I was out walking in the woods today when we spotted a deer stand! hoping for some loot and maybe a pistol I approached in the usual fashion
Just a quick fun post today, I am about to go abroad again tomorrow visiting the Czech republic this time. Once again I will leave you with a great picture courtesy of another blog.
This time I will also leave you with a view into how I play eve below is a picture of my Play-space in our study.
I share the Desk with my girlfriend (who also uses my old cast-off screen because she feels my rig makes her simple laptop look a bit lonely), and we share the study with my two pet gerbils Jake and Elwood. Under the desk is my main computer (specs at the bottom of this post if anyone is interested) . The study is a bity cramped but that doesn’t matter when I’m absorbed with logistics work.
Next up below is my standard set-up in eve for combat, yes its has some blank spots, you’ll just have to live with it. Having the eyefinity set-up helps me keep the main screen clear of all but the most important information out of the way of eves stunning visuals. The 4th screen you saw in the study shot is connected to the same PC and usual displays any extra information I need, such as Voice coms, Pidigin, Dot lan maps etc; or if I’m cruising some TV. (full-size image)
Fly away from England
16Gb Corsair Dominator DDR3
ATi Radeon HD 6980
C: 2x OCZ Vertex 3 in Raid 0 (OS)
G: 1x OCZ Vertex 3 (games)
Cyborg Keyboard v7
Cyborg R.A.T M.M.O
One thing that really irked me during the New Eden Open (NEO) was the commentators lack of understanding on what an uninitiated viewer will understand. For example, during the stream yesterday I lost track of the number of times I heard the phrase “For those new to the game”, yet not once did the Commentators, feel the need to explain the mechanics. Eve has a thick and almost impenetrable lexicon of slang and phrases, which are not really translatable from any other game, and the gameplay of the tournament requires that the commentators use the slang to explain what they believe is happening on the field. Unfortunately this means that a new and interested spectator will drown in a sea of strange phrases and symbols.
If eve online expects to break into the eSports market, they will need to begin de-mystifying these slangs and making the commentary of the match more accessible to all. Here are some questions I, as a new player would have after watching a match:
What is that golden helmet which keeps appearing next to the ships?
Why are people stopping to re-decorate their ships mid battle?
What is a rep? And why do they have to do it from a distance?
Drones? what? Where?
Why would people have a chain of Hats? And why must the other team break it?
I would suggest that the NEO, and indeed any further tournaments CCP intend to bring in will require a series of basic instructional videos on simple mechanics. Something similar perhaps to the world of tanks series Explaining Mechanics.
Next, if CCP want to use Tournaments as a way to introduce and encourage more players, they need to begin a series of events aimed at different levels. If someone wants to join eve after watching tournament gameplay, they mostly likely will want to participate in future tournaments. At the moment that means enlisting in small player organized events (rare) or waiting 9 years till they have the SP to compete in NEO or AT XXI. I would suggest that perhaps a yearly tournament for each hull size would give eveSport players a clear set of Leagues to climb up before joining the F1’s of eve.
Today I want to take a look at the economic situation in nullsec and what we could do to encourage industrialists to dive into the big bad world of nullsec. It should note that I really am no an economist, nor am I by any means an expert on, well pretty much anything, but this is merely attempt to expose and analyses (perhaps more for me than anyone else) the issues facing nullsec as it currently stands. It should also be observed that I am attempting to hold CCP true to their statements about nullsec producing more, and indeed will analyze this from the point of view that this is not working. I will be ignoring LowSec during this analysis as I honestly don’t know it well enough to be anything other than insulting to its residents.
