CZ Minutes: EVE 2014

As we close the books on EVE 2014 it is safe to say that it has been an eventful year. From stagnation and scandals to agile development and revival. It’s hard to argue against that the year is ending on a high note and that the future looks bright. What were the high points of the EVE year, personally or for the community? How has your relationship with the game changed during the year and what is your outlook on early 2015? Mangala: Firstly good minutes topic choice.  Ties nicely into the roundups all over the internet – even if some of those make me want to punch my screen/wish terrible things on the “journos” that write them! Anyway, to be on topic 2014 was a banner year for me as a pilot/space celeb and for EVE in general – at least in my opinion.
My personal 2014 started with Ganked 100, which was quite the event. One that I still look back on with a certain amount of pride having shepherded Ganked from a once monthly roam by RvB to one of the driving forces of the NPSI community. I also got to attend my first CSM summit in person (I had remote connected for the CSM 8 Summer Summit but it was not the same), which was very eye opening into the workings of CCP and for the opportunity to interact with the devs on a personal level beyond drunken chats at EVE meets. Obviously being the person I am in EVE the majority of my EVE year was spent organising events most notably the RvB tournaments I have held this year. While Ganked 100 was me being proud of what I helped that community become and throwing that community a party, the tournaments were something else. To keep it simple they were me testing the waters of player run tournaments and doing so in my usual flamboyant manner. The fact they went so well, and that with some amazing assistance from friends such as Tyrendian Biohazard have shown what players can do in the events sphere without CCP assistance, bodes well for some of the plans I have for the coming year. All in all my “pilot year” was full of roams and explosions, with some politics on the side following my re-election to the CSM. By the time you read this on Sunday, 2015 will have kicked off in a similar way. As for EVE itself in 2014, I say above that it was a banner year and this is why I think this way: CCP Seagull. 2014 was the year Seagull really made her mark on EVE, from firming up her own vision for the future to the change from two expansions a year to 10, which have seen the landscape of EVE change dramatically with nearly every release this year. Its easily been the most exciting year for the game and the community as a consequence. Yes that vision is not totally clear to us in all aspects, but it is one to which she has committed both herself and the goodship CCP, and I have faith that its a vision that when reached in totality will be welcomed by us all. When it comes to the community, its also been a banner year. We started the year with B-R and ended it (near enough) with This is EVE. Both of these lead to a tremendous amount of press attention for the game, which then lead to large numbers of people giving EVE the old school try. Amazingly the community stepped up and reached out to this influx and did everything we could to keep them interested in the game. Now I cannot say if it worked 100%, but it really demonstrated how we can all come together and work toward a common goal when given the opportunity. On the other hand, 2014 was also the year of Erotica 1 and the closure of Somer Blink, both of which massively polarised the community. Yet we are all still here (well most of us!) making our stories with those around us. Looking at 2015, personally I have a bunch of projects to get off the ground. A mid week small numbers roam, more player tournaments and probably other things as they come to mind/capture my imagination. Obviously I have the CSM 9 Winter Summit coming up (remote attendance) and Fanfest as an outgoing CSM. (Yes I am not running for a third term).  Gamewise, I see the game continuing to change on a landscape level at the very least, with the potential for an increasing number of regional/localised conflicts and the possibility of a large scale war coming as a result. Regardless for those of us going into 2015, it is certain to be a year filled with “interesting times”. Mynxee: My personal high point for 2014 was resubbing in April after a nearly 3-year break, determined to play very casually. The game had changed a lot when I was gone and there was a much to learn (and re-learn). It sure felt good to be flying around in a spaceship again, though! I’m enjoying the game these days by wandering and exploring with no particular agenda. When Rhea was released, bringing us Thera, I became an official scout for EvE-Scout. In that role, I scan wormholes into and out of Thera and document them for the benefit the Eve community. In taking such a leisurely approach to the game, I have a lot more time to notice the interesting things that people are doing and interact socially with old friends and new. