPS than the 5 of them put together the profuse thanks are pretty nice.  It is not sheer agony all the time.

But what really gets you is when you, as a very experienced pilot (especially by BRAVE standards of “very experienced”, get lectures from far less experienced newbies that indicate a near-total failure to appreciate either A) what you’re actually saying or B) that there might be things they haven’t learned yet.  It’s much like college in ROTC- no one is more opinionated than a sophomore who thinks he’s talking to a freshman.

For example, I once had this conversation with an 8-month-old newbie, regarding Marmites and permadeccing

Me:  “It wouldn’t hurt to take a Moa doctrine up there one day to the trade hubs and force them to dock up for half an hour just to remind them that they can only pop individuals in trade hubs – they can’t fight us fleet-to-fleet”

Him:  “That doesn’t work in highsec”

Me.  “Why not?”

Him:  “Because they’ll just dock and use instaundocks.”

Me:  “So what?  We’re still forcing them to dock and publicly showing that they can’t fight us.”

Him:  “You can’t hellcamp someone in highsec without bubbles”

Now, regardless of the merits of taking a Moa fleet to Jita or Dodixie and annoying Marmites the simple fact is that I wasn’t suggesting a “hellcamp” of half an hour, nor was I suggesting we’d get a ton of kills or force them to fight at all.  In fact it should be clear I suspected they wouldn’t fight.

Again, this may be a terrible idea, but the reasons the newbie stated are not the reasons why.  Rather, it represents a serious problem in the 6-month to 2-year old character range that BRAVE has a lot of among those who stayed there – they have started learning some things and think it’s far more than it is.  This newbie knew about “hellcamps” of stations, and therefore assumed any station camp was a “hellcamp”.  He also failed to think about the usefulness of the idea in terms of what it was intended to accomplish – a show of force to make a point – and instead complained it wouldn’t work for another purpose – getting a lot of kills, and having good fights – for which it was not intended.  I can forgive the latter more than the former though as its a very common error in many arenas.

This would merely be an unavoidable vice of flying with newbies, but when mixed with some of the former it becomes infuriating.  A gang comes through, a bunch of people engage it in frigates and RLML caracals, and a semi-experienced newbie comes to help in his Armageddon.  Unfortunately, the few Atrons and Caracals are near-wiped-out by the time the Battleship warps to gate, jumps through, and engages.  Not the fault of the pilot; the battleship is what it is and he even has it fit sensibly.

Meanwhile, along comes Kiryen coming back from doing some relic sites and hearing this on comms I dock up, re-ship to a Cyclone and warp to the beleaguered and now-solo Armageddon while the casualties.. well, apparently don’t re-ship.  I land reasonably near him and start trying to get on a Pilgrim, which retreats rapidly in the face of missiles and drones that it can’t tracking-disrupt or neut… and the Armageddon MJDs away.  He lands, can’t align or warp in time, and dies before I can get to him.  At least they didn’t get me; he pulled them too far away to get me before I warp out.

All right fine, an understandable mistake, but the “why didn’t you help me?” afterwards.. You can only take that so much.  Dude I did help you.. then you MJD’d away and I couldn’t support you with my HAM fit.  Oh you mean everyone else?  No, they didn’t come back but you committed a big, slow ship too late, and when you did have help you MJD’d away without aligning out first.  Instead of focusing on what everyone else did wrong, look at what YOU did wrong so you won’t do it again.

In the above example, my Cyclone lived.  There were a lot of others where my ship didn’t.  That’s ok – losing ships is part of the game – but it gets tiresome after a while being one of the few to show up in something that can dish out the DPS or shore up the weaknesses of the frigates and Caracals, and be constantly losing it and then hear other people whine about their losses.  The Armageddon at least was a significant loss, but when someone pisses and moans this way about a Vexor – not even a VNI – that’s more grating.  Even worse is when your kitchen sink fleet is fighting a Pandemic Legion roam and your Hyperion is taking damage while the FC is sitting there saying “leetttt’ssss….sssseeeee….” and clicking his teeth on comms trying to decide which target to shoot.

I should also note that in the BRAVE capital system you get more support if only through sheer numbers.  I lived a few jumps away because of the income.  Still, when I was fleeted up in the capital, and previous experience in Sendaya and Barleguet, experience rapidly taught me that you’re going to lose ships to people simply fucking around even there.  When you’re one of the few people trying to shore up the Atron swarm that gets old after a year.

