Monday, July 29, 2013

I Was There - The Big Fights

It's a bit of a meme in EVE: "I was there".  I can echo this promotion that real small/mid scale PVP, when done right, puts you at the edge of your seat and can give a rush like no else which lasts for days.  So when news comes out about "The biggest fight in EVE (and MMO) history!" the question always comes up, "were you there?"

For the 6VDT-H fight, I was there.  Representing GENTS, the CFC, and my new corp Paxton Industries against TEST and friends on their home turf.  I was providing logistics for one of the 7 "Baltec" fleets: 200+ Rail Megathrons with logistics support per Baltec fleet.

Though I could do a battle report, I'd rather talk about the experience of flying in such a massive battle.

First, nullsec fighting is not at all like lowsec fighting.  It's not about the skills of any individual pilots, instead its about the mass of the legion being commanded.  It all comes down to the skills of a few commanders and the lurching hydra beneath them.  Under normal circumstances, I'm all for taking up my position as line-grunt, but as TiDi reaches its peak and multiple 256 man fleets collide in hour-after-hour slow motion, fighting loses its novelty very quickly.

There is much applause to CCP for facilitating a 4070+ person fight in a single system while keeping an additional 45,000 served, and it's well deserved.  Though playing through 10% TiDi tends to extend fights into the hours.  Where the brawl might have peaked and ended in 45-90mins, the biggest fights in EVE crawl forward in ultra-slo-mo for 4-8 hours.  Though it would test player stamina to remain focused for all those hours, the actual result is a confusing pile of frustration as commands get botched, modules remain in unknown states, and you watch helplessly as targets rise and fall seemingly without any individual participation.  Don't get me wrong, TiDi beats the alternative of black-out full freeze... but it's not exactly "fun" to be on the field when your participation might as well be near-null.

I am quickly finding the limits for my PVP patience.  Where the 20-60 man fleet gives me the space to shine in specialty roles (hictor/dictor, recon, logi), the extremes outside that number quickly fall off as far as fun.  Where I was bemoaning QCATS for their focus on solo PVP and elite KB stats, this other side of the spectrum is similarly bad or worse.  It is extremely rarely I have the time to commit to this kind of fight, and once it's over, I am hesitant to answer any other call to arms (CTA).

If you're interested in more words on the topic, my friend +Jonathan Stripes/@CecilArongo just started up a new blog and talks about the 6VDT-H battle in more direct detail.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Writing Code - zKB module - Outline

I want to write a zKB program on par with Entity's eveapi python module.  The problem is that eveapi is awesome, and Entity is a baws... and I am critically low on free time.

But "writing it down" is about the only way I can keep myself honest.  So, let's talk about the outline of what I want to deliver.  I'd appreciate any feedback from the code savvy people out there.

Front End: What the user will see

I imagine user code will look something like this:

import toaster;
zkb_raw = new toaster.zkb_query 
zkb_result = zkb_raw.execute
#zkb_result is essentially as-is return from zKB
In reality, the imported program will work in two halves.  First, a query builder that will go and fetch data from zkb.  Then second, a set of "common data" queries for the returned data.  

Back End: How it works

Queries and fetching data

I'd like to be able to make something like eveapi's dynamic class constructors that just work without having to define every api option zkb provides.  I will probably have to go with the latter, because mediocre results today trump excellent results 3mo from now.  The idea being that the user can define each part of the query like it's built in the HTTP call.

The harder part is making the fetcher that will grab and concatenate the results into the final JSON object.  zKB's interface is a bit shaky, and I want to make a robust fetcher that "just works" for any call you care to make.  I'm still not settled on the exact design of the fetcher... something that dynamically backs off at execution time is a must, and I'd like to have flagging so users can do other work while the fetch is running.

At the end of the fetch, the first part should return as raw as possible data from zKB.  It will need to zip together the pages from the query and probably shouldn't return a JSON object, but I don't want to do a lot of filtering or parsing to allow users to just do as they please with the returned data.

Parsers and Crunchers

The second half of the program should handle some common queries and return them in usable formats.  Things like "involved pilots", "destroyed cargo", "fittings", maybe some sort of ability to link together kills and related kills.

