Archive for September, 2013

Lychee Please

Lychee

Looks like my predictions on the Expansion were pretty much as wrong as you can get! Although I cant say that disappoints me much.

Perhaps expansion are a bit like waiters and toilets. Hmm that perhaps needs some explaining… When you are a restaurant and the food seems to take an age to arrive. Generally I find the only sure fire way to speed things up is to go to the loo. Generally the moment your out of sight of the table all the food arrives. I guess deciding to predict the next expansion as something non PvP means we get a PvP expansion. I’ll keep this theory in mind come summer.

Sadly I missed that actual twitch stream (because I was at a wedding Fair >.<), but so far every thing looks pretty awesome. I’m still digesting a lot of the release (and trying to find the details that people who watched the stream are taking for granted. I’ll hold off on long posts until I have more details, but here are my first thoughts on the announced features so far:

  • Structures: pretty cool in general, like the idea of them being destructible in high sec. Also looks like the beginnings of modular POS’s (I guess I kinda predicted something right?)
    • Space Yurt: Awesome
    • Mini Jammer: sweet, esp that BLOPS isnt effected
    • Tractor: Bleh, but I can see its usage. Hope its mega expensive for PvE tears… Risk and reward baby.
  • SOE ships: Looking mega sexy. Blops fleets are going to get very popular. At the moment they are fragile hit and run platforms, but if the SOE ships are combat capable, they could become the backbone of BLOPS doctrines which can actually engage outside of a standard gank
  • Interceptor Balance: Fleet wise I am all for the Bubble immunity. My first 0.0 role was that of fast tackle, and I still hold a place in my heart for these nippy ships. Unfortunately, even with bubble immunity, they are too easily killed to risk my implants and clone costs to fly. Out side of fleets Bubble immunity kinda sucks (see T3’s) I dislike definitive immunities because I feel they leave no room for skill or luck. for a further explanation see Arians post on Super Capital Immunities.
  • Interdictor Balance: Again I really want to get into Interdiction, but the smaller variety are space coffins. I’ll hold judgement until the actual change are announced however.
  • Highsec Poco: Good news, and an interesting precedent for capsular controlling Highsec, given the “Dream” Seagull is selling us wholesale, could be the start of something good
  • Certificates: Interesting. CCP demo’d some interesting potential new skill trees at fanfest. Clearly these had quite some work put into them, although CCP didn’t commit to them being “Production items”. I expect these “certificate changes” to be the offspring of these ideas, which looked pretty awesome. Edit: Looks like this album from the screen, pretty much confirms that this is exactly what the overhaul is.

Looks like a good expansion, and this is only the beginning. Lets see how much more comes out.

Winter Patch Predictions

During Fanfest CCP released a wonderful little wrap up for the Retribution expansion, detailing that it was exceedingly successful. Numbers back this up, with retribution going on to give a massive increase in players (citation needed I know, I swear there was a follow up to this post by Jester where retribution got a record-breaking final statistic, but I just can’t find it). Since the retribution expansion, CCP have been following the same recipe for effort pretty closely, as I detailed in my post “You say goodbye” looking at CSM recommendations and this recipe.

 

So with the numbers from that post in mind, I think its time for me to give some predictions about the Winter Expansion. Firstly the “Expansion Theme”. I’ve given up hope of a Nullsec orientated theme anytime soon, the fact of the matter is that Nullsec players are already hooked on the game. Why develop cleaner drugs for the addicts when you can make cocaine infused lollipops to get new customers? So I won’t be predicting a Nullsec theme (no matter how much I want it). Instead, from what’s been going around, and reading in-between the lines of the CSM I predict that this expansion theme will be:

 

PvE content (specifically a revamp of missions).

 

Most eve players start their lives as mission runners, and quite a few end them as one. And let’s face it Missions are pretty much as out of date as it gets in the PvE department, I can’t think of a MMO with worse PvE than eve at time of press. A mission revamp would have three clear advantages for CCP going forwards:

 

  1. Bringing new players to the game

If eve can get back to the curve with PvE it might do a better job of recruiting more new players with promises of more traditional MMO content for the masses. I’m not saying raid bosses are coming, but having the equivalent of 5 man dungeons might bring more small groups into the game.

 

  1. Player Retention

Missions are not fun, and players want fun content. Simple as that. Make missions fun, and people might stay around long enough to learn something, and get hooked into PvP.