60 million skill points

The second post of the “Why I left BRAVE” series is.. in the works. I thought it’d be done by now but I have not liked anything I’ve written. I’ve completely started over on it 3 or 4 times now and every time it comes across to myself as whiny.

So, since it’s now been over 2 weeks and I am again not keeping up with things, a lighter matter. I just passed 60 million skill points.

This really seems like a major milestone to me, mainly because I have filled in a lot of goals. I have not started on capitals at all except for a little training of related skills, so this is all focused on subcaps and other needs. So, what can I do?

Well, I have pretty good Planetary Interaction and even a little research agent and a smattering of social, business, and industrial skills either from messing around with it or because they pertained to basic mission and market functions. That’s the extent of my non-combat skills. I’ve remained fairly focused.

I can also fly mining barges, Ventures, and all Gallente industrials other than the freighter and jump freighter.

For combat ships.. let’s see. No capitals yet. I’m about to start training the skills though, once Sentry Drone Interfacing V finishes. In fact, that’s a good place to start. I can use every weapon system in the game except smartbombs, which for some reason I have not trained at all. I can use all subcapital sizes of hybrids and projectiles at Tech II; all small and medium drones at Tech II, medium lasers of both types, light missiles, heavy assault missiles, and cruise missiles at Tech II. I have almost all V’s in gunnery support skills; only 2 of them are at 4 and generally 4’s in missile and drone support skills.

As far as the actual ships, 60 million SP roughly coincided with a goal that had been put off over and over again and I finally forced myself to get back to – Minmatar Cruiser V. I had started training it over a year ago, and then put it aside just under half done.. over and over and over again. This was a major goal for me because it was the last Tech 1 piloting skill for a class smaller than a battleship that I did not have at V.

This means it’s actually easier to list what I can’t fly than can. Other than capitals and noncombat ships, I cannot fly Marauders other than the Kronos, Black Ops Battleships, Command Ships, the Legion, the Loki, the Confessor and the upcoming Svipul. Everything else I can fly with at least a III in the relevant Tech II skills, more often IV.

Right now, Sentry Drones are the order of the day, and then my next goal will be the Naglfar, starting on capitals. I do want BLOPS and Command Ships, but they will have to wait.

I’m at an odd point right now. There are a lot of skills like Interceptors I could train to V in fairly short order (for a V) but sooo many cap skills.. but those need V’s too for so many of them and they take soooo long. Capitals are something I want to do for the alliance. I do not really want to fly them a lot and supercapitals are not something I want at all. So.. obligation first, or wants? Command ships and BLOPS only make things harder.. they fit into both. what next, what next?

Where will I sit in a year?

Outside Factors

I am going to talk about why I left BRAVE/HERO.  That, however, is a big topic – and some of it is factors from outside BRAVE that they cannot control or could not foresee, or that are simply part of a trade-off.

So, this first portion is about those outside factors.

Before I get into that, I have to point something out – this is not a critique of BRAVE, it is not “what they are doing wrong” and it is definitely not “ZOMG they are fail!”.  BRAVE has things about it that are problematic, it also has things that are fine but Kiryen just doesn’t like a lot.  The things I’m talking about here are things I don’t like – whether they are good, bad, or indifferent.  This is about my reasons for leaving.  It is not BRAVE’s responsibility to tailor itself to my wants.

So, into the meat of things.

Content farm

First, BRAVE has, ever since I joined, been the preferred target for people looking for content.  In a sense, that’s good; there were always fights to be had.  However, it’s also problematic – there’s always fights to be had.  This is on the individual scale – Catch’s position combined with the desire for fights on the part of everyone else in nullsec means basic income generation is WAY harder than elsewhere.  It’s also on the alliance scale – the BRAVE war with Provibloc degenerated into N3 and PL indirectly fighting each other because they just could not stop pointlessly third-partying onto stuff.

Since I left, it seems only to have gotten worse – PL still attacking BRAVE just to have someone to attack, but not really following through because beating BRAVE means eliminating what little content they have.  Of course what they don’t realize is that continuously weakening BRAVE slowly is likely to result in the same thing, at someone else’s hands.  At a certain point, if you want to have content you need to let the content exist.