I expect this is a spot that there will always be another function needed or requested.  The hope is that the first half of the program can be all the hard-core devs use, while the second half gives a leg-up for the greener devs.  


I may need to break some features out into reasonable revisions.  1.0 version should have the following features:
  • Able to use every query API call zkb offers
  • Return up to 1,000 killids in a single query
  • Have a crash-and-restart route
  • 5-10 "basic crunch" functions
The longer goals for 1.1-1.2 releases
  • Thread-safe execution mode
  • Robust "back off" controller for large queries
  • Dynamic classing like eveapi... I don't even know the buzzword for this

Just wanted to get some words down so I can reference back to a reasonable plan and not lose sight of the goals.  I only intend to develop this code for Python, so if that's not your language, you're SOL.  If there's anything I'm missing or should look at, I'd appreciate the feedback.

Follow progress on github: Toaster

Monday, July 22, 2013

Industry for Newbros

One question I was asked about in my Cap Stable interview that I felt I gave a crappy response to was: "What advice would you give the newbie player for industry".  I was also poked on twitter by someone fresh out of their trial with some general questions about getting into industry.

Also writing about this keeps me from making an ass of myself ranting about a rather public, melodramatic, rage-quit this weekend.

Day-0: I wanna craft things

For those who have yet to finish their trial or are still working on their first 1M SP, I have to put the breaks on.  EVE isn't your standard MMO and a large swath of the assumptions from other games do not apply here.  Before getting into meat-and-potatoes of EVE industry, I'd like to drive home some important themes to the greenest players.

Time is a precious resource:

It should be obvious from the skill system that EVE is a long and slow game.  Patience is the most precious resource and EVE is a game for tortoises.  Nearly nothing is instantaneous and most professions and endeavors require a long-view plan to execute.  The primary metric to keep in mind, when trying to grind cash, is ISK per hour.  Mission running, planetary interaction, mining, industry, hauling... all boil down to this critical metric: ISK/hour.

EVE does not have many "Low hanging fruits"

Long maligned as a "hard mode" kind of game, EVE does not look kindly on the brand new player.  As such, many of the traditional low hanging fruits designed to give the budding industrialist their foothold are actually ISK sinks and tend to prey on the under informed.  Most T1 manufacturing requires highly-researched Blueprint Originals (BPOs) and highly skilled characters to milk the razor-thin positive margin out of the traditional "newbie industry" route.  Also, products with livable margins are hidden away from the main stream, meaning newbies don't even know what products to look at when starting out.  Items like R.A.M. have decent margins for low-skilled characters to make ISK on... but new players do not understand what R.A.M. is even used for.  Guns, bullets, ships, modules, drones... these are the first places many people look to start an industry career and are historically poo

Everything has a price.

It is critical to remember that everything costs something in EVE.  It's easy to think that "mined minerals are free", but if your manufactured result does not add margin on the raw ore, then you're technically losing ISK.  In the end, your margins are payment for your time.  
  • Selling raw minerals to the market is ISK/hour for mining. 
  • Mission bounties are ISK/hour for missions
  • Salvaging is also ISK/hour for mission time
  • Building is ISK/hour for your manufacturing resources and time to gather everything

Day 30: Tutorials finished, I want industry as a profession

I really can only advise this path to those who decide that the high-sec/PVE lifestyle is their route.  To those who join up with TEST/Goon under their trial or take up FW as a low-SP calling, your path will be different.  My advice is aligned with my previous tutorial: Making an Industry Alt.

So you've read my tutorials and want to get into the world of T2 manufacturing.  At <5M SP, I believe this is a bad plan for making your EVE career long and enjoyable.  The skills required for T2 manufacturing do not have any bleed over into useful keyboard-time activities like missions, hauling, PI, or mining.  Also the plan does not have many corners to cut to make the tree half-useful at midpoints: it's basically an all-or-nothing plan.  My biggest advice to the new players is: Find something interesting to do FIRST, then come to industry.

