Archive for the Expansions Category

Erbo Does the Math on Overpriced Clothes

Posted in Expansions, General on June 25, 2011 by Erbo

Many words have been spoken about the nature of the new Noble Exchange and EVE’s new “real money” currency, Aurum (compare: Farmville Bucks, Frontierville horseshoes, Wizard 101 crowns, etc.), but let me illustrate an example that really shows how ridiculous this is, based on another avatar environment with which I’m intimately familiar…Second Life.

Let’s start with an example from the NEX, the men’s “Sterling” dress shirt.  It looks very snazzy indeed.  It’s cost is 3600 AUR.  Now we know that, from CCP’s official documentation, 1 PLEX = 3500 AUR, and also that 2 PLEX = 1 GTC = US$34.99.  So the shirt’s cost is approximately 1.0286 PLEX, or approximately 0.5143 GTC, or about US$17.99.

(Never mind that I could buy a pretty nice RL shirt at Kohl’s or Walmart for about that price…)

Meanwhile, from Second Life, I give you the Blaze “Columbia” men’s tuxedo.  I own one of these, and I can vouch for the fact that it is really well-made and looks snazzy as all hell.  (Blaze is well-known as a purveyor of quality formal wear for men and women in Second Life, and has been for years.) Now, mind you, this is not just a shirt, but a full tuxedo with shirt, pants, tie, and jacket.  It costs L$470 (Linden Dollars, the native currency of SL).  According to the latest LindeX market fix, the L$ is currently trading at L$250 = US$1.  Given that, this tuxedo retails for…US$1.88.

$17.99 for a shirt, versus $1.88 for a complete tux.

Value proposition for NEX goods: Minimal.

CCP: Clueus lackus.

I thought you were better than that, you guys.

UPDATE: Comparing women’s wear is even more indicative of the scope of FAIL we’re talking about here.  The women’s “Impress” skirt sells for the same amount of Aurum as the men’s shirt, i.e. AUR 3600 or US$17.99.  The most expensive Blaze evening gown I could find is the “Grace” gown, a stunning number complete with shawl, gloves, and undergarments, plus a matching tux vest for the lady’s escort, all for L$700.  Now, US$17.99 equals about L$4497, so you could literally buy half a dozen of the finest evening gowns in SL, with change left over, for the same price as one not-particularly-dressy skirt on the Noble Exchange.  Hell, even the finest wedding dresses in SL rarely cost more than that one skirt from the NEX would.


Makeover Part Deux

Posted in Expansions, General, Meta on February 5, 2011 by Erbo

Some of us have taken advantage of the opportunity to revamp our character designs and portraits, thanks to the opportunity CCP has given us to do so.

First here’s mine (original revised image on left, new revised image on right):

The new one looks less harsh, and I’ve lightened up certain aspects of the character.  In particular, I went with a different hairstyle, looser, with a little more length at the back. (Selenalore will like that.)  The revised image has a nobler, more heroic quality, I think.

Now for Selena:

She didn’t change her character design, or not much; she just fixed the portrait to better show off that sweet new face.

And finally, Lexx:

Yow! Can you say “Sexxi Lexxi”?  The revised image looks ready to do some serious biz.  Looks like all she really fiddled with was the hairstyle and the portrait parameters…but what a difference!

Still loving the parameters of the new character creator…and it’s going to be interesting to see these figures come to life when Incarna comes out!

The Reimagined Ralphas

Posted in Expansions, General, Meta on January 20, 2011 by Erbo

What with the new Character Editor having been released just yesterday, the core members of the Ralpha Dogs have gotten back in to redesign their character portraits using the new system.  Since many of us are experienced at avatar design, from Second Life and elsewhere, we were anxious to try out the new Carbon-based editor and see what it presages for Incarna.

First, your humble narrator (old on left, new on right):

Many people who knew me from SL thought my original avatar image looked too much like my SL avatar. 🙂  The new avatar looks more like the kind of guy who should be second-in-command of a corporation like the Ralpha Dogs.  Sadly, CCP’s clothing options don’t include the equivalent of the Ralpha Dogs’ uniform (the description taken straight out of Jeff’s book), but that was as close as I could get.  His full costume looks vaguely Han Solo-ish, IMHO, but Selena didn’t think so.