 

  1. Player progression

Leading on from above, Missions could (but aren’t currently) be a great way to Segwaying players into PvP without the current jump-into-cold-water-from-a-sauna level of system shock.

 

With that core concept in place lets look at the break down of content I expect to see this winter (% numbers are based purely on the retribution recipe):

 

6% UI improvements

I expect to see maybe a bit of drone UI work here. But I am not sure just how much. I suspect this will be a “nice to have” feature for the expansion and may get dropped for a 1.1 or later. Mostly I would expect this to be around the corporation management (enabling the content creators after all), and the mission UI. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Agent system gets another go, if it exists in any form anymore.

 

8% new ships

I expect there to be some new ships (around 1-4), but I really don’t know what form they will take, something linked to missions of course. Personally I would love to see a salvage frigate which could be used for ninja salvaging, but really that’s just a pipe dream.

 

9% revamp

The big part, Missions get a thorough going over. Best hope is that it’s something close to the way CCP did exploration, completely overhauling the dynamic and perhaps even going far enough as to scrap the Agent system for something more dynamic.

 

18% code revamp

The smaller half of the expansion, this is being done partly because it needs doing, and partly because it opens the door to the POS work next expansion (gosh am I doing two expansions worth of predictions now?).

 

10% ship rebalancing

Obvious predictions is obvious. We already know about marauders. Not sure  what will be next . Perhaps assault frigates?  More likely is a begin on the Navy and Pirate factions ships, they are favourite for missions already.

 

49% minor features

These are really hard to predict as what is a “Minor” feature is hard to tell. I expect a lot of life improvements run outwards from the corp code revamp. I also expect a second revision on the Exploration content pushed out last patch, maybe some new modules etc. Perhaps even so far as trading of hacking powerups. I also predict some more ginger toes going into the sea of CREST, alongside other minor tweaks.

 

As I said before I would much rather a Nullsec revamp, but I just don’t think it’s on the cards. I almost would begrudge missions getting a pass though, it is without doubt the most outdated section of the game (well perhaps baring the UI). Better mission content could make for better, or at least fun, money making prospects for individuals, so let’s see. Of course this is purely working off gut feeling mixed with some interpretation, and I expect to be entirely wrong about the expansion.
Fly like Mystic Meg (wrong),

 

Hark

F1 Warrior

I read an article which really Gandered my goat a little while ago. It’s a subject which has irritated me for a long while now, like the errant grain of sand stuck in a sandal. The Article is on the subject of “Fleet Bears”  by Gevlon, and discusses how close to PvE, Fleet PvP is in eve. The main purpose of the article is another of Grevlon’s hair brained schemes to try and prove his significance in anything that isn’t simply grinding cash via the eve equivalent of rubbing your face on a cheese grater and selling the result as stem cells: the money is good, but its not worth the grind.

 

The premise of creating a “Fleet Bear Corp” is so comedic that it’s not that which greases my cake-tin. No what does that is the underlying perception that all you have to do in a fleet fight is press F1 (by the way, even if it were true, “Fleet bears” still wouldn’t work for social psychological reasons, but I digress). That concept, held by so many ignorant people, who are looking to degrade others who they know nothing about, urks me to a fair degree.

 

Now let’s not go too far on this one, I accept that there are a fair number of F1 warriors out there; who do turn up to fleets with the express purpose of mashing a pudgy finger down on F1 when the FC commands it. Unfortunately that is likely the same member who asked at the start “Can I bring a drake?”. These are not the majority, and they are certainly not the average. They are the low outliers in the chart, the anomalies at the bottom of the grid. For every F1 warrior in the fleet, who flies while resisting the urge to lick the nearest window, there is another extreme: The skilled players. They are working to ensure the fleets success, they are the specialists providing essential skills. We all know them, but lets look at a couple of examples:

 

Logistics. It’s the obvious one I know, especially as I am known to have a soft spot for these priests of space (commonly being one and all). Logi pilots need to be constantly on the ball, predicating primaries, prioritising reps, all the while ensuring they stay alive long enough to do their job.

 

Tackle. Without a good hold on the enemy, you’re not going to get many kills. Hictors, Dictors, intys and frigs. These pilots need to be shit hot, on the ball and fast, so fucking fast they arrive in among the enemy before or at the same time the damage starts coming down. Most of these pilots only get one or two shots per fleet to do their jobs as they will likely die in their success; by my gods do they make it count.

