Synchtube: Strategically Stymieing Boredom

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Even outside fleets, synchtube can be used to make everyone laugh. For example, we used this on a teamspeak (not eve related) to share funny videos, and the voice chat made it even better.Amazing site A+ would use again.
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This is why so many people don't want to move to nullsec.
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Why I left nullsec, they complain they still do it, day in, and day out. I moved to NPCnull, and haven't shot a structure in over a year and get fights from dudes two jumps away every night. Nullsec could be good, but null leadership is to risk averse to let it be. Sure making everyone blue means you win, but it's not very fun for the line pilot, and showing new/young pilots how nullsec war's are fought as thier first pvp experience is really not in CCP's best intrest for player retention.
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Synchtube changed my life during the last 2 weeks of Tribute
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It's interesting how this links in with the call to nerf the titan bridge. If there were tactics of fleet positioning and outmanoeuvring (especially if there were objectives you could accomplish quickly in someone's space) then this wouldn't occur. It's just because a whole fleet can be ICBM'd right to the battle that the preceding two hours are boring.With an extended battle space much richer warfare becomes possible, cutting off reinforcements, diversion fleets, harassing without engaging, picking off stragglers etc.With the titan bridge, you get youtube in space.
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Knowing this(the waiting) null sec players still talk down to empire players as if they don't know what eve is about... Yes eve is about community and the metagame but players in empire often spend so much more time actually playing the game. I know empire players and null sec players often dislike the other and I don't have a problem with this, what I think is wrong is that so many players are hearded into null sec alliances and adopt the opinion of empire=boring without actually exploring it. Having a subscription to eve while refusing to explore it is somewhat a waste as eve is very much a universe designed to be explored.TL;DR Plea: Null sec players - please stop living up to the nickname of F1 monkeys.
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This may not make much sense to people who play EVE essentially solo- who deal in terms like isk/hr and time is money. But a lot of goons play this game for the community and would absolutely not play if they could not play with other goons. So to spend a couple hours hanging out on a titan in case something happens while capitals are out grinding structures is no big deal and is actually a lot of fun watching a movie with 100 other people and bullshitting on comms.
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With shorter Titan bridges, you get long trips through more gates, not more action.
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You assume that empire players = solo players, this assumption is quite often wrong. On top of that, watching a movie with 100 other people having a great laugh is obviously a good thing and enjoyable for many; however watching a movie with other people who play eve =/= playing eve. My point was that just doing the F1 large fleet stuff (and basic isk making) is a very limited way to play eve compared to those willing to explore the universe.
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Longer travel distance means more opportunities for harassment, more space for maneuver, greater tactical relevance of geography, and ancillary skirmishes.Or, if travel is too difficult for you, attack the people 10 jumps away instead of the people 60 jumps away. Or move 60 jumps and live next to your enemies.
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That would require enemies to actually undock, wouldn't it?
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What's the biggest issue on long boring fleet, is when you don't have a good level of English ; following orders is easy, following jokes is something way harder. And the more boring a fleet is, the more the people will talk, and the more you'll have issues understand them. And given the FC will obviously be part of the chat, having a no chatter room won't work, and of course you can't leave the comms :PWhen FCs talk a lot, and have an horrible accent, it quickly become a nightmare if the comms are not on your native language.
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I agree! Part 2 of this article looks at ways that synchtube can be used by an EVE community to bond and build spirit. It'll be a little harder going to read than this one, but I think you'll find it has some interesting ideas worth trying out.
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I can understand why that might be a problem, Raiden55. It's not like you can just swap out the FC either, is it? I can't directly help much with talkative FCs who are difficult to understand, but I can point out that YouTube movies may include proper captions or automatic captions. Plan 9 from Outer Space, mentioned in the article, for example, has proper captions, and The Alien Factor has automatic captions. You need to turn them on, but the relevant icons (cc and a wide screen with lines on it) appear even in synctube's YouTube player interface. With some careful thought from your FC, you might get to enjoy the movie, improve your English (or whatever language) simultaneously, and not have to listen to the FC. (-:
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I don't want to leave you with the impression that every fight I ever went to involved a lot of waiting. That was certainly the case for me near the end of the war but I also went on plenty of more exciting adventures with many opportunities to die in stupid newbie ways. I will say my survivability is a lot better now for that experience under, shall we say, fire?I spent quite a bit of time during the war in high-sec. I was running missions and mining. I hadn't yet moved into null sec but was using a jumpclone to attend fleets. I wouldn't say Empire is boring but it can be different than life in a null sec. Note that I said it can be. I see quite a few null sec players leading a life not too dissimilar to what I was doing in Empire. I guess I'll see how prevalent that is with more experience in EVE.
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As someone who scraped around in Empire for 2 years, I can safely say that it pretty much is a solo game. Apart from incursions (which weren't available at the time), there is very little you can do as a group. Why on Earth would you run L4's with someone else? Mining fleets? And you call people in null sec F1 monkeys? I suppose mining does have an F2 as well. The only real ISK generation in Empire is with L4 missions though, and I've done enough bloody L4's to last a life time. What makes mining or mission running more fun than being an "F1 monkey"?I'm seriously, what exactly is it about Empire space that makes you go, this is a great game? Wardeccing? Mining? Missions? Industry? The first one essentially boils down to your enemy docking up and doing nothing. The other three are things you don't do with others because that means sharing your profits.Your assumption on null sec pilots just being in large fleet stuff, pressing F1 and ratting occasionally is entirely incorrect as well. I'm sure some do play that way, but to be fair there's a ton of small roams, gate camps and all other kinds of hijinks that are undertaken daily. You have no concept of what you speak of, and yet offer nothing that is enjoyable in to do in High/Empire sec. Take it from, after leaving my Charon in high sec gathering dust I haven't looked back,
