Archive for the ‘Our eve Life’ Category

Blog Banter #54: Polarizing Express

Today’s topic comes Diaries of a Space Noob blog and other sources:
Quick post. I was listening to a song and a question occurred to me. Where are the EVE heroes? Against a dark background surely all we have are anti-heroes? A lot of mockery is aimed at any who attempt to be white knights. EVE is a dark place and yet pretty much all other MMO’s try to place the player in the role of some form of hero, boosting the ego and taking the player out of the humdrum 1 in 7 billion that is RL. Why have I fitted into EVE? Did I never want to be that? So I guess my question is:
 
Do classic heroes exist in EVE? Is such heroism even possible in EVE? How would you go about being one without opening yourself wide open to scams? Is the nature of the game so dark that heroes can’t exist? How do you deal with that irony? What effect does this have on us and the psyche of new players coming in from other MMOs? Is it something special that we don’t have classic heroes, or should we? Are our non classic heroes more genuine?
And I would add to this, who have we elevated to the level of larger than life heroes ourselves in the game, and do they actually deserve it?
From The Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah

Eve is Real. It’s the marketing statement (which seems to have waned a little of late) which CCP uses to tagline eve and, by comparison, CCP does have a fair point, eve apes real life far better than, say, Guild Wars II: People interact, they touch each other’s in game life and affect others as they pass. A characters progression in Eve is the result of millions of factors defined by the game, and its players, developing a unique individual story unlike any that have come before it. I believe that this is why we don’t have any of what classic video games describe as “Heroes”, real life has none either. Games such as Guild Wars and World of Warcraft tell us that the Hero is an individual who through some means or another ends up making choices and performing actions which are clearly for the greater good (The Greater Good). They can see the bigger picture and they act as they see fit to help their cause. Yet in eve, as in real life, it is never so clear cut as to what is good and what is bad. Often things which seem good now, a few months down the line can turn out to be detrimental to the greater good (The Greater Good). If you can find a person who can tell me what the greater good (The Greater Good) is, even just within eve, I will find a person who has blinkered their perception to a limited scope. I think that the same is true for real life as well.

But let’s expound the in game side of that further; Games like Guild Wars II and Warcraft, tell us a story, they show us our Character and carefully craft a story around them showing how they progress from nobody, to (what a Video Game considers a Hero. Eve on the other hand gives us a character, and asks “what is your story?”. Because of this lack of control we cannot be engineered to be Heroes which other games prescribe us, we have to make our own choices, and some will always be wrong. In Guild Wars, there is no wrong decision, things will always turn out all right, and our character (short of not playing) will always become the Hero (or at worst, the Anti-Hero). In eve we have no such omnipotence (Ironic for the “God like” capsular), and so we can never be the classic “Video Game Hero”, because they cannot exist in a world of free choice.

“But Hark”, I hear you cry,” there are Hero’s in real life, what about people like Mother Teresa? Or Gandhi? Or even War Heroes such as Thomas Lawrence? Or how about Local Heroes like Firemen and the Police!?”. And you’re right, these examples, and millions more, are Real life Heroes, nothing like their Video Game and Movie counter parts (except perhaps Lawrence, but I’ll get to that in a bit), and eve has better analogues to them, than it does to other games definitions of Heroes. Of course pacifist Heroes, Rights Heroes and Caring Heroes struggle to survive in a universe of equal, immortal war mongers, but you could draw parallels to people such as Sindel Pellion (The Angel Project), Grevlon Goblin (who is no hero to me, but again more on that in a moment), and others. You can also look to Logistics pilots (of both kinds), for the nearest equivalent of Local Heroes. But again, this is where we get to the issue of perception, which is an issue in real-life just as it is in eve.

You and me might look at someone like Arthur Harris (a.k.a Bomber Harris) and declare them a Hero. A man making tough decisions to fight the Nazi movement. Commissioning raids to defend the United Kingdom, and crucial to the War effort. Yet that perception of “Hero” comes from our own personal beliefs, feelings and social alignment. For example, I feel that Extremists (in any form) are wrong, and in a situation like World War II where Extremists attempt to subjugate they must be opposed. Therefore to me, people who stand up and fight them, are heroes. Yet if I were an extremist, say a White Supremacist, or indeed a Nazi, I would consider someone fighting against whatever my movement was, as an enemy, and not a hero.

