Archive for March, 2012

New Module: Lock Breakers

I have finally had a chance to catch up on some of the videos of fan fest this year. Having just finished watching the New Module presentation just one thing has caught my attention. Targeted lock breakers.

This is going to be a game changer. For anyone who has not seen the presentation I will quickly brush over the concept:

It is a module which breaks all locks on you. The module is chanced based, but the calculation includes the number of people currently targeting you. E.g. If one person is targeting you the chance of success is low, with 20 the chance is high. It was also noted that this would be a sub-capital only module (at least this was my interpretation; the exact phrase was “Doesn’t work on capitals” this could mean the reverse and its covered by the anti-ewar caveat on capitals, let’s hope not thou).

I’m sure your keen mind is already boggling at the possibilities, just as mine was.

Before Fanfest I discussed the “leaked” micro jump drive, and analysed my thoughts on how this would affect the game and whom it would affect (incidentally that module was also officially presented at the presentation), I want to do the same now with this.

First and foremost this could change the landscape of 0.0 warfare. For a long time now large fleet fights have concentrated on large groups of people attacking single targets in the enemy fleet to ensure its speedy destruction. This module (depending on its penalties and fitting requirements of course) could well change all that. Large blobs could soon find themselves frustrated by targets breaking lock and running from their malevolent grip faster than a soapy nun in a poker house.

However its effectiveness dependent on how the module is implemented. If it activates at the end of its cycle, it’s is likely to be too late for the defending ship, as blobs over a certain size (especially alpha fleets) will have killed them stone cold dead long before the cycle ends (even if it’s only a short one). On the other had if it’s activated on click and then has a cool down timer, we might see the emergence of super-fast locking battleships, which lock, lose lock and re-acquire in a matter of seconds allowing them to still blob the target.

What is good to see is that even in their most powerful form these modules are still going to require skill to both use and counter, and could see the emergence of new kind of psychological warfare (which I love). Assuming they have any kind of activation delay the skill of this module is going to be in when to press it. If you’re being targeted by an entire fleet, do you attempt to break lock early and warp out, or hero tank for a bit to cause maximum damage, but risk getting alpha’d. Equally there is a skill based counter to the module. If you know the cool down time, you could attempt to scare a selection of targets into activating early (locking up a tertiary target early, and re-lock them, then primary them before the cool down finishes). Equally FC’s are going to have to learn to keep a VERY fast locking ship back from initial tackling to hopefully catch anything attempting to run away, alternatively bubbles get even more importance on the battlefield.

One thing this will not do however is end the blob. I’m sure that some people are hoping this will mean a gang of 10 can take on a gang of 50 with far better odds. But assuming that large fleets have good discipline this is unlikely to happen. There is still no disadvantage to brining 50 people against 10 people. It just means each of your 10 engage 1 enemy and still win. At worst fleets will have to hold back some of its members from engaging in case the initial group lose lock. If the blob has a Hic or a Dic it the module makes no odds at all, except just how long it will take to die.

Outside of 0.0 fleet fights we could also see some interesting uses of this module; will they for instance work on NPC’s? Could we see people tanking PLEX’s and missions by breaking locks? Could it even make Mission/Incursion running even less of a risk, as with multiple NPC’s targeting you, your guaranteed to be able to break a mission gangers lock on you and run away?

Finally the biggest effect which we might see is dependence on logistics. Let us assume for a moment that this module is good enough to make primarying a single target with 100 people in effective. let’s say that when someone is targeted they pump the module and warp off before a new lock and be acquired (bubblers have been killed early in most battles). It would mean that it is now more effective to break your fleet down into squad based groups (1 tackler, 5 DPS lets say) and allow them to engage as a smaller group. This is going to make fleet MUCH more dependent of logistics. Now instead of all damage going onto a single target (with 60% of it being over kill) we have damage being applied across and entire fleet. Logistics are going to have to work harder than ever and may be required more than ever.

TL;DR

                – Invest in SEBO BPO’s

                – Invest in logistics

                – Keep investing in bubblers

                – don’t be surprised when the blob adapts

– <3 your logi.

CCP: Titan Docking

Just a quick rough one here*. For anyone not constantly enjoying the delicious tears in the Upcoming titan Nerf adjustments forum post, CCP has discussed the issue of titan docking.