Playing defense

The corollary to the above is that you’re always fighting on your own territory.  Aside from an occasional roam, it’s the same repetitive defensive fights over and over again.  Granted, sov is a morass of timer grinding anyhow, but when it’s in the same systems over and over and over again, that only compounds things.

Staging

Ours and theirs

The entire time I was there we had N3 jump bridge systems sprinkled through Catch, which was a major contributing factor to the content farm.  FAT-6P was a major hub – and also the sole system in which escalations off anoms in my home system appeared so you could forget ever DOING any.  With Phoebe that dropped off a great deal- but then we couldn’t use our own jump bridges to avoid the endless gangs roving around the main staging system.

In fact, the more I look at it the more it sticks out – everyone is just up in BRAVEs ass all the time.  BRAVE isn’t firmly aligned with any top-tier power block.  Sort of, but not quite, so anyone in nullsec can come fight them without worrying that they might inadvertently trigger another B-R.  This isn’t precisely a problem with BRAVE or even anyone else; it’s a problem with EVE’s meta, and it isn’t even bad.  It just gets tiresome after a while hearing that nullsec is endless swathes of empty space, ripe for nullbearing it up while you’re stuck with 5 million a tic average in your Sacrilege because there’s a roam coming through every 15 minutes.

Or to put it another way, after a while you want the fights to be on your terms, and you want to be the one farming the content rather than being farmed.

Clarification

I really need to get some posts in about Elder Scrolls Online.  I also need to probably clarify my last post a bit, since after 2 days I feel like I was ranting a bit.

I am not what I would consider a “conservative”.  Europeans might think I am, but European politics are heavily skewed left, having trended that way progressively harder and harder as WWII has faded into history.  I’m much more a center-right person, and how liberal or conservative I am depends on the issue.  It also tends to have a lot of nuance.  For example, I very much favor same-sex marriage, but I oppose getting it through the courts, because I feel that tolerance and acceptance of same-sex couples will be greater if the issue is addressed through referendum or the legislature.

In the present clime, I don’t feel that it’s that women or minorities face no issues; it’s that I don’t feel it’s possible to even identify those issues because so many people advocating for women, blacks, gay folks, etc. are so completely unwilling to engage in dialogue.  These voices have acquired a habit of simply identifying anything that isn’t to the advantage of their group, or that they don’t like and slapping the label of bigotry on it.

In EVE terms, calling your opponent a bigot and associating them with all of that baggage has simply come to dominate the political meta.  If you are not doing that, you’re stupid.  There are signs of change.  People are starting to get tired of it.  Moreover, the habit of trying to link ALL minorities together as if they were all united against the Straight White Male Boogeyman is becoming harder and harder to do.

Of course, the tactic of just repeating talking points is hardly unique to the left.. or even to politics.  If you go to the EVE forums, you can find endless repetition of bullshit talking points by CODE, people opposed to interceptor interdiction nullification, or the sort of idiot that thinks Ripard Teg is a horrible person for Erotica 1’s ban and the loss of “sandbox gameplay” in the bonus room that didn’t actually involve playing the game.

The problem with leftists and victim-group advocates is with their fundamental unfairness and hypocrisy and attempts to dress up special privileges for some groups as a form of equality.  Here’s a clue, leftists – you are creating the right-wingers you worry about so much. When you should down the middle and the center-right as racists or sexists for pointing out your excesses you should not be surprised when they turn back up as far-right-wingers.  Dealing with you has become a matter of fighting fire with fire.

Gamergate

This controversy first appeared shortly after I started this blog, and initially I didn’t write about it because A) it seemed for more oriented on smaller games than major MMOs and franchises like The Elder Scrolls, B) It was initially rather hard to actually get a handle on what it was all about and C) I did not want to start off on a note of politics.

TMC and Forbes have both had very good – if quite different – takes on the issue, and elements of both I agree with.

I suppose its best to take these issues piece by piece, so here goes:

In regard to Quinn’s alleged cheating and the larger issue of corruption in the gaming press.. I honestly do not really give a shit.  Much of the gaming ‘media’ does not really have a fucking clue what it’s talking about, and are ‘journalists’ to about the same degree as I am – they’re just people exercising Freedom of the Press – which, by the way, is what blogging falls under, not Freedom of Speech, but that’s neither here nor there.

