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EULA Changes – Gambling

I’m not going to talk in detail about the EULA changes wrt the alpha clones. Which is the rest of them. There’s nothing substantial in there. Even the 90 days thing isn’t. (before, it was ‘account expired; we can delete it now’)

What I am going to do is talk about the other change. That to gambling with EVE Online currency and assets. This is a pretty big change. It won’t directly affect a lot of people, who just play EVE and wouldn’t think about giving their money to another player to gamble with. But it will affect people more than some will think. I’ll explain that a bit further down.

Reaction

When I saw the devblog (Same time as the rest of you. The CSM didn’t get advance notice.), I was a little surprised. But not as much as I would have been a year ago. Over the last few months, there has been much more coverage in relation to gambling in video games, with some high-profile (in the industry) court cases. I was surprised, not because of the content, but only because of the timing. On reflection, with Alpha clones entering the scene, I shouldn’t have been surprised at that either.

CCP have a very big incentive to clean house. The removal of a subscription fee being required to play means that we’ll probably have a number of younger players joining us; younger players leading to greater scrutiny in this time of elevated concern about gambling in video games. CCP seriously don’t need that attention. It could prove very expensive for them, especially as it’s not something that they control.

While it’s unfortunate that some sites, such as EVE-Bet, are being hit by this, I fully understand why CCP are taking this tack. Unless you take the stance that all gambling sites are banned, you have to ban them one by one. White listing isn’t possible. Only black listing. So the ‘well behaved’ sites go down with the ones with a shadier reputation, instead of CCP opening their selves up to

Side Effects

This is where I have my only real problems with what is happening. Regardless of how you feel about them, some of the sites being forced to close did a lot of good for the EVE community, funding a variety of projects, and allowing for a richness of content which it will take time to recover. The common example is EVE-Bet. They’ve stayed above getting involved in the meta-game of EVE, instead funding a variety of streamers and other community content providers, such as EN24, Crossing Zebras and Eve-NT.

That’s something I’ll miss. I seriously doubt that donations will match that income. Even when you have something like Patreon, the number of people who will kick in real money is low. Probably because it is real money. The number of people who will donate ISK is similar. I’m lucky. I don’t run up much in the way of EVE expenses. Some of the other sites, well, they’re going to have to seriously change how they do things.

 

Long story short, this is a positive change for the game. But not one without collateral damage.

PSA – Surviving Fanfest

Surviving Fanfest isn’t particularly difficult. Staving off Icelandic Death Flu (also known as Con Crud) is a trifle more difficult. And not being lynched for poor hygiene appears to be difficult for some poor souls. So here’s a few basic guidelines.

If anything appears to be insultingly obvious, then it’s not directed at you.

 

Hygiene

A small refresher course:

  • Shower in the morning, using soap or shower gel. You won’t melt. The water can smell a bit, but it dissipates rapidly (and beats body odour hands down)
  • Apply antiperspirant after showering. Not deodorant. Antiperspirant helps stop the sweat which leads to BO. Deodorant just tries to cover it up (and either fails, or chokes anyone nearby)
  • Change your clothes at least once per day

Remember, the human nose is good at getting used to scents. Just because you can’t detect it, doesn’t mean other people can’t.

Health

This one’s less obvious to people who haven’t been to any large convention.

  • Eat. Ideally at least three meals, but at least a large breakfast and dinner. Snacking throughout the day isn’t a bad idea. Starving people have weak immune systems. Ideally you’re not eating things which are just sugar. Complex carbs, fats, and protein are what you want to go for. If you see them, protein bars aren’t a bad idea.
  • Stay hydrated. You’re probably going to be drinking a lot of booze. Make sure you have water too. Having at least a water bottle with you is a very good idea. keep drinking throughout the day. Starting the day with at least a glass of water is good. (Your urine should be pale yellow or clear. Dark is a sign of dehydration, which is just asking for infection and discomfort)
  • Wash your hands. Soap and water.
  • Try to avoid touching your face. If you have to, your off-hand is probably the cleaner of the two (as you use your primary hand to touch things). You will fail to avoid touching your face.
  • Hand sanitizer (High alcohol based please. Anti-bac trends to tougher bacteria) as backup.
  • Fistbump beats a handshake. Not touching is better, but not always practical.
  • Consider extra vitamins. A healthy balanced diet means you don’t need this. Are you going to have such a diet at Fanfest?
  • No licking people.
  • Shower at night. Good way to get rid of anything you missed earlier. 2 showers are better than one. Go for the morning if you only go for one.

Scheduling

Plan which events you’re going to go to, in advance. That way you’re not running round like a headless chicken. The mobile schedule is a good way to plan, using the regular schedule to decide which to see for each bracket. Leaving gaps to go to places like the PvP room, or to eat, isn’t a bad idea, if there’s nothing on at a particular slot.

Registration – A suggestion for Fanfest

I’ve been to a couple of Fanfests now, and my least favourite part of it has always been Registration. With the long line outside Harpa, in the freezing cold, just by the North Atlantic.

Now, registering a couple of thousand people is never a fun job, especially when you have a bunch of different accents to deal with.  I’ve dealt with systems for events in the UK, where English is everyone’s first language, and those don’t run quickly either.

So, what would I suggest in my vast experience? Bar codes. The moment you have to type something in, or speak, you’re introducing a possibility of misinformation.

