(11 replies, posted in EVE Online)

There's no corp right now, and we're still waiting to get everyone together IC. I'll let people know when things take off.


(11 replies, posted in EVE Online)

A couple of players that I know from City of Heroes/Villains have decided to give the EVE free trial a go. This has finally given me the push to re-activate my account.

Most of these players seem to have gone for Gallente characters and are going to be working on meeting up in Gallente space as a group of new pilots just starting out. My old character, Ediris Mohrl, has emerged from retirement to make a pilgrimage to Caldari Prime, where he is going to run into these fresh-faced Rookies and be talked into being a Pilot again.

Give me a shout in-game anytime, I'll see whoever's there. Haven't made contact with most of the CoXers yet, but a CoX player who isn't doing the trial apparently knows of some established RPers in EVE who migrated there from SWG... I'll see what I can do to track these people down.


(12 replies, posted in EVE Online)

The Pilots are capable of staying in the Pods indefinitely, but could just as easily do just as Wheri says and stay outside, running for the Pod whenever battle stations is sounded. Personally, and from some of the articles I've read, I get the impression that both are going to happen based on the Pilot's temperament.

Picture the sort of Pilot who would stay constantly hooked into the Pod and never emerge. Said Pilot feels more like a ship than a human being, interacts purely over the comms channels, and treats the crew as a disposable part of the ship's infrastructure, only existing to them as a disembodied voice giving orders. Then picture a Pilot who lives amongst his crew and is an inspirational leader, who mourns whenever they die and feels a shiver of unease every time he hooks into the pod.

Then picture all the possibilities between these two extremes.

An EVE character can function perfectly well never leaving the pod for the entire career as a pilot. The extent to which a character DOES leave the pod will probably be one of the defining characteristics of a Pod Pilot.

Finally, a thought I've had about the pods was that they create a full-sensory VR experience for the Pilot to fly by- feeling damage to the ship as pain, hearing missiles launch and explode, and so on. In theory, there is no reason why this couldn't simulate another environment. Perhaps the pilots will create a "Chat Room" where they can manifest as humanoid (or whatever) avatars to interact with each other during long periods spent in the pods (EG Asteroid Mining).

Also, perhaps an admin should start a thread about Pods and transfer the applicable stuff over. Whilst potentially useful, it IS getting off the stated topic a little.


(12 replies, posted in EVE Online)

RL happened. Several factors combined to make me short of cash and/or time. Then, the Rikti Invasion happened in CoX, with a few other RP events...

I still keep meaning to re-activate my account. Perhaps I will get around to it one day, especially now that Age of Conan has had the release date moved back.


(12 replies, posted in EVE Online)

Whilst no longer playing EVE myself I was a player for over a year and have several issues of E-ON magazine. One of the stories published in the magazine- and therefore presumably canon- detailed the pod and a pilot emerging into the rest of the ship. Others on the site give hints about other aspects of Pod Piloting. Here are the facts about the Pod which can be found in canon, and if there's a serious problem I'll try to dig up where I found a specific piece of info:-

- The Pilot IS floating naked in a tank of goo, body comatose, whilst plugged into the ship's computer.

- The tank provides full life support and maintenece of the body- a Pilot can remain in the tank for a theoretically unlimited length of time with no     physical side effects.

- The Pilot can unplug from the pod, emerge into the ship (after washing and dressing), and interact with the crew. The ship presumably loses all the advantages of being pod-piloted, and quite probably is LESS effective than a non-pod ship in this state.

- The pod is behind securely locked blast doors that can only be opened from INSIDE the pod when the Pilot is plugged in. This is a security measure to prevent a mutinous crew from killing a comatose Captain in the pod.

- The Pilot inside the pod "feels" the ship as if it was his/her own body, and so is able to control it more effectively.

- Frigates have no crew, and just require a pod pilot. Larger ships are more complicated, and fully automating them would require a computer so complex it would have a chance to go rogue as the Rogue Drones did- hence the need for a crew. Pod piloted ships do, however, have significantly smaller crews than standard ones.

