Archive for January, 2014

Time and TiDi wait for no man

Perhaps it’s just been enough time since TiDi was introduced that I’ve forgotten just how bad the old days were. Or perhaps it’s the change in pace since the time before. But for whatever the reason, I’m starting to fall out of love with TiDi.

 

It seems to me like the dynamic of large fights prior to TiDi was something along the lines of 1-3 hour fights 70% of the time, and node death 30% of the time. Whereas now, in the age of TiDi, it’s more like a 4 hour fight minimum (and often stretching out to 8 hours) where node death only happens 5% of the time.

 

Now avoiding node death is a good thing, no one likes Sole Crushing Lag, but at the same time, fights lasting that long (and being unresponsive for the entire duration), are just too far outside of my playtime window. I live in GMT(+), and work a fulltime 9-5 job with an hour commute each way. This means that generally I have a window of around 5 hours playtime each night (not including relation maintenance time and other domestic duties), in the old days a fight fitted snugly into that slot. But now, unless a fight begins a few minutes after I get home (and I get luck and they don’t drag on), I have next to no chance of getting into fleet during work nights. Frequently I will see pings going out for Slowcats along the lines of “LOGIN ALL THE THINGS, DUDES TO KILL 1000 on grid”, at 20:00, and I know that signing up is going to take me into the small hours.

 

The result of this is that if large fights start happening, I can only reliably join:

  • Friday night
  • Saturday
  • Sunday until about 15:00

 

And that kind of sucks. Granted not every fight these days is a huge 2000 man battle, and there are other things to do and see in eve on a weekday night. But large fleet fights are what I play for, and what I (previously) enjoy the most in the game.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should roll things back to how they were, the numbers game has moved on since then, and what was a 70:30 ratio with 700 people fights being the norm, with the 2500 people fights I’m sure that ratio would look a lot worse. But am saying that the Plaster stuck over the problem, is starting to smell a bit funny, and I think we might regret going so long without getting it checked out.

 

It’s starting to get embarrassing now, as potential players join twitch, to view fights and ask questions like “Why are you showing me static image of the game rather than the fight? Oh wait did that just move a frame?”. Mayhaps its time to think as TiDi as a negative to new player attraction?

 

 

F……….L……….Y          S………L………O……….w……….L……….Y……….,

H………..a…………r……….k

 

Tuesdays Training: Armor Compensation

Every Tuesday I take a skill which one of my characters is training and discuss why I am current training that skill. I will also look at other uses for the skill, and who else might benefit from it. As I have several Characters across the skill spectrum I expect to cover skills for Young, Middle Age and old players.

This week, for the inaugural edition of Tuesdays Training I had four choices to pick from to discuss;

  • Bomb Deployment (V)
  • EM Armor Compensation (IV)
  • Jump Drive Calibration (V)
  • Gallenete Encryption Methods (V)

Eventually I decided to pick my Alt Characters skill: Em Armor Compensation, as a good skill to discuss for both Mid and Early game players (as Older characters like my main should have this trained already). It also covers more than just 1 skill, as most of what applies to it, applies to the other damage types as well (i.e. Thermic Armor Compensation).

So let’s look at the skill itself:

EM Armor Compensation (int-mem) [x2]

5% bonus to EM resistance per level for Amor Coatings and Energized plates.

Prerequisite for Skills: Nothing

Required for Modules/Ships: Nothing

The Armor compensation skills (as well as the Shield ones I think), are dead end skills. These skills do not unlock, or enable anything, and are only trained for bonus they give per level. But, as is mostly the case with dead end skills, the bonus is fairly significant. In this case a 5% boost to Armor resistance modules effectiveness, which  is a potent bonus, considering that Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes/Adaptive Nano Plating and Armor Hardeners are the cornerstones of any Armour tank. This is further compounded by the fact that resistances have a cumulative effect on a tanking the more raw HP you have. In other words, resistances are important.

Let’s look at how this skill affects our tank on a few examples. For all of these examples I am using a 0 Skilled Character granted minimum skill required to fly the ship, and no other mods on the ship in question.

