Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It all comes down to nepotism - Alternate History Meme

Last night I was chatting with the lovely people in the Eve-Bloggers channel. Jerran Ragnar (author of Victoria Aut Mors) spoke up. "We should all do a post on the same topic tomorrow!" Silence ensued. I offered up that I thought that could be interested and asked what Jerran had in mind. More silence ensued. Someone else pointed out "I thought that what CK's Blog Banter was for?" This time the silence was tinged with that wonderful aura of "Yeah, moron." I came to Jerran's defense saying that just because CK did it didn't meant that we couldn't play Newton to his Hooke and claim it for our own. Sadly we were still without a good idea, but then Mike Azaria spoke up and said "Well, the blog banter tends to usually be forward looking. So why don't we do something looking into the past?" (Please note I am paraphrasing, so Mike - don't pod me.)

Through a quick round of "pass the buck" Jerran was selected to lead us off and has done so with his latest post. He went ahead and summed up the meme as thus -
“What would you change about Eve if you could go back in time?”. It can be something about the world itself, game play, or anything else you can think of.
He went the route of exploring the setting of the game and thought about taking capsuleers out of the capsule. My entry is a bit more focused on a game mechanic that annoys me and I'd like to explore through a short work of fiction with a summary at the end (so if you don't like the fiction you can fast forward.) Enjoy!

The Forgotten Casualties

A string of curses preceded Alehandra by at least ten seconds before she finally appeared in the hatchway of her Hulk, Pendereski, and stormed down the ramp into the bustling landing bay. "Neelan!" her voice called out with a piercing intensity that caused to techer to cringe from across the bay. He turned around, forcing a smile onto his face as Alehandra pulled up in front of him, her face painted with a plethora of scowls, glares, and other unsavory features. "What can I do for ya Ms. Dvemko?" He asked, trying in all reality to sound as pleasant and as helpful as possible. The last technician who had squared off against this irate miner hadn't walked quite right for weeks after the encounter.

"I have... a favor to ask." Alehandra's voice dropped at least 20 decibels, though that could have just been because her voice was now having to work her way past a solid wall of clenched teeth. She wrapped an arm around the man's back and her fingers began to dig heavily into his flesh of his shoulder causing him to wince slightly. "My drones.... they have sensors... little bits of technology built into them... these little bits of technology give me feedback as to how much damage they have taken, their shield strength, their armor, their structure... all these little sensors. Right?"

Neelan nodded as gently as he could, one does not make sudden movements around wild animals. "Yes..." His answer was as cautious as possible.

"So why is it, Neelan, that in all of this wonderful technology we could not insert a tiny bit of hardware or software that would tell the drones that when they are attacked and take damage to return immediately to the ship?" Her voice was slow and cool, but Neelan wasn't fooled. Alehandra was almost famous for the amount of mining drones she could go through in a week. He thought carefully before wording his reply. "Well... ummm... Ms. Dvemoko... the problem is that the drones are constantly taking slight amounts of shield damage from cosmic rays and other particles in space, you just never notice because of the regeneration rate. So that code would constantly be sending your drones back to the bay unnecessarily."

Alehandra moved to run her hands through her hair in exasperation, Neelan took this chance to extract himself from the pilots grasp, moving to put a console terminal between them. "Well, couldn't we just set up a threshold for the damage amount then? Or perhaps we could just set it up when they took armor damage! Wouldn't that work?" Neelan chewed his lip for a second. "Well they did try that once, but the drones were prone to lock up, no one was able to ever figure out why. I mean, I could access the old protocols and install them on your drones, but chances are your entire fleet would be dead in a week."

The scowl across her face deepened. "Fine then! I want you to install a damn alarm in my capsule. It is bad enough I get a siren going off in my head whenever my own shields reach 75% damage, why don't we just install that protocol for the drones?" Her voice grew louder again as her frustration started to reach a boiling point. She stared Neelan down, as if daring him to find a problem with her latest idea.

"Well, those sirens are wired directly into the shield systems you see. It is meant to be as an additional safety protocol in case the instrumentation or data feed became corrupt. So unless you are planning on running over 10km of line out to each droid, not to mention the signal lag and degradation, or if the lines get tangled.." His voice was cut off by a howl of frustration as Alehandra slammed her hands down on the console between them. She gripped the sides tightly, and it must have been his imagination but he would have sworn he heard the reinforced glass of the display creak beneath her hands.

"Okay. Fine." It wasn't a good sign when her sentences degraded to single syllables. "The meathead who Orca's for me, Jamal, he's got drones. I want you to mod them. He usually sets one to defend me, I want you to fix it so he can just make them orbit my mining drones and defend them. Got it?" Neelan stepped back from the enraged woman and the control console. "Woah, no way!" He exclaimed.

"What do you mean 'no way'?" Alehandra growled, her voice barely audible.

"You want me to get in deep with CONCORD? Making a drone that can protect another drone? If I do that there is a chance that the drones might start to gain sentience and think of themselves as people. They could turn against that then. Modifying core drone AI is strictly regulated!" He shook his head, "I can't do that. No way am I risking drone Armageddon!" Alehandra looked at him with rage and disbelief. Then she turned without a word and stormed off into the station proper.

Once she was safely out of sight Devan walked over to where Neelan was still bent over the console recovering from the encounter. "Umm... Neelan, you just made all of that up didn't you?" The techie looked up from the console with a slight grin across his face. "Yeah, pretty much."

"Why would you do that? She could have crushed you! Do you remember what she did to Allerat? Why would you feed her such a crazy line?" Devan looked as Neelan with amazement.

With a shrug Neelan replied casually, "My wife's cousin is the one who sells her the mining drones."
=End Transmission=

So yes, I am sure it is rather trivial but I hate when my mining drones get popped before I realize what is going on. Before you tell me that I shouldn't AFK mine I'm not even really AFK I'm just not 100% in the game. The other evening I was looking over the Certificate Planner on my Alt, my market window was open on my main, and I was focusing on the blogger chat window. I was playing the game, but since there is no audio alert when my drones are targeted or attacked I didn't even realize what was happening till I glanced to my drone window and saw I had no drones in space.

To bring up another point, why the hell do pirates even bother shooting my mining drones? They give them no salvage, they can't attack the pirates, and they are wasting valuable time they could be spending kill me. It makes absolutely no in game sense. I understand that from a mechanic standpoint this may be in place by CCP entirely with the intention to punish AFK miners, but it doesn't really fit in smoothly. Secondly, they could add a small audio alert and it wouldn't really benefit AFK miners, but it would help distracted miners like me save a few ISK.

So there you have it, my submission to this little meme. Be sure to check out Jerran's and Mike's contributions. As I stated before Jerran has already gone a very different direction than mine and I can't wait to see what Mike comes up with. As always, comments are welcome.

edit: Paritybit has hopped on board and posted his own take here, and boy did he go controversial


  1. Absolutely HILARIOUS! Drones of all types cause no end of frustration! Great humor writing by the way. Thanks for participating int he Meme!

  2. Yeah, seriously. Why can't drones just be a little bit smarter? And Mining Drones for heaven's sake! They're harmless. I'm not a miner -- but one time (don't tell anyone) I used mining drones from my Ishkur to finish a level 1 storyline mission for faction standing (it was in low-sec, no ore was available on the market) ... and I lost 2 of them. Ridiculous.

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