If you're still insistent on being the Industry Czar, then let me outline a path that is more sustainable to long-term EVE career building rather than "hurry up and wait".
  • Invest some time into Planetary Interaction
  • Work toward a mining barge or exhumer
  • Work toward an orca
  • Get the basic skills for low-level manufacturing
    • Laboratory Operations 4
    • Mass Production 4
    • Production Efficiency 5
    • Science 5
    • Industry 5
Some pitfalls to avoid in your climb toward industry
  • DO NOT buy a bunch of BPOs: It's fine to grab some module BPOs to play with, but resist the siren call of ship BPOs
  • DO NOT stockpile a bunch of raw materials.  Cash is your friend
  • DO NOT get bent out of shape over ore-can theft.  Mining barges have ore holds now, they're baiting you to lose even more.
Just like you wouldn't (or shouldn't) rush to get into a battleship with nothing else to do nor the appropriate skills to use it well, T2 industry should be viewed with the same expectation.

Okay guru, 6mo in.  Can I industry now?!

Congratulations.  You've cultivated a primary (and maybe a secondary too) playstyle.  You have found a corp worth your time, and things to do when you're at the keyboard.  You have a steady income to fall back on if things go catastrophically bad.  Also, you have things to do while industry jobs cook.  Now, you are ready.

This would be an excellent chance to roll an alt.  Grinding up a pair of characters through the skill tree will mean you have twice as much horsepower to produce once you're done.  Also, doing the skill train on an alt means you can still focus on your main's goals and generate isk.  Now, instead of waiting to play until a goal is achieved, you're growing your pool of things to do.

Also, you will be armed with a better understanding of the game around you and be prepared to follow through on some extra expectations.

Things you will need to start your industry character:
  • 250M for skills per character
  • ~3-4M SP worth of skills
  • 150-200M for BPOs
  • 500M "production purse" per character
  • 1B for a brand new POS + mods (optional at start)
  • Access to an Orca or freighter
Since you waited until you had an income stream to start the industry skill grind, you have a means to generate the ISK required to start without being stuck with crappy half measures.  It will take 3-4 cycles to really reap the fruits of your labor and really get the hang of the process, but once you have the means, the machine becomes pretty self sufficient.

I know this reads like "need 2B to do T2 industry", but these are the upper limits of what you'll want on hand to just start the machine from cold.  In reality, a few weeks on the front end using some of the very-high-margin products and some hard work can help generate this final 2B target.  Once you've crossed that threshold, it becomes more about growing your project into the shape you want it to be.

Just remember industry is meant as a ISK generating activity, and takes a lot of effort to make it "primary play style".  Also, remember the lessons from my other invention tutorial.  Hope this helps some of the greener players out there who are interested in the creation/enabling side of the game!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Careful What You Wish For

Last night, I joined the hosts of Cap Stable to record an interview.  I had met the hosts at Nerdtacular, and (despite being opposite sides of the current "great war" in Fountain) was interested in talking more with them.  I was invited to talk on the show this week as an interview guest to talk my favorite topic: industry!  I will update the blog sidebar and this post once the show goes live.

Interview can be found here: CapStable Episode 23: All Things Considered Industry Edition

One of the topics we talked about was revisiting my Odyssey predictions from my article.  In that rehash, I couldn't help but spill some spoilers on my moon goo article that's currently in the works.  The big reveal was along the lines of:
R32/R64 materials will not become bottlenecked [like Technetium] unless T2 ships can regain primary status in PVP doctrines.
And to dive a little deeper than the interview, it's important that T2 cruisers become popular, because that's the only way enough of the new metamaterials will be consumed to drive R64's to bottleneck.  T2 cruisers will not be consumed in large enough quantities unless ships like Heavy Assault Cruisers become viable as DPS backbone for PVP doctrines.  Recons and Hictors just aren't consumed in very large volumes.

I then went on a bit of a rant about "why field a T2 cruiser when for the same price and half the skills you could field a T1 BS?"  Before the T1 rebalances hit each ship class, T2 offered a significant edge where skillpoints + ISK bought you an edge against your opponent that let you "hit above your weight class".  Simply put, where T2 bought roughly a 3:1 advantage, currently it's like 1.5:1 or less... why go all that extra distance for such a small gain?  Why spend 8-10x more on a hull when it's only a few % better than T1?  It is still worth flying T2 where there's a specific bonus: Bombers, Recons, Black Ops, Hictors... but PVP doctrines have a >60% fleet composition of DPS, and only bombers fill that niche.