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I would rather watch the most horrible movie in the Universe than have to listen to Boat go on for two hours about he's going to do some guy's wife. That was painful.
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FYI, there is a Chrome/Firefox plugin called Proxtube that attempts to get around regional copyright locks. No idea if it works with Synchtube, but it might be worth a try.
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It's not much of a selling point to say "It's not all boring shit. You can also do all that stuff you could do in low or NPC null, except it takes longer because you have to go 30 jumps before you're allowed to shoot at anyone, and they all dock up anyway once you get there."
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^^ A good response, I would also add that nullsec is agreed to be the least developed part of the eve universe and you trying to defend it while knowing so little about the rest of the eve universe demonstrates arrogance. The assumption that 'empire = high sec' is also wrong and at the very least ignorant.
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I don't disagree that null sec and its wars are an experience worth knowing; however I do disagree that null sec is not the best eve has to offer and that anyone not there just isn't winning at eve. My problem is with those that think less of empire and its players because they don't understand it, especially when they are being arrogant about it.To clarify my point: I don't have a problem with null sec(other than the lack of iteration from ccp) but do have a problem with the attitudes of the often vocal(possible minority) that think it is the best of eve-online.p.s. I have not been left with a bad impression of null sec because of this article. I have been left with a better impression of WH/empire space after experiencing them all.personally.
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I'm just going to point out that you're the one who brought the whole Null Sec Pilot's opinion of empire up...personally I love the Empire Pubbies. You mine my tritanium and pyrite and buy my megacyte and morphite.Beyond that I'd also like to add the above is not "ALL" there is in null sec. I personally am involved in moon mining, belt mining, ratting in anoms, market seeding (15+ Billion a month profit anyone?) among other things. I also have paid my dues sitting in the fleets on titans, this past war though I bought a Nyx and took that out on the grinds. Sometimes I almost wished I was back on the titan :PBut...to wrap this up. You're the one hating on null sec. Yeah when someone gets ganked in high sec/low sec we laugh at the tears, but that's just because we live where you can always die and we take precautions to avoid big losses and we think it is funny that people do foolish things. /shrugYou like empire, I like null sec. Whatever...
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No, actually I was making fun of you and sovereignty nullsec. Highsec is shit and so is Sov.
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"I personally am involved in moon mining, belt mining, ratting in anoms, market seeding".True. I was alluding to this in my response. Ratting, industry, plexing aren't activities much different than what I started off doing in high-sec. I certainly see a lot of that activity within our alliance too.Do I think null sec is the best life EVE has to offer? No clue! I don't have enough experience to say. I am enjoying adventuring into wormholes and I did enjoy running missions, possibly more so than ratting as the accessible missions were a little more varied. Perhaps when I can do different types of plexes, with hacking and suchlike, I'll find it a little more interesting.In terms of synchtube, the subject of the article, while I was interested with this use of it to motivate and to keep people engaged, I immediately saw how it could be applied in a much broader context. Communication and communication tools have such a strong effect on our community and culture. I think P2 of the article talking about how to use synchtube yourself and community, learning & cultural ethos is due to appear RealSoonNow™.
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As a relatively new player, I do not have a good feel for how typical this type of sov warfare activity is. I do know, however, that there are other types of activities within the game that result in extended periods of doing not much of anything: corporate mining adventures, gate camping, hanging out cloaked in gangs in systems to scare the locals, etc. I guess people balance the potential for boredom against the potential for a good fight (well, except in the case of the mining!). Yes, I did end up sitting up on the titan for ages and nothing happened, but something could have. On ops I didn't go on (naturally!), there were some amazing fights that I had to hear about secondhand. You pay your money, you roll the dice, and you take your chances.I'm interested in the panoply of things people do in the game. You're understandably not keen on these type of operations, but what kind of things do you do? Can you see synchtube fitting in at all into your activities?
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An earlier article on the site by Baghei (http://themittani.com/features... was presenting quotations from various sov experts and covered in part what's wrong with sov. My understanding was that several people agreed existing mechanics were flawed in encouraging or requiring large blobby fests to grind down horrific numbers of points on structures.Having done some "roams" recently that didn't involve any bridging and seemed to involve travelling around the entirety of the New Eden universe by gates, I can't help but think Pyotr below has a good point: you'd get long trips and not necessarily extended battles. Now, I will agree that in EVE, unlike in many other MMOs, the journey can be just as or more dangerous than the destination, but I found a big chunk of what I was doing on these "universe roams" pretty tedious as it was solely just jumping through a gate, aligning to an out-gate, waiting for an all-clear, warping to the out-gate, and then repeating. Granted, it might have been exciting if we'd run into something, but we managed to get surprisingly far from home before "dropping" casually into HED.If we did have extended space battles with reinforcements cut off, that would definitely impact the type of warfare possible. You'd have to make do with what was there and you might not be able to be profligate with your fleet resources as re-shipping might not be feasible. You're right, though, that being able to send a cyno pilot in behind enemy lines and drop an army there unexpectedly does change tactics and pre-planning, I think if real-world generals could do the same, they would! There's a huge tactical advantage to be able to do so. What should a game do? I don't know. Maybe it is broken and the way before the Titan was the way to go. Was it or was that flawed but in a different way?