The full post by CCP Greyscale can be found here, but I will paraphrase:
A single poster in the thread (possibly the only one either not glistening with tears of rage or chalking with delight) called Crystal Wolf had an intelligent and interesting discussion with Greyscale about the Titan Nerf. Towards the end he asks if, to avoid ill will from titan pilots, CCP might consider normal or GM docking for Titans.
Greyscale replies:
“We’re investigating whether it’s possible to add some easy way for people to “park” sensibly; CSMAs are supposed to offer this function, but their total lack of security obviously makes them fairly non-viable.
These changes should be on singularity prior to deployment, but I don’t have an actual schedule available for that.”
This is a very interesting point. Titan Docking has been an issue of contention for quite some time. As currently a Titan Pilot is pretty much locked out of any form of PvP not involving titans, but what does this mean?
Firstly there are two ways a titan could be “Parked”; Stations or POS’s
Stations would require a very small change, as CCP just need to change the Titans properties so stations accept the docking requests. But this would also have some knock-on effects as well:
Trusted 3rd Parties
Services like Chribas 3rd party trading would become obsolete. If players can trade in stations there would be no need for trusted 3rd parties in Super Capital trades (although other large transfers might need them).
Less Titan Deaths
Currently quite a lot of titan deaths are due to them being caught were they logged off, as stations are invulnerable catching a sleeping titan will be a lot harder (although station bubble-wrapping might catch them).
The second option for titan “Parking” would be the revamping of POS’s much mentioned in CSM campaigns and even by CCP as something they really want to do. If POS’s were revamped it would be a great opportunity to look at the CSMA system and make it a more viable option for Titan Parking.
Perhaps is a fools hope, but I really hope this is a hint of a new POS system incoming for Inferno… I know I know, but a man can dream right?
Thanks for reading
Hark
*finar finar, giggidy giggidy, that’s what she said.

An Appeal: Bitter Veteran Syndrome

Bitter Veteran Syndrome (BVS) is an epidemic on New Eden; and it’s time to raise awareness. The chances are that you mix with people who right now are entering into the first stages of this disease, and neither you nor they understand enough to realize the problem.

Any character with over 10m skill points can contract BVS, but the truly vulnerable are characters with skill points above 60m. It’s currently unknown how this correlation forms, but the facts are there*. If you know someone in this skill range, you need to watch out for the Symptoms:

 – Constantly complaining about the ease of the game for new players
 – Shouting “HTFU” as a counter point to every argument
 – A belief that Super Capitals are just fine the way they are (or were)
 – Rarely actually logging into the game
 – An ability to understand game mechanics better than anyone else

 If you are afraid that a friend has contracted BVS there is a simple test you can do to be sure:

Show them a reasonable ship fitting and ask for advice.
If they immediately point out more than three errors they likely early onset BVS (assuming the fitting isn’t really shit). Severity can be judged on the amount of issues spotted, and the level of explanation given for the mistakes.

i.e. 6 issues spotted and no explanation given at all for the mistakes is a very severe contraction (if they shout HTFU as an explanation contract a support group immediately). Whereas 3 items spotted, but a calm and logical explanation of why and how to fix them is a low risk case.

Sadly there is no cure for, but it is our belief here at the Hark Science Studies Centre (HSSC) BVS department, that there is a lot we can do to help these sadly afflicted individuals, and so we ask for your generosity to help fund the research of BVS and the treatment of sufferers. Institutes such as the Pandemic Legion Bitter Veteran Home allow extreme sufferers of BVS to be with people who suffer and understand they plight. They also provide support to all members in their time of need.

But for some such a community of support is just not available, and many thousands of BVS sufferers don’t even have the money for the basic Super Capitals which they so desperately need.

So please, if you have seen the damage BVS can cause to a pilot, consider donating to the HSSC:BVS study and support group. Just a few billion ISK could keep a BVS suffer comfortable for years to come.

Thank you,

Hark

P.s. Yes I just passed 60M skillpoints… any one want to fund me a titan?

*      10m sp ~= 02.32% contraction rate (cr)
     30m sp ~= 07.66% cr
     60m sp ~= 56.79% cr
    100m sp ~= 89.72% cr
    Results from the “what does hark think study” funded by unicorns and fairies.