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea to play this way, but I am enjoying Eve more now than I ever have before. Being asked to write for Crossing Zebras was a nice surprise and added a special finishing touch to the year of my return to Eve. Before looking ahead to 2015, it’s worth taking a moment to look back. In 2010 when I served on CSM5, Eve was in a long-neglected state and CCP seemed determined to focus on “Jesus” features instead of fixing the game’s duct-tape and baling twine underpinnings, broken mechanics, and woeful quality of life issues. Between now and then, a fundamental shift in thinking occurred at CCP and it is fantastic to Eve becoming a better game at its core in a thoughtful, integrated manner. With so many positive things having happened in 2014, CCP appears set to continue Eve’s evolution in the right direction. With the release of Rhea, I once again feel intrigued about New Eden. Thera comes to us wrapped in mysteries with hints from CCP that there is much more to be learn. I love the “Grand Central Station” connectivity of Thera to the rest of New Eden. Paradoxically, it makes much more of the cluster easily accessible and yet at the same time manages to convey–to me, at least–a sense of vast reaches of space that we don’t quite know everything about. When I undocked the first time 7 years ago, New Eden felt incredibly vast. Over time, familiarity made it seem small. Now, inexplicably, it feels vast and at least partly unknown again. This has really gotten me interested in CCP Seagull’s vision for the future of New Eden and how it will play out. Seeing many old friends return to the game who’ve been gone a year or more speaks well to the success of her approach. SeagullAnnounce Tarek: 2014 has been an interesting year. We started from a very pronounced sentiment that not simply “EVE is dying” but “CCP is dying” with more devs leaving, WoD being cancelled, negative press and the cancellation of Dust514 all happening in the first half of the year. The second half almost felt like the game is being developed by a different company. The six week development cycle was greeted with quite some scepticism, but its showing positive results. Seagull seems to be on a roll as executive producer and even doomsayers and bittervets are positive about the game and the company despite some changes that cut rather deep into the established way of doing things. On a personal level I am still sitting on the fence a bit about the constant stream of change. I see the merits, I like what is being done with the game, but having to adapt to new conditions every six weeks is starting to annoy me a bit. My hope for the future is, that they keep up this pace until the game has been thoroughly reformed. Particularly the sov system, POSes and EVE’s infamously mediocre PVE remain open issues. I don’t care much for PVE, but it is an important aspect of the game for many, and sovereignty really does need change. In the end I do hope for the fast-paced changes to eventually come to an end if only to wait for a bit and see how everything plays out once we have a newly refurbished EVE. Georgik: Joining PL, spreading KPOP to the little waffles, POS bashing in highsec for isk, WH life, CZ, and umm.. probably some other stuff.  [I’ll try to flesh this out at some point.  Those are what I did though~] I’m going to go get really drunk and write this actually.  It will be great.  Editors, I hope you’re ready!  SNSD collapses due to jealous ire from TTS. xXFreshnessXx saves over 1000 PL Titans and Supers single-handedly at the battle of B-R. He also ensured that the logistics fleet of 100 hospital pilgrims were ready to bridge into the fight, though they were never needed.  xXFreshnessXx, after not being properly rewarded for his single-handedness in saving all of PL’s supers, goes and joins BL.  xXFreshnessXx after realizing no one in BL actually likes him schemes to get into PL through OG Mumble.  Is immediately recognized and feigns ignorance.  Rapid fire patch deployments make keeping up with changes incredibly hard.  Something happened in the summer I think? Maybe once… honestly I don’t think anything happened in the summer. (I don’t edit the CZ Minutes, this is what Georgik is actually like /Niden) Hendrick: I would agree that the time in Waffles and eventually joining PL was a personal highpoint. I think my departure from a different EVE related website and my push towards doing videos on my own channel has been also quite gratifying. I’m happy that people still enjoy the content I’m producing despite the venue being different and that’s personally humbling. evemonument2 Dunk Dinkle: My high points of 2014: Personal: As a committed logi pilot, I have to say that the first time I went into Triage in a carrier this year was a personal highlight.  Not as thrilling as a huge fight or drama, but it represented a lot of work and coordination to get to that point in my Eve career.  A set of long skills, working up the ISK to afford the carrier, hauling in the Triage module in to null with a Deep Space Transport, even down to mining ice for the strontium clathrates, all created a good sense of personal accomplishment. Brave/HERO:  The HED-GP fight in early December with Pandemic Legion where the battle escalated to super-capitals and Brave/HERO pinning down the enemy for hours on end was the highlight of the year.  Without rehashing the fight, it was a turning point in the mental attitude of Brave/HERO toward the fights with PL.  Before that fight, the feeling of hopelessness began to creep into discussions.  PL was seen as an unstoppable bully.  