I’m on a Titan Bound for Nowhere

As an EVE Online newcomer who jumped immediately into an alliance at war, I was surprised to discover how much time is spent waiting for something to happen. I waited for critical mass to be reached on fleets. In fleet, I waited for mysterious portents to manifest before being allowed to bridge somewhere. Once I’d arrived somewhere, it was hurry up and wait for the opposition to decide whether they were going to play today or leave us hanging. Or, like a good newbie, I arrive for structure grinding detail in my shiny Vigil only to wait for said structures to come out of reinforcement. None of this, however, compares to the tedium of being on standby, camped atop a Titan usually in the middle of nowhere, while the capitals are out conquering the universe.

Time… Drags… On…

You could be there for 2 to 6 hours. Waiting… Waiting… Oh, yes, and waiting some more. Did I mention the waiting? Nobody mentioned all this waiting to me before I started playing and I apparently missed Sindel Pellion’s implied musical warning:

I’m on a titan ready for fightin’
all of our fuel we spent on you
Where have your fleets gone? Why did they run home?
We’ve got a dunk or two for you…

Even as a newbie, for whom everything is sparkly and shiny, it palls—especially because you might not comprehend why the fleet is sitting there for hours doing seemingly nothing. Even if you know why and recognize the necessity, it is boring. This presents certain logistics problems for these operations. The first relates to attendance and the second to readiness. Fleet commanders (FCs) know that a boring fleet is a poorly attended one and a bored fleet is an inattentive fleet.

Structure grinding, as an example, is not a glamorous activity. It presents no challenge stronger than remembering to cycle your guns. Subcap support fleets have even less to recommend them as you are not guaranteed to do anything all—at least on a structure grind you might get POS module kill credit. Boredom can become a weapon of the enemy. When the fleet is good and bored, an enemy defence fleet might swoop in or the caps might run into trouble, requiring a quick response. Attendance and readiness are needed for these essential war effort contributions. FCs therefore have developed strategies to overcome these two problems.