Incoming Truffle Pig Tears (Titan Nerf)

CCP Greyscale today announced some fairly big changes to titans (and by proxy Dreads). The full post (and delicious tears) can be found here along with the tears from the Truffel Pig allances (and others).

Now this first paragraph is a bit like a black smith putting on his lead apron; I’m trying to avoid the flames. I am very very pro Super Capital nerfs. I celebrated the Super Carrier Nerf, and I will celebrate the Titan Nerf. No single ship in the game should be an “I win” button, none. These changes should work towards the goal of enforcing skill (and not wallet depth) as the deciding factor in battles.
This nerf is unfortunately going back to where we began during the “Get titans on grid” changes in dominion. It comes down to Risk:Reward ratios. At the moment the numbers look like this:
            2:10
Titan pilots love using them because they have very little risk and great rewards. CCP has now made the ratio like this:
            2:5
Now titan pilots are just not going to fly them because they don’t feel it’s worth the risk. What they should be aiming for is this:
            8:10
This would mean titans pilots would want to fly because they get a good reward, but they take a big risk to get it. Now I don’t think that blaping sub caps is where that 10 reward should come from so in that respect the change will work, but to make the titan changes work in full CCP needs to achieve two other things. (What they have done is bolded below).
Stop Titans from killing small ships, but give them something equally rewarding (but less infuriating to other players). Then make titan take a bigger risk to achieve its role (whatever CCP decides this is).
Now what’s fixed is only a tiny part of that solution and hopefully this what Greyscale means by “We don’t consider titans ‘Done’ after this change”. If we increase the risk to titans, while still enticing them onto the field we will start to see more and more titan deaths and a lowering of the numbers of Super Capitals in game.
But that’s just to goals of the titan changes i.e. things done directlyto the titan. More needs to be done to the factors which have caused this symptom to come to light. So now we know what needs to be done to cure the symptom, let’s follow the diagnosis to its root:
           
            “It’s easy for 10 titans to luck out with their tracking (with the right mods) and blap sub-capitals”
            Because?
            “Certain Alliances have been able to field enough titans to make this happen regularly”
            Why?
            “Alliances have enough money to easily field of SC’s”
            Ah!
           
Yup it’s another anti alliance wealth post. Well not entirely. At the moment something like 1 titan and three Super Carriers are produced per day. Which means to cure the proliferation problem in a realistic timeframe, we have to kill 2-3 titans per day every day*. So we need to reduce the production of titans as well. I won’t go into detail on how I think CCP should about this (as I have done so elsewhere), suffice to say that a Moon Goo nerf might be a great start.
Again another rough post in response to the flow of the game.
Thanks for reading,
Hark
*
[Titans in game today]/([titans killed per day] – [titans produced per day]) = [days till 0 titans]
730 / (3 – 1) = 365
I think 50-100 titans is about the right number 😛

Blood Money: Rogue Drone Special Edition

This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.

A few days ago I posted a quick and dirty commentary on the Micro Jump Drive module possibly being added in either crucible 1.5 or Inferno. Within the same “leaked” document, a large chunk of information was also given on the soon to be changes to drone bounties, which I very briefly touched on. I want to now go a little deeper in to what the drone changes mean for us as players. First a short explanation for those not acquainted with our artificial brethren.

Rogue Drones, which can be found in the Eastern Low/null regions of New Eden, are in essence Drones which have developed an AI and gone all “Virus” on us.  Unlike the human pirate factions, the drones don’t have a bounty on them, but instead drop Alloys and Compounds (sometimes called drone poo), which can be refined into minerals. Now CCP has begun to acknowledge that this needs to be changed so that Drones begin to give bounties like the other factions.

Drone poo has been a thorn in the side of industrialists for quiet some while now, with miners unable to compete with the speed and efficiency of killing drones for minerals instead of mining ‘roids. Some have even gone so far as to state that the primary source of minerals in New Eden is not the humble hulk; but instead these devious drones. I’m not sure I would go so far, but it does show the level of the problem. Now this is no new issue, and people have been complaining about Drones for some while*, so why has it suddenly changed?

