Archive for August, 2012

Potential surprises in the 2012 winter expansion?

So far we haven’t really really got much of an idea of what will be coming in with the next expansion, but there are a good few clues as to what we might be getting.

Firstly we already know about the re-vamped Frigates & Destroyers from the Dev Posts on the forums.

I also predict that we might finally see the Micro Warp Drive first mentioned way back in March. These never made it into the Inferno patch due to balancing and (if I remember correctly) Lag issues. I believe that it is at least CCPs intent to release this mod at some stage, as they have created a Wiki article about its in game Lore.

In a Recent interview with EDGE Torfi Frans Ólafsson talked a little bit about the next patch confirming that it would continue the trend of “War”. However it looks like rather than the current concentration on Faction Warfare & Highsec War Decs we might see some more general improvements. Ólafsson also hints:

“This winter we’re going to focus on death and explosions of players and so on”

This ever optimistic blogger remember the Art panel from the last Fanfest (look around the 8m 30s mark), and hope this might be the big surprise this year! As for the Death enhancements, who knows what that could mean, but I would argue that Death is the biggest USP eve currently has, as far as I know, no other Modern MMO has dealt with death in such a manner, so changes could be amazing, or terrible*.

Finally as a “Stab in the dark” guess at a new feature for this winter, I’m predicting more “Visual” modules. CCP has seen how well received the Turret and Bay models have been and on release, promised more models for items such as Vampires being rendered on our ships, I’d expect this would be a very popular move by CCP, and bonus points could even be scored if they chose to begin creating physical models for non-highslot mods. Imagen what a Shield Booster might look like?** Or if a Targeting computer adds a physical tracking node to the skin of your ship?

With just over 3 months until the release for our winter patch I expect that we will soon begin to see the torrent of Dev Blogs stirring up our excitement for winter.

Fly Expectant!

Hark¬

*CCP implement’s “Pod Running”: if you are killed your clone is activated at your nearest medical station and you have 30 minuets to Fly to your ruined ship where you can repair it and board it for no extra cost. Alternately you can pay a small fee at the Medical station where they create a clone of your ship for free (and a half hour -50% to shields, armour and Hull de-buff)…

**I picture a series of “Projectors” from which are the centre point for an effect similar to the current “Boost” effect

Logistics: Repper’s Delight

Introduction
Logistics in eve has always been a great passion for me in eve. When organised right, a good Logistics Core can make or break an alliance. It’s also most likely the most intensive and challenging aspect to flying in a fleet. Some people are content to jump in an Abaddon/Rokh/FOTM and just blindly follow the FC’s orders face-rolling the keyboard when told and lemming’ing through gates with wild abandon. Others prefer a challenge, a sense of independence and responsibility in their fleet; these people are, or should be, Logistics Pilots.
Logistics Pilots Operate on a different plane to fleets, we often have our own Logi FC within the fleet and we require our compatriots to be able to do more than smash their foreheads into the F1 key every few seconds. We are also; unfortunately comparatively rare, probably due to the lack of rewards the game gives you for fulfilling this role.
Lore wise armor Logistics ships use Remote Armor Repairs to project Nano-assemblers onto the armor plating of friendly ships, which then repair any damage done. Shield Transfers, despite how the name sounds, does not direct transfer shields from your ship to another. Instead these modules generate Shielding energy and project it directly into the targets shields, effectively bolstering the shields energy. In layman’s terms these modules provide the effect of a Local Repair module. Remote Reps only come in the form of Small, Medium, large and Capital, although The T2 Cruisers effectively use oversized reps (large).
Fleets tend to use Remote Reps over local rep because of its versatility. A local rep takes up a valuable mid or low slot and can only repair the ship it’s placed on (admittedly to a higher value than a single remote rep). By comparison, dedicated Logistics Ships can repair any ship in the fleet (at the cost of one less DPS ship) and when all the reps a concentrated on a single ship it will far out perform even the tankyest of tanky ships.

Types of Remote Repairs

I’m pretty sure that every one of my readers has played eve for long enough to guess that Remote Repairs is pretty much the remote version of a Local tank, and as such mirrors the Shield Boosters and Armour Repairers we see in PvE. Here are the (comparative) facts for both Armour and Shield Remote Repairs
Shield Reps
 – Called Shield Transporters, although Meta versions may have different names
 – Meta 4 is [Size] S95a Partial Shield Transporter
 – High Slot
 – Cost more CPU to fit (a lot more)
 – Cost less PG to fit (a lot less)
 – Rep the exact same amount as Armour Reps
 – Cost more to activate
 – Apply the repair immediately upon activation
 Armour Reps
 – Called Remote Armor Repair Systems
 – Meta 4 is [Size] ‘Solace’ remote Bulwark  Reconstruction
 – High Slot
 – Cost Less CPU to fit (a lot less)
 – Cost More PG to fit (a lot more)
 – Rep the exact same amount as Armour Reps
 – Cost less to activate
 – Apply the repair upon completion of the cycle (4s)
As you can see the balance between the two is pretty good and no particular method comes out on top. Some will argue the point on this one, but 90% of the time it’s really just one person’s personal preference dressed up in fake facts and provides situational advantages. I’m yet to see an argument that makes one better than the other, and until I do I will continue to state “It’s situational” on the subject. However whatever your Fleet decides to roll with, the logistics will be able to help.