Furthermore, as a producer, my focus is on demand.  Larger demand fuels larger supply; but T2 production bottlenecks mean as demand grows, margin will tend to follow.  Today, I am enjoying mass-producing T2 frigates since that realm is pretty evenly balanced, and the volumes demanded are difficult to bring to market.  But I am technically idling more-skilled characters since the cruiser-and-larger market is so anemic.  I'd love to be able to take the new larger investment purse I've grown to and leverage it for better net returns on cruisers... but I have to follow the demand.

As if reading my thoughts, CCP announced a one-two punch to put me in my place.  First, a rebalance to long-range medium weapons, and second, a rebalancing pass over Heavy Assault Cruisers.  This is exactly the kind of change that could really change the demand for T2 ships and really diversify the medium ship PVP realm.  Also, it refreshes an entire meta that has been completey missing for a while: mid-sized long range cruisers.  Unfortunately, I am garbage at EFT theory-crafting, but so far the bonus and slot changes really bring a lot of ships into unique and strong roles without completely outclassing T1 choices.

Also, CCP Rise hints that these changes are due out sooner rather than later.  As such, I will be going over the changes with a fine-toothed comb and prepare my BPC stockpiles to attack the juiciest part of the market.  Though, as my Odyssey speculation article should have highlighted, the first wave is where the most money is, and the market is usually settled in by release day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Everything You Never Wanted to Know: Decryptors

Seems my tutorials are my most requested feature here on the blog. Unfortunately, I have been lacking an opportunity to write something that isn't already well covered elsewhere. Thankfully, Odyssey is an unending treasure trove of industry changes and provides the perfect opportunity to write a shiny new tutorial.

Decryptors - Augmenting Your Invention Results

I glanced over decryptors in my original invention tutorial. I had to skip the finer details and just leave the TL;DR that decryptors are an "advanced topic" for later discussion. The part I left out is that the largest revenue drivers really center around using decryptors effectively. As an operation evolves away from ISK being the limiting factor, and ambition moves toward ship production, it's absolutely critical to understand how decryptors work and how they can augment the outputs for maximum profit.

Before diving into the :math: and specifics, decryptors augment the invention results. Also, it's important to remember that decryptors are completely optional to the invention process.

Several classes of decryptor exist, and each class can modify the following:
  • Chance of Success (P[success])
  • Material Efficiency (ME)
  • Production Efficiency (PE)
  • Result Runs
By burning ONE decryptor along with the datacores in a single invention attempt, the resultant BPC will be different than default, if you succeed. This allows for a wide range of possibilities:
  • Need just one BPC with minimum attempts?
  • Need a large volume of final product?
  • Need the build to go faster than default?
  • Want to spend the least on materials?
Unfortunately, the interface and :math: are even less obvious than regular invention. Allow me to share some of my math and intuition so as to demystify the entire topic.

Decryptor :Math:


Before breaking down the decryptor accounting, it's important to review how copying works with invention.

For most modules/ammo/drones:
Runs/max_runs=x/10 runs T2 BPC
For ships, rigs, and some modules
 Runs/max_runs=1 run T2 BPC
That is to say, for modules/ammo/drones, it is important to have "full run" BPCs, where with ships/rigs/etc single-run BPCs are preferred.  Since some decryptors change the resultant runs, it's important to know which BPOs need full-run copies and which only need 1-run copies.  This will save you enormous ammounts of time that would outherwise be wasted.

The key to drive home here is: you need to know how many runs the resultant T2 BPC will have BEFORE applying decryptor modifiers.

Order of Operations

The order of operations for applying decryptor augmentations is a little counter intuitive.  The CHANCE modifier applies at the invent step, modifying the chance for success.  Runs, ME, and PE modifiers happen on top of the base result.  This can be a little difficult to understand at first, but once you understand the process, it is pretty easy to apply the modifiers correctly.

NOTE: EVE-id and EVEHQ are WRONG about the runs calculation.  The math was changed in Inferno and bpcs that default to 1-run do not require max-run T1 BPCs to apply extra runs correctly.  10-run BPCs still apply decryptors as expected (except in 1-run case).

