Archive for December, 2012

Retribution: The Morning After

Well, that was a refreshingly smooth expansion release! I was at work during the release itself, but my twitter feed seems to indicate that the servers were actually back up an hour early, despite some solo wormhold fixes by CCP Tuxford we seem to be up and running without any issues. Well… at least any release related issues. There is of course the subject of CapArmRepGate in which CCP put a tiny line in a patch notes to document a massive change (in effect a 25% drop in armour carrier remote rep). Just to add some spice to the mix, this change was only implemented because CCP believed that the nerf already existed for capital shield remote reps, which it did not. However this CCP Fozzie stepped up and apologised, promising a change roll-back in the next content patch. But still in comparison to past releases, and indeed release by other companies, this has been a very smooth ride.

Moving on from the release itself, I want to talk about my first impressions. First and foremost, the targeting UI. Wow, just wow. I wasn’t really that excited by this when it was announced (well a little excited, but not much), but I really was amazed by just how much such a relatively small UI change makes to the freshness of the game. It really makes the game feel that little bit more modern. That said I have one minor complaint; the bouncy new target lock. Specificity when you lock a new target and its details are added to your targeting bar, the targets you have already locked below it, bounce slightly like a stack of marshmallows having a pebble dropped on it. Now I don’t know about you, but when I describe the eve UI, and especially the parts of it concerned with killing people. I don’t want to have to use the words “Bouncy” or “Marshmellow” to describe it. I just don’t feel that soft spongy (more bad Kiling-UI words) feel it gives represents the hard ruthless feel of the eve universe. Also if your trying to sort targets into the wonderful new columns while the targets are bouncing up and down like a fricking set of double d’s in an earthquake, its very annoying.

Familiar?

Seriously thou that’s a nitpick, the UI changes are wonderful, new life into the old UI of eve. Esspecialy the new columns I breifly mentioned in the last paragraph, as a logistics, its great to be able to sort rep targets into columns by priority (and keep the enemy your trying to sneak a shot onto away from the friendly   It makes me wonder what effect it might have if CCP spent some time fixing the Windows 1.1 style windows in eve to something new. Who-knows maybe next patch?

Next up for me was the new NPC AI (I’m still working on some Epic Arc blog posts, but you’ll get more on this later). Again, for me, this was another breath of fresh-air into the game. I really don’t enjoy mission running that much these days, because its easy mode. Therefore anything which makes it a bit harder, or more interesting, is great news to me.

Unfortunately, I really haven’t had a look at the new cruisers as the moment (My RvB char couldn’t skill up in time to try the before cruisers out (nor the after ones for the matter), but given the excellent work that’s been going on so far in the re-balancing department, I have no doubt these will be great. Right now I’m just getting  ready for the Battleship changes to land, and the resulting 0.0 doctrine changes which might follow. As a side note, I love it when we get to fly something different in 0.0, especially if its something different from Armour carriers (because I cant fly them yet :p).

There are loads of other changes which are more subtle, and will come to light as game play continues (like the null-sec music), and things which will take a while to be seen (like the new modules and ships). Next blog I intend to look at what I hope will come in Summer 2013.

Fly bouncy,

Hark¬

Back Track Part 2

The first part of this article can be found here

Well in just two short days I have now completed the SoE Epic Arc “Blood Stained Stars” and I have some final thoughts on it.

Lets talk about how I think the Arc stands up to new players. First and foremost, I don’t know how well advertised this arc is to new players now, but I do know this: its not enough. I cant begin to think how awesome I would have found this when I first stared mission running, and furthermore to a “Theme Park” MMO player, this kind of structured sequential mission might help bring them further into the eve mindset. Its rewards are also great for the newer player, giving some good cash, and a vital boost to empire standings which are oh so important to the early career mission runner.

However there is a problem using the epic arcs to bring theme park players into eve. Its that of progression; like many things in eve the learning curve is more of a wall. A theme park player would run this, and love it, then be faced with grinding for months (and train into Battleships) to get enough standing to run a level 4 epic arc. As they stand (assuming players are pushed into them forcibly) they are a great way of getting players into eve, with some more at the in-between levels, they could be amazing.

And not onto my impressions as an older player. I really enjoyed it, sure the missions were ridiculously easy, and there was a lot of running around high-sec (see the picture at the end). But I really liked the story (yeah I’ve never actually read mission requests before), and actually the reward wasn’t exactly chicken feed. Ok so the money was (I think I made about 5 mill without salving across 5 hours), but at the end of the arc, the ability to pick any of the three factions to gain a chunk of standings towards, is priceless. I picked the Amarr (as I can already run the Caldari Epic Arc “Penumbra”) and gained around 0.4 standing to the faction (8.4% increase with Connections 5, ans Social 4 from a start of 5.4) meaning I can now run theirs as well.