Types of Logistics

This guide is going to concentrate on the T2 Logistics ships specifically as, currently; they are the most prevalent type of Fleet Logistics used in the game. As such you need to understand that there are two different types of Logistics Ships. There is no official name for the types (all are classed as “Logistics” ships in the market, and all require the exact same skills to fly), however for the purpose of this guide I will refer to them (as many do) as Chain and Solo Logistics.
Solo logistics, despite their name still operate in fleets, however each Logi is its own independent island working towards a goal with the other Logistics, things that happen to other logistics, do not directly affect the performance of you own. The Minmatar and Gellente Field these ships with in the form of the Scimitar (shield) and Oneiros (armour) respectively. These Solo Logi operate on the thin edge of cap stability usually will a full rack of Reps running & a Prop mod these ships will deplete their cap slowly rate, they often stem the tide by deactivating one or two of the Reps for a short amount of time. The Solo Logi is more susceptive to Jamming, but thanks to their Individualistic nature, assuming all your Logi are not jammed, the net effect on the fleet is minimal. Interestingly the Solo Logi also receives a bonus to tracking Links; however this is rarely used outside of PvE. Solo Logistics are also significantly faster than their Chain Counterparts (the Oneiros less so due to Armour tanking penalties), and so are generally (by no means exclusively) used by fast moving small hulled gangs (BC/cruisers), where their speed allows them to keep up with all but the fast tackle.
Chain logistics are fielded by the Caldari (shield) Basilisk and Amarr (armour) Guardian as the more complex of the logistics Brethren. This is because unlike the Solo Logi these ships rely on groupings to remain cap stable via the “Cap out of thin air” method (more on this in the next section) requiring them to fit (normally) 4 Remote Reppers and 2 Energy Transfer Arrays. These ships have more natural ECCM, to protect from jamming, however because of their dependence on cap Chains, if a Jamming cycle does land on them, the effects can be devistating. These ships are slightly slower than Solo Logi, although they can make up for this with a slightly better tank.

Cap Chains (for Chain Logi)

Thanks to the bonuses Chain Logi Remote Energy Transfers use considerably less Cap to activate than the amount they actually transfer to the target, this means that if you take two logistics and set them Remote Energy transferring to each other, each Logi will have more capacitor recharge than with no Transfers running at all (the “Cap out of thin Air” method). This excess Recharge rate is used to fuel their reppers indefinitely, running caps stable with all reppers running and prop mods. It should be noted at this stage to in order to run cap stable in a Logi chain you will need to have at least level 4 in both logistics Ships and Energy Emission Systems alongside some good core capacitor skills, at level 5 the Logi can even run stable with only a single transfer active on them. Chain Logistics in fleets however don’t run in pairs (because of the dependency this creates), and instead generally run a “Cap Chain” method (hence the name), either in 2 down or 1 down formation (more on this in a second) The standard structure of a Cap Chain is based on the alphabetical position of the character flying the ship, usually using a logistics chat channel for reference.  Using this ordering method you can then apply the 2 down or 1 down method to work out where your Energy transfers should be applied. In 2 down mode, you will be applying 1 transfer to the next pilot in the Chain, and your second Transfer to the character 2 down in the cap chain to you. In return you will be receiving an energy transfer each from the two people above you in the cap chain. In one down mode (generally used out of fleet combat to allow Logi to supply Cap to High energy consuming ships such as abandons on a POS bash), you simple apply a Transfer to the next person on the cap chain, while receiving from the person one link before you. If your fleet uses Chain Logi Exclusively (or even just more than Solo) your Logi Commander or FC should tell you how they are ordering the Logi (its usually the Alphabetical method with Z looping back up to A), If your fleet has only a handful of Chain Logi (and a majority of Solo) you will need to organise your own Cap Chain (please remember that 3 is the absolute bare minimum number of Chain Logi you should run with, not 2).

 

Skills needed for logistics

Flying a Logistics is a high Skill and Skill point job, and in most fleets has the most “Elitist” view of minimum skill levels (very dependent on the group you fly with however). The core areas for Logistics Pilots to concentrate their skill training are as follows (in rough order of importance).
1. Logistics Ship Skill
This will greatly increase your effectiveness in combat. Most Logi groups will specify Logi 4 as a minimum requirement, and Logi 5 should be trained asap. The higher this skill is, the further out you can repair, and the longer you will remain cap stable.
2a. Remote Reps (for all)
again directly effects performance duration, good skills will help you save your cap for when the shit really hits the fan, level 4 is the minimum needed to fit Tech 2 Reppers (not always used) and should be considered the minimum.
2b. Energy Emission Systems (for Chain logi)
Same as 2a.
3. Capacitor Skills
Aiming to have the Core Capacitor Certificate to Standard is a minimum (Energy Grid Upgrades IV, Energy management IV, Energy Systems Operations V), again because Cap is Life for Logi
4. Fitting Skills
I’d be torn between setting the minimal level of the Core fitting Certificate between Standard and Improved (Electronics V, Electronics Upgrades IV, Energy Management IV, Engineering V, Weapons Upgrades IV and Advanced Weapon Upgrades IV, Electronics Upgrades V, Energy grid Upgrades V + all of the before Certificate Skills) for the minimum level before staring, however this really is dependent of your Alliances Logi Fitting. Chances are, the fitting will be VERY tight on resources, and you may even require more than the above to be able to fly it. This means this is more down to alliance requirements than a general rule of thumb. That said; aim for as high as you can to prevent further fitting headaches down the road.
5. Navigation Skills
This kind of comes in two sections. Firstly you’ll need the navigation skills for your prop mod to reduce cap needs to at least level IV to help you remain cap stable. Secondly you want to be as fast and as agile as you can, both to help you keep up with faster ships, but also to help you sig tank. Again a minimum of IV for Navigation and Evasive Manoeuvring, you should also consider getting Space Ship Command to IV as well
6. Targeting Skills
Also Logistics can target up to 10 ships and should be able to target at absolute minimum 6. Base Pilots with no skill can target 2 ships, meaning you need at least Targeting IV to increase this to 6, but you really should be aiming to train Targeting V and Multi-Tasking III to maximise your locking (note as far as I know Logistics is the only ship able to target 10 ships with no ship able to target more, therefore, unless you intend on using Auto Targeters there is never any point in training Multi-Tasking Beyond III.
7. Tanking skills
Only this low on the priority order because I would assume that even a Frigate Pilot should have tanking skills to level four but just encase you’ve been Station Trading all your Toon’s life until now (when you suddenly got the burning desire to be a Logi Pilot, Looking at you Grevlon) you will need ALL relevant Tanking skills to Level IV before getting in a Logi, The only possible exception to this is the Shield [Damage Type] Compensation skills, but only IF your fleets fitting requires no passive shield Modules. Even then you should have it any way.
In addition to the above you will also need the following to actually fly the ship:
Racial Cruiser V
Logistics I
            Space Ship Command III
            Signature Analysis V
                        Electronics I
            Long Range Targeting V
                        Electronics II
Here is a link to the Skill plan for a Blank Char to get into a Guardian (you can change the racial cruiser to your choice and adjust the remote rep type). You should note that it takes 127 days without Implants (93d with +4’s) to train from literally no Skills to the minimum perquisite for Flying Logi. I would expect this number to be far lower for any current 0.0 Pilot. To get to what I would call Optimal (but not perfect) would take a further 49 days (41 with +4’s).