ACOMFRIGCHARTpng

ACOMPBSCHART

 

As we can see from this, the difference between 0 compensation and 5 is around 300 – 1,000 ehp on a frigate (5-8% increase of ehp). Or a 3,324 – 6,296 increase of ehp on a Battleship (4-7% increase of ehp). Now any seasoned vet is going to tell you that the tiniest margin can make the difference between a fight won and a fight lost, and this remains true. For newer players, flying frigates even with just level 4 skills the EANM and Membrane fitting is going to be 6% better than the same fittings with no skills, which would take a meagre (~)4 days to train. In other words, these skills are basics which every character should have trained.

But how far you should train them is another matter. As a x2 skill to level 5 one of these compensations takes just under 10 days, for a brand new player, that 50 days of training is going to be too long. So here are my recommendations for player age vs skill level (note this only applies if you intend to fly and armour tank):

  • Characters of any age: I
  • Characters over a few weeks old: III
  • Characters using T2 moduless: IV
  • Older Characters flying capitals, etc: V

Now it’s worth noting that not all of the Compensations are born equal, EM, the one which spurred this very post is less useful than say, explosive armour compensation, because armour is inherently weaker to Explosive damage than EM damage. Some might take this as a cue to train EM to a lower level than Explosive, but personally I like them equal, so I will leave that choice down to you dear reader.

I have to admit that my main, who falls into that final category only has the compensation skills to IV which is mistake I intend to rectify once I respec her attributes to Int Mem in the coming months, but I still stand by my recommendation even if I am ignoring it myself, you can feel free to do likewise ;).

Fly Like your compensation for something,

Hark

100M SP: Can you have my stuff?

January 15th, 2014
Our eve Life
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Last in the series of landmark posts as I have now achieved 100m SP. These have taken a while to produce as Christmas is as always a busy period. Normal service will now resume!

I’ve always been interested in making money in MMO’s but never at the expense of gameplay. I Can remember when my flatmate and friend first got me into World of Warcraft I asked him for a loan of a few gold to get me started which he happily provided me with. About a month later I was richer than he was (him having played since beta), and I gave him the money back with interest. But even back then when I was playing the market (buying a selling cloth & ore mostly), it was always something to do in-between the meat of actual game play.

 

The same has always been true in eve. Ever since I was first taught the ins and outs of Station trading (the mainstay of my money making) by a friend, making money in eve has always been interesting to me, but never as important as PvP. As such, I am not one of Eve’s Space Rich 1% elite, I am instead decidedly space middleclass/Space Upper-Middleclass. Since finding a stable footing in station trading, I have always been keen to look into new avenues of income, hoping to stabilize my holdings by planting fingers in as many pies as I can keep up with. None have ever been as stable as station trading, but most has provided a little income here and there for me. The closest to a secondary income stream has been PI which I have been doing profitably for a good long time now.

 

At time of writing I currently have 13,745,600 isk in liquid (this changes on a day to day basis  as I buy and sell items. However I rarely drop below 10bn at any given time. Asset wise I have collected an awful lot of junk over these past few years, with an additional 17bn in non-war assets (read items which are not to be used in Null sec) and a further 15bn in ships I intend to use for combat (I usual exclude these from calculations of wealth, but note them here as an item of interest). I also have a further 7bn in sell orders, alongside 2.5bn in Escrow.

 

All this together brings my total current wealth to 39.6bn isk no including war assets or 54.3bn isk all in. It sounds great, but in reality nearly all of that wealth is either tied up in assets strewn across the universe, or is required as capital to allow me to continue trading and earning more. I estimate that I have around 3bn liquid cash which I could use without ant long term effect on my money making (co incidentally this is the total price of my most expensive ship, don’t fly.. Etc), In an emergency, I could spend as much as 5-6bn and still climb out of the hole with relative ease.

 

Growth wise things are looking pretty good: Considering that this year has been the first yeah where I have recorded my spending and station trading efforts, and the result has been a 6bn growth in my trading isk if you exclude the start of that year (where is spent a lot of capital to set myself up) the last 10 months saw a growth of 7bn. From my records, and percentage increases, I predict that I can almost doubt this next year hopefully pulling in 11bn with some extra effort.