 

Oh Hark, you say, Tackle and logistics are only a small part of a fleet, and even including other examples of high player skill pilots like ECM and Firewall pilots, you still only account for a small number! What about the rest? That’s true. But like I said about the “Turn up and press F1” crowd, these are outliers, these are the few dots at the top of the graph showing us all what heroes they are (excuse me while I jump back in my Scimitar and pat myself on the back a little more). So let’s talk about the middle of the pack, the group of core pilots who make a fleet work.

 

The average line pilot doesn’t Just turn up and press F1. Firstly before they can even arrive in a fleet, they have to prove their metal by simply existing in 0.0. Living in null is a lot harder than many give credit for. You have to understand the subtle laws of Nullsec, and indeed Lowsec to keep yourself supplied with ships and equipment. If I had a million isk for every Carebear who has joined a null sec alliance and sailed into null sec with a hauler filled with “pvp gear”, Or the Nullsec industrialist who has tried to ship their goods out via realspace, I too could attempt to buy my way into the upper echelons of Test Alliance (actually I think the price of that has dropped a bit now). The average Nullsec pilot is self-sufficient, and although their alliance might help them out (via SRP and a transport backbone) they can and will in a pinch supply themselves with little to no fuss. A Highsec PvEer by comparison only knows the way to the nearest trade hub.

 

But let’s talk about the fleets themselves, what makes a average line member stand out from the fellow mouth breathing on his voice activated microphone? What are they doing other than pressing F1? A good fleet member is managing their overheating, watching for the optimal time to take the drugs (and getting ready to mitigate some of the side effects that might cause). They are checking to see if they are tackled, and watching for opportunities to clear tackle off the fleet. They are also ready for the unexpected, if a bubble suddenly goes up on the fleet, they are ready to MWD out. If the FC calls a route, they know how to escape without orders. Ok so the average member likely isn’t doing all of these things, but the majority will be doing at least a few. I dislike the idea that a fleet is like a hive mind, with drones just following what an FC says. The fleets I have participated in during my Null career have been more like a pack of hyenas. Individuals under a clear leader, working as individuals towards a common goal (and laughing like crazy men while doing it).

 

Another theory which sprouts from this same growth of thought (as mentioned by Grevlon)  is that “Your skills don’t matter in a fleet”. To which I laugh Heartily. I love sheer stupidity of this statement, it’s incredible. Because it relies on the fact that the fleets collective skills will dwarf your own and this make them insignificant. Which works fine when convincing yourself that you’re good enough for a fleet. But when you are applying that individual logic to every pilot in the fleet. “If my pilots skills don’t matter, then no ones do”… Tosh. A minimum skilled pilot in a Rokh does 410 DPS with blasters, whereas a well skilled pilot like my own does 579 DPS, a difference of 169. Yes a single player could hide in a fleet of well skilled pilots and it likely wouldn’t matter. But it only takes four minimum skilled pilots, before you are effectively a man down. A hundred man fleet of just-above-minimum-required skilled pilots will have the same DPS as only 82 well skilled pilots. If they were to bring equal numbers to the low skill fleet, they will have almost 10k extra DPS easily enough to make the difference between coping, and broken logistics.

 

Now you may try to tell me that I am taking the average of “elite” PvP

Where do you stand?

Where do you stand?

groups and applying it to all of Nullsec, but if you check my history I’ve served in elite, average and what many would consider the pubbiest of Publords (or whatever your colloquial term is), they have all to a lesser or greater degree had more than just F1 mashers filling their ranks.

 

So here is the meat of it. Yes there are people who turn up to fleet and just mash F1, but they are not the average. Yet Highsec Denizens, who are eager for reasons to not be in Nullsec, love a reason to down play their Nullsec cousins. Of course its popular to say “skills don’t matter” or “all you have to do is turn up and press F1” because it makes the people too scared to join Nullsec feel better about the fact they haven’t tried it. You can just picture it, out on a mining opp the corporation pvp pilot is guarding the miners from gankers. One of the miners asks “hey xxxkiller99xxx why have you never been to Null? Being so amazing at pvp and all?”. He laughs at the ignorance of his mining friend and sets his navy Raven to orbit the orca at 10km “don’t be silly friend, they just turn up and press F1”.

 

Any yes people like Gevlon, who do “just turn up” will always be trying to project their own shortcomings on the entire group, as they desperately attempt to justify their existence (although they generally have the decency to do it quietly). But all they are really doing is fooling themselves into projecting their own weakness onto others. You show me a Mission runner who exerts the same amount of effort in his average playtime, that a Nullsec fleet participant produces just to live in Null even before a fight starts, and I will show you a liar.

