Many of the changes CCP has made in recent expansions have alternately focused on Empire players or nullsec players. Low security space, it seems, hasn't gotten nearly as much love. You've mentioned in the past that you were considering representing the interests of low sec dwellers as a Council of Stellar Management delegate. Was this a passing whim or are you still considering running for the CSM and representing the interests of EVE's lowsec players?
I still intend to run for CSM5. I very much believe in the CSM process. While piracy is my preferred play style and low sec issues are near and dear to my heart, I am interested in the positive and life-extending evolution of the game whether that evolution benefits me directly as a player or not. I would hope - with over three years' experience in the game, being an active blogger with readers from all play styles, and hosting a very active in-game public channel where pirates and carebears regularly engage in amazingly civilized and useful debates - that I could effectively represent a wide variety of viewpoints in a productive fashion. Gee...that almost sounds like the basis for a campaign platform, doesn't it?
From the standpoint of someone who's made her home in low sec for years now, what are some of the key things CCP could do to improve low security space?
I have a sneaking suspicion that CCP is already working on wide-reaching changes to low sec. I base this on the fact that a lot of CSM candidates campaign strongly in support of low sec initiatives, but then you don't hear much about those initiatives after they are elected. Could it be because CCP shares information with the CSM about planned changes that will negate or address those initiatives? Who knows...but I like to fantasize that it's true. However, when change does come to low sec I wouldn't mind seeing it include lucrative ISK-making activities that are exclusive to low sec, blob deterrents of some kind, a reduction in the GCC timer to 10 minutes, maybe less than perfect tracking on gate/station guns, and perhaps a scaled aggression timer based on ship size that applies to docking. What I think would be wickedly awesome is if Incarna were to be initially (and maybe forever) deployed only for low sec stations.
EVE's playerbase is predominantly male, with women comprising only 4 percent of all pilots in New Eden. Of this already small percentage there are even less women who pursue piracy. You wrote an excellent piece for E-ON recently, titled "The Real Sisters of EVE", which gives readers a look at EVE Online from a feminine perspective. Was it a difficult piece to write? What did you learn about the other women of EVE over the course of your discussions?
That piece was very difficult to write, the key issue being finding the right "voice" for it. I was very determined to avoid the "HEY LOOK WE'RE GIRLS!!!" approach. Instead, I wanted to show honor and respect for the female player population and share with the rest of the player base their intelligence, commitment and passion for the game. I also wanted to show that despite being a small percentage of the population, women tend to take on leadership roles and are very active in decision-making activities across all play styles. If feedback is any indication, I managed to do that. The work I did conducting written surveys and several hours' worth of focus groups on Ventrilo paid off.
What I learned from those efforts - or rather, what was confirmed, since as a woman I already knew it -- was that we female players are no different from male players in the things that matter. We want to do well in our chosen activities, have a good time, and be treated with respect for our game knowledge and skills. Gender is just an interesting detail at the end of the day...it doesn't really matter if there are boobs behind the autocannons or not when the target lock resolves. That said, I discovered a pleasant camaraderie among the female community and it was really nice to get to know more of my sisters of EVE as I worked on that article.
Beyond the rush of PvP and piracy, you're also involved with EVE Online Hold'Em, where I understand the stakes can get quite high. Can you tell me a bit about EOH? How risky is it for players to bring their ISK into EOH?
Ah yes, I do love EOH! Nothing like a little poker PvP to get your heart racing or your blood boiling depending on how the cards play out! In a nutshell, EOH lets you play Texas Hold'Em for ISK. You use ISK to either buy chips for use at ring tables (where the stakes are static and games run continuously) or to pay tournament buy-in fees to play in tournaments hosted by EOH Bankers. An FAQ at EVE Online Hold'Em explains how to create an account, buy chips using ISK, what types of games are offered, how to play in the games that interest you, and more. The poker client is a Flash app that runs in an out-of-game browser.
"I see no reason to restrict our activities to low sec when there are ransoms and juicy items to be found everywhere in New Eden."
As an EOH banker, I see customers trust billions and billions of ISK to EOH and its bankers every day with no issues at all. EOH owner Selene D'Celeste requires bankers to supply hefty collateral which is kept in escrow to discourage theft. Besides, bankers know that they can make more by banking over time than they could by stealing once and getting fired, so there is little motivation to steal. Selene also makes certain guarantees for reimbursing losses in the unlikely case that bankers do decide to steal tournament buy-ins. There's a section in the FAQ mentioned previously that discusses this topic in detail. So, from the perspective of depositing it to the EOH corp or its bankers, risk is very low. When it comes to the risk incurred from betting at the tables, that's another story! In that situation, skill and a little luck come in handy if you want to avoid losing your ISK.
You recently took a new direction with Hellcats by forming the HellFleet alliance (and presumably bringing more pirates into the fold). What are your plans for Hellcats moving forward and what is the "Piracy Everywhere" goal you've mentioned?
We formed HellFleet alliance as a pirate alliance with the idea of conducting piracy everywhere -- be that in low sec, high sec, null sec, or wormhole space. Many people have a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes piracy, typically that it refers only to outlaws ransoming or killing chance victims in low sec. I define piracy as taking ISK and stuff from whomever we can by force, guile, or chance wherever the "profitunity" presents. With that definition in mind, I see no reason to restrict our activities to low sec when there are ransoms and juicy items to be found everywhere in New Eden.
Of course, this has meant that we have had to grind our sec status up. It sucks to give up my flashy status but it is a necessary evil to be able to operate in high sec. However, we will continue to base out of low sec because we love it there. My goal is to recruit two or three more PvP-minded corps to the alliance and once we have the numbers, set our sights on some big projects with potentially sweet pay-offs. In between such activities, we'll be roaming as we have always done -- looking to line our pockets at someone else's expense.
Thanks for speaking with Massively.