Just to drive the point home, using a module case:

Probability Modifiers

The calculation for invention chance is not exactly user friendly. Decryptors add another level of obfuscation to the already weird calculation. Personally, I cheated and just copied the results from EVEHQ’s Prism tool, but some of the more adventurous out there might want to use the datadump for something a little more robust. Unfortunately, the queries aren’t exactly blog friendly, so I have included a link to a more complete walkthrough here.

The TL;DR on probability modifiers is they augment the initial chance for success. For example, if a decryptor had nothing but a probability modifier, you would still get the same default BPC, but instead get them more (or less) often as per the new weight of the coin toss.

Read more about the hardcore-code at the snippet page (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Accounting for Decryptors

Much like the :math: for Datacores, Decryptors follow a similar logic. For the purpose of making “good enough” predictions, some assumptions must be made:
  • Variance due to random probability will wash out with volume
  • Both new ME and decryptor use must be accounted for
  • Focus on generating correct price per unit (PPU)
When I account for decryptors the math is as follows:

Lastly, I like to standardize values by “Yield Per BPO Copied”. This gives a decent center point to start to compare options intelligently. You can also aim for “Max Built in a Week” as a compare point, but you may run into issues in actually inventing enough to actually meet those volumes. Also, don’t forget your base case when comparing options. A lot of blueprints will still be viable in their base case.

Example Case

Decrypt All The Things!

Now that we understand the accounting and effects of decryptors, let’s talk about when to use decryptors. First and foremost, it’s important to repeat that decryptors are completely optional and for a lot of products they may be a terrible idea. For instance, most modules will want to steer clear of decryptor use, where ships it’s usually advised to use them always.

As always, check your math before making investments. Though there are some general guidelines on what to use and why. In no particular order.

Also, remember that decryptors are racial specific. Thankfully, the decryptor names now match their relevant Data Interface.
Amarr = Occult
Caldari = Esoteric
Gallente = Incognito
Minmatar = Cryptic


  • +9 Runs
  • -2 ME
  • +1 PE
  • P[modifier]= 60% (-40%)
This decryptor is one of my favorites, but is usually malaligned. This decryptor screams terrible with both a ME penalty and a P[success] penalty. Though, when what you need is high volume on a product that is difficult to produce, this is the clear choice.

Personally, I really like this decryptor for T2 frigates, and certain modules where copying is prohibitive. With the invention time and very large %margins on frigates it can be difficult to really get enough units to market. With the Augmentation decryptor, you trade a lower number of BPC’s for a much higher final number of products. Also, this decryptor tends to be very cheap, and once you factor it against the +9 runs, its cost becomes close to negligible.

Though watch out, the critical metric in T2 production is ME. Each tick lower increases the waste factor by 10%, which means the resultant BPC will be 20% more expensive than the base result. This is a decryptor that is awesome where its needed to augment volume but largely useless otherwise.

Optimized Augmentation

  • +7 Runs
  • +2 ME
  • +0 PE
  • P[modifier] = 90% (-10%)
Odyssey introduced two “optimized” decryptors to pair with the old “best” and “worst” decryptors. This one is very interesting because it pairs the added runs with an added ME. So, where the base Augmentation decryptor was a trade off between volume and price-per-unit, the Optimized Augmentation variant trades that choice for a win on all fronts. Even the -10% P[success] modifier is nearly negligible, when you factor some items base-chances.

But, obvious winner is obvious, and the market is quickly settling into a place where this choice is well balanced against its base counterpart. I personally have taken the opportunity to stock some of these decryptors for a rainy day, as a purpose to quickly pounce on something with a lot of volume when the price spikes (+2 ME lowers PPU), but I haven’t been won over to abandon its base counterpart yet.


  • +2 Runs
  • +1 ME
  • +4 PE
  • P[modifier] = 100% (0%)
This one is a bit of the odd-child in my book. None of the modifiers put it as a clear winner, and it never hits a price to balance against the other choices. In all fronts it’s second-best. And when it is put up against the new Parity decryptor, it looks even more anemic.

It does improve ME, but not as much as Process.
It does improve runs, but not as much as Augmentation
It does improve PE, but not as much as Accelerant

It doesn’t harm P[chance], but Attainment, Accelerant, Process, and Parity improve P[chance]
The only place I’ve found these as a worthwhile choice is with interdictors, since Augmentation yields are a bit too high for the daily volume, and the ME modifier works out nicely... but beyond that I can’t think of many nice things to say about this decryptor.