And speaking of Selena, here’s the lady herself:

With the new avatar, it’s like she’s gotten a facelift…or maybe a rollback.  (She plans on fixing the portrait a bit to better center her face.)  She may look cuter now than in her previous guise, but, if you plan on trying anything with her, remember…PH33R t3h cute on3s!

And now, our Glorious Leader, LexxEva:

She, too, seems to have reversed the aging process slightly.  And anyone who knows her in SL (where she has many names) knows that Lexxi loves the red hair.

All three of these are Gallenteans.  Here, to counterbalance those, is the Amarrian Zephira Najam:

She’s taken on a more haughty, aristocratic air in her new “ice queen” image.  It’s the kind of image that says, “I could order your death in an instant, and none would challenge me.  We are the Chosen Ones.  Amarr Victor!

And to counterpoint her, we have Fanchon Sihu, a member of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar:

Action Girl all the way, Fanchon has become slightly more sophisticated in the new picture.  But it still says, “I could kick your ass, and not even smear my eyeliner!  Bring it on, bitch!”

All in all, I’m reasonably impressed.  The visuals certainly knock anything Linden Lab has ever done into a cocked hat.  Now if only CCP will eventually let people design their own clothes…

EVE is Down…

Posted in Downtime, Expansions, General on February 18, 2009 by Erbo

And poor Selenalore is at a loss for what to do with herself. 🙂

So, while we wait, have a look at this rough cut of the new intro movie that will be in the EVE client as of Apocrypha, which is made out of 100% Pure Grade-A Certified Mil-Spec AWESOME:

Two words: Boo. Yah.

Ambulation/Walking in Stations: A “Second Life” for EVE?

Posted in EVE Blog Banter, Expansions on October 28, 2008 by Erbo

Welcome to the first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month’s topic comes to us from PsycheDiver: Ambulation: What are your hopes for your avatar and new functionality of stations?

. . .

Erbo Evans, Abbot, speaking for the Ralpha Dogs.

CCP’s forthcoming “Ambulation” or “Walking in Stations” expansion for EVE Online promises to be both controversial and interesting.  It may hold the most interest, though, for a significant fraction of us.

Many of the Ralpha Dogs, including myself, Lexx, and Selena, came to EVE from Second Life, a massively multi-user environment (it can’t really be called a “game” as one thinks of it) revolving around avatars similar to those proposed for Ambulation/WiS.  We ought to feel right at home when walking around in EVE stations, as we’re used to seeing ourselves represented as humanoid avatars.

One wonders exactly how much SL-style avatar functionality will be available under EVE, though.  To illustrate just one point: In SL, my avatar is usually seen wearing a double-breasted suit which I bought from a clothing store called “Blaze,” paying about L$500 (500 Linden Dollars, the currency of Second Life) for it.  When I did so, another person in SL (the person going by the name “Blaze Columbia,” in this case), who was the original designer of my suit, got that money.  Will there be similar options for players to supply avatar clothing items in EVE, for which they can be paid ISK?  And how would that work in EVE, fitting it to the economic model already in place?  Would clothing actually be “manufactured” using a process similar to that for making ships and other goods, then need to be sold on the Market?  And does that mean there might be a need for haulers to haul clothing to Jita or other market hubs for resale at the best prices?  Or that there might be an upswing of traffic in systems housing the finest designers of capsuleer haute couture? The mind boggles.

Another example: Will there now be a demand for weddings in EVE?  Heaven knows there are enough of those in SL (and Lexx and I have made money off them), and there are documented examples of such in World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, and other MMO environments.  I’ve actually mentioned to Lexx that she might be able to bring her services as wedding officiant to EVE; I swear, I could hear her rolling her eyes over the Skype line, but who knows, this might be a way she could bring in extra ISK for herself and the corporation…

While I hardly expect that there will be dance clubs in EVE anytime soon (more’s the pity; I have a decent reputation in SL as a club DJ), I’d be a fool to think that CCP hasn’t considered possible player-oriented input into the realm of Ambulation/WiS.  Some of us, like Lexx, will be satisfied as long as the results don’t look “cheesy” (her comment to me: “If it looks cheesy, I ain’t gettin’ out of my pod!”); others will be looking to see just how they can exploit this capability, as players have exploited other aspects of EVE, to make money.