Synchtube: An (Anti-)Weapon of Mass Distraction

I have heard rumours of fleet commanders who play guitar and sing. Some others seem to have the gift of infinite gab, able to talk endlessly or recount story after story. My favourite solution so far is watching movies together using the synchtube service. This service, launched in 2010, is developed and maintained by programmer Justin “mrchess” Ho. It was “originally built to effortlessly exchange YouTube videos”, but it has since grown to support ten additional media services. Its basic use is simple: The fleet commander creates a “room” on the service, queues up some movies in a playlist, and then distributes the room’s unique web address to fleet members. The room’s owner controls the content playback with everyone in the room synchronized. A shared text chat is included on the room’s page for the participants should they not have or not wish to use external voice communication systems. Up to 150 people can watch simultaneously.

This is a stunningly simple idea that works absolutely brilliantly even if it does have its naysayers. Synchtube does not host the content. Instead, it embeds YouTube streams into the page and uses YouTube’s existing methods to specify a clip’s start time. This approach accomplishes three things: it keeps everyone synchronized, it offloads hosting and bandwidth for the video content to companies with deep pockets, and it neatly sidesteps any issues with rebroadcasting or “publishing” copyrighted content. Like many other free services, the site covers its costs with banner advertisements.

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In EVE, “B” films seem particularly appropriate to use because so many of them fall into the science fiction in space category, e.g., The Alien Factor[1] or Plan 9 from Outer Space. The cheesier, the better, because such films are stupid, flawed, funny, or all three. One FC posts a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet for participants to vote for a movie from a given genre, like science fiction, horror, or blaxsploitation. The chosen movie is started with the FC then able to pause the film should anything occur requiring everyone to return to their game screens.

Interview with an FC

I had the opportunity to interview Roland Hova, a Goonswarm Federation fleet commander, about his use of synchtube in fleets.

Eingang: When did you first start using synchtube in your fleets? How many fleets do you estimate you’ve used it in? What gave you the idea to use synchtube in EVE PvP fleets?

Roland Hova: During the tail end of the war in Tribute, a random Frenchman linked us the synchtube website. Having recognized what an awesome tool this to combat fleet fatigue, I started compiling a list of movies. Almost every strat-op fleet that’s not actively engaged in combat has had it up.

Eingang: What advantages do you see in using this?

Roland Hova: Having something to talk about and keep oneself entertained during strat ops helps keeps people awake and motivated. I have had several people tell me they log into fleets more now, even if they know [they] won’t see any action [just] to watch the movie and hang out.

Many older Goons will remember GFSFM, a streaming music “radio station” DJ’d during campaigns with the old sov system. I see synchtube as the next evolution of that.

Eingang: How have people reacted?

Roland Hova: Positively. Initially 20% of the fleet actually watched as most people had developed other ways of keeping themselves entertained. Numbers have been steadily going up so I have high hopes.

Eingang: What types of movies have you found to work best?

Roland Hova: The best movies are movies you can laugh at and engage in a conversation with the other people in fleet about. bad horror films, cheesy action movies, anything scifi related. The best fleets feel like Mystery Science Theater 3000. Some movies are stinkers though so go by what your audience likes.

Eingang: Have you encountered any major technical problems?

Roland Hova: If you don’t set the room to private you get trolls that use scripts to crash the room, usually by overloading the chat function Other than that, sites like YouTube have different copyright settings based on what country you’re in. I streamed the new Battlestar Galactica miniseries Blood and Chrome during an EU timezone fleet and found out Germans couldn’t watch it.

Beyond Boredom

My limited experience with synchtube matches Roland Hova’s for the most part, although he reported some technical issues that I had not considered. On the whole, where I witnessed synchtube used in EVE, the strategic operation was much more enjoyable. While not all fleet members watched the videos, many did and were quite engaged, even if the movie was awful. Much amusement was derived from making fun of how awful something was or riffing off its badness with the group’s creativity. Group morale seemed high, with good-natured bantering, despite the boring nature of the operations. If you use this in your own fleets, as Roland Hova essentially notes, your mileage will vary depending on the content used.

In this article, I introduced synchtube as a measure to combat boredom and to improve attendance in fleets. The next article looks at the practical steps to using synchtube yourself, including pitfalls, copyright issues, and legal content sources. More importantly, it explores going far beyond battling boredom into how and why you would want to use synchtube to foster community and learning. Stay tuned!

I am a virtual worlds researcher focussing on adult learning and communities of practice within MMOGs. I examine EVE through multiple lenses: as a researcher, as a new EVE universe participant, and as an experienced gamer. I'm @Eingang on Twitter.