Fitting Logistics ships

As with any fittings there is always a lot of debate about how to correctly fit a Logistics ships. General agreement can be found on the following Points:
Always fit a DCU of some kind (most contentious of the generally agreed points)
Always fit a Prop Mod
Solo Logi Use 4 high slots to fit Remote Reps
Chain Logi Use high slots for 4 Reps and 2 Energy Transfers
Try and be as cap stable as you can, without nerfing your tank/speed
If you are not doing any of the above (with perhaps the exception of the DCU), chances are you’re doing it wrong. Further than this point is generally quite situational and subject to FOTM and you should follow your Alliances fitting Codes. Although you should always check to ensure you have a good balance of Resists to buffer.

Joining a fleet as logistics

Joining a fleet as a logistics pilot for the first time is always quite daunting as there is no “shallow end” to the eve pool. Don’t expect to get into a fleet and just cruise along, using your drones/gun to get on kill mails and slowly learning the ropes before getting actually involved with the repping. If you’re in a Logi ship you will be expected to pull you weight immediately and will be under a lot of pressure to perform. You will (or should) find that you also put a lot of stress on yourself because you will feel like the survival of the fleet relies on your skills and abilities (note, this feeling never goes away, you just get more confident that you can do it). This all said however, most alliances recognise the stress of being a new Logi and so often cut a little slack to new Logi Pilots and help guide them along the way. Because of this you should always let your Logi FC / fellow Logi Pilots know if you’re a green hand at Logistics.
With all this in mind, here if a check list for joining Fleet as a Logi:
 – Check your ship adheres to the Alliance fittings, and matches the fleet tank type
 – Find out the logistics channel and join it, this is also an opportune time to find out if you have a Logi fc and if so who it is
 – check to see who your anchor is (if you have one)
 – Link your fitting in the logi Channel
 – If you’re a Chain Logi, check that there are at the very least 3 other Chain Logi in the fleet, if not either swap out to a Solo Logi, or if you cannot let your FC/Logi FC/ Logi Pilots know (some may switch out to support you.
 – Find out what kind of Cap chain your fleet is running and work out your cap buddies add them to the top of your watch list
 – Add your FC and any Target callers to your watch list
 – Add as many fellow Logistics ships to your watch list as you can
 – Fill the rest of your watch list space with Fragile ships which might need quick help
 – Set up your Fleet Broads casts to see Remote Rep requests
And a list of things to be constantly checking while flying
 – Am I Cap Chaining correctly?
 – Am I in the correct position?
 – Are we on top of any broadcasts?

How to save a life

When the shit actually hits the fan and you are required to begin saving people, there really isn’t any firm guide to exactly what to do. I can give you a few rough guide lines which might help, but a lot of what you do will come from gut feeling, intuition and situational awareness, all of which will come with experience. That said here are a few things to remember when you’re trying to stem the flow of damage.
 – Combat repping mostly looks like this;
            – Enemy Fleet Primaries Target
            – Target Broadcasts for reps
            – You lock target and apply a rep
            – Target is still going down so you apply another rep
            – Enemy Fleet gets bored and primaries another target
            – Target broadcasts for reps
            – You lock the target and this time apply two reps
            – Enemy fleet has split DPS and another target is getting damage at the same time
            – Second Target broad casts for Reps and you lock him and apply a rep
            – Rince wash and repeat (if your lucky)
 – You can use both your watch list and the Broadcast window to lock targets. In the broadcast window, if someone asks for reps, just ctrl-click them to initiate lock.
 – Use your gut/Experience to assess how many reps to use in a given circumstance
Assigning every repper you have to save a single ship might seem like the right thing to do right now, but the second you face-roll F1 to F4 the enemy will change primary, and another ship can easily die in 3 seconds (7 if your Armour repping), If you only had 2 reppers activated on the first ship, you could have supported the second instantly.
 – If you do decide to go all in, make sure you stagger your reps
There are situations where you need to activate all your reppers on a high priority target but unless it’s a millimetre away from 0hp, you should always stager your reps 1 second apart. This is for two main reasons. Firstly it means that just encase another even higher priority target comes under fire (or this one dies anyway) you will only have a maximum of one second before you can move a rep away from this target and onto another. Secondly, this will mean that your target will have a constant stream of smaller reps rather than a single hit, making it harder for the enemy to time (or fluke) their attacks and alpha your target to death while he is waiting for the next big rep.
 – If you do have a damage mod (you shouldn’t, but we all do it) only EVER use it, if you have already done everything you can to help your fleet
Logi’s are not in the fleet to get kill mails, if you cannot accept this fact, don’t fly one. If you absolutely have to get on a kill mail the best way to do this is to launch a single drone, and assign it to assist a DPS ship. This way you can concentrate on doing your job. Don’t launch a full flight of drones, as you won’t be likely to get time pull it before you leave grid. Don’t bother with guns, because using them will not only take up a targeting slot, but also detract your concentration.
 – Don’t unlock to fast
 If you successfully save a ship from primary, and another ship comes under fire, rep the new primary, but keep the old one locked for just a little while encase the enemy switch damage back again
 – There is nothing wrong with pre-emptily locking valuable targets, but only if you have enough spare locks.
Logi Terms and Common Phrases
Anchor: The ship you set orbit to during combat operations in order to prevent you from straying away from either the fleet or your fellow logistics
Buffer: The amount of actual Hit points on your ship before resists are taken into account
Cap Buddy: Any one you are giving or receiving Cap to or from.
Cap Chain: The order of pilots which determines who gives Capacitor Transfers to whom.
Chain Logi: Guardian, Basilisk
“Check Cap Chain” or “Adjust Cap Chain”: the phrase used to signify that a section of the cap chain has left. It implies that you should check that your cap buddies are still on the field and if not adjusting your transfers to the new order.
ETA: Energy Transfer Array
FOTM: Flavour of the month, Items that are currently popular (until the next nerf/buff)
“I’m Dry” or “Out of Cap”: Used by a Chain logi to indicate that they are out of Cap, it is implicating that their Cap buddies are not set up correctly and should “Check Cap Chain”
Logi (short): Logistics Ships
Remote Reps: See Reppers
Reppers: Either Armour or Shield Remote Repairing Modules
Resists: The % of each damage type which your ship will “Ignore” when taking damage.
RR: Remote Repairs
Sig Tank: using your signature radius to avoid damage by making it harder for enemy ships to hit you, sig tank is a combo of the following: reducing your Signature Radius and increasing your speed.
Speed Tank: See Sig tank
Solo Log: Scimitar, Oneiros