So

  • Send out a mail to everyone, containing a unique bar code, ideally one which isn’t a contiguous number.
  • They print this out (or have it on their phone)
  • During registration, attached to each of the machines being used, you have a cheap hand-held barcode scanner
  • When it scans, it first sends a key combo which sticks the cursor into the right field, enters the number, then hits enter.
  • At this point, you have their details up on screen. You confirm it’s them, it updates the (hopefully central, but you could consolidate later) database showing they’ve registered
  • You then hand over the tickets.

If you want to get really fancy you could throw in printing for the badges as well, but that’s probably excessive, and increases the initial cost significantly. Black onto plain white credit card sized plastic is around 9p per card, amortized over the lifetime of the card printer. Preprinted cards increases the cost. Thermal printing onto the tickets is possible, but also not cheap.

Might only shave a few seconds per person, but that stacks up when you’re doing a thousand people.

 

 

In case you’re wondering, most barcode scanners these days act as usb keyboards, just typing a preamble, the code, then a postamble. You could get fancy and use QR codes, but those scanners are more expensive and slower. Basic barcode scanners will set you back around £40 each.  I had to put together a solution for work for this kind of thing, which has been pretty successful.

In Game Rewards

This may seem a trifle self serving, in that I already have a fan site account from CCP (more for the tools, than the blog, I think). I don’t deny I like getting things (like the spiffy monocle I’m sporting in game, which I won from the pre-Vegas blink promo)

Part of me likes the idea of getting neat in game stuff, without ‘soul binding’. The whole idea of items which you can’t sell to someone else kinda goes against the grain in the ultimate capitalism of Eve.

On the other hand, anything that’s rare is valuable, regardless of the actual utility, and just ‘gifting’ that kind of thing means interfering a little in the sand box. I don’t think it’s as major as some people think, a few billion here, a few billion there, it’s not a major deal. It may be worth asking the community in a survey, rather than depending on the forums for this.

As my prescience is currently in the shop for repairs, I can’t say what the community would say it believes. But I can make some suggestions about alternate options, which cement people into the story of Eve. Options which confer no in game benefit, or a benefit which while tangible, makes sense why it’s not transferable. The second category is a lot iffier as it still involves changing the rules of the sandbox. Or rather, adjusting the variables.

Everything would be with CCP’s approval, of course.

No Benefit Rewards:

  • The right to name a High/Low/NPC Null Station/Planet/Moon
  • A monument to that person, or a something that they designate, as a permanent landmark in Eve. You want a monument to a particular someone? Get that instead of to you.
  • A new module with your, or your corporations name on it. Perhaps a replacement for a standard meta module. Or a ‘reskin’ of it. An ‘Otherworld Enterprises’ Strip Miner?
  • Your name on something everyone gets at Christmas. A meta version of a ship. A trading card.
  • The right to name an Agent.
  • Being able to pitch a mission to the CCP Staff. Fancy yourself a writer? Reduce the chance of people having to save that damn damsel.

In game Benefits:

More controversial.

  • A boost to standings with a particular corp or faction. Corp would be less problematic. Ideally not one of the corps for a trade hub. Though that’s a reward in itself. Reduced taxes.
  • Reduced taxes in a particular station.
  • A blueprint for a branded module. Ideally T1 or Meta 1 stats. See the ‘Otherworld Enterprises’ Strip Miner. A GoonFleet Rifter? Ships should just be skinned T1. Modules Meta 1 could work.

Have any comments? Suggestions? Vile imprecations on my lineage? leave them below.

Modular Assembly Arrays and Labs

We’re not going to get modular POS for a long time. That’s pretty much a given, with what’s been said. It’s just too complicated to modify the POS code to allow it, due to the big ball of mud programming that plagues any large software project. (Just slap new features onto older code, because doing it any other way would take a really long time, relatively)

But, perhaps, we could have a smaller change done, which should require less interaction with the main POS code. I’m making a number of assumptions when I’m talking about this, which may or may not be valid.

There are a number of places where working with POS is somewhat painful. The changes which have happened recently with the removal of the 3km limit have helped a lot, but I’d like things to go a little further.

The main change I’d like is: Change assembly arrays and labs modular. So you can deploy a single array (of each type would be fine) and then expand it. So no more having a POS with 4 advanced labs. You’d have a Lab that you could expand with more lab slots, of the varying types. Probably in packs, to reduce the min/maxing potential.

If you could do it with a single Industry structure, that would be even better. Storage modules, assembly modules for each of the different types, and so on. But I can see the restricted manufacturing slots, and the different speeds of labs being a trifle complicated to manage.

Once that’s all in place, you may be able to expand it further, to include more and more of the functionality of the POS.

Ideally the space factories could be anchored somewhere other than at a POS. Just give it a fuel bay module, and a module for power generation. (Yes, I know the ‘Just’ is making it sound simple. It’s not.) Possibly shield extenders modules, hardeners and so on. Tying them to moons is less than ideal, in my mind. Deep space factories would be neat.

As I’m wanting the moon mining to be shifted off into a totally different structure, to allow for raiding, perhaps once that’s all done, the old POS code could just be retired?

And yes, I know this would get rid of bubble shields. Which some people consider to be very important. If they’re really needed, how about an anchorable structure, such as the warp disruption bubbles? Though I’m a fan of my other suggestion, for having it possible to switch off your warp core, and then be unable to be scanned down. Which would be a similar result, if you’re not unlucky enough to be scanned down at your safe before you switch off.

 

 

 

 

And yes, this all came to mind by me being annoyed about moving materials between assembly arrays. A single storage pool would be nice.