Back when Elder Scrolls Online was coming out – right before, or right after – there was a regular YouTube game reviewer who roundly criticized the game for various reasons.. actually there were a lot of these, but I’m thinking of one in particular and actually finding the same video again is beyond my skills.  While a few of his criticisms had merit, the vast majority amounted to “This game is awful because it does not slavishly obey my ideas of what an MMO should have”, and many of his criticisms were either fundamentally inaccurate or contradicted each other.  It wasn’t so much “have you actually PLAYED the game” so much as it was obvious that he had made up his mind beforehand that it would be awful, and set out to confirm it.

Then, I noticed a second, shorter video from him and I watched it, seeing as it was short.  This second video only touched on ESO, but it related to responses to the first video where people had pointed out the problems with his coverage.  His second video amounted to “Don’t blame the gaming press for bad reviews!  It isn’t our fault games suck!”

No, it isn’t, but it is the fault of the gaming press that the gaming press sucks.  Not all of it, of course.  EVE has some of the best gaming press out there, Tamriel Foundry is a wonderful site for ESO, and people like HuskyStarCraft  who specialize in a single game, or Dodger Leigh who is just a genuinely nice person and doesn’t talk down to her audience.

Unfortunately, however, most of the “gaming media” does talk down to their audience, and often hilariously badly becuase for the most part the gaming media has no idea what it’s talking about.  Huge swathes of material is written as if the reader had never played anything beyond Candy Crush (or Pac Man if you’re my age) and needs the game explained in complete basics, and when you do get more in-depth material such as the aforementioned YouTube video you are hard-pressed to find someone who is not simply pompously blathering on in order to hear himself talk.  If the point of gaming media is to give us some idea of what is out there so we don’t have to play every game ourselves just to decide if we like it, then it’s defeating itself by burying anything remotely useful or intelligent under barrels and barrels of hogwash.

As to Quinn herself, who she does or does not fuck and her “wallow in your psychological issues game” of Depression Quest really don’t concern me in the least.  For that matter, I have a pretty hard time taking the “threats” against her seriously and while I think they’re pretty appalling, they are made by internet tough guys.  Yes, one might be a nut and follow through, but if he’s that nuts, he’s eventually going to try to kill someone somewhere anyhow and this would just be the convenient excuse.  Internet Tough Guys, however, are the internet version of the guy that likes to act like Billy Badass at the local bar but shuts right up when the cops walk in.  I know Billy Badass because I’ve arrested him quite a few times.  Yes, people are making horrible threats on the internet.  Some of them use the phone, or do various electronic attacks.. because they’re anonymous.  They are not going to firebomb your house, Zoe.

Now, on to the next part.  My lack of sympathy for Zoe is heavily informed by the Fine Young Capitalists angle, especially after hearing an interview of one of them on Honey Badger Radio. While they call themselves “radical feminists” I found him to be quite articulate and reasonable – and if anyone is inclined to dismiss that (lengthy) interview because ZOMG antifeminst MRA misogynist apologists!! well.. you’re part of the reason you see these people making incoherent ranting threats.  Feminism, and the left in general, are so used to shouting down everyone that disagrees with them by inventing some new form of bigotry to label them with that there’s often no point in rational discourse.  Some of these people evidently feel they may as well troll and make vile threats because hell, if they typed well-thought-out arguments, logically presented they’d still get called misogynist assholes.

Zoe decided, evidently, to get into a controversy with the FYC’s over their alleged treatment of transgendered folks.  Essentially it came down to the FYCs wanting a way to determine if people who “identified as female” really did, or were just males trying to get in on the contest for some reason.  Anyone who does not think this is a problem.. try playing EVE.  If you PLAY EVE and think this is not a problem, I’d like you to know it’s safe to autopilot your neutral freighter through CFC Sov space, too.  Please, by all means; the space highway is a public service.

Finally, there is the whole Social Justice Warrior/Ignorant Geek comparison, and the “misogyny” and so forth.

#GamerGate has plenty of misogynistic comments, but actual misogynists are… pretty rare.  In fact, they’re pretty rare anywhere, much like actual racists are near-nonexistent anymore.  You can still find residual racist effects that are the product of past racism (poverty among minorities is generational, and hard for families to get out of; it is not a result of active discrimination right now.) and you can find occasional misogyny and sexism, but real bigots are the boogyman these days.  These people are not misogynists, they’re trolls, and if you’re a feminist, you’re very vulnerable to this kind of trolling.

