No internet for the duration of the trip — something to change next time — means the plan of “live blogging” got replaced by daily notes on my iPod in preparation for a global review of the experience. Or well, a written global review, as the Naraka members present on Ventrillo Sunday were treated to a spoken one.
The theme for this year was Caldari (yay!), turning the building into the Jita station. And in true Jita spirit lining up to get our tickets and goody bag was a mess until a friendly station announcer pointed out the lines were sorted alphabetically by first name. The goody bag contained all sorts of nice things, such as a t-shirt, beer tickets, program booklet, a ccp pin and a print-out of one of the pages from the strategic maps.
You may have noted me saying our tickets there, but in truth I was the only real Naraka member present. My boyfriend was with me but he doesn’t play EVE. Being the nice person that I am though he was adopted for the occasion (read: he just wrote the corp name down because he can). He went around and told everyone how it really was though.
But back to the review: After getting some lunch we went to the Quality Assurance presentation which explained the process of testing EVE and how players could help in this. Unlike popular belief it seems the logs do show stuff!
Next up was a round table on Factional Warfare. While it seems pirate FW will remain a dream for now CCP seems interested in player feedback giving the whole thing more meaning. After all, capturing a system right now doesn’t really serve a function. It was interesting to hear the opinion of the FW veterans and I agree with most what was said. I really love FW, and not just because it gets us a lot of (challenging) targets.
Then we headed over to the PVE round table. Yes, carebear stuff. Don’t be too shocked. Making ISK is relevant to my interests after all. And knowing your prey gives you that little edge as a pirate as well. What might shock you however is that I asked two questions. Being a dedicated Angel Cartel fangirl I asked why we can only find pirate agents in nulsec, as “one does not simply walk into Curse”, my little tagline netting me a round of applause from the audience. The argument of the Empires having kicked them out holds truth but they’d look into making it possible, perhaps through spawning convoys or deadspace. My second question was if they would consider more mission types, like logistics missions. I was under the impression there was less enthusiasm for this but I think the limits of the game mechanics may be in the way there. The possibility of rats no longer shooting you above certain standings was also brought up, which would be a big help in motivating people to work for pirate agents, but it remains to be seen if it can and will be done. The pirate epic arcs are making me a happy panda though. Speedboat level 3′s to be run in interceptors giving you the option to repair your standings. That’s a several things I’ve always wanted in EVE PVE in one sentence.
The PVP round table was up next. This got a bit messy and confusing as a player had to pass around the mic and as it goes with PVP discussions there was some bickering. Nothing really innovative being promised as far as I recall.
And to end the first day we went to a reading from the new novel Abraxas has written, after which he gave his vision on how to be a great fiction writer. I think this novel is going to see a positive reception by the public, unlike Empyrean Age which got a lot of negative critique. Not something that should be taken as obvious though, while Abraxas is a great chronicle writer — except being a bit overly cryptic at times — that does not automatically mean novels are something he’ll be equally great at. As he said writing takes practice after all and the only way to get good at it is by doing it.
Kicking off with the opening ceremony we learned how CCP envisions connecting EVE Online, COSMOS (from here on called New Eden), Dust, Mobile and the API together and give the EVE universe several entrance points while forming one big thing. A challenging goal for sure, but then again, this is for me one of the main things I love so much about the game.
After that my boyfriend requested to go to the new player experience. Tagline: Why new players have to die. And die they will. It is good they are trying to get people used to losing their ships, because certainly at the start this is something that will happen. Your pod you get to keep though (boo hiss!) so you’re not totally thrown into the deep end. But it is a step forward. Aside from that tutorials on probing, directional scanner and tackling will be added as well. Excellent. I might even check them out with an alt to see how good they are.
New Eden was the next topic on the list. I love it already. Two-way buddy system allowing you to see friends, friends of friends, enemies and enemies of enemies, revamped evemail system using the same tag philosophy as gmail and the option to sort evemail by date (OMG FINALLY <3), and a calendar on which to plan stuff as well as seeing when your skills finish. Whewt. Some more stuff makes it into a true community tool. They kept stressing though it would not resemble spacebook (facebook … eve … space … get it?). Made me wonder what effect this will have on Avatars United.
Taking a break I finally found fellow blogger and pirate Shae Tiann. Seems she had been looking for me. I am such a dolt for not exchanging contact details in advance. Told me Veto was worried as well about where the heck I was. Sorry guys!