  • +0 Runs
  • +3 ME
  • +3 PE
  • P[modifier] = 110% (+10%)
This is another extremely popular decryptor. With best-in-class ME modifier, a generous PE modifier, and even a boost to P[chance], this wins on all fronts. Since ME is the critical metric, this is generally the decryptor to use for best PPU. It’s extremely popular for cruiser hulls and larger. Also, I have enjoyed a boosted isk/hr using these to churn large T2 ammo at nearly double the rate of base.

Though being popular comes with a price tag, and Process datacores are definitely pricey. I find that a significant cost of my stockpiling effort is spent on keeping Process decryptors stocked and the unbuilt BPC’s they yield as backstock. Also, with no run modifier, these tend to be the most expensive per-attempt to use.


  • +1 Run
  • + 2 ME
  • + 5 PE
  • P[modifier] = 120% (+20%)
Accelerant is pretty simple and lives up to its name: the resultant BPC will build the fastest possible. This is an excellent choice on very long build time items, and I personally favor it for large projects like Jump Freighters (but your mileage may vary).

Unfortunately, accounting for absolute profit is way less effort than optimizing on ISK/hr, so I haven’t seen much use for it personally. Unless you absolutely-positively need it yesterday (tm), I would not condone regular use of this decryptor... but it’s a godsend in the very few cases that its needed.


  • +4 Runs
  • -1 ME
  • +2 PE
  • P[modifier] = 180% (+80%)
This is largely considered the “best” decryptor because of its boosts, but I disagree. Yes, you’re nearly guaranteed success, and it comes with a decent PE boost to match the additional runs, but it’s extremely pricey and has a ME penalty. Amateurs are going to look to this decryptor to augment lackluster skills, and anyone looking to “just build one” (which is wrong).

The only possible place you should ever consider this decryptor is where your “cost per attempt” is very high. Jump freighters have a high datacore use (64/try) and BPCs can cost 100M or more. In this case, forgoing a failure can be seen as an added benefit. Unfortunately, +10% on a 5B ISK build is 500M, and you’re stuck with an extra 4 runs than just the “one for DIY”.

If you run the numbers, it becomes pretty clear this decryptor is awful. If you come by it, feel free to make a buck on those that disagree, but even taking 1-2 extra attempts with a Process decryptor would save you more money than saving those runs with a -3 ME/-2 PE blueprint.

Optimized Attainment

  • +2 Runs
  • +1 ME
  • -1 PE
  • P[modifier] = 190% (+90%)
This is a much more interesting decryptor compared with its base counterpart. Pairing a higher P[success] modifier with a boosted ME and less runs is a much better prospect. This still strands the “one for DIY” with two unused runs on a mediocre BPC, but provides a much better set of bonuses.

In my own tools I see Optimized/base Attainment running the same balance as the pair of Augmentation decryptors. In this case, on the very-large build of Jump Freighters I’d pick this before the base attainment decryptor, but I’d still rank Process and Accelerant as better choices personally.


  • +3 Runs
  • +1 ME
  • -1 PE
  • P[modifier] = 150% (+50%)
Parity is another oddball decryptor, like Symmetry, where I am not sure where it falls for use. Technically, I think it makes Symmetry obsolete, but the mix of bonuses doesn’t fulfil any particular best-use case.

If I have to say something useful about it, I probably would swap my use case for interdictors from Symmetry to Parity. With it being so new, the prices may not be completely correct and it might find a niche. Unfortunately, I can’t think of many places where this decryptor shines as an excellent use case.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Social Metrics - A month in review

My first month of being a writer at is complete, and I managed to contribute two articles:

Both took a lot more work than I originally expected.  Both were interesting projects.  I had hoped to make my contributions weekly (or at least get 3 articles in the month), but I was not able to.  I have two more articles lined up for July, but it has been a difficult dance between IRL work, personal tool development, and IRL job hunting to find the hours needed to assemble another article on par with my Burn Jita analysis.

Why Do It -- Working as Intended?