This habit, in fact, of simply assigning a label as a hater to anyone you disagree with and never acknowledging social progress of any kind has become part and parcel of leftist politics ever since the 1980s when the Women’s movement and Civil Rights movement had had about 20 years to have an effect.  In the mid-late 1980s, society was very much turning a corner on many of these issues – but social change is gradual, and like a parent that is still telling a kid who is old enough to drive that bed time is 9:00, the left hasn’t noticed.  Instead, it’s substituted newer and ever-more-absurd sensitivities to try to keep the political capital of fighting for the oppressed alive.  This is where we get the Anita Sarkeesians of the world – they are professional umbrage-takers who contribute absolutely nothing to society except to cover their personal hypersensitivity with a veneer of science and research and then loudly and moralistically preach about it.

This is what gets people labelled as Social Justice Warriors, and speaks to a problem highlighted in the Forbes article above – the gaming press, and most of the organized discussion on this issue is driven by a heavy leftist bias.  Unfortunately, the #GamerGate supporters deserve their own share of blame for totally failing to get organized, not only meaning no effective counter has been made, but also not getting the aforementioned trolls and Internet Tough Guys to shut the fuck up.

What’s unfortunate is that moderate, or even liberal but reasonable voices like Dodger Leigh’s get sucked into the overall umbrella of “feminist” because people actually still think feminism ever had anything to do with equality – which it doesn’t.  It has to do with “equal rights” which is great, except that “equal rights” means equal responsibilities, and feminists have studiously avoided that.  One need only look at the Duke or UVA rape scandals to see examples.

People like Dodger are really egalitarians, not feminists, despite what the definition of a feminist is in the dictionary.  It’s pretty much impossible that as inherently gynocentric a word as “feminist” would ever actually be about equality; claiming that it is is sort of like opening up Das Kapital and claiming that’s how communism actually works in practice.

The other side of this is the idea of games as a “male space” that need to be more “female friendly”.  The Forbes article, again, says it best, and I’ll quote:

I’ve heard from many readers claiming they have no problem with more women and gay people represented in games; they simply don’t want every game to be critiqued based on these factors. I’ve heard from others who readily admit that they miss the days when games were more male-centric. One reader emailed to say that he has no problem with women, but video games were a nice boys club of sorts, a refuge from women where the boys could play for a while undisturbed.

For quite a few people, any “boy’s club” means something reminiscent of the Tailhook Scandal.  It’s something do be dismantled because no doubt those boys are sitting around being.. well, boys, and probably in a sexist manner!  This attitude isn’t limited to feminists; quite a few moderate and even anti-feminist people are all to quick to decry a “boy’s club” despite the fact that any “girl’s club” of any sort is generally accepted universally.  My local model railroader’s club is also a “boy’s club” but it does not need to be “more accessible to women”, and neither does gaming.

What needs to happen is that women who want to game need to adjust themselves to gaming culture.  In fact, women who genuninely like games do exactly that – and that does not mean be subservient or accept sexism as the norm; it means be there for the game, not for the social justice.  Dodger Leigh is one such woman.  Anita Sarkeesian isn’t.

Most “sexism in gaming” comes down to that – nongamers and liberals who just can’t let it go.  Probably a lot of people think I’m some sort of reactionary after this.  I’m not.  I work with women in the most traditional-male environments there are; law enforcement and the military, and women certainly belong there.  Women belong in gaming too, but this is not the 19th Century.  We do not need to sanitize male environments for female sensibilities, or those that want only to criticize from the outside anyhow.

Vaccination

…is better than cure.

So how do we stop the newbie from coming down with Fast Tackle Disease?

Well, the answer is the Harpy – or something generally similar.  T1 destroyers or cruisers, or perhaps even interdictors.  Keep the newbie rolling towards a bigger and better doctrine.  Assuming we’re talking about a low or nullsec corp with reasonable PVP emphasis, that means before he gets into mining or PI or whatever else, if “being a combat pilot” isn’t his primary want.