My opinion on the current situation of nullsec (lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: Ships, Modules, Static Structures, Fuel, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, Super Capitals, fuel, ammo
Natural resources (ordered by amount harvested): ISK (bounties), Faction Modules, ABC minerals, normal minerals
Exports: Moon goo, Faction Modules, ABC minerals
My opinion on where we should be based on this dev blog(lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: T1 ships, T1 Modules, Static Structures, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, T2 ships, T2 Modules, Fuel, Super Capitals, ammo
Natural Resources (ordered by perceived amounts harvested): ISK (bounties), ABC minerals, normal minerals, Faction Modules
Exports: T2 ships, T2 Modules, Faction Modules, Moon goo, ABC minerals
The biggest difference between these two lists is the T2 conundrum. Currently to produce T2 ships and modules there are several direct inputs to the production line;
– Minerals (high volume, high mass)
– T2 products (high volume, high mass)
– Blueprints (low volume, low mass)
– Production slots (immovable, but available in stations)
During the Industrial Age, Sheffield was the heart of British production. Why? Because it was situated in the center of the mineral deposits needed to produce the Steel (mainly Coal and Iron Ore) and had excellent transport links to its buyers and export centers (Canals and rivers). The comparison to a nullsec station is uncanny; i.e They are population and production hubs located right next to the Moon goo and ABC mineral (un-minable in any other place), and with jump bridge networks able to export the products much faster than a highsec freighter run. Yet our industrialists still insist on moving the raw materials light-years out of nullsec (where the light, non-volume materials are), manufacturing the product, and then shipping a large percentage of it back out to null sec. Lunacy, shear unadulterated lunacy.
So why? What is different between the real world and eve?
My first thought was towards the shipping costs of heavier materials in the real world; there steel as the end product is easier to transport than moving the raw materials most of which will become waste product(coal 100% waste, Iron ore 30-50% waste): why pay to ship something you’re only going to throw away at the other end. Similarly in eve we do have “waste product” from in some parts of the industrial process (we don’t ship ore, we ship minerals). However unlike the real world, in eve the transport cost of an item is based around its volume rather than it’s mass. Volume becomes a secondary consideration.
So although we use “size reduction” to force us to refine minerals before we consider shipping them, we cannot use the same method to force us to produce items near to their source. As we would either have to make minerals incredibly large (a nightmare for the actual extraction process, a mackinaws bays would need to be bigger than a jump freighters), or we would end up with hundreds of ships being able to fit in a single hauler.
As a result, the guardian (for example) has to be, and is, bigger (and thus less efficient to haul) than the equivalent amount in minerals. The exact numbers assuming PE4 is 2652.456 m3 for its raw materials vs 115,000 (un-packaged) or 10,000 (packaged), in layman’s terms you can get 3.7 times more guardians in a cargo hold if you just take the minerals.
This seems like a very likely candidate for the difference to me, especially when you consider the mentality of the parties involved. Nullsec dwellers, are by and large not industrialists (there are exceptions to this). They don’t welcome industrialists into their folds, as they are preceded as “Carebears”. All they care about is finding the most efficient and quick method of creating money from their harvested goods i.e. shipping them to high sec and selling them. Industrialists only care about getting their raw materials (as cheap as they can) and selling them preferably quickly. As a result, as the least powerful of the chain, the customer is lumped with putting up with the least efficient part, buying the product miles away from its material source and shipping it back in its least efficient form.
Nobody cares about the inefficiency of the customer’s part of this transaction. The Alliances don’t care enough to start mining ores and bringing in other highsec materials to produce them for their members (and likely don’t want to bring in carebears to do it for them, so as to not cause resentment against “the guys who don’t help defend our space”). Industrialists don’t care enough to go out to nullsec and produce items, they don’t like it and they don’t feel welcome there, the profit isn’t worth the risk.
In my opinion the only way to move tech 2 production to nullsec is to make it such a pain to move the raw materials out (i.e. like meat space where weight affects transport…). This would force 0.0 alliances to bring industrialists in to their space instead. Food for thought? Or just my ramblings? Who knows.
As many of you do not know me and how horrifically bad I am at all forms of PVE you may not realise the irony of me writing about PVE at all. My interest in eve pretty much begins and ends with blowing living things up, occasionally I have toyed with other bits of this wonderful sandbox but never for very long before the call off blowing people up becomes the be all and end all of my eve life again.