That fight was the equivalent of challenging the schoolyard bully in public and slugging it out toe to toe for hours on end with everyone watching.  PL left with their nose bloodied and their air of invincibility shattered not just in the eyes of Brave pilots, but in the eyes of all of New Eden.  After that particular fight, the numbers joining fleets swelled even more as confidence grew.  Not that we didn’t make mistakes or have glorious whelps, we did. But that fight was a turning point in how Brave & HERO approached the war with Pandemic Legion, unleashing new tactics and freeing HERO FCs to engage PL more aggressively, knowing their FCs would be hesitant to immediately escalate. Eve Community:  Clearly the Phoebe release was the high point of the year for the game as a whole. While it clearly shook up the basic nature of null sec fights and changed the sovereignty map, it represented CCP willingness to change the game at fundamental levels.  This willingness to change is not seen often in the world of video games.  The changes to make the UI, ‘little things’, and Industry much easier to use are fantastic, they aren’t at the same core level that Phoebe did to allow Eve Online to continue to grow after 10 years. Xander: My personal highlight was being elected onto CSM9. For a long time now, I’ve been a huge advocate of the CSM as a body that can help improve Eve for everyone. Being elected onto the CSM myself was the next natural step and despite being down as a candidate, I had little confidence of actually being elected. Seeing my name up there as a member of CSM9 during the final keynote of Fanfest 2014 was overwhelming. Moving to PL has been pretty awesome as well of course! In terms of the community as a whole, I think the highlight of 2014 is the overall change in direction for Eve. We see a CCP under Seagull much braver and willing to try new things. The skill queue change, the clarification on input automation rules, the new release cadence, the industry rework, tackling 0.0 head on, module tiericide, so on and so forth. This is a CCP who understood change was needed and is now going and implementing that. I truly honestly believe 2015 could be the best year for Eve Online yet and that is solely down to the outline work done in the past 12 months.
Niden: That’s a lot of positive stuff from the CZ team, and yeah, it’s quite warranted that we are positive as a community. Mind, the tone might have been a tad different 6-7 months ago. I agree that it’s a different CCP at the rudder as 2015 rolls around and it feels like we’re all hopeful explorers in this adventure rather than rats on a sinking ship, as some would have had you believe earlier this year. To me, the “This Is EVE” trailer was the validation of that thought. In January of 2014 I wrote my first Lowlife column for Crossing Zebras. I really had no idea how my work would be received, but as it turned out, my writing was non-shit. Writing for CZ has opened a whole new world to me and put me in touch with a lot of great (and some not-so-great) people. And it all started with that piece. Anyone remember Marc Scaurus? Well he used to be the Editor-in-Chief here at Crossing Zebras, and a good one at that. Somewhere in the middle of the summer he decided to vanish without a word. Let’s just say that wasn’t ideal. So Xander decided to offer the gig to the only schmuck dumb enough to take it: me. Since then I’ve learned on the job and gotten into it. CZ has grown in all kinds of ways and I take pride in being a part of that. It was certainly a key moment in my EVE life. 2014 was a winning year for the Gallente Militia and it felt good to be a part of that. The taking of Innia, a Caldari stronghold that had stood for ages, was a great moment for a lot of us. Taking the war zone in August was also a rare achievement and the fights in Kinakka and Asakai were absolute slaughters, fantastic. I have had so many memorable fights during 2014 that it would take a small book to describe even just those that particularly stood out. It has been everything from a thrilling solo roams with my Dram, to large fights involving capitals. Two moments stick out in particular though. The first one was when the jump range changes had just come into effect and we had a 50 man battleship fleet (BS + support) square off against Snuffbox artillery Machariel doctrine with triage support on a POS. It was a close fight, but we pulled it out in the end. It represented the success of Phoebe to me, had the fight taken place only weeks earlier, you can bet we would have been third-partied. The meta continues to evolve in lowsec thanks to Phoebe and I’ve undocked more battleships in the past two months than ever before in my EVE career. Op success. The second is taken from a great night of fights we had against the squids in Okkamon. You can view the highlights from the evening in this video. Suffice to say that I got my Dramiel onto a Chimera kill along with just a Ragnarok titan. I managed to pull of some other cool stunts that night, you could almost be fooled into thinking I knew what I was doing. It was just one of those awesome nights that comes along now and then. A rather insignificant collection of engagements on the grand scale of things, but a fantastic night of fun for our little fleet.
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About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.