Now most people in the free world are governed by social acceptance, and we are brought up to think in a certain way; so 99% of people would answer like I do with conviction that the Nazis were wrong, and that the Allied Forces of WWII (and their supporters back home) were heroes. But in eve, no such mass social governance is in place. If your character “Grew up” in High Sec, you might have been taught that Goonswarm are evil and should be eradicated (I will use Goonswarm a lot in this as they are a very polarising group). On the other hand if you “Grew up” within Goonswarm, reaping its generosity to newbie members you would consider them just and right.

Because within eve there is no base level of social moral code, our personal convictions are whimsy, and can be easily influenced by the current political situation and personal circumstance. A Test pilot not so long ago, would have preached praise for brother Goon, where now they would likely speak of betrayal and revenge. Because “Good” and “Evil” are dependent on where you stand, likewise, “Hero” and “War Criminal” are also based on perspective. My Heroes, are my enemies scoundrels and targets, and his mine.

Here come’s my second issue with the label of “Hero” in eve, I chose Bomber Harris as my real world example of a polarising Hero, not only because he would be considered bad from the Nazis point of view, but also because you could debate his actions from other point of view. Harris, was a proponent of “Area bombing” over “Precision bombing”, despite its higher civilian “collateral damage”. He was also a large part of the planning and execution of the Dresden Bombing, which killed more than 22,000 people, mostly civillians. Now I have my personal views on this, as every person has a right to, but the fact is that because of things like this, Bomber Harris, and many Heroes like him, have debatable status as Heroes. In eve, within the lore of the game, we as capsular are an aloof elite, killing millions, cold and uncaring of the stricken poverty and squalor bellow us, surely more than any real life analogy, no matter what we do, our characters status as “Heroes” is always going to be debatable.

So let us summarise (and welcome to all who skipped the wall of text). “Video Game Heroes” don’t exist in eve, because there is no guiding narrative to build them. Video Game Heroes, don’t exists in real life because they require the omnipotence of a predefined narrative to create them and, as with real life in eve, we define the Narrative. Because of this eve is more like Real life where Heroes are a matter of perspective, and eve’s lack of moral guidance makes perspective a far more variable thing than in real life. Furthermore because of the limitations of a Video game, the sacrifice required to become a “Real life” hero, is hard to make. Even more limiting is the fact that the game lore dictates that our characters are all, by definition, at least a shade of Evil, meaning again as an amplified effect of real life, all our Heroes morals can be called into question.

Fly bombers,

Hark

Tuesdays Training: Jump Fuel Conservation & Infomorph Sync

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.

Note: I took a break last week while on a training course in Town, and was then waylaid this week due to the UK storms. Back on schedule now and hope to return to a Tuesday post next week!

This week’s skill training choices were a little more boring that last weeks. My choices were limited to:

  • Infomorph Synchronising V
  • Propulsion Jamming IV
  • Jump Fuel Conservation V
  • Mechanical Engineering V

In the end I decided to talk about two of these skills, both aimed at older player. First up is Jump Fuel Conservation V. Each level of JDC reduces the per light-year jump cost of Carriers, Dreads and the Roqual by 100 Units of Isotops. It also drops Jump Freighters by 290 units, and Black Ops Battleships by 30. If we take the current PLEX cost (~650m Isk), and break that down to a Isk Cost per hour of skill training (902,777.78) we can calculate how many light years we need to jump to save the money invested in our skill points in Jump Drive Calibration at current fuel costs (~600isk/unit).

Jump Fuel Cal

The question you have to ask yourself is: “How long will it take me to jump far enough to make it worth it?”. If your character is a dedicated Black Ops Pilot, the chances are the answer is never going to be past III-IV. For a Suitcase only Carrier (non-nomadic), level IV is likely fine. For a Nomadic Character fly Carriers, Dreads and Black Ops ships: I suspect those 1706 light-years will just fly by.