Condor: Now a true prey bird…..

Pre Patch

Let’s not mince words here; pre patch this ship was horrible, it lacked the ability to even fit its slots fully, you basically ended up with a ship that could fit a MWD (which emptied your capacitor in under 50secs), and a point and that was it, you could race very fast at the target and point it but if it looked at you with a slight squint you leveled up into a pod. It was not ideal to say the least. [Hark: I think the length of this paragraph is Arians way of saying “It was so shit I didn’t fly it more than just a few times pre-patch”]

Post Patch

Here are the changes that were made to the Condor:

Frigate skill bonuses: +10% to rocket, light missile velocity and +5% damage to rocket, light missile damage per level (new)
Role bonus: 80% reduction in Propulsion Jamming systems activation cost (new)
Slot layout: 4 H (+1), 4 M (+2), 2 L (+1), 0 turrets (-1), 3 launchers (+1)
Fittings: 40 PWG (+15), 185 CPU (+85)
Defence (shields / armour / hull) : 400 (+126) / 250 (+24) / 250 (+55)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 300 (+144) / 150 s (+32.81) / 2 (+0.67)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 400 (-4) / 2.9 (-0.28) / 1100000 (-85000) / 2.99s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 32.5km (+7.5) / 880 (+245) / 4
Sensor strength: 9 Gravimetric (+1)
Signature radius: 33 (-4)
Cargo capacity: 130 (-20)

And what a change this made, personally I now feel this is the single ship that has come out the best in this round of changes. So many potential fits are now viable, for example here is a long range point fit with medium shield extender and medium ASB that I have been testing to destruction in RvB:

[Condor, range tackle]

3x Experimental TE-2100 Light Missile Launcher (Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile)

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Warp Disruptor I
Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster (Cap Booster 50)

2x Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

With this fit I have been tackling Battlecruisers and Cruisers at range and either tanking their damage while my fleet kills them or running away (Brave sir robin style).

Another potential fit made possible by the patch is the following “Fleet” fitting, designed for pure tackle with Shield Logi support:

[Condor, gang tackle]

2x Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Yeah a T1 tackler for gang tackling that does around 3.4kms before overheat. With resistance to neuting provided by 2 vamps (always run in sequence not together), once the tackle is made this little ship is a surprising pain to remove if supported by logi’s.

For other situations we can even make a dual Prop interceptor for thouse who like to go fast in ANY situation:

[Condor, dual prop]

Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Limited 1MN Afterburner I

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Under the AB this ship still moves at 1.2kms before overheat, whether this mitigates more damage than the previous invul fit would require more testing but you get the idea.

Post patch in summary

So many new fittings are now possible, both inside and outside scram range. All because of the following reasons:
The capacitor is now up to the job of supporting the mods needed to effectively tackle.
The MWD speed is now high enough; not only to tackle but even to coast out of range should the ship be scrambled.
A decent buffer (for a t1 frig) can now be fitted.
DPS is still low, though that was never going to be this ships role.
This ship is now a proper training ship on the way to interceptors!

All in all I feel this will be a great ship for people new to pvp to learn in cheaply and with a lot of fun, I have found it a hoot and I will continue to fly it and catch unsuspecting cruisers and above with it.

Harks Foot Note
Another interesting set of changes, and again I can see that the Condor has truly become a viable ship rather than what you fly when you need to auto pilot somewhere quickly. However I do disagree with Arian on one point: “personally I now feel this is the single ship that has come out the best in this round of changes” I believe that place has been taken by the Atron. As Arian hinted at in his post the Condor has developed by far and away the best fitting stats (seriously it’s ludicrous by comparison to the others), and it can now fit a pretty mean shield tank but the way in which CCP has implemented the Gallente Methodology in these new changes has simply made them the best Fast Tacklers. All the Fast Frigates (subjective term I know) can do at least 3.1k/s (The Slasher* is fastest @3.7 and the Atron is slowest @3.2K tanked), but I don’t think that a few hundreds difference actually matters. All the frigates can now fit a full complement of Tackle and Tank. But the difference lies in the Racial Methodology. We all know that the Gallente get the highest damage weapons with the worst range, and until now that has be an effective Nerf. However Fast Tackle is the one area where this methodology actually works. Because the Atron can do 3.1k/s the blaster range doesn’t matter anymore and suddenly you have a blaster touting damage machine all “up in yo-face” as the youf say. This is not to say that the other races aren’t good; far from it, all the new frigates (although I haven’t heard about the Slasher yet) do their jobs perfectly, it’s just that the Atron does it with an amazing Damage output. So far the hierarchy looks something like this:

Atron (see above) > Condor (fast and versatile) > Executioner (does it’s job but doesn’t excel anywhere)

We’ll just have to see where the Slasher lands in all of this. Still great changes all round, well done CCP.