- There are obviously no bangs, zooms, or other sounds in space- likewise, weapon fire is probably not visible to the human eye. The Pilot will, however, react faster to such stimuli than to a message reading "Incoming missile" or "Laser fire from Ship A", so the computer converts such date into a full-sensory display.


(58 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

I'd heard a lot about how good SWG used to be, and also a lot about how it really went downhill with the changes where the functionality of the game changed dramatically overnight. If they've settled for a stable system that isn't going to change on us, then maybe this could be worth a look.

With a 14-day trial, there really isn't anything to stop us at least looking. Maybe we should arrange for a bunch of us to taket he free trial at once and see how it goes?

There may be a lot of "Stunningly Beautiful" women out there, but I see a lot of the guys aren't exactly homely. The only ones who aren't incredibly good looking are mutated/scarred/somehow hideous- one extreme or the other. RPing is a form of wish-fulfilment, and how many people, deep down inside, want to be "Average"?

Likewise, I think the "Slut" stereotype comes from the same place. Men playing a Slut are acting the way they wish real women would act, Women are acting the way they would never dream of acting in RL but still fantasise about anyway.

As for gender- I've never played a Female character either in an MMOG or tabletop RP. I need to identify with the characters I play on some level, and I just can't seem to manage that with female PCs. It probably doesn't help that there are a couple of RL friends who play female characters very badly in Tabletop RP, which probably put me off even trying it myself.

A good article, though I'm actually having trouble fitting it in with personal experience... Most of the female chars I interact with in City of Heroes/Villains are pretty well played. Several of them could be fitted into the stereotypes mentioned, but even they tend to be three-dimensional. I suspect this is because there seems to be a higher proportion of the female characters being played by actual females in the circle of RPers I've ended up in.

Plus, if you're taking examples from WoW, well, what do you expect? wink

Twilight Imperium 3?

That seems like a rather difficult one to play by email without a program for doing it... But if there's a good way to pull it off, count me in. I love that game!


(16 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

Darkhawk wrote:

Trying to satisfy all groups will be a lesson in frustation, AND you have to be realistic about this project I think. You have to, before brainstorming too much, have clear-cut borders and a vision, and eliminate as much work and design as possible, while still retaining that vision. Otherwise the work will overwhelm you and the game will lack focus/vision. One cannot just make a game and dump all the things they see as cool into it as if it was one large basket. I'm repeating my point though wink And I don't say this to be the partypooper or to be critical, I just think it is of the highest importance to have this level nailed down first before making of systems/mechanics/the world.

A very good point. The other thing to bear in mind is that, whilst a game may be aimed at one group, it will have people from another who wander in on occasion. They probably won't stay, but they might cause problems while they're around. Not just as annoying OOCers, but because of the unique mechanics this MMORPG might include.

The big one will be permadeath. If the project has it (and it seems to be leaning that way), then every so often a random griefer will enter the game, and kill one or more players before moving on. There will have to be some means of dealing with this, or people WILL get annoyed and move on.

Another would be the puzzle-solver or level-grinder types that Darkhawk mentioned. A non-RPer could enter the game, spot the weak points in the system, and gain a very powerful character compared to RPers whilst refusing to RP.

I'm undecided about permadeath- perhaps your character has to be in-game for at least a month before any kills become permanent? But I offer the following suggestion for the skill-grinding problem, which I stole from Aracum (recently started replaying after finding it in at the back of a drawer).

Give each character various "Attributes" that are ground with XP like any other MMORPG. Then have "Skill Grades"- Beginner, Competent, Master, and so on. The skill grades are what give you the in-game effects, but the attributes qualify you for them. However, once qualify for a grade, you must find someone to train you in it. This means that a non=RPer will grind a character to maximum very rapidly, then find out that to actually get any benefit they have to actually INTERACT with people IN CHARACTER. At this point, they either give up and quit the game or learn to RP.