For me, PL moves home around 6-7 times per year, at an average of 2 carrier jump distance. That ends up with 3x Dread jumps, and 10x Carrier jumps to move all my ships, which is a total of 180 light years travelled per move, or 1260 light years per year just for relocations. Of course that doesn’t include random trips to high sec, or combat operation jumps. Certainly I feel that for me JDC V is justified on all 3 of my Carrier Characters.

I also wanted to quickly write a little about Infomorph Synchronising. IS is a relatively new skill added a few patches back (I can’t remember exactly which one), and reduces the delay between Jump Clone activation by 1 hour per level. For me this skill as been a “No brainer”, but one I haven’t gotten around to training since it was introduced. My eventual plan is to create a high sec +5 implant clone, which I jump after each night in Nullsec. As most of my playtime is around 5 hours on a weekday, this means that at level 5, I can Jump Clone to my +5 alt, and the timer will reset in time for the next night’s game time. Of course I will then have to spend 20 hours in Nullsec before I can return to the +5’s, but 20 hours out of 40 on 3 extra attribute points, is better than a kick in the teeth. By my calculations in fact I will spend 72 hours out of 168 (43%) in +5’s using this plan, giving me an average attribute bonus as near as damned it +4, with only the cost of replacing +3’s when I die (a saving of 40m per death). I’ll admit that’s it’s a lot of cost to gain only +1 to attributes, but again, playing the long game, I think it’s worth it.

While were talking about Jump Clones, I would also like to ask the question “In times when Slowcat fleets can maraud across the galaxy in minutes (or seconds if they are going to a TiDi battle), does the argument that a massive reduction in Jump Clone time (down to say every 12 or even as low as 5 hours) would cause an issue with force projection?” Furthermore, would the ability to move sub capital pilots, as fast a capital pilots, not give a good counter point to the current slowcat proliferation?

Fly wondering if you’re the original,

Hark

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

 

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

100m SP: Time and tide

On the 29th of July in 2008 I decided for the first time to try eve. I won’t go into details about my history in eve since then, but 5 years and 6720 logins later, at 20:50 18/12/2013 I finally amassed 100m Skill points on my Main Character. I’ll fess up and admit that I could have gotten here faster. Indeed by my calculations (ignoring learning skill changes and starting skills), a character of my age should have somewhere between 127,370,880 SP (+5’s) and 104,626,080 SP (No implants), meaning that I have spent somewhere between 4-21% of my characters life, not training, or using subpar implants. Of course having +5’s permanently in your head is an impossibility, especially for a combat character, and trying to do so would have cost me a new set of implants each of the 16 times I have been podded which is a serious amount of money.

 

To mark this occasion (and because it’s fast approaching the new year and its always a good time to wrap things up), I will be writing a series of posts on the how the 5 years of playing eve have affected both me and my characters. For this first post I will look mostly at time, closely followed with further posts on money, and the main event itself, skills. For all of these statistics I am looking at only my three currently active accounts. I do have around 3 other historical accounts, which have been disposable or temporary, but their skills and statistics are so minor compared with the main two, I doubt they will make much difference. So without further ado, let’s get on with further facts and figures!

 

As I mentioned at the beginning, I have logged into eve a total of 6720 times, with an average playtime of 33 minutes per login that’s a total solid play time of 273,429 minutes playtime (or around 190 days if that’s easier to digest). My oldest character is 2106 days old (meaning that I log into one of my accounts around an average of 3.2 times per day), giving me an average playtime per day of just under an hour. With 1437 recorded kills just on my main account (which to be fair has killed the vast majority) I have managed to average a kill every other day of my characters life. To be honest that is a lot lower that I would ideally like, but hey ho.

 

If we start to look at the characters themselves the main account has taken the vast majority of my playtime up (unsurprisingly for a main) with 116 days of logged in playtime. She has also been logged in (again on average) twice every three days of her life, with an average play time of 55mins per log in, or 80 mins per day. I find it interesting that she doesn’t log in very often, but when she does it’s for the long haul (read lagged out fleet fights).