* I cheated and looked before I read Arians review 😛

[Guest Post] The Executioner: Post and Pre Patch

Pre Patch
With the recent frigate changes I was asked to help out with some change testing Executioner and sum up my thoughts and reactions to how the ship has changed for this blog.

As these are low-end ships I have been doing the testing on a low skillpoint alt (about 2 million SP at time of writing); so as to fly the ship as a new player would with all limitations this entails*.

As you will or should know the Executioners original slot layout was 2 high (2 turret slots), 2 mid, 2 low and 3 rig slots. I found that this doesn’t leave you with a lot of fitting choices. Of course with the low CPU and PG available mixed with the lack of fitting skills I found my options even more reduced.

So after much umm’ing and agg’ing over the lack of fitting options I settled on to the following fitting: –

High slots
2x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)

Mid slots
Limited 1MN MicroWarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Low slots
Damage Control I
Overdrive Injector System I

The guns (with this low skill point char) have the enviable damage output of ~38DPS, but that doesn’t really matter as this ship is the precursor to the interceptors, its job is to go fast and tackle ships so that your fleet can kill them, and fast it does go; even with my mere 2 million skill points I was getting up to about 3,300 m/s. Fast to the point where your problem then becomes “I must not overshoot my target and stay in scramble range”, you may laugh at that comment but as this ship doesn’t have a tank or even any kind of buffer if someone looks at you funny you can go pop. So you want to stay in scramble range but only just so you can try and run / coast out of their scramble range (if they have one fitted) as your only defence is your speed and it you get scrambled your dead.

So to summarise my pre patch feelings:
Frustratingly few fitting Options
Does its job (fast tackling) but does it in a fragile manor

Post Patch
Then came the frigate changes, the Executioner as well as the other interceptor precursors have received quite a significant buff. Importantly including; more power and CPU, and a slot layout changed to 4 high (3 turret slots), 3 mid, 3 low and 3 rig slots, This give so many more fitting options as well as the possibility of fitting a small tank or at least some sort of buffer so that you don’t explode when someone sneezes on the same grid.

After some time trying to be a fitting warrior (not sure if I was successful) I came up with the following two basic fittings one armour and one shield: –

High slots
3x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)
E5 Prototype Energy Vampire

Mid slots
Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Patterned Stasis Web I

Low slots
Damage Control I
Prototype Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Rig slots
3x Small Trimark Armour Pump I

And

High slots
3x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)
E5 Prototype Energy Vampire

Mid slots
Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

Low slots
Damage Control I
Overdrive Injector System I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Rig Slots
2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

I haven’t ever flown the armour version as the 200mm plate reduces the speed of the ship by about 1000 m/s bringing its top speed to about 2300 m/s and being a fast tackler I didn’t think this was acceptable.

Both of the above fittings have an effective HP of ~4300hp compared to the ~2000hp of the pre-patch Executioner which gives it much better survivability when in a fight, the extra turret slot does increase the DPS of the ship to ~57DPS but as I said earlier this ship is designed to tackle enemy ships for their fiends to kill.

Again summarising my post patch feelings:
Far more fitting options
More tank while still for filling its role

The full changes can be found below (with the adjustment in brackets credit in part to Callic Veratar):

Frigate skill bonuses: -10% to small energy turret capacitor need and +5% small energy turret damage per level
Role bonus: 80% reduction in Propulsion Jamming systems activation cost (new)
Slot layout: 4 H (+2), 3 M (+1), 3 L (+1), 3 turrets (+1), 0 launchers
Fittings: 45 PWG (+20), 140 CPU (+40)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 250 (+15) / 400 (+95) / 350 (+76)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 360 (+173) / 180 s (+39.37) / 2 (+0.67)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 410 (+6) / 2.85 (+0.04) / 1090000 (-34000) / 2.91s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 27.5km (+7.5) / 920 (+220) / 4
Sensor strength: 8 Radar (+2)
Signature radius: 31 (-2)
Cargo capacity: 115 (-20)

As with Hark’s earlier post on the Atron (http://extravehicular.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/new-frigate-changes.html) I think CCP did a very good job with these changes and have given the Executioner a new lease of life other than just being built to be upgraded in to an interceptor. I am now hoping they will do as good a job with the new destroyers.

*Such as no advanced weapon upgrades trained to level 5 making ship fitting that much easier (aaggg damn you power-grid I only need 0.5 more to get this to fit..)

Harks Foot Note
This was a great write up and an interesting incites in the difference in treatment between the Atron/Incursus and the Tormentor/Executioner. When I looked into The fittings (using my main Char which can fly all the races/weapons) I found that the Tormentor/Executioner were getting significantly less DPS than the Atron/Incursus (around 20DPS difference), in addition the tracking difference between the two sets is also bias towards Gallente with them tracking 0.2 radians faster than the pulse lasers. Of course you could argue that the Amarr get a longer range (7km to 5km) but considering the increase doesn’t bring them outside of Scram/web range is 2km really enough to justify the lesser DPS & tracking? I believe that these changes (as they currently stand) has effectively nerfed the Amarr… which would you fly given the choice? This could of course all come out as a rock paper scissors change with the Amarr doing better with the Bombardment frigates when their changes come along, but right now the Punisher is still the best Amarr frigate. If CCP stick with the current changes we could even see the Punisher getting a nerf of around 40DPS. Prehaps that is alarmist, but lets see how things go.