I spend a decent chunk of time talking with Chella Ranier of Low Sec Lifestyle on IM, and she's been an interesting foil on the point of TMC.  Bluntly, she thinks it's a vapid mouthpiece for Goon; purely a propaganda stream.  Though I concede the point for some news/battle-reports, I do not share the opinion.  Though I could write a whole post in counterpoint, that's not the point I want to illustrate.  

TMC is providing signal boost for the topics I currently enjoy exploring.  Where I could hope to garner a few hundred or a couple thousand, page views on a piece here, I can easily muster tens-of-thousands on TMC.  So, on the important or general topics I've written so far for TMC, I am able to get that article in front of 10x or 20x the eyeballs I can get here.  This blog still serves as a finer tool for opinions/progress/personal work, but TMC is the platform that allows me to talk to the whole EVE community.

Unfortunately, TMC is still viewed as polarizing, and there are some unintended consequences.  As TEST v CFC rages in game, the gulf between communities grows.  For instance, even though my Burn Jita article was data-driven and geared as a neutral analysis, I could only generate +30 link karma (+44/-13) on /r/eve, and never crested the top-half of the front page.   I had been a great fan of the reddit community, but with recent pushes against bloggers in general, and a general blind hostility toward anything with TMC as a link, I'm finding my engagement in that community less and less.

Otherwise, I've found the environment to be a real boon to help spark my work.  It gives me another venue to air larger/broader topics, and the other writers there are incredibly helpful in bridging through blocks.  It also helps to have the ears of some of the most prolific movers-and-shakers in EVE, which makes the degrees of influence problem much smaller.  I would not have been able to get feedback from Warr Akini for my Burn Jita article if it weren't for TMC.  Simply put, TMC is meshing with my goals quite nicely, and I'm enjoying the time there.

Look What I can Do!  LOOK!

The big thing that it boils down to is I'm a slave to metrics.  I watch my page views, comments, tweets, mails, etc obsessively, hoping that I can suss out useful information.  What topics are generating the most traffic?  What topics garner the most feedback?  Is anyone actually reading my rants?  Even though I know I should not pin my self-worth to a social network number, I feel compelled to use them as a validation stick.

It becomes exceedingly annoying to hear from friends and acquaintances things like "I love to read in-depth articles about internet spaceships", but then not see the results in the numbers.  I write my articles for TMC, and they each generated about 20k hits each, but aren't being externally linked after they fall off the front page.  I post the links to /r/eve  and can't get more than +30 link karma.  I actively participate where I can in the comment strings (TMC, Reddit, G+, Twitter).  On the other hand, the polarizing tripe of people like James315 generates 4x the hits, 5x the comments, and 10x the link karma.  I get that it's mostly an effect of sensationalism drives activity, but I'm feeling like the gulf between well crafted technical work and sensationalist garbage should be half what I see.  Also, I understand the quality of those metrics are not equal.

As long as there are results, I can sustain my drive to generate content.  If I'm not seeing growth, activity, added traffic, then I can't believe I'm making an impact.  So far, things are alright, but I'm not hitting the targets I anticipated.  I know it will require more work and content and my cred will be earned because "he knows his stuff" rather than on the back of lolz and trolls.  It's just generally nice to get feedback to make sure this isn't all just a waste of time.

But, if you want to see more engaging content as a reader, you need to reach out and make it known the work has value.  Your news doesn't have to be a reddit/4chan/SA Faux-Newsian feed of babble and memes.  Interact with authors who you believe are doing good work... don't feed the trolls.

Coming Soon

Complaining doesn't fix things, work does.  As such I have several projects in the pipeline to be released over July:
  • Decryptor Guide
  • Ship Sheet: Post Odyssey
  • Odyssey Post-Mortem: Moon Materials (TMC)
  • Odyssey Post-Mortem: Mineral Mining Report (TMC)
  • Jump Freighter Project 3/4th complete
So far, this is the plan in order.  Decryptor guide is just waiting for a few images to be made and some code review of the SQL calls required to automate the :math:.  The next TMC articles require more time, and the IRL job hunt is cutting into that pretty handsomely.

Also, I have been approached by The Mittani himself to write a killboard crawler of sorts as a news source.  Still in the viability stages, but I hope to push some sort of code out by the end of the month.  Kinda excited to do a real "customer project" to try and get some more code out the door.  Been slacking and this is a great chance to take a page from Entity and make some extensible tools for later.