It seems to me entirely possible that CCP has been planning this for a long time and just never gotten around to it. After all changing an entire faction’s (races?)’ bounty is probably no easy thing. But it seems quite likely that the catalyst for the change has been the Russian Civil war. For quite some while the Eastern provinces of New Eden have been quite in terms of war. Sure the citizens have shipped out and attacked other seventy, and some fringe space has changed hands, but until the Russian Civil War, Conflict hadn’t really been seen in the Drone Lands since the dawn of EvE. Then, a few months ago several big Russian Alliances drew a line in the sand and started picking fights. Along with this came an internal change, Minerals which were bound for high-sec were re-routed to fuel the War Machine in preparation for the long drawn out fight to come. With the majority of Null-Sec minerals now not leaving 0.0, the control of the markets returned to the industrialists overnight, and we all saw the price of minerals skyrocket as a result. I suspect this realisation of just how much the Drone Poo was changing the balance of the markets is what finally tipped the balance for CCP, who at the time were looking for balancing changes to fit in with their new attitude. But this is just the start, the real market changes will happen when the Drone Poo dries up entirely.

Anyone familiar with the laws of supply and demand (or indeed anyone who can open the market window) knows what happens when this hits. With demand for minerals staying the same (or indeed likely increasing) but let’s say 40% of Supply disappearing, it’s now a sellers’ market for minerals. Mineral buyers will be forced to increase their buying prices to ensure they get a chunk of the (mineral) pie, meaning more profits to the miners. In the short term prices of anything made from minerals will increase as the increased costs of mineral is passed on by industrialists to customers, along with the increase in profit margins (most margins are calculated by a percentage of the base price). However before miners break open the Cava and start forming conga lines, the spike will likely be short lived, as more miners join their bejewelled playing fraternity in the form of both industrialists looking to cut costs, and money seekers jumping on the band wagon. That said; when the prices do finally settle they will likely be higher than the previous average.

In short, things are going to get very very very expensive and then drop down to just very expensive as supply begins to meet demand.

But what does this mean for the variety of the game? I do agree that low-end minerals should be controlled by High-Sec & its miners. But I disagree that bounties for drones were the right way to go. I believe that eve’s un-uniformity is its lifeblood, and this smoothing of the rough is detrimental to the game. Indeed I would argue that other faction bounties should be changed instead. I would advocate that every Ratting faction should supply a different way of rewarding the player. We will keep one faction with the “press button get reward” system we know and love (let’s say the sansha so we don’t mess up Incursions). Each other faction gets a new method below are just a couple of rough and ready suggestions (aren’t they always with me):

– Loyalty: A new Corporation is founded opposed to the faction in question. Every Faction rat gives loyalty points with the faction, which can be saved or spent on items.

– Standings: A new sub corporation of concord is founded. Each rat you kill increases your standings with the corp. Every week a payout calculated on your standings is given, and your standing is reset with the corporation.

– Fertiliser Pellets: Really throwing the boat out here, let’s make drones drop a fertiliser which increases an asteroids yield (each is set to a type and rarity.. i.e “Minor Veldspar enrichment” and “Glacial Golden Omber deployment”. 0.0 players can sell this roid’ manure to High Sec miners so they can increase their asteroid pools. Hell while I’m on this trip, let’s say we remove the refilling of belts during downtime, and make it reliant on the fertiliser to keep minerals.

Again, I’ll emphasise here that I don’t want ALL rats to follow a single, different system; but for EACH rat to have a different system of profit. A usual this is pulled from my arse as I write, and only intended to give a gist of what I mean (although I do quite like the fertiliser one).

TLDR;

    – Drones will be giving bounties
    – Minerals are going to spike in price
    – Items will also spike
    – I think the change is bad for eve, because it doesn’t go far enough

Thanks for reading,

Hark

*including the people who farm them. The Russian Alliances who have traditionally held drone space have always complained that drones are less profitable and more risky than bounties due to the need for logistics to ship them to High-Sec. Although I always hear it in the same tone my father says “Oh no this is awful, urg no horrid, you wouldn’t like this at all!” while tucking into a cake. Except of course the Russians are Building titans, not eating cake.

Dual tank and Dual Spank (and why they are bad)

Dual Tank
Dual tanking is probably the most common sin of less than savvy Nullsec residents. It’s a common pitfall because the logic behind it is actually quiet sound.