My special thanks to Lore (who I am hoping to convince to become a regular author) for this post and his time testing. I am expecting a draft soon from Arian with his impressions of the Condor and the Slasher shortly. Looking forwards to how well they match up.

The Humble Atron: A before and after

When I first decided that I would attempt to do a before and after post for each of the upcoming CCP changes I expected to be appalled by the horror that was the Atron. You can see my full post on this here, but the summery is: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed flying the pre-patch Atron. The speed of the ship fitted well with the close range which blasters require you to use. Sure it was lacking some fitting points, and the tank was sub-par, but in my opinion, its low damage was counteracted by the speed at which it approached the target.
Now things have changed, and for the better. The Atron is frankly an amazing ship these days. It still has its speed to bring it to target, but now once it arrives it delivers the same damage as the Incursus, and almost has as much buffer. In all honesty as I correctly predicted the Atron is now my frigate of choice for RvB fleet action, with the Dual Rep Incursus still sitting as my favourite small game/1v1 ship.
Currently my Fleet Atron fit is as follows:
[Low Slots]
Damage Control Unit II
100mm Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energised Adaptive Nano Membrane
[Medium Slots]
Limited 1mn MicroWarp Drive I
J5B Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
[High Slots]
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
[Rigs]
Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
[Statistics]
Effective HP: 4,241 (Eve: 3,926)
Tank Ability: 2.27 DPS
Damage Profile – (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists – EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 47.50%, Th: 30.00%
Armor Resists – EM: 67.28%, Ex: 57.15%, Ki: 57.46%, Th: 57.46%
Capacitor (Stable at 46.69%)
Volley Damage: 205.75
DPS: 84.71
Speed: 2689.16m/s
Warp Align Time: 4.60s
Inertia: 2.10
You should note:
– Powergrid now allows for 3 guns and MWD
– Low slots allow for a tank!
– DPS is now high enough on paper and even higher in practice
– cap is stable with MWD tackle and guns!
– mmmm tank

Winter Expansion: Frigate & Destroyer Updates

CCP Fozzie has posted the changes to the Exploration & Disruption Friages classes, with the tag [Winter]. This is great news, in that we will be getting more frigate (and destroyer) updates, but also kinda sad that we wont be getting any more balancing releases for the next 3-4 months (sad face).

The Exploration and Disruption frigates buck the trend we have been seeing, but in  a way that I almost kind of expected. So far all frigates have been brought up to the level of the Rifter. However for these utility ships CCP could no long use the rifter as a bench mark.

The Disruptors have been made slightly more agile, with a decrease in highslot damage. All of them are receiving massive bonuses to their eWar of Choice. The crucifier and the Maulus  are getting a significant bonus to Drones usage as well. These ships look to remain as tanky and spanky as they currently are, but with a significant increase in the amount of annoyance they can cause before exploding.

The Exploration ships are defiantly getting some buffing however. Still not equalling the rifter in terms of damage output, they are getting the ability to field some serious drones i.e. they can all field at least 3. They are also getting a boost to exploration functions (hacking, code breaking and salvaging), and enough module slots to create a Swiss army frigate for new players.

Now with the addition of a dedicated Ore Frigate, I am assuming that the original statement of “Industrial” Frigates has now been replaced with the Exploration Ships listed above. Giving ship roles; Attack, Combat, Bombardment, Support (read Disruption) and Exploration.

This makes CCP’s Frigate progress as follows:
Attack [Done]
Combat [Done]
Support [In Development]
Exploration [In Development]
Bombardment [Unknown]

As we can also see that CCP has started balancing the Destroyer Ships (more on that in a mo), and that previous iterations of balancing frigates has taken around a month each, I am predicting that once these ships are in the closing stages of development, we will see the new plans for Bombardment ships, and maybe even the beginning of the cruiser revamp in the winter release.

But enough of the crystal ball. Lets take a quick squiz at the Destroyer change: wow. For a starter, both the coercer and the cormorant are getting a bit of a tank nerf, in the for of -1 tanking slot; although this is coupled with a minor EHP buff. To hopefully balance this the coercer is getting an extra Mid Slot and some fitting space for better guns. The cormorant on the other hand is getting an extra low slot, presumably for extra damage.

The catalyst on the other hand is remaining mostly the same, with a slightly better capacitor, in exchange for slowing down a little bit. Its Defence is getting a very very minor buff as well.

The Thrasher is reaming pretty much as it is.

Considering that these ships were recently given some loving already, the lack of changes is not really surprising. I would however be disinterest to know if these ships come under Attack or Combat lines as its really not clear yet. Reposting my summery of combat line traits from way back when:

Ship Line

Damage

Defence

Mobility

Notes

Combat

++

++

++/–Range

Attack

++

+/-

++

Bombardment

++

+/-

+/-

++ Range

Support

+/-

+/-

Force multipliers

Industry

+/-

Mine or haul

The destroyers currently look like this*:

Ship Line

Damage

Defence

Mobility

Notes

Destroyers

++

++/–Range

With all these nice changes on the way you may remember my posts Frigging Update and New Frigates, where I talked about trying out the frigates both before and after the changes. Not only will I and my willing cohorts be posting our impressions shortly, But I am intending to continue this trend, and will be endeavouring to post a before and after for all these changes.

Eyes pealed space friends,

Hark

*I realise that the destroyers still have a tank way up and above frigates, but the thread itself states: “This ship class is aimed to be an anti-frigate platform, and should trade resilience, mobility for firepower.” I believe that in comparison to the frigates that should read: “Trade mobility for fire-power and resilience”. If this is the case then they fit quite nicely within the Combat Line.