That’s not to say that being something else is bad, but getting those support skills and a baseline of skills to be able to competently fly T1 cruisers and down, interceptors, bombers (which pair well with blockade runners for the budding industrialist) and assault frigates for at least one, maybe two races, is not a bad way to get started.  After all, it’s good to have an appreciation of what the pilots that prey on him do, and skills relating to navigation and tanking aren’t a bad thing to have in any ship.

Get the newbie up to 5 in frigates and small weapons in the race of his choice.  Yes, even missiles; even if he gets past frigates and gets stuck on RLML Caracals.. at least he can fly both of those things.

But why is it bad if a newbie flys these things?  What’s the problem, if that’s what he likes?

The problem is that you get things like this.

Look at the update at 0523.  “Many of the BRAVE contingent are very young newbies in T1 frigates.”

Now, having flown with BRAVE for a year or so I can tell you for certain that this is true.. but many of those T1 frigates were also flown by older pilots who could have been in something heavier.  Some might have not been able to afford a new ship if they lost it in the fight and had to re-ship or otherwise were short on cash.  But quite a few had no good reason to be in a T1 frigate besides “it’s cheap”.

I’ll go into some of this as it relates specifically to BRAVE later on, but for now it’s enough to say that when you are trying to hold down someone’s supers for someone else’s supers to get there and kill them, the last thing you need are T1 frigates – since they can’t keep supers tackled.  Even the aforementioned RLML caracals are a vastly superior choice, and they really aren’t hard to get into.

I don’t think anything is more frustrating as a line pilot than getting in the mainline doctrine ship, or the logi ship, or another support ship for what the FC called for… and seeing people you know are a year plus old in T1 frigates.  For that matter, when the FC is saying “No I don’t need more interceptors” and 5 more people try to join in interceptors it makes you want to reach through the internet and slap them.

Now, a final word.  This is not to say flying T1 frigates is bad, or tackle is bad, and certianly doesn’t pertain to flying them when asked to, flying them when no one cares, flying them when you’re behind and just want to catch up, flying dictors, heavy dictors, or heavy tackle ships or anything else.  It pertains to flying T1 frigates because they’re cheap and you don’t have to care about losing them when that isn’t what’s needed.  No, it doesn’t matter if they die – except that now you’re off the field, when you could still be there sending the enemy packing.

Fast Tackle Disease

Fast tackle.

The traditional way to start a newbie on fleet PVP, fast tackle seems to be both beloved and hated by fleet commanders.  Sometimes called “Hero tackle” or “suicide tackle”, fast tackle has a set of virtues and vices all its own – but one of its biggest virtues, cheap, easily fit, easily flown ships that get newbies out there and fighting becomes a vice all too easily.

Now, a disclaimer – I haven’t flown a lot of Tech 1 fast tackle in nullsec or lowsec.  When I have flown fast tackle it’s been interceptors far more often than not.  I had over 30 million skill points when I joined BRAVE and even when money was short I could afford to fly interceptors, or I flew mainline doctrine.  There may be a certain lack of sympathy here for not walking in someone else’s shoes.

The newbie’s introduction to fast tackle usually comes in an attack frigate.  The Atron seems (in my subjective impression; I have no statistics on the matter) most popular, but any of the 4 will do.  Cheaply fit with meta 0 modules, the newbie can be flying this tiny machine in combat in under 24 hours.  Only four modules actually matter; the propulsion module, generally a microwarp drive, the warp disruptor or scrambler, and the damage control that provides the only meaningful tank the ship has.  There is likely to be a web as well.  Guns are largely irrelevant unless the entire fleet is fast tackle – the ship’s main weapon is its point or scram.  Rigs may not even be present due to their cost and the additional skills needed on the newbie’s ship.  Tanking modules may be irrelevant; lacking in the agility and tanking skills of older pilots the newbie’s already-flimsy ship is not intended to survive long anyhow, and while a dead ship tackles nothing, trying to keep the newbie alive with his MWD blowing his signature radius up to unadulterated heights is likely to be futile.  The newbie’s main defense is his irrelevancy; once heavier ships are on the field they rapidly seize the enemy’s attention.

Provided with this contraption, the newbie is instructed on how it works, and usually given a basic bit of instruction on how to employ it effectively (amounting to “get really close, target the enemy, orbit, and activate the point/web/scram”) sometimes with a pointer on the best technique (“spiral in!  don’t fly straight at them”) and for very lucky newbies even a brief explanation of how to spiral.  Giddy with the excitement of going on a fleet, the newbie undocks amid the splendor of his more powerful fleet mates, and off they roar!