 

Money wise the big experiments this year have been Exploration, Faction Warfare and Industry. But there will be more on that in the next post. Right now I believe that I am pretty comfortable in my wealth. I think that a loss of all or either my assets or liquid isk would force me to abandon Nullsec for a period of dedicated earning, but anything up to a 50% loss of either would only call of minor changes in my attitude. Hopefully of course neither will come to pass.

 

Fly what you can afford to lose,

 

Hark

 

100m SP: Skills

Next! Right, well, it would be remise of me not to look at my characters skill points themselves. I mentioned briefly in the last post that my main character was a little bit under skilled for her age, and this is bared out when we look across all my accounts as well. In total I have 197,795,334 SP across my three accounts and 9 characters, with an average of 1,962 SP per hour (per account). Considering that with attribute mapping and +3’s my main is currently earning 2520 SP/Hour, that’s a little bit low.

 

Breaking that down by character the main is pretty much the backbone of that average with 2,146 SP/hour earned (considering this is my first year truly paying attention to attribute mapping, that’s no surprise).

 

Where are those skills placed then? Hark’s top five categories are:

  • 37m in Spaceship command
  • 16m in Gunnery
  • 9m in Missiles
  • 7m in Navigation
  • 6m in Drones

And here lowest are

  • 1415 in production
  • 2830 in trade
  • 15,072 in social

 

Alt Prime similarly has the most in

  • 20m in Spaceship Command
  • 9m in Gunnery
  • 8m in Navigation
  • 5m in Drones
  • 4m in Engineering

And

  • 4,500 in Trade
  • 169,000 in resource processing
  • 169,000 in neutral enhancement

 

The nine characters I have are split down as follows:

  • 1 x Main (combat, sub and cap)
  • 1x Alt (good all-rounder, combat leanings, also suitcase Carrier Pilot, losing direction a little at the moment)
  • 2x Haulers (1 T1 and 1 T2)
  • 1x trader (also Planet manager)
  • 3x Cyno Alts (inc one parked in jita for price monitoring)
  • 1x Industrialist (also planet manager)

 

So far both of these posts have been pretty factual, but now I add in a little bit of opinion to the mix. Specifically, my opinion on skills. Starting with my personal biggest landmark: Cross training. The fact that any character from any race, can fly any ship if they train the right skills is a massive bonus to this game, and even from the beginning I would have listed it as a plus. Yet for some reason, when I first started out in Nullsec I was very  resistant to the idea of training for races outside my Caldari heritage (I know, I know). However when I was finally lured into another races ships by the dazzle of lasers, it was a massive landmark for me. Being able to fly any races ship, means that you can fit in with any Alliance/Corporations Doctrines, and flexibility is key to being useful. If you fly anything other than Industrials for your vocation in eve, it’s well worth training all the races (once you have mastered one at least).

 

The second biggest landmark was becoming carrier capable. For me as a Nullsec pilot who has moved home and region on a frequent basis, having a suitcase carrier was a massive game changer. It was like getting your first car; your no longer dependent on Mommy and Daddies logistics chain, further more shipping things in and out of Nullsec can be a nice little money spinner if you know how. The first few jumps are pretty scary, as is the first loss mail.. But its been worth every moment of training, even ignoring the massive usage I’ve gotten out the current Slowcat meta. I still wish that we had a dedicated “Moveng Van” jump capable ship, but that’s a mere pipe dream, and until then, the carrier is likely my most useful ship in the hanger.

 

I am afraid that my last big skill landmark is a bit boring and obvious Core Competency. The skills which effect every ship you fly. Navigation, Capacitor, Locking Power Grid and CPU. Once I had cross trained everything and had my suitcase carrier, this was my next objective. Perfecting the skills which benefit the most ships. Having to never worry about if you can squeeze in a doctrine fitting, or be the last into warp. These skills are undervalued but vital additions to any pilots resumé. Training them was a bore, but I am glad I persevered.

 

Lastly before I sign off again, I want to recommend a training both overheating and drug skills for any pilot moving into the advanced stage of combat. It’s something I don’t regret training (despite the horrific price of Neuro Toxin Control). But it’s not really something I can list in my landmark list of skills, because I don’t use it anywhere near as much as I do. I just don’t understand enough about what is best used when, to carry drugs all the time. Sure I use them when I am instructed to in the doctrine fittings, but other than that, nada. Something I should change this year.

 

Fly high,

 

Hark