That was made up for after the content showcase though, when I went and greeted the Veto team sitting on the first row. Plans for later that evening were made. My notes on the content showcase are lacking just what was shown there, but I think it showed off future stuff like Tech 3 frigates. Sounds familiar, that? Yes, that’s right, I did a blog banter on them. I hope they read it and take my names for the ships into consideration! But even if not having affordable Tech 3 sounds totally win. Can’t wait!
Then I visited the round table on virtual organisation, which was very interesting for me as a CEO. Our speaker, the founder of BattleClinic explained the four important steps of vision, collaboration, execution and evaluation. Looking at how I’ve been doing so far it seems I weren’t too far off but there is room for improvement. Knowing how I can do better I look forward to put the advice received to the test.
Another presentation then: Planets. This is another presentation you really have to watch on youtube if you want to see them before Dominion. A vast improvement over what we currently have. Even moons get some love. Oceans with depth, city lights on the dark side of a planet, moving gas rings, volcanic surfaces and clouds casting shadows are just a few of the things that made me go “Ooooh shiney!”. Wouldn’t be EVE though if I already read critique earlier on how useless a change this is.
Then it was time for the details on Dominion: The sov changes, new mail system, planets, fleet finder, and pirate epic arcs. No talk on the faction ship changes, which I thought a bit odd. And the veil got lifted on what more there is in store: Planetary interaction (nuke from orbit, baby!) and treaties, a form of contracts allowing you to rent developed space. All I have to say to that is squeeeeeeee~!
And there is no way to end day two than with the (drunken) dev quiz. Much silliness took place, beer flowed freely, Stevie got serenaded, and devs were drunk.
Speaking of drunken devs, being adopted by Veto we hopped on the list for the pub crawl with a dev. CCP Horse had the honor of going out with the Veto troupe and us. Beer flowed freely again, pubs were crawled, I got to participate in a magic act with a strange Irishman calling me Charlie, and I am so damn sexy hookers prefer me over all but one Veto guy.
CCP has a great sense of humor which was reflected in the presentation of a year in review. I hope the recording of this will be released since I recommend watching it for the sheer amount of funnies. BOB and E-bank really got the heat there, and mention of meme’s was plenty.
During the tech 3 3v3 tournament finals we got to see Tengu’s dying (yay!) and Verone gave us a little shout-out when asked about the pub crawl the previous day (even more yay!). Didn’t stay for the full finals though, and apparently missed the Hellcats getting a shout-out as well.Which they much deserve too!
Instead I went to storyline processes, which was a bit of a repetition from the previous fiction related round tables. New information was also given, like how the team would really like to do live events but that they can’t because of the huge amount of work it takes. The recent retcon was mention as well, and why it takes so long to fix CEO’s of npc corporations. I hope some people were inspired to take up a job at CCP or simply join ISD. I know I would love to be involved in Mercury if I weren’t already doing a thousand other things in EVE.
After lunch it was time for the keynote and the panel that followed it. Much lol’s were had with the beer ship and the rap song. And they showed off a live Dust demo which had the combined crowd drool so much I am surprised we didn’t all drown. It was so epic even my boyfriend got converted. I believe we may have found the CEO for our Dust chapter.
Unfortunately that was all of it for us as we had to catch the bus shuttle to the airport at 4:50 in the morning. Getting up at 4 AM in order to get some breakfast before that meant not attending the party at the top of the world. As much as I wanted to just go there and party and catch the flight after work on Monday meant it just wasn’t an option. Before leaving however proper goodbyes were said to Shae and friends, and the Veto guys.
That concludes my fanfest 2009 review. Lessons learned: Exchange contact details in advance, meet more people I know in EVE, have internet access, and take better notes, because there is only as much as the human mind can remember. Fortunately some other bloggers also wrote down their experiences, and Shae is working on a review as well. And then there are the recordings which should be put up, and the EVE TV material. All not nearly as good as being there though. Just like the title says, it was three days of pure awesomeness. Really hope I can make it again next year, and will be joined by more Naraka members.
And where is Blog Banter #12? Unfortunately due to lack of time I have decided to skip this month. However I urge you all to go and read what other bloggers have written. Some good stuff in there. I really hope CCP reads them as well if they find the time for it.