Wednesday, October 30, 2013

About Astecus

Astecus is a friend of mine.  Well, more of an acquaintaince; you know how it is.  A disembodied guy in a videogame.  May or may not know who I am.  Still, he seems like a nice guy to the extent one can know someone via chat, reading his writings, and observing his actions.

I first met him earlier this year, before I moved into wspace full time.  Back then I used to "do my rounds", as I thought of it, in a Tengu in the Poinen area.  I was doing the exploring of that time (pre Odyssey), which meant that I was mainly looking for combat sites, but would also do radars if I found them.   Wormholes I would look in hoping for targets, then maybe come back in a stealth bomber.  The one kind of signature I had no use for was ore sites (which were sigs back then).  Here was this miner-guy who might want them.  So I just started giving him my bookmarks if I found anything.  Why not?  It cost me only a few seconds given that I was searching down Otela twice a night anyway.

Not too long after that, I joined the Otela Mining Fleet, when I wanted to do something  productive with my Jita alt.  Mining ice seemed perfect: very passive, so that I could spend most of my time on my main monitor with VK doing stuff in wspace.  And yes, in case you are wondering, the Fleet really is up 23/7.  Astecus logs in every morning (his afternoon), after downtime and sets it all up.  He is also on line a surprising amount of the time, white-knighting in a Griffin at the Otela ice.

So I've made a lot of ISK indirectly via Astecus.  He's a good guy in game full of black hats (me included when I can), building a community of peaceful miners.

All of which is to say: I am not objective.  But that stated, Astecus is exactly the sort of player that CCP wants.  He is a "content creator".  I was surprised a few weeks back to see a capital in Otela.  And I was surprised again when Daedalus gave a carrier to Astecus.  But I immediately thought it was a good decision.  Who better?

So I was really pained to hear what happened to Astecus over the past few days.  You can read about it at TheMittani.  In short: either because Astecus starting asking questions about the rules around highsec capitals, or maybe because someone complained, some overzealous GM brought the hammer down on Astecus.  He was accused of breaking the rules (which, if he did at all, was in the most innocent and innocuous possible way), and summarily convicted by the GM.  His carrier would be sent to lowsec and he would be temporarily banned from the game.  Astecus appealed and was told sorry; sentence to be carried out in a few hours.   All of this except the ban I heard from Astecus on Sunday evening while ice mining.

Since Astecus has no use for a lowsec capital and its ISK value was not important to him, he stole something and went suspect, allowing a random set of people in Otela to kill his carrier.  Then he started serving his two week ban.

The whole thing was enraging to me.  Not just the injustice, but the loss of an amazing relic by fiat.  It's like the Taliban dynamiting the Buddhas of Bamiyan.  (OK, I know.  That's hyperbole.)  EVE is an amazing place, and part of that is the fact that it is old.  It is old enough to have a history, not just a made-up lore history, but a history of ancient gameplay that is no longer possible or no longer viable.  This includes quirks like a vanishing handful of highsec capitals.  Guardian Vexors.  Hulkageddon.  Where there are relics, CCP should be supporting them and trying to preserve them or the memory of them, not trying to blow them up on the slightest pretext.

The good news is, CCP has rethought their awful decision.  They have apparently recreated the carrier for Astecus and presumably annulled his ban.  They will be clarifying the rules for highsec capitals.

Good for you, CCP.   I am still vexed by the lack of proportion and wisdom shown by the initial GM.  But the system as a whole has worked.


  1. From what I understand and what I have seen, I thought the reason wa related to using the carrier for whiteknighting. IIRC, Gevlon was in Otela doing his usual miner ganking, and Astecus brought his carrier on grid to protect the miners (I thought through triage, but not entirely sure). Gevlon posted about it in his chat, discussed it in local and wrote a blog post including it. I wouldn't be surprised if from this, someone posted a ticket.

    If you look at it, he does take the carrier on grid, with his miners, so even if you consider it from the point of view that it's a show of force to gankers, even though it can't be used, surely that alone is an advantage?

    Honestly I think it would solve more issues if they simply removed them from high sec altogether.

  2. It is true that Gevlon was in Otela recently, somewhat less successfully than elsewhere. And it is true that Astecus takes (or at least took) his carrier onto the ice grid. (Whether he will continue doing so I do not know. Perhaps it will be banned in future when CCP clarifies the rules.)

    Astecus clearly knows the rules about highsec capitals, and would not have used triage since that would clearly violate the rules. And that is not what I recall him saying the GM was complaining about. (I don't recall exactly what the complaint was, but it was paper-thin and bogus. That he flew more than 5 drones, or could have. TMC reports it as that he had on a drone control unit.)

    You are correct about "advantage", though in what I regard as a very narrow way. One can construe having a carrier on grid as an advantage. However, what that really boils down to is having a carrier at all, anywhere in highsec, is an advantage. Just having a ship that not everyone can have shows that you are special in some sense. What I take from this is not that all highsec capitals should be banned, although that is logical using a sort of absolutist egalitarian logic. I am not a leveller. What I get is that CCP's rules are not meant to be taken so literally, and should be interpreted by people using common sense. If the rules contradict -- you are allowed to have capitals explicitly, but the very having of a capital is advantageous in an extremely attenuated way -- then we should interpret the rules in a way that preserves the most of what they are for. In this case, we should not let the "advantage" rule swallow the entire reason for the whole corpus of rules in the first place. Ergo: using carriers for very small advantages is acceptable.