But this is not the case in every game I have played and Harks previous post touched on something that struck a chord with me, one of my bug bears with current missions is the monotony of; dock, choose mission, travel to mission, do mission, travel back to dock, receive reward, rinse repeat ad nauseam. From the point of view of a systems analysis a lot of those steps seem redundant especially in some high future with instantaneous communications (even if you read the books the agents rarely meet the pod pilots in person).
To me it makes more sense if, as Hark eluded to, missions ran more like the “heart quests” in Guild Wars 2, however I would like to take this further towards another source of inspiration: Rift. In Rift you would get “Rifts” spawn at random in the game zones and you could then step into them and attempt to close them by defeating waves of enemies. If you did especially well and killed the waves fast enough or met some particular requirement of that rift you would get bonus waves, this could be achieved by doing this content as a group, or to a lesser extent perfecting your character. The bonus stages of course, that got progressively harder, granted progressively better loot.
I wonder if a similar mechanic would not fit well within the eve world, we already have incursions which could roughly compare to “world events” in other MMO’s but I think a riftesque system could work very well in eve working something like this:
Enter new system
Click a hud/Neocom button which sends out a request for jobs in the system. This checks why you have standings with in the system, and if they have any work.
You are contacted by the systems agent with coordinates for a mission (a possibility here to have an attacking factions give counter missions).
You warp to the area and start face-rolling the F keys.
The missing begins spawning waves of enemy each escalating in difficulty, roughly equivalent to the waves number in mission difficulty (wave 1 = lvl 1, wave 2 = lvl2).
Each wave has a count down timer, which if exceeded ends the mission, this means the player skills at choosing targets at correct range, minimising transversal, reaction times, etc are actually important.
If you get to a high stage and the time runs out that wave will attempt to warp out, encouraging PvE players to learn and use PvP skills in PvE content (getting points on valuable targets). On the other hand if the player finds them selves overwhelmed by the mission, they will need to develop the PvP centric skill of getting the fuck out of dodge (e.g. killing points, using range etc). [Hark] further to this, why not give each wave a single faction rat (keeping the overall wave value the same) which attempts to warp away and de-spawn if attacked
Once the mission ends, either by you warping out or by you failing to complete a stage in time, you are given your loyalty point and cash reward based on ships killed and stage attained. If you wish another mission hit the button again and get ready to warp to a new location.
The benefits of this is that the missions themselves will actually scale to the ability of the player, and/or the size of the group, in both difficulty and reward. It also means “afk-ing” missions or botting will not return the rewards that skilled play and groups can, in fact if groups fling more PvP orientated group fits it means they could get to very high stages and, when the mission overwhelm them,
This idea itself can even scale. [Hark] why stop at level 4? if the mission has more than one ship in it, allow it to go up-to 8 waves and give the players a reward for actually working together. If the site could be procedurally generated, why have a hard limit on waves? New players could judge the level of a corporation by their max wave completion level.
It could run the way I just mentioned in high sec, but how about low and null or even faction war?
In low sec you could hit the find mission button and have a mission generated for the faction you have standing for, but if someone has standing for the faction you are against why not have them given the mission to stop you? This may have great application for faction war and lead to more opportunities for solo and small gang warfare PvP.
In null this could be part of the sov mechanic, Ripard teg wrote an interesting post on his blog recently, in it he outlines and idea for PvE missions actually conducted in null to effect sov, well if his idea and mine were put together we could have enemy gangs fighting over these missions sov holders trying to escalate the waves, and attackers trying to kill them, maybe even gangs warping in multiple times to try and interrupt others progression or even wholesale force them out and take over the progression! (I actually used to do this in enemy held areas in Rift, I would sneak in and watch from outside a rift until what I felt was the optimum time to dive in and kill the rift runner and then complete the rift for its rewards myself, it was a hell of a buzz and would regularly lead to me being chased out of areas or corpse camped, but it was, most importantly, fun!