Some one else’s Venture Into Speculation on the Mining Barge Changes of 08/08/2012

All I can say is owch…

My Venture Into Speculation on the Mining Barge Changes of 08/08/2012

I did a tally yesterday on just how many blogs and feeds I currently view every day. ~94 was the answer; and it might be a little extreme. However for me, playing eve is all about accumulation of knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, I a real PvP player, I love fleet fights, I love small gang fights, I even love 1v1’s (although I really suck at them). But I also believe that to truly excel at this game, you need to back-up your fighting prowess with the ability to gather information, and proactively adapt you methods and styles in order to thrive in the new environments.
What’s more this doesn’t just pertain to PvP. In eve, if you want to individually succeed in PvP, you will also need to succeed in making money. Of course you can “opt out” of this gameplay style by purchasing PLEX, and I respect those who choose to do so (unlike a certain Goblin), but that play style is not for me. Today I want to look at a story of how this information gathering (on a topic as unrelated to PvP as you can get in eve) has enabled me to continue PvPing by earning me ISK.

Before I start, I want to preface this by stating that I am by no means a “Rich” eve player. My total wealth (liquid and assets) across four accounts is around 10Bn with an income around 700m per month (which is almost always spent immediately on PLEX + PvP ships), which is enough for me, but by no means an excessive amount. So here goes:

On the 14 of Aug this year CCP released a Dev Blog about some incoming changes to Mining barges and some changes to the T1 frigates. Now I love T1 frigates, and the changes were great, but what really got me excited was the section about Mining Barges. They were due to receive some “Balancing” and CCP was aiming to make hulks no longer the only option for miners. Although it was light on details, my observations on how the frigate changes had progressed, I had a fair idea of exactly what would happen to the mining barges.

Specifically my thought process was as follows: I know the hulk is the best mining barge. I know the Rifter was the best T1 frigate. T1 frigates were all categories into specialities and then balanced up to the level of the Rifter with that speciality in mind. I know that the Mining barges have been categorised into specialities… I am guessing that that same will happen, and that demand for non-hulk mining ships would dramatically increase.

With this in mind, I decided, that very day to dip my toes into the tepid waters of market speculation.

Initially I was timid and simply bough* 5 of each mining barge (except the Hulk, figuring that any % increase in demand for new ships would likely come out of the % demand for the hulk). The gamble, I thought, would come from the simple application of supply and demand principles. I demand for Skiffs etc was going to increase, and the production of them didn’t increase immediately to meet the demand, the cost of the ships would rise, and I would make a profit**. At this stage, I was looking at a 1.8bn ISK investment, and hoping for a few 100M ISK return.

As time went on, and I began to see an immediate slight rise in prices immediately after that dev blog, I decided to place large buy orders on the barges as well, which eventualy filled into around another 1bn ISK investment totaling me at around 2.8bn all in, across 75 ships.

Then on the 30/7 the game changed. A player blog I found linked on Redit, indicated that a Dump from SiSi showed a massive increase of mineral requirements to build the Barges. Assuming that the changes went live, as they were then (9 days before the go live date), I was, at least in the long run, guaranteed a profit on any ships purchased before the patch.

At this stage I had already produced a spreadsheet detailing my investment so far, and the minimum amount I needed the prices to rise by before I could sell for a profit (taxes). Now I took the new mineral amount, and using current market prices, divined the ISK rise in producing each ship. This number could then be added the current cost of the ships (assuming manufacturers would pass on 100% of cost increase to the customer, this is eve after all), giving me my predicted minimum sell prices post patch.

The only risk left (other than a change in the live production costs) was that too many players would speculate in the same market. My fear was that if 1000’s of players invested in the barges, impatient players might sell lower than the production cost (but still miles higher that pre patch purchase cost) in order to regain their capital early. This would slow the rise of prices in the ships, forcing me to hold onto mine for longer before I could sell for maximum profit. Thankfully Redit & the blog saved me.

You see in the Blog, the writer noted that after crunching the numbers the procurer was getting the best % increase in price. Redit bit into this and started to salavate over procurers (I’m sure not everyone did, but there were a lot of posts just about buying this 1 ship). Procurers of which I still only had 5 of were suddenly THE speculation of the masses. Luckily for me, my investment was much more evenly spread.

On the 8th of Aug I returned home from work at 4:30pm GMT and booted up my client. I noted that the T2 barges were virtually non-existent on sell orders (last minute investors?), whereas T1 was still in abundance, and only beginning a slow climb upwards in prices (still above my minimum sell point, but nowhere near my predicted price).

Immediately I placed all my Mackinaws on sale for [original selling price]+([increased mineral cost]*2) rounded to the nearest 100. ie. 400m (I bought them for 120-150M each). At this point I should note that there were some buy orders for 500M, and the sales statistics showed that at least 1 of these had already sold. However with limited online time, and other projects needing my ISK investments, I wanted to release my capital at a speed balanced between best profit and best speed. I also placed my Skiffs on the market at the same price.

Within half an hour 6 of the 9 Mackinaws and 1 of the skiffs had sold releasing 2.6bn ISK. The shrewd amongst you will see that at this stage I was still only 200bn ISK down on this whole deal with another 68 ships left to sell. As the evening went on, and Mack sales continued I began to see a rise in Coverter prices, and using a similar calculation to the T2 prices (but rounded to the nearest 10m), I added my stock to the market, in the hope that the market would speed past the mineral + extra cost point and over my sales.

I am still awaiting the sale of most of my T1 ships and currently stand 1bn in profit over this venture with a projected minimal return of 3bn (over my initial investment), although I will need to wait for the prices to rise to at least their base mineral cost before I can realise this final profit.

However, some interesting observations from my story:

– The new Mackinaw in VERY popular. Maybe there are a lot of high sec miners out there who don’t have orcas (not in a corp makes me sad [but richer] panda). Could this have been the bots buying new ships as per Nosy Gamer?

– 7 Sales in the first half hour of my time post patch!? Really? Why did these people not buy them on the 6th or earlier? When prices were around 150M? Did they miss the dev blog until they read the patch notes while updating? Did they read the dev blog but not bother buying one till (after) the last minute? Really!?

– I realise that I probably could have sold my Mack’s for more than the 400M I did, but honestly 400M was enough for me. At a profit of 250M each, the profit of just two of them will keep me in PvP ships for a month. I like money, but I’m not greedy.