(10 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

EVE does have the most interactive environment of any RPG at the moment. Elements like the completely player-driven economy are already in place, and they have plans to make it even more interactive.

The planned future is to have the environment react to player actions- if a lot of people mine in one system, the ore spawns stop and/or start become less valuable types, and killing lots of mobs will increase the security rating of a system. Eventually, the borders of the Empires will shift based on player actions- if more Caldari missions are completed by players in that region than Gallente ones, a system will change hands.

In my opinion, this is how player-interactivity will increase. The same mission grinding, but insteade of being a futile money-spinner, you'll also be contributing to the success of your faction. And instead of randomly hassling people, griefers will become Privateers who sabotage those efforts. The MMOG formula stays the same, but the setting now reacts to players.

I'd like to try it out, but will have problems playing due to RL issues. In about two months I'll have more free time and more memory in my PC, so I may look at it then. So tempting with the buddy codes on offer though...


(1 replies, posted in EVE Online)

((An interesting concept for RPers to gather around, though a bit of an obvious one. I suppose that with my delay in getting involved with EVE I'll have a chance to think about how my re-activated character would fit in with such an idea. Everyone needs a place to start though.))


(15 replies, posted in EVE Online)

This had to happenh at a point in my life where I don't have enough time to go back to EVE...

If you're playing it in two months, expect to have me joining. RP was the only thing missing from EVE to make it the perfect MMOG as far as I'm concerned. Hope it works out well.


(18 replies, posted in EVE Online)

The Devs have said on the EVE forums that it's actual footage of the early-model engine itself (we saw all the rooms and avatars they had set yup to date). Age of Conan might have some competition for my time after all once this expansion comes out...


(18 replies, posted in EVE Online)

Also, here is a first glimpse of the Ambulation system in it's current state. If they're already this far along, then perhaps it'll be early 2008 and not later in the year when we see it going live.

Oh, and take note- CHAIRS! and she's SITTING in them!

http://www.tentonhammer.com/index.php?m … p;ceid=485


(18 replies, posted in EVE Online)

They're apparently going all-out on the human character system for a hyper-realistic environment. Seems a bit odd for an add-on to an already popular game, but- CCP is now merged with White Wolf, and has confirmed that it will be realeasing a World of Darkness MMORPG at some point in the future.

Perhaps the Ambulation project for EVE is just a way of testing out their ideas for a traditional human-perspective online game before they begin full development of WoD online?

They had announced that they intended to expand the EVE setting beyond just spacecraft, and the first step towards that would be atmospheric flight and planetside action. Then, they suddenly put that on the back burner and announce that Ambulation is the way forward, right after they announce the merger with White Wolf and the deal to make WoD online. It's the only explanation for this which makes any sense to me, though perhaps someone who knows more about game development will tell me all the ways I'm wrong.


(18 replies, posted in EVE Online)

No, skills don't really matter at all. And EVE has the same skill system that Seed had, so it'll be much more RP-friendly. No having to choose between level grinding and RP like with most games. I always thought if it had more scope for RP then EVE would have been perfect.


(2 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

Yes, for all it's upgrades, it's still a Civ game. So all the quirks are still there. A good game nonetheless.


(18 replies, posted in Steambaths)

The backlog is actually easier reading than the daily comics, I found- the plots are so convoluted in some cases that I have trouble remembering all the details from day to day.

And although it hasn't been going QUITE as long, Schlock Mercenary is in the same league for backlogs. Though both are well worth the effort.


(8 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

The ideal method from my point of view would be to introduce a detailed wound system such as Seed had, which has the potential for death. Remove any chance of INSTANT death, and have a fallen character need to be stabilised by someone else before they bleed to death. Introduce a ransom  or slavery system or the like to encourage people to capture fallen characters rather than kill finish them off. And have realistic healing times and infection chances, so that people will really feel the effects of combat even if they don't get killed.