I am sure there are other ways to improve or change this basic idea and I invite other people to comment and add to it, but to me it seems to address a lot of my main issues with PvE. Travel time, monotony, lack of skill reward, lack of reason to group up, lack of training for later potential content etc, botting and AFK’ing missions, etc, what do you think?
First off let’s address the elephant in the room on this topic: PvE in eve is not fun. I understand that there are missions runners out there who log into eve only to grind out another World Collide mission in their CNR/Golem and love it. In fact for a while I was even one of them (my alt has a 9.0 sec standing towards the Caldari Navy), and I will concede that in the early days of my eve carrier I enjoyed mission running with my friends. But with the discovery of PvP, as soon as I had met all my goals(able to do lvl4’s) I pretty much stopped missioning. Oh sure once every so often I dust off the Mach’a and bust out a few Lvl4’s for some quick action/cash, or do a few incursion rounds to earn the big money, but it never lasts long anymore. Which brings me to my point of discussion today, why is PvE so boring in eve compared to other games? Even if you love missions, you have to admit that there aren’t as many of your kind as there are say wow raid guilds? Are there any direct comparisons to our PvE experience in other Games? Could CCP copy some fun content into eve? And at the end of the day why can other, arguably more repetitive experiences, hold my attention longer than hitting red crosses for ISK?
First Im going to look at some other PvE content I have enjoyed over the years and, where applicable, looking for a direct comparison in eve. But first a quick point of note, this blog was accused a few posts ago of being “another whiny blog”; so to clarify, this is not a moan about how bad our PvE content is (well it is), I don’t have to PvE anymore so I don’t, there are plenty of non PvE revenue streams in the game to keep me happy. If CCP keep PvE as it is forever, I won’t really care. This post is more an exploration of my own preferences and an attempt for to better understand my own experiences of our PvE content. As such I’m writing this very off the cuff, scribing what I think as I go. I’ve no idea if this is going to draw out a consistent theme, or if it’s just going to turn out that I just don’t click with missions (well I guess I already know that bit).
Let’s start with the most obviously successful form of PvE in the MMO world: Dungeons. If you live under a gaming rock and have no idea what this is here is a 5 second run down: Groups of players work through a pre-defined zone fighting sequences of enemys leading to bosses and sub bosses, which require different uses of mechanics to defeat. The example of this I am most familiar with is of course World of Warcraft. I played this for about two years (hit 80 just before WotLK left just before Cata, so early 2008 till late 2010) during this time completed most of the WotLK dungeon content as both a Tank and a Raid leader, and thoroughly enjoyed it content. Here are the main reasons why I think I enjoyed it:
1. Social groups: To defeat even the non-bosses you needed to group up with friends. This created social bonds, and friendships I still have today.
2. Progress: to even get into the endgame dungeons you needed to have done some pre progress. Your gear has to meet some minimum requirements before you even considered joining a raid. Each step of the dungeon opened up new options to you to allow you to face off against bigger challenges, eventually new content was released and you began again in a new location with new bosses.
3. Prestige: Once you did start to get further up the dungeon-ladder your gear became a badge of honor, with people giving respect for your achievements.
4. Mechanics: beating bosses wasn’t just about DPS/Tank. My favourite boss of all time was the Safety Dance, which require alertness and dexterity to pass. There was a massive array of Mechanics used in wow by both you and the boss. This variance made every encounter at least slightly different and it was fun to try and work it out.
5. Investment: because of the progress factor, very few people (not I) would complete all the content in a short time; you had to chip away at it to get anywhere, meaning you got invested in the process.
I actually thing that a fair comparison of dungeons in eve is the Incursion system, there are at least a lot of parallels between the two. Yet I only managed to hang about in that for around a month. Let’s look at the points I enjoyed in Raids and if any of them do or could translate into eve.
