Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SWAMPED

I'm sure regular readers of my blog are familiar with Mrs Kodachi's frequent non-life threatening (and sometimes even life threatening) health issues. Well, the past week has been a perfect storm of factors limiting my free time and thus blogging output:

1) Mrs Kodachi got the cold that went through the family and whereas everyone else needed a day to recover, she required a week.

2) Point 1 meant I was working two jobs, my regular job and then taking care of the kids to ballet exams, school, and other appointments/activitites.

3) Work was super busy with an important feature we were trying to wrap up that I was integral in working on.

4) And all of this while trying to get ready for the rushing locomotive and unstoppable force of Christmas less than two weeks away.

Stressed and lacking time have led me to be a little more reclusive than normal and less attentive than called for in the warzone. Thank goodness I hold a lot of shares in my corporation and got a big ISK dividend last week.

I'm hoping that with my wife on the mend and today being demo day and the end of the stories I was pushing the body on, I will have more time to partake in my hobbies.

Cheers!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Project Vulcan Phase IV - November Audit Complete

I completed the asset audit on November 30, last day according to my own rules, and was too busy to decide on a dividend payout and write up a report since then.

Real life can be a time suck, you know?

Anyways, here is the report.

The value of the corp at the May audit was approximately 64.6 billion ISK, and as of Nov 30 audit the value increased to ~79.4 billion ISK, a modest 14.8 billion ISK increase. I admit I was disappointed in this result. I figure the decrease in Azbel/Astraus/Raitaru demand as the consumer base has its needs filled coupled with the durability of these products and the saturation of the supply contributed to poor sales volumes. Capital production has been as consistent as last period but contributes not a lot to the bottom line.

I was hoping to make up a lot of ground with Athanor sales but outside of the first few the profit margins were modest. Still, I suspect that a large portion of the 14.8 billion increase came from Athanors.

End result: I've decided on a dividend payout of 10 billion ISK to shareholders which means that shares increase in value a small 7.41% (compared to 28.45%) last audit. The divident payout will be made within 24 hours.

Next week, I'll ruminate on next steps.

Friday, December 01, 2017

CCP Its Time: Tell Us The Future Vision

The age of structures is well and truly upon us.

The twilight of Player Owned Stations has begun. The sticks will fall completely as soon as niggling little functionality of Cyno beacons, Cyno jammers, and jump bridges are dealt with.

We're ready.

CCP, tell us the future plan. What's next? What is the next big thing?

We need to know. We're dying to know. We want to know because right now, after the moon mining shakeup has settled and we are living in the future of moon fracking, this seems like it. We're at the end of the known plan and in order to keep us veterans engaged for the long term, we need to know what's next.

New space? Stargates? New Drifter threats?

Tell us CCP; its time. Time for a new public roadmap.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Raiding the Farms and Fields

I was asked to run a structure bash op for my Sunday Night Fleet this past weekend but it got cancelled right after I had jump cloned so decided to fight my nervousness about null sec and do the roam in the great black yonder of Cloud Ring and neighbouring regions. We set out with a fleet of small ships, interceptors and frigates and destroyers and a couple interdictors.

Man, its weird seeing interdictors actually being used! And bubbles as an option in the tool box! And no gate guns! Its all so freaky.

But the freakiest thing is the residents of null sec we ran into.


Ratting Vexor Navy Issues. Several times.

Ratting Rattlesnake. (He got away)

Industrial on a gate.

A moon mining op. And after we killed a couple of them, a Cynabal wandered too close to our interceptors and got caught.

I've always suspected that the shark eat shark microcosm of constant warfare of low sec created pilots of a higher quality and this roam around null sec only reinforced that idea. Its just not safe for ratting in low sec, and mining ops are much more paranoid. In null sec the lower population density and infrequency of danger lowers one's guard more, but I still find it interesting that the reaction is quiet acceptance of the kills. In low sec, getting a kill with a fleet almost always ensures a fleet being assembled to come kill you. Yet the one gang we saw didn't give chase.

Oh well, it was a nice ego boost either way as Galmilistan continues to exist against all expectations.

Also, loving my Taranis, what a nice little pistol.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On Gaming and Gambling

The Belgium Gaming Commission don't like loot boxes in games:

Belgium says loot boxes are gambling, wants them banned in EuropeBy Andy Chalk
The Minister of Justice says the mix of gaming and gambling is "dangerous."

Last week, Belgium's Gaming Commission announced that it had launched an investigation into whether the loot boxes available for purchase in games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 constitute a form of gambling. Today, VTM News reported that the ruling is in, and the answer is yes.
The Google translation is a little sloppy, as usual, but the message is clear enough. "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," the Gaming Commission declared. Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens also weighed in, saying, "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."
Geens, according to the report, wants to ban in-game purchases outright (correction: if you don't know exactly what you're purchasing), and not just in Belgium: He said the process will take time, "because we have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it." 

I'm not surprised.

In the evolution from buying games to the future of gaming, loot boxes on the micro transaction branch is a particular odious beast fraught with danger and legal technicalities that are finally coming home to roost.

Addiction is a terrible thing. It always starts off slow and in control and fun and harmless, and before you know it you are doing things and sneaking things and lying and going broke because of it. Gambling addiction is especially dangerous because there are no outward physical deterioration from partaking in it unlike alcohol or illegal drugs.

Loot boxes are themselves not intrinsically bad regardless of what they carry inside them, be it merely cosmetic items (like in Overwatch) or actual advantages for power or progression (like Star Wars Battlefront II that sparked this debate, or Heroes of the Storm in which you can get characters unlocked or experience boosters). The problem comes when the game allows you to buy loot boxes with real money instead of spending the money directly on the items you want; sometimes it's a trade off of spending X dollars for a rare item or same amount of money for so many loot boxes in hopes of getting a epic or legendary item, but some games simply close off the direct buy route and funnel all micro transactions into want is essentially a lottery.

Some people are just more inclined to become caught in the gambling addiction web. Sure there are lots of people that "know their limits and play within it" but there is enough people where the rush of a big payoff in a loot box chemically alters the brain to desire that feeling again. It's a chemical dependency and it sucks and it's easy to give into and hard to resist. "Just one more time..."

This is particularly dangerous for children and young adults who are just as susceptible to the possibility of addiction without the maturity to recognize the dangers and accept the risks, and these groups are the main consumers of these games where loot boxes are present.

I'm not arguing for the complete removal of all loot boxes as I believe that is unreasonable and will not work in the long run. I think we should acknowledge the gambling aspect of the mechanic and treat it as such. I also think protesting vigorously when a game comes out that abuses said mechanic is the right course of action, as witnessed in the backlash against EA's efforts in the Star Wars game.

Most importantly, we need to understand that game creators have the right to make money and that at the same time game players have the right to not be preyed upon with underhanded practices designed to exploit human psychological and physiological weaknesses. There is a healthy balance there and its important for both sides (producers and consumers) to find it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project Vulcan - Audit Time Approacheth

The 6 month audit cycle for Project Vulcan Phase IV is upon us once more!

I've been putting it off while the heat of Lifeblood and mass producing Athanors was in full swing but we've settled down a lot now so I can start gathering all the inventory and pricing it all out.

I have no idea how much the corporation value has increased since May as sales and margins were depressed over the summer, but the uptick of selling 20 Athanors at profit margins ranging from 100 to 2 billion ISK each should boost that number considerably.

Expect the audit to be complete next week.

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