(8 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

The Fate Point system is never intended for a typical combat-fest MMORPG, but for a moderat combat one. So if they get in a situation where they're needing to go on a mission where combat is likely, then it isn't a suitable world for Permadeath. With ANY permadeath concept, the game needs to be built around it. And Fate Points would need less changes than any other system.

With the Pendragon model, you have the problem of characters being killed before they manage to found a family- that's often the case in the tabletop Pendragon campaign as well. The family system would reverse the trend of MMOPGS- there would be serious, indeed final, consequences for death in the early stages but once a character is well-established, the player has a powerbase that will be very difficult to destroy.

As an amendment to the Fate Point sytem, how about a "chance of permadeath" score? A percentage chance of surviving a potentially fatal incident, which goes up slowly with time and drops after each survival. This produces the same effect as the Fate Points, but the player can never know for certain if his characters will survive (unless it's at 100%). Particularly fatal or not so dangerous situations might have reduced or increased survival chances. And ideally, a player would never be told what his survival chance is at any given time- he might suspect it is high or low, but will never know for certain until his character dies or survives.


(8 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

Permadeath gives people a very good reason to think twice about combat. This means that it's a good thing in games where combat is possible but not the central focus, but bad for combat-oriented games.

I agree that running a greatly accellerated timescale (one week to one year?) and having the Pendragon family system to provide you with extra "lives" would be interesting to see in an online game, though not a very likely one for anything but a niche market. I'm just caught by the concept of applying the Pendragon mechanic, as I've just started running the "Great Pendragon" campaign at my local games club.

A more practical solution, for games that want to have combat but not have it too much as a focus, would be to have "Fate Points". When dead, your character actually is only badly injured or otherwise has a near-miss, and loses a Fate Point. If a character with no Fate Points dies, then it's Permadeath. A character would start off with a certain amount (One? Three?) and then slowly accumulate them with the passage of time (one per three months real time?).

This would mean that a character who avoids combat won't be in that much risk, unless they're the target of a determined campaign of assassination.  Characters who repeatedly engage in combat, however, will eventually have their number come up. It also means that if two characters take an intense dislike to each other they can try to kill each other off, and will eventually succeed. There could also be certain high-risk situations judged by the GMs where Fate Points don't apply and all deaths are Permadeath, though players should never be able to enter these without being aware of them.

Although laking the charm of the Pendragon suggestion, the Fate Point idea gets rid of the most glaring problems with Permadeath whilst still making it possible to permanently eliminate a character. It would also be much easier to implement than a complex family system, only needing a means to keep track of how many "lives" a character has each time they respawn.


(5 replies, posted in Games Discussion)

I don't think I'll be trying LOTRO. I used to be a big fan of Tolkein when I was younger, and the movies rekindled that to a degree, but Middle Earth has been imitated so many times that I'm finding it impossible to get interested. I'll hold out for Age of Conan instead.

As for Warhammer Online, that could be so-so. The wargames give the impression that it's just going to be a Warcraft clone, which is a shame- because the setting for Warhammer is a good one. Games Workshop has some very good creative people and does a good job with dark, atmospheric backgrounds for its games. It's just a shame it then just tackis them onto a marketing machine that aims to suck as much cash out of the younger end of the market as possible.

Generally, I prefer Classless systems with skills rather than levelling. But I can live with both Class and Level if the system and setting are good enough, both PnP and online. Both can work well, but some setting go better with it than others.

I've found that levels work best in combat-intensive games, like D&D, but not in systems where varied skills and situations can arise. Because level is tied to combat ability, and in a levelling system you can't become good at anything without become a good fighter as well. This is fine in a setting where all players are, effectively, warriors with different non-combat hobbies. It's useless in portraying any sort of non-combatant who is good at something other than fighting.

For what this type of system was originally intended for- sword-and-sorcery fantasy games- classes/levels are fine. For anything else, I go classless and skill-based. I still find it impossible to comprehend how anyone could even think of playing D20-sytem Call of Cthulhu...