 

I leave you with a final proof of the idiocy in this belief of low skilled (real and sp) fleet members. If Fleet PvP is the same as Running a mission (or incursion as mentioned by Grevlon) why have we never seen any PvE alliance convert into a Sov holding alliance? Why is: Mission Running > incursion running > Nullsec Sov not the natural progression of an alliance? Why do evicted Nullsec alliances go to Faction Warfare or Lowsec to recuperate rather than practicing their fleet action running Incursions. Why do we infact see the opposite where high grade PvP alliances rest upon their laurels, and become soft and complacent running plex’s? Why? Because the supposition that fleet PvP is just like PvE is pure A grade Bullshit.

 

Fly hopping on one foot trying to clear the sand from your shoes,

 

Hark

BB49: As Croesus

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 49th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

* * * * *

This month’s topic comes from a few sources and focuses on that most important of measurements of an EVE Online Pilot: how much money do you have?

What is “rich” in EVE? Is it simply having more ISK than most everyone else, is it measured in raw numbers of some other ethereal quality? Can you actually be poor? Have you ever lost nearly everything and had to claw your way back? If you are rich, how do you know and how did you get rich?

 

From<http://www.ninveah.com/2013/09/blog-banter-49-rich.html>

 

I think Jester really nailed it when he writes about Rich begin a perspective thing, but at the same time, (he would approve of double think I am sure) I also believe that you can laydown Class boundaries in eve, just as you can (if you are so inclined) in real life. As I mentioned in my last update post, by the class boundary set which I like the most, I am somewhere around the upper ranks of space middle class. The personal perspective of your wealth is just as applicable as the grand-scheme-of-things scale. I can be middle class in the grand scheme of things, Rich from my personal perspective, and poor from the view of my Alliance all at once. Aren’t I clever? But the most important scale of wealth is your own perspective so let me explain what “Rich” is to me.

 

Apart from anything else, rich, is unfortunately an equilibrium I can’t seem to break out off. The more ISK I have the less I want to put effort into making money, and the more likely I am to buy flashy ships (see my monthly updates for details). The less money I have, the more inclined I am to play my trader I am, and the less likely I am to spend lots of ISK. As a result I bounce around the same money range like a rubber ball in the ISS.

 

But is that so bad? I don’t need to be (grand-scheme) space rich to feel like I have achieved something in eve, I don’t need 1 trillion Isk to win the game. My rule of thumb is that I would like to have enough money to re-purchase all the important ships that I own, and still have enough left over to restart my trader. That breaks down something like this:

 

1 Carrier (3bn)

1 Black Ops BS (1.6bn)

1 T3 (1bn)

1 Napoc (0.7bn)

1 Hic (0.3bn)

1 Freighter (1.1bn)

Assorted T1&T2 Ships (1bn)

Trader starting Cash (5bn)

Total: 13bn

 

Add a bit of a safety margin to this and you have the region at which my wallet tends to hover. I will often make a concerted effort to break above this level (right now for example I have a 50bn target set, but in all honestly I doubt I will ever reach it). The issue is that making “enough to get by” is about as much effort as I am willing to expend on the ISK making side of things, pushing higher is almost always a short term phase soon corrected by lethargy or a big purchase. But that’s fine with me, I’ve still got enough to cover my spending and cope with dire emergencies.

 

Over the years in eve I have made my cash through a lot of different avenues. Mission running being my starting profession. From there I went to null and tried some Complexes. About the same time I met a very successful station trader who helped me start my trader, who has since been the backbone of my funding. That’s not to say it’s been my only source of cash, the trick in eve is to diversify. In my career I have tried wormholes, Incursions, exploration, Faction Warfare, hauling, manufacturing (that’s recent), services (selling bookmarks) and even made a little money out of administrative roles. Through all of this, I would consider myself rich, certainly in the last few years of playing, I have never been limited in what PvP ships I buy because of a lack of cash.

 

But what about the flip side? Space Poor. In relative terms; I would class “poor” as the point when you are limited in what you can do (that you want to do) by your wealth. For example, if I were suddenly to develop a need/want to get into a Titan, I would be poor (my means do not cover my goals). Furthermore if a newbro was aiming to upgrade to a cruiser with 50m in their wallet, they are doing fine, if however they are aiming to get a Battleship, their poor.