    BTW, I understand the appeal of easy and totalizing rules, ideally not interpreted by human being at all. In this case I would go the other way: existing highsec capitals are allowed, period. (You still can't move them in or build them.) I don't see a lot of downside. Content would be created. Most would be destroyed soon enough.

    1. So with that advantage, beign an advantage other player can't get now at the game rules have changed, surely that's now an exploit. A player is able to do something that is impossible to do now due to game rules. Without knowing what was reported to the GMs it would be impossible to comment, but in these cases, I'd rather the GMs took a stance against capitals than for them, since they are the part that shouldn't exist anyway. Now all we are left with is a capital back in high sec and Astecus, officially known as the guy who had a hissy fit about his high sec carrier, blew it up, then got it reimbursed. Meanwhile there's thousands of better things the GMs could be doing with their time than having to deal with this nonsense.

      And sure, you may think content would be created if they just allowed the existing high sec capitals to do what they wanted, but all I see would be an oportunity for a group of spidertanking carriers to crush high sec cors into the ground with no reasonable way to defend agaisnt it. Any time they were at risk they could dock up, then when it safe they can go nuke stuff. People just need to face up to the fact that the rules were changed, and that's that. Get them out to lowsec, and stop all the crying.

    2. The only thing carriers are allowed to do in high sec, besides sit there and look pretty, is mine. Call it the Veldnaught exception if you want to.

      If he's fielding six mining drones on an unbonused hull, vs. the five he could field without a DCU, what sort of advantage is that? There's not one single reason to prefer it over a Mack or a Hulk, except for novelty.

      You're complaining about how sharp a sword could be after it's been peace-bound into its scabbard.

      Besides, as Von points out, he's an enabler and a content creator--the exact class of people that CCP Seagull admitted are treated "like shit" by the game--and so where's the benefit in treating Astecus like shit? over a novelty fielding a sixth mining drone?

    3. By 'carriers' I meant 'capitals.'

    4. I honestly don't see how someone sitting around in a carrier in a high sec ice belt is a content creator. Arguably, the best content was created when he had his rage fit and suspected his carrier.
      He's just another crying high sec carebear mining endless amounts of ice, using his carrier to threaten gankers, then whining when he gets stopped. I fail to see how that is content.

    5. The primary content Astecus creates has little to do with the carrier. He provides an open fleet to anybody who wants to mine ice in a few different systems, as well as other related free services. This allows the little guys who can't run a fully boosted Orca, to mine 40% faster than they otherwise could. I'm not sure I've ever actually seen him mining anything. He provides SOME protection with his griffin, but the Carrier is present only as a novelty item. Many high sec people have never seen a capital before. His was the first I'd ever seen in high sec. All in all he creates more content than the vast majority of EVE players.

  3. Advantage is not exploit. They are two entirely different things. For example, I have the advantage of skillpoints over many younger characters. I will never lose this advantage so long as I keep PLEXing my account. This is unfair. So what.

    As for whether it is "impossible" for you to fly a capital: well, Astecus never had one until a month ago. No, you cannot buy one. But you can ingratiate yourself with someone who has one, and maybe in time you can get one. It's not impossible.

    Your view of Astecus is your opinion. My opinion remains what I expressed above: a nice guy who was abused by an vastly overreaching GM who was then reined in, and the abuse corrected.

    As for people using highsec capitals if that were allowed, perhaps you might say more. Do recall that highsec rules apply. So capitals cannot aggress anyone except outlaws and wardeccers. Capitals are generally not fast enough to catch outlaws. And as for aggressive wardecs, capitals cannot take gates. So a pair might dominate in a single system, but this hardly seems like a huge problem to anyone -- just don't go in that system if they have you wardecced. So presumably your fear relates to capitals beating a wardec on defense, by beating a fleet. So your worry is that wardeccers will be "crushed into the ground"? But don't they want war? Can't they just avoid the capitals? Won't enough of them beat any group of capitals anyway?

    In fact I find the whole prospect rather charming. An isolated system here, and isolated system there, with two+ carriers, able to make a little island of resistance against wardeccers. It's quirky.

    However I still think the wardeccers would win. Capital killmails are at stake. They reinforce a tower to force the capitals to show up. Then they bring as many battleships as needed. How many Armageddons does it take to tap out an Archon? At 3600 cap per cycle, and roughly 100000 cap, it would take 28. That would tap out an Archon in one cycle. So bring 28 per Archon. Tap them all out. Keep them flat and kill them. This seems doable to me.

  4. Thank you for informing us of this. I don't believe your example was hyperbolic when comparing things in Eve and the real world. There is very little in Eve that can't just be replaced. A long time ago I mentioned in chat that I wanted to see what a Moros looked like so some one had me go to a nearby station and undocked one. I didn't think that much of it then, but now when people talk about capitals in highsec that is what I think of. I think it shows off part of the end game to young characters and I think that is great. Even if they were allowed to fight, we would be the ones losing something when they died.