“I don’t want to get killed out there, so I’m going to fit as much tank as I can. If shields use Mid-Slots and Armor Tanking uses Low Slots, nothing is stopping me from fitting both!”

It’s also supported by a lot of sci-fi background, in which most ships have powerful shields and thick armor plates. Unfortunately the logic and the corroborating literature do not equal a sound decision in EvE. The chances are, if you have (or do) make this mistake, it will be while your fresh and new to the game, when you have little to no experience of the mechanics.

So why is this a sin? First and foremost we have to consider the tanking penalties. We must understand the three key underlining principles of tanking; Buffer (how big your health bar is), Resistances (the % of damage you can ignore) and Repair Rate (how fast the bar will return to full). With both Shield and armor buffer has a disadvantage*. With Armour, your ships mass (and thus is velocity & agility) are penalised. With shield your signature radius  is penalised (making you quicker to lock & easier to hit). This means that by dual tanking, you are going to be slower to get away and faster to lock. You are also going to be twice as easy to hit (Signature radius and speed twice the chance to hit mechanics). The net result of this is that your tank may have increased, but your survivability and your ability to avoid damage has dramatically decreased.

But it doesn’t end here. If you fit a dual rep ship, you are also removing your utility. Part of the balance of the shield types has always been “Shield tankers get to do more damage (low slots free for damage mods), armor tankers get utility (mid slots fit ewar, tackle, etc)”. By fitting a dual rep, your tank now takes up all your utility meaning that you will hit with the force of an intercontinental ballistic marshmallow, and have no ability to range control or perform ewar. A far better idea would be to fit the utility slots left by your tank with things which will help you avoid/remove/control the incoming damage while you tank. Shield tankers can kill the enemy faster with damage mods, and armour tankers slow the enemy down, speed themselves up or stop them from locking.

So is it ever excusable to dual tank? The short answer is No, but in honesty it’s more complex than that. Firstly this doesn’t include other less solid tank types (ewar, speed & stealth) which can sometimes be mixed to great effect (see assault frigates). Secondly, some will argue the dual tanking a bait ship is a good idea. This is because you no longer care about your survivability (your bait, you don’t have any), your only concern is to survive long enough for the cavalry to arrive. However the counter argument is that bait only works if they can point the enemy to prevent escape when the cavalry do arrive. This means they do need mid slots. My final advice is; when in doubt, never dual tank. You will be laughed at when you lose it (and you will).

Mixed weapons
This is a sin you tend to see later in the life of new Null sec players. It also generally also has two flavours; small weapons & big weapons, close range weapons and long range weapons. The former is generally because the player wants to be able to hit tackle and other frigates, the second is because they feel the need to hit an enemy at every range in-between here and Jove.

So why does it make kittens cry? Well this one’s pretty simple in actual fact; it’s a simple case of “jack of all trades master of none”. If your guns can hit all ranges and/or all classes of ships, you will not excel at killing any of them. In EvE ships are designed to force you to make choices (this applies well to dual tanks as well). If you think you have found a way to cover every option, the chances are you have missed something out somewhere. The tank and damage of ships are balanced assuming that the full DPS of a ship is going to be applied to the full tank of the enemy. If your only applying half (or goodness help us a quarter) of your DPS to a target, they are going to laugh at you and hit you back with a full rack of weapons.

Mixed weapons are occasionally excusable. For instance you won’t get laughed out of Null if you fit two Heavy Assault Missile launchers to a Auto cannon hurricane, nor will you for Using a Torpedo & Auto cannon Typhoon. But these situations are easy to spot; when you fit a ship look at its primary weapon type (hint: Ship bonuses, racial weapons & how many turret or launcher slots does it have most of). Fill your ship with this weapon type and if you have slots left over, you can use the secondary weapon system. If you find yourself using two types of turret or two types of missiles you will fall foul of this. In the case given above you can even justify sizing down the secondary weapon system (in the Hurricane example, using light missiles instead of heavys); but you may have to explain your reasoning (killing drones & tackle might fly). But in all honesty, you’re better off fitting a utility High, like a neutraliser.