 

In my early days I clawed my way out of “poor” several times, both through silly mistakes (it’s good to learn the golden rule when your still in frigates), and because my aims shifted faster than my wallet did. I was lucky in that I had a close group of friends to help me out when I made mistakes (the very same Dirties you know and love today), so the depths of despair always had a light at the end of the tunnel. But all the same I can remember the days when I lost a stream of frigates to hard missions, and had to go back to my Ibis to claw back enough cash to start again.

 

I can also vividly remember coming back to the game in a war deck and losing my (accidentally) poorly-pvp fitted rokh (p.s. to understand the true fail of that fitting, you have to know that I thought it was a PvE fitting) to Guiding Hand Social Club. As at the time I was attempting to break into Nullsec, and was only intending to fly frigates (Indeed I think I was on the way to Jita to sell the Rokh to fund a stack of Kestrels) the loss, despite being about 70% of my net worth didn’t make me poor.

 

So to summarise, there are three scales of wealth; Your opinion of yours, Others opinion of yours, and the scale of the grand scheme of things (which is still based on opinion). But I feel that Isk is too often used as a scoreboard to players, null, low and high pilots alike. Honestly the only score board in eve is how much fun you have. If a player gets enjoyment out of bombing around Lowsec in frigates with only 100m in their wallet, who am I to declare them poor? Equally some of the Super capital owners in the Alliance would likely declare me poor, but from my point of view, I don’t need more than I have to continue, I might want more but I don’t need it. The most important scale of wealth should always be your own, do you have enough money to have fun? If so, don’t sweat it.

 

Fly Rokhs more,

 

Hark

 

The August Blues

Another month rolls by and yet again my in-game participation has reached a new low. With only 24 hours of gaming time registered this last month, and minimal amounts of that invested in eve. Believe me when I say that this is not a reflection of my attitude towards eve, I am chomping at the bit for some in game action. Considering that I was away for a week of this month on holiday, and just before that got engaged, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of game time.

 

So what have I gotten up to? Well at the start of the month I jumped into my carrier for two flash opps, both of which turned out to be Blue balls, pretty much a colossal waste of 40k of Isotopes, but hey, it’s on the companies money right? Since then we returned to our traditional low sec home, and then onwards to the fights happening down in Delve and Querious. Sadly the second move happened on the same day I was flying to the Czech republic. As the indication was that the deployment was only for a week (which was the same length as my holiday), I decided on my return to stay in lowsec and await the next deployment. Typically that was a week ago, and there is still no sign of the return. Pretty soon I will just bite the bullet and move our solo, no doubt just in time for the move opp back to be posted *sigh*.

 

The trader has been my busiest character this month as I would really like to increase my personal wealth to the point where buy I could purchase a Super Carrier (not that does not in any way incline that I want to, just that it’s a good frame of reference to work buy). I am allready Space Middleclass bordering upper-middle class if you include all my non-reselling commodities (i.e. ships I fly). However I would like to solidify my position in the Upper Middle with liquid assets only. This means raising More cash per day, and this spending more time on my trader and industrial characters. So far I estimate that my average day across all of my accounts I estimate that I earn around 60m per day meaning that at the moment, it will take me around 2 years to reach my goal. I am hoping that my rapidly maturing Industry character might go some way to shortening that projection.

 

This also been a good month for starting long term plans, with an alt starting the long train towards a jump freighter, and another running for a dread sitting alt. My mains skill plan however has been derailed twice and moved about once. The first change of plans was because of my poor fleet attendance. Previously while hanging out in lowsec (and indeed on deployment), there have been a short tonne of BLOPS fleets, so far to shear cost of the things (and the fact they are not covered by SRP) have put me off investing. However a few weeks ago, in a fit of desperation I decided to bite the bullet, in the hopes it might increase my chance of actually getting on an opp in my short periods of “online”. The second disruption was for Informorph Syncronizing, a dreaded Charisma skill, which will allow me to spend more time in a +5 clone while I am at work. The final rejigger was simply reprioritising skills which might help with future doctrines.

 

In Dirties news, Arian has started investigating Live Streaming, and we hope to be bringing you some streams of Dirties Drunken Roams in the near future. But were still ironing out some of the details for that one. Needless to say I might actually need to have some playtime for that, but then next month doesn’t look quite as bad as the last one. Here is hoping any way.

 

Fly whenever you can,

 

Hark