1. Social Groups: This is actually quite similar; if I dedicated myself to incursions as much as I did in wow I could, most likelym find a good social group to work with. Unfortunately as my social wants are fulfilled already by my PvP group in eve, I only tend to “dip” into PvE groups not looking to socialise.
2. Progress: No serious group will start running an Incursion site if they can’t complete it. There is no grey area, only a binary switch: can’t do it, won’t do it | can do it, will do it. you might, I guess, get a group together and slowly work up the site sizes, but why bother when you could just join ISN and go straight to the top?
3. Prestige: yeah, try telling Jita you completed a Mothership site. Link the fitting you made entirely out of LP from Incursions. Just wait for the respect and admiration to roll in. you might be waiting a while. Respect, at least in terms of PvE, is not something eve encourages. Indeed for most, the better you are at mission running, the more distain you will gather. This would, and shouldn’t ever be copied over to eve.
4. Mechanics: Nothing going here really. Sure there are some targeting priorities, and the occasional drop X loot in container Y, but nothing actually challenging. Picture fighting the mothership while bits of the dead space site exploded in a patten which you had to memorise and dodge? This kind of mechanic would enhance PvE a lot for me, but it would have to be coupled with a greater reward for more complex missions.
5. Investment: it’s kind of a two way argument on this one; You always have a good investment in your equipment in eve, as you work damned hard to learn/earn it. But I would counter argue that investment in your gear is not the same as being invested in the content. I mentioned earlier my alt has a 9.0 standing with the CN, but that’s not exactly the part of my history I tout to others is it? If CCP upped the jump clone requirement to 9.5 tomorrow, I wouldn’t exactly rage quit.
Let’s look at levelling next, (note I am in no way pro a “Grind for XP” experience in eve *shudder*) for this I’m going to revert to Guild Wars 2, as I didn’t really enjoy leveling in WoW at all, in GW2 on the other had it was the best bit of the game. Here’s why:
1. Diversity in scenery/Exploration: leveling took me progressively through the games zones and let me enjoy the fantastic visuals. The constant change in surroundings and environment kept things interesting and diverse, thus fun.
2. Ease of achievement: The game wanted you to complete quests, and made it immensely easy to do so. Things just happened around you and you joined in.
3. Gear acquisition: Progression isn’t just the number next to your name
4. Playing with friends: there it is again, pesky social preferences! I liked leveling with friends, and GW2 actually made it better to work in a group while levelling, while at the same time not killing the solo experience
Again the eve comparison is Missions:
1. Diversity in scenery/Exploration: No real rewards to exploration at all (scanning down sites doesn’t count, that’s just another form of mission). As to diversity in scenery, it’s always going to be damned hard in space. CCP actually do a good job of trying to do this by changing the objects in your local space, and to some extent it works. Unfortunately, it’s still mostly boring, and I’m never sure it will reach the wow factor of GW2’s vistas. I’d love to see this translated into eve, not sure it could be though.
2. Ease of Achievements: missions require a lot of bureaucracy. Fly here, do this, pick up that, don’t touch that, mind the sofa, fill that out in triplicate, leave the dog where it is please! 0.0 Plex sites do this slightly better, as you can just run from “mission” to “mission” one after the other without the bureaucracy of talking to the agent and jumping through his/hers/its hoops. Could we use this functionality to mirror the GW2 method of quests? Systems just give random mission after mission to those in local who qualify which require no start stop routine? There are plenty of things to remove in Missioning to reduce the bureaucracy, simple litmus test: Am I blowing something up? Yes, good keep it. No, can we take that bit out please?
3. Gear acquisition: Much like GW2 leveling will give you better gear (well the money to buy it anyway). But unlike GW2, eve expects you to want to go through the motions of this method of acquisition once you hit top level. Again this method is fundamentally against eve’s levelling model.