Of course, the newbie is not expected to survive this experience, but chances are that he was given this ship, or ISK to purchase it, and chances are excellent  he will be given another – and likely another and another and another, or possibly showered with money when he reveals that this 3 million ISK space jalopy takes 75% of the money in his wallet.  He quickly learns that losing the Atron or the Slasher or the Executioner is really not a big deal, and there is always someone willing to help him get a new one.  In the culture of EVE, this is a great victory!  A newbie is excited, part of a team, and avoids the traps of either boredom or the dreaded ‘carebear’ status!  He learns to fly what he can afford to lose, he HTFUs, and he can set about his career in lowsec or nullsec secure in the knowledge that he has something to do on the team.

Now, as the newbie progresses he’s pretty naturally pushed towards interceptors for their value as shuttles.  Learning to fly interceptors is essentially mandatory in nullsec and might as well be in lowsec.  The fast-align interceptor is a tool all in its own realm.  The newbie also will start being aimed into other ships – EWAR of whatever type the alliance or coalition prefers, its destroyer, and its cruiser doctrine assuming it has them.  He’ll start finding his preferred way of making money and learning what he wants to do besides getting space jalopys blown up in a ball of glorious fire.

But, depending on a lot of factors, the newbie may come down with Fast Tackle Disease.

This can come from a lot of things.  Maybe he lost a lot of ratting ships early to raiders.  Maybe he just has a hard time finding a money making scheme that works for him.  Maybe that 50 million for the Harpy on contract is really hard to get together – even if he gets SRP for it, he still has to get the first one.  Maybe it just feels like it’s taking forever to train up all these support skills and damn it he really just wants to branch out into non-combat things.

The next thing you know, this newbie is in game a year, and every time the fleet call goes out there he still is in the Atron. – whether it’s needed or not, because while a lot of fleets need that cheap fast tackle, quite a few don’t.  But man.. that Atron is just so cheap, and who cares if I lose it?  The FC needs DPS, yeah, but damn it Small Hybrids V is just such a loooong train and I won’t get SRP without the Tech 2 guns… oh yeah, and I’m fast, so I can loot the field!  I mean, an interceptor is fast too, but why fly that when I could be flying an Atron that costs 3 million fit rather than 30 million for the hull alone out here in the ass end of nullsec.

The former newbie has contracted Fast Tackle Disease, and if you ever want him out of that Atron it’ll be the devil to pay!  Doesn’t he realize this is a CTA and you don’t need that much tackle; you need him in a rail Tengu, damn it because Black Legion is about to reinforce another I-Hub!  You have plenty of dictors and ceptors and no you stupid fuck I don’t need suicide tackle!

Of course, there’s another form of the disease, because chances are pretty good that newbie likes that interceptor shuttle too, and heck, he can already fly them.. and if he’s doing well with money maybe 30 or 40 or even 50 million with all the trimmings isn’t so bad.  He’s probably seen what interceptors can do too, both from fleetmates and being on the wrong end of them.

Unfortunately, the longer it took him to get into interceptors the more likely he is to fly them like tackle frigates.  Interceptors, though, each have their own personality, and that LML Crow is not flown the same way as the blaster Taranis.  The MWD sig bonus is a huge advantage, and makes piloting technique much more worthwhile.  Most people will eventually learn, but habits are hard to break.

But if that’s overcome, and the interceptor displaces the Atron or Slasher in the hanger, it’s even harder to dislodge if that interceptor carries Fast Tackle Disease with it.  That interceptor is so fast, and so convenient to fly, so easy to come and go and catch up, or head back when you have to log off, and not that expensive.

And the next thing you know, it’s a POS-bashing fleet and you have 20 people in interceptors when you really need about 4.  There’s Fast Tackle Disease in there.

There’s nothing wrong with flying fast tackle, or interceptors, but there’s a time and place for it, and everyone can’t just hop into it because they don’t want to train or risk larger ships.  Be able to fly something else, even if it’s only assault frigates.  A Harpy makes a much better fill-in if you can’t fly a Tengu than a Crow or an Atron does.