*I actually believe that purchasing the ships from the market, with the information I had at this point was a massive mistake. By buying them rather than placing buy orders I was adding an extra 1.25% markup requirement to make a profit. cutting into what I thought would be a slim profit margin.

** Roughly translated:

1.    Buy mining barges

2.    Wait for more people to want them

3.    ????????

4.    PROFIT

Ring Mining, (short)

Just a quick one today.

There has been a lot of chat about Ring mining, and the mechanics surroding them Poetic noted that CCP Greyscale has talked about Trauling. I have literaly only two things to add to this…

1. Please can we make “Trauling ships” PvP ships. A pilot should be able to take a PvP ship, remove 1 tank/spank mod, and fit the “Net”. If you want us to co-operate, let us be ready for combat while we do!

2. If we are using the Fishing metafore, lets make the mechanic work like this: 2 ships trauling, 1 running ahead dropping depth chages. e.g. use a smart bombing battleship to break down the ore so it can be collected by the net. Lets face it smartbombs need some role, other than killing RvB!

Improving Logistics: The Pocket Carrier (NEME)

Every fleet Pilot knows how important Logistics are. Every Fleet Pilot worth his salt has at some point had his arse saved by a Logistics Pilot and typed something along the lines “Thanks logi”. Yet as always there is always a shortage of Logi Pilots whenever a fleet is forming. Why? This isn’t World of Warcraft, it’s not like were all stuck in one role. With just 2 months of training any pilot can make a huge contribution to a Logistics team. So why don’t more pilots do so?
I’m actually in the midst of writing a guide for logistics at the moment, and this is a question that I keep hitting up against. The only answers I can find are:
 1. Too complex
 2. Too skill intensive
 3. Too boring
 4. Too expensive
 5. No kill mails
 1-3 are complete crap and oh so much misinformation. Flying logi does not need a PhD (I can do it for Christ sake). Flying Logi is easy to train into, base line Logi takes around 2 months. Flying Logi is not boring when it hits the fan you are going to have more fun than you can handle; you’re also the only active people during repping operations!
4 is a fair point if your fleets run Battle Cruisers or below, but as soon as you hit BS and T2 ships, you’re actually cheaper than the Ships of the Line. Most Alliances worth their weight will also have a ship replacement core in place for Logistics pilots; some even allow Logi pilots to make money out of the deal.
So the only solid reason I can see for not flying the Logi, is the lack of kill mails. Now I think that’s a succinct summery for a deeper issue; people like to feel directly involved in the battle. The kill mail is just the visual evidence of that. Pilots like to kill things, and don’t feel involved in the battle, unless they are doing damage.
Many have stated that the solution is simply to put repping ships on kill mails, and this is a rather interesting, if uninventive solution, it also appears to have been easier said than done. Here is an alternative; Pocket Carriers.
Pocket Carriers have been bandied about for a while now, but have never actually been officially acknowledged. I’m suggesting they should be added as a balanced alternative to Logistics. The class uses Tier 3 battleship hulls (Rokh, Abbadon, Hyperion and Maelstrom) and should require the following skills to fly:
            – Battleship 5
            – NEME Ships (Nanobot Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) 1
                        Logistics 4
                        Drone Interfacing V
           
You might note the new skill called NEME ships in there. Yeah it’s a crappy acronym, but it’s based on the British Army core dedicated to Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (REME), which seems a good fit for a repair ship.
I really don’t like having to have Bs5 in the pre-reqs, but the CCP mould says T2 ships must always require LVL5 in the hull type, so I guess there is no real choice. This means that training will take around 3 months, an extra month on top of Logi skilling. My hope is that the awesomeness of these ships will draw people into them, gaining Logi on the way.
The NEMEs are balanced between each other in a very similar way to the Logistics ships, although for fun I suggest we switch around the chain/solo types to the opposite of the Logistics counterpart. I.e. Amarr & Caldari work solo; whereas Galente & Minmatar Chain. They also use the same high slot layouts as Logistics:
                        Chain – 2 Energy Transfers | 4 Racial Remote Reppers
                        Solo     – 4 Racial Remote Reppers
I should add that as these ships have NO hard points for guns or missiles, pilots have no choice to but fit utility highs. Right now your probably thinking “But Hark, these are just maxi size Logistics, why would I want to fly that!?” Here is where the big difference comes. NEME ships are also heavy drone users. With a bay size around 225m3 they can fit a full flight of Heavy, Medium and light drones, and still have space for ewar drones. They also have a far bigger tank than Logistics with a maxed out tank of around 100-120k ehp (in eve hq).
I can hear your cries again now “Hark you’ve gone too far the other way! Now no one will ever fly the old Logistics!”. Oh my ever unsatisfied reader, let’s look at my suggested Bonuses:
            (Per level battleship)
            250% bonus to ETA range
            250% bonus to RARS range
            6% to done damage
           
            (Per level of NEME skill)
            % reduction in capacitor usage to make the ship stable when running full reps/energy transfer with an AB + about 1-2 cap mods (inc rigs)
           
            (Role bonus)
            % bonus to CPU/PG needs of remote transfers to balance
            -20% repair amount transferred
 So what does this mean? Well the reps can now go further than Logistics (105k @L5 compared to 63K). You should also notice the negative bonus to repair amount (yeah that’s not a typo); this means that on a NEME Ship, a T2 remote repair module will be slightly less effective than the Meta 4 on the Logi.
 To summarise the NEME/Logi Comparison looks as follows:
            Both fit similarly
            NEME rep further but less
            NEME tank more, but can’t sig tank
            NEME can actually put damage on the field (about 390-440DPS), but costs a bit more (aim for 300M hull)
It’s just a rough draft for discussion, and I’m sure there are holes that need filling and tweaks that could help. But it’s worth a thought. Doubt it will go anywhere, but you never know.