4. Playing with friends: Most players older than 6 months can solo lvl4s, bringing friends speeds up the grind, but also lowers the rewards too much to make it worth it. Make missioning with friends more rewarding.
Finally as an example of PvE I’m going to pull out an unusual, indeed unreleased one: World of War Planes*. Although I don’t count this as a real MMO (any more than BF3 is, but that’s a whole rant I won’t go into here), it is an example of a game with a similar PvE:PvP balance to eve. i.e. Mainly people aim to PvP, but if you want, you can fly a bomber and exclusively blow up Environmental enemies (ground targets), just be prepared for PvP players to not give a crap and shoot you down (sound familiar?). So here goes:
1. The thrill of the chase: How many structures can I blow before they get me! Uh oh jerry is onto me evasive mauves! Quick drop the bombs and let’s toddle pip lads! Tally ho!
2. Lack of consequence: If I lose my plane it really doesn’t matter, a small repair bill and its back again. Of course I don’t want to lose it, but I don’t really mind.
Here I feel the best eve comparison is the pirate story arc. This is mostly done in interceptors/faction frigates, and it’s all about doing what you can before the ebil piwates get you. I won’t go through the points because it really matches one to one in this case. However unfortunately only a tiny fraction of players can participate, and even then you only get one go per character. Why don’t we have more content like this? Why not bring in some high reward missions which is literally the game daring you to go into deep null or low sec locations (maybe were lots of kills have happened) and hit a target before running back?
It’s obvious to us all that eve is very different to most other MMO games, but we do seem to severely lack in quick fun PvE content. I believe that my personal issues with what we do have revolved around the lack of progress/achievement. I don’t want CCP to dedicate itself to bringing our more PvE content each patch in a rolling chain like WoW, they have better things to dedicate to. But we could get a lot further by improving the sense of progress within the corporation we are working with than just the increment in mission level. Let’s progress up the ranks, lets improve our system standing, make missions actually, you know challenging, and why not throw in low consequence PvE which allows others the PvP at us in a way that’s fun for all parties!
*I don’t believe I am breaking NDA on this one as the feature is widely reported in the press from releases by WG themselves during the Alpha.
Just a quick one today to highlight something that I meant to do before I took my little break form the ‘sphere.
Here is a link to a great post on the forums from Louis deGuerre entititled Louis’s Epic Skill Guide. Its a good list of major skills every new eve player should know and understand. Its even a good bench mark for us older players to check our basics have been covered.
BattleCruisers, what does it all mean Basil?
Wow in a rush announcement CCP have stated balancing the last of the T1 Ships ready for the winter expansion. One of the big changes is that all BattleCruisers will soon have 17 slots. But what does this actually mean for each? Well here is a breakdown:
Low Mid High Total Movement
Harbinger 6 4 8 18 -1
Oracle 6 3 8 17 0
Prophecy 6 3 7 16 1
Drake 4 6 8 18 -1
Ferox 4 5 7 16 1
Naga 3 6 8 17 0
Brutix 5 4 7 16 1
Myrmidon 6 5 6 17 0
Talos 5 4 8 17 0
Cyclone 4 5 8 17 0
Hurricane 6 4 8 18 -1
Tornado 4 5 8 17 0
It’s hard to judge who will get hit hardest by this one (it seems like a bit of a nerf all around (with the exception of Gallente). But I expect to see some real tears around this very very soon.
In regards to my last post, on battleships and the changes, CCP may have gotten around the issues by not actually making any changes to the BS roles. I read the changes as follows:
Armageddon, Apocalypse, Raven, Tempest, Abbadon, Rokh, Maelstorm: No change.
Typhoon: Major adjustments to change it to a single weapon system.
Megathron: gets a speed boost and defence nerf.
Dominix, Hyperion: We’d love to make them better, but we can’t yet.
In all honesty it’s a bit of a let-down really. Oh well, roll on tech II! oh all so, I guess I missed that Retribution was due out on December the 4th!