So the (5)million isk question: Would I run it again? yes.
Further more I intend to also run both the Caldari and Amarr arcs very soon. I hope these might provide some more challenge (and reward). Ill add some posts on them when I get to them.

Final notes from my log:

If you happen to have a good battleship in Hek there are two missions there which actually have battleships in. With total bounties worth around 10m isk each, you might be tempted to run these. If you do, the missions are back to back and, in the second one you should refrain from destroying the power source untill you have moped up the BS’s, as killing this (as per mission objective) will destroy the ships with no bounty for you.

My final set up was as follows:

[Hurricane, Sisters]

6x 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II (Phased Plasma M)
2x Small Tractor Beam II

Large Shield Extender II
2x Tracking Computer II (Tracking Speed Script)
10MN Microwarpdrive II

Damage Control II
3x Tracking Enhancer II
2x Gyrostabilizer II

3x Medium Core Defense Field Purger I

6x Warrior II

I grouped my weapons in sets of two and one shot’d most rats, although I did still have a few tracking issues, never had to deploy the drones though.

For the newer player here is an idea of what ship types you can use:

  • Battleship: to big, wont track anything
  • Battlecruiser: Very Easy mode
  • Cruiser: Easy mode
  • Destroyer: Medium
  • Frigate: Hard but doable with good skills/modules

Here is the rough area you will travel in:

Back Tracking

Its been kicking around in the back of my head for a while now that I still haven’t actually experienced any of the Epic Arcs, and this weekend, I decided to being rectifying this issue.

My plan is to begin with the Sisters of Eve Epic Arc: The Blood Stained Stars, which is generally referred to as the extended tutorial roughly equivalent to a level 1 mission. This said my research found mixed responses as to which ship was best to bring, responses varing from Battlecruiser all the way down to, “ah just a rifter’ll do it”.

Of course being a nullsec pilot, and thus master of the blob, I elected to bring the biggest recommended ship,  the Battlecruiser. Of course typically for me this meant that on my alt (who flys mostly Minmatar in combat), that I am about to embark on an epic arc with ship due to be nerfed in 2 days. I guess I could pretend this is a last Huzar for the Hurricane of old. As the missions seem to mostly involve fighting frigates with a few BC thrown in for good measure (or so the wiki’s say), I opted for a tracking fit ‘cane with 220mm AC’s. Fitting bellow:

Note: I changed this as I went to a more efficiently scroll to the end for my recommended fitting

[Hurricane, SoE]
6x 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
2x Small Tractor Beam II

Medium Shield Extender II
2x Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
10MN Microwarpdrive II

Damage Control II
3x Tracking Enhancer II
2x Gyrostabilizer II

3x Medium Core Defense Field Purger I

6x Warrior II
And promptly set off for the starter system Arnon ( IX – Moon 3 to be precise). I’ll admit now that the main reason for this fun little jaunt is purely personal interest (and information gathering for my future plans to run the Caldari Arc Penumbra), but I also think there is a lack of publicity and information about these missions out there for newer players, so I intend to give some feedback, and publicity to this arc for any new players who might happen upon this blog.
So without further ado, I shall alt tab away from this text, and accept the first mission…
Ok, so first mission done, and they say that first impressions are always important so: it makes you jump 2 jumps to fly to a site, kinda boring, but I can understand that to a new player, seeing destroyed Dreadnoughts and Battleships might be worth the trip (the visuals are pretty stunning).
I’ll run a few more and report back when I have enough thoughts…
First 10 missions done now, pretty fun so far although very very easy. the ‘Cane has been one hitting everything so far (all frigates). It started out with quite a bit of travel although later started to settle down to just one system. This said, the later missions were very repetitive (go to x, kill y, rescue z). flying to the next chapter now, wondering if an assault frigate might be a better ship just for the faster warp speed!
Another few done now, further adjusting the can fitting, not quite suggesting a full downsize yet as I’m not one hitting every ship I see (although its still tempting as I think that’s due to my gun size). However I am adjusting my fitting by removing a load of tank to add-in some Tracking Computers (see my final fitting). 
Its also worth noting that for some of the missions you can remote accept/complete missions, one set in Hererget I managed to complete only docking twice (start and end of the chain) saving me a lot of time (If only mission running always worked like this…)
Anyway that’s about all for my playtime now so ill finish this arc up later and give some final thoughts on it.

[Hurricane, Sisters]
6x 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II (Phased Plasma M)
2x Small Tractor Beam II

Large Shield Extender II
2x Tracking Computer II (Tracking Speed Script)
10MN Microwarpdrive II

Damage Control II
3x Tracking Enhancer II
2x Gyrostabilizer II

3x Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
6x Warrior II

Fly halfway across the galaxy
Hark¬

The second half of this article can be found here