TLDR;

  • Dual tanking makes you easier to kill
  • Dual tanking makes it harder to run away
  • Mixing weapons is almost always bad
  • If you have to ask if its a bad idea; it is

Thanks for reading

Hark¬

*this applies to the rigs as well

Addendum to Micro Jump Drives

An addendum to the post: Micro Jump Drives

It seems that the idea was proposed in or around 2006: here.

Although it was shot down by players due to its use against gate camps. Interestingly the spool up time added to the module, coupled with the susceptibility to tackle means that this is no longer an issue.

The initial complaint was that if you could jump 100km from where you currently are you would be able to avoid gate camps & high sec ganking. However because you cannot use the drive (and this is reliant on my take on the drives description) while tackled, and it takes 8 seconds to spool up, to avoid a gate camp in it, you would need to take more than 8 seconds to align, but also more than 8 seconds to lock. I cant think of any example of where this might occur, so well done CCP on avoiding one issue.

Any way, I mainly wanted to add to this a little more about the source of the info:

It comes from a SISI data dump, which includes all the stats, some renaming of modules (Trauma to scourge) and the drone bounties (more on this here). The data can be found on pastebin: here.

It was also initially posted on Redit by sarmatiko.

The missile name change seems a bit suspicious to me (I wouldn’t put it past them, but really CCP, REALLY?). And the drone bounties are very unlikely to be the final numbers. However that doesn’t mean this is a test build which will never make it on to TQ. All the same, I have disclosed my data sources, and its up to you if you take this as gospel or with a whole truck of salt.

Micro Jump Drives

Once again the old rumour mill has spring to life regarding the new modules CCP has eluded to coming in the near future. I’m not sure if this is a change they are thinking of adding to the crucible 1.5 patch or the Inferno expansion, either way it’s an interesting possible addition to the game.
If you haven’t read it already the information states the following (summarised):
Micro Jump Drive I (Mid Slot)

Capacitor Needs: 946gj
Activation time: 8.3 seconds
Reactivation delay: 33 seconds
CPU: 77
PG: 1375
Description:
Long ramp up time, at end ship is jumped 100km directly forwards. Ship maintains direction and velocity*. Ship is affected by warp scramblers and warp disruption fields.
We also have anchored bubbles which will stop you from Micro Jumping in to them.
Here are some of my thoughts on how this could affect the game:
Well drag bubble camps, for a start, might want to consider either ensuring their drag bubble is either at 150km or 50km from the gate, to stop battleships simply Micro Jumping to the gate and freedom (of course they will have to clear the bubble first).
Capitals may now have a quick and easy way to get inside POS shields. This could be used when deploying fighters (park capital facing POS @ 100km, if hostiles jump wait eight seconds, and your inside the POS), or just to move faster than they can in any other way (100km every 38 Seconds 2600m/s.. [Apologies if this is wrong my maths is poor!]).
I have heard people talking about this being good for Gallente ships, bringing them in range quicker, however unless the enemy is at exactly 100km from your megathron blob, its unlikely to make much of a difference. However it is a new thing to bear in mind for FC’s, that group of ships 100km away from you, are actually only 8 seconds away from you…
Along the same ilk, this could affect sniper fleets as well. As above brawlers can now try to jump into the middle of a sniper fleet, however to counter this, sniper fleet could now use the MJD to instantly hop 100km further away. This could make kiting a lot more viable for slower ships.
Looking at how they might be used in fleet combat, we need to consider the advantages and disadvantages they have over mechanics we already use, if indeed they exist.
Considering this, I don’t think MJD’s will be used to escape or enter combat as the current mechanics of probes and align-outs are far superior. Probes can bring you to 0 on a fleet from any range (ok, so you see probes, but compare that to seeing an entire fleet of Reds aligned towards you at 100km), and an align out will get you out of combat faster than an 8 second spool time. However there is currently no mechanic to quickly and easily hop across the grid, away from your enemy, while remaining in range. As such I think that the main use of the MJD’s could we’ll be in battleship sniper fleets. Kiting the enemy with an MJD is a very viable tactic, provided that you can keep your fleet clear of tackle.
As a final thought, if these are miniature jump drives (as we see on capital class ships), will we get the same jump effect when we use them? An entire fleet disappearing in a blue flash, only to reappear in a crackle of red explosions would be awesome.
Anyway, sorry for a rough post, just some quick thoughts I had on seeing the info, of course it could just be a troll, but sounds interesting.
Tldr;
·         New module MJD
·         Good for Sniper BS’s
·         Amazingly good for capitals
·         Not going to save your arse better than an align out
·         Not going to get you into a fleet better than a prober
·         One more thing for an FC to watch out for
·         Could look amazing!
#EDIT# an addendum to this post can be found here

*Speedy thing goes in, Speedy thing comes out… Now you are thinking with portals.