So, while others may be oohing and aahing at the new environments opened to them by CCP when they get out of their pods, we’ll be looking at them with a little more experienced eye…to see how much they “feel like home.”

(This post will be updated if any of the other Ralpha Dogs blog authors feel like contributing.)

. . .

Participants: (UPDATE: please note recent updates marked in the list)

The Quantum Rise Cometh

Posted in Expansions on October 15, 2008 by Erbo

The tireless folks at CCP have just announced the new expansion for EVE Online, to be dubbed “Quantum Rise.”  Unlike Empyrean Age, which mostly focused on factional warfare and combat (and hence was pretty much a non-starter for the Ralpha Dogs), this expansion will contain a number of goodies appealing to the industrialists (aka “stuff we can use”).

One of the big add-ons will be the introduction of customizable corporate storefronts, which sounds like “E-commerce for EVE corps” to me.  If that’s what it is, we should be able to take advantage of that.  Right now, we have a mailing list for people to get price quotes on stuff we make (such as, “How much for a Hurricane?”), but messages can easily get lost or lie around with nobody to answer them.  If we can replace that with something that says, for example, “Buy a Hurricane from the Ralpha Dogs, for only XX,XXX,XXX.XX ISK! Click here!” that’ll make our lives a lot easier.  (We borrowed the system of using a mailing list for orders from the Hauling Hogs.  No doubt they’ll like the benefits of a storefront, too.)

Another item of interest will be the introduction of a new capital industrial ship, the Orca.  Described in this Forums thread as “the Rorqual’s little brother” and “a bridge between common industrials and full-size freighters,” there is, as yet, little information on this new vessel.  If it does fill the gap as promised, perhaps as a hauler with payload in the 100-200 Km3 range, it could be very useful to me personally, and to the Ralpha Dogs as a whole.  There are some hauling jobs that require more payload capacity than even the rigged-out Gold Brick has to give, and it’ll be a while before I train up enough skills, and we have enough ISK, to buy and fly an Obelisk (to be dubbed the Tuomas Holopainen).  But we shall see.

Certificates and medals, which were discussed briefly here on, are kind of a “fluffy” feature that may nevertheless have some use.  It looks like certificates may serve the purpose of being sort of a “mini-EVEmon” for pilots to use in planning courses of training, as well as a way for people to recognize the skill achievements of other pilots, both of which are good things.  (At the same time, certificates don’t have to be public, so pilots that prefer to “play ’em close to the vest” can do so.)  And medals will make for a nice little “ego-boo” for corps to recognize their great members…although I’m afraid that, if Lexx starts awarding me all the medals she wants to award me, I’m going to look like one of those South American tin-pot dictators. 🙂

The only thing that looks worrisome in the expansion is that “industrial ships are being rebalanced and optimized to better suit the needs of haulers and industrialists.”  “Rebalanced” could mean anything, and there are those who speculate that the recently-discussed “speed nerf” will be part of this.  I’m hoping Gold Brick doesn’t get nerfed in the process.

A couple of the QR improvements have already been rolled out to Tranquility, in the form of the StacklessIO and EVE64 server updates, which are credited for reducing the hellatious lag sometimes experienced in Jita and other systems with heavy traffic.  CCP have also mentioned, as noted here, that they’ll be looking at improving communication between the nodes of the server cluster by using InfiniBand networking.  (Side note: In RL, I work at a company that builds high-performance computing clusters, and it’s interesting to see game companies start employing technologies that we and our customers have been working with for years.)

I hope that’s got you eagerly anticipating the onset of Quantum Rise; I know I am.  Till then, clear skies, and fly safe.