Eureka!

Eureka! I have the answer. Last night I finally realised the key reason I enjoy playing EvE, and what makes it different to other MMOs. I should back track a little bit here I guess (and perhaps stop running around with just a towel on).

A few days ago, my Alliance was called into a Coalition CTA. Now although that’s not unusual, the intel channels were lighting up like a Christmas tree; anyone remotely connected to any side of the Russian Civil War (including the truffle pigs NC. and PL) were logging in Supers & Capitals. Talk was that PL was going all out & Solar-n-co was going to call them on it. When we arrived (late to the part for reasons I won’t specify) we were greeted with a very puzzling sight.

Pandemic Legion had a Capital & Super Capital fleet of what looked to be around 100-200 ships. Seeing such a massive Capital Fleet with no support was not entirely surprising, but what was interesting was the location of the fleet. They were in a bubble, in an asteroid belt; furthermore the bubble was a PL anchored bubble. We were very puzzled, Why had PL bubbled themselves in? Why in an asteroid belt? Why use so many Capitals? (Oh no wait scratch that last one, this is PL).

Some people thought PL might have been betrayed by a spy. Others suggested they were playing Vikings and burning their boats. It was also suggested that perhaps this was a last stand and attempt to encourage Solar to fight PL in a winner takes all battle. Nobody knew (1), we spent maybe half an hour watching the fleet during which time very little happened. Eventually the bubble was killed (by PL) and the fleet warped off (not before really putting the shits up Arian, by aligning out straight through his stealth bomber).

Now PL are often trend setters (for good reason) in the field of tactics and I’ve said before that we can guess what everyone will be doing next month by what PL are doing this month(2). When PL started doing something unexpected I have no doubt across New Eden People were scrambling to try and work out why. Was it a new tactic? Was it betrayal? I didn’t understand what was happening now, but I knew someone would have a good solid theory in a few days’ time.

As predicted when I asked a friend if we knew yet what had happened and I was told it was a culmination of frustration within Pandemic Legion over three main issues:

1. Solar wasn’t engaging on their terms (i.e. whelping capital fleets against their bigger shinier capital fleets),

2. Red Alliance has seemingly stopped bothering to attend to their own defence (instead letting the truffle pigs do all the grunt work), and;

3. Because of the last two points; they were not fulfilling their reputation for turning the tide of any war they are hired to help with.

Now I have no idea if this is true, propaganda or just a guess. But this is why I enjoy EvE (oh there was a point to all this!). Every time something of significance occurs, within a few days someone will have a theory (of varying validity and verification) as to what lead up to the event. Our fights are not just events floating on a sea of content, but instead the visible tip of an iceberg plunged deep in the frigid waters of politics.

This doesn’t happen in any other game. WoW guilds could care less what lead to another guild downing a boss (after the server first at least). There is no politics in Rift because there is rarely any reason for one guild to interact with another. Oh occasionally the top guilds of each faction on a server might have a rivalry. But they won’t be posting blogs on the theory of why the main tank is using a “Shield of Unrelenting Back Pain”, instead of the “Scutum of Lesser Cowardice” they have. For supposed “Social” games, they silo you into guilds with little to no reason to interact with other similar groups. EvE doesn’t do this, a Corporation/Alliance who doesn’t interact with other Corporations/Alliances will always fail. Admittedly our interactions are not always benign (in fact they are mostly malicious) but we do interact on a level other games don’t encourage.

Perhaps I am alone, but this is what I enjoy about EvE. We get to pew, but we also get to try and understand (or figure out) what leads to the pew.

Thanks for reading; I’ll go back to my bath now,

Hark¬

(1) My other half also thought that they had mistaken the bubble for a POS…

(2) She also asked if next month half of Nullsec was going to be sitting in their own bubbles too.