 

My alt prime account interestingly has the main account beat hands down on the number of logins at 3521 times (~500 more than the main). This is unsurprising, as this account holds my trader and PI specialist, who I log in pretty much every single day. This means that since this accounts creation in mid-2009, I have logged into it on average just over twice per day. However the regular, but quick nature of the traders logins does show with the average playtime per log in at only 30 mins each, or 1 hour played per day of its life.

 

Looking at just under a half years solid playtime some people might ask if a video game is really worth so much of my life? Or if the money spent on the game is worth paying? Obviously, as I have spent this time, and my subscription fee on the game, I disagree. By my best calculations I have spent ~£1500 on eve online (inc PLEX, sub and the collector’s edition). Which means that I’ve paid around half a penny (GBP) per minuet spent in game, which actually is around what I spend on most non subscription games. Outside of gaming, the cinema costs around £7 (optimistically) per film, which average around 2 hours. That works out at around .06 of a penny per minuets entertainment, slightly more.

 

There are plenty of other forms of entertainment which are both more and less expensive than eve has been for me, but that point which I am trying to get across is that although £1.5k sounds like a lot of money, when you look at it in terms of cost/minute and compare it to other forms of entertainment, I don’t think it’s that bad. Furthermore this doesn’t take into account the hours of time I have spent out of the game planning, scheming, reading, learning and generally engaging with what is, at the end of the day a wonderful community.

 

I would much rather spend that money on an intellectual and challenging video game, than rotting my brain watching The Fast and the Furious MXC.

 

Fly for an age,

 

Hark

Interception

If you had asked me a month ago if the changes to Interceptors would see me returning to these wonderful little ships, I would had said “Sadly not”. I would have then gona one to add that the 20m+ cost of new clones along with the expensive implants in Hark’s head means that flying fragile ships is on paper a not worthwhile risk.

In practice however, it turns out that the changes are just enough to tempt me back (at least for now). I should point out that interceptors have always held a special place in my heart, as I began my 0.0 experience flying tackle for ED during their finals stand back is Etherium Reach. So when we saw Interceptor fleets being announced post Rubicon, I decided I would throw caution to the wind, and try them out at least once. My goodness am I glad I did.

Inty fleets are amazingly good fun, and perfect anti-ratting operations. Back when we lived in the NC we used to do regular “Fishing” fleets, also known as “shot-gunning”. This was where we used ships like Assault frigates to roam into enemy territory (hopefully moving fast enough to confuse Intel channels) to enemy hubs. Here we would all jump into system and scatter at random to locations where we might find enemy carebears doing their thing. This coupled with a dictor parked on a station to catch people trying to panic dock got us a good few kills. However this was generally a lesson in Darwinism more than anything as only the stupid/slow ever got caught. Interceptor fleets operate on this same principle but surpass the old model for several reasons:

 1. They are exceptionally fast in warp
It’s pretty easy for a ceptor’ fleet to cover tens of jumps in a handful of minuets. This means we can move faster than the speed of information, so we catch ratters unawares. It also means that we can move faster to the hero bait ship a few jumps away, and still arrive before he dies. Finally we can overtake people who try to run away from us. On one of our fleets, we landed on grid just as a Raven warped to a gate, we followed his warp and beat him to the gate by a good 5-10 seconds needless to say he then died.

 2. They are exceptionally fast in sub warp
Engagement gone sour? No problem, just align to the sun and coast out of trouble. At several points we outstayed our welcome on grid, and had to extract quickly. In a normal fleet this could have been fatal, but in Intys, we didn’t even have to warp out to get safe. This also means that should you look like you’re going down, your chances of getting your pod out is pretty good. Even under scram and web, if you are quick you can coast out of a bubble to allow your pod to escape.

3. Bubble immunity
It’s obvious, I know but this has an unexpected ramification. You can go on an Inty fleet even if you know you only have 10 minutes till you have to walk away from the PC. When the time comes to leave fleet, you can simply find a quiet location to log off, and be safe in the knowledge that to get yourself home safe you need only worry about insterlocking gate camps on the way.

The Inty gangs have been amazing, and despite the worry of a pod-mail 5-6 times the ship loss mail, the allure of speed and easy kills is just too much to resist. Especially with kills like the afore mentioned Raven possible. The Inty fleets also got me the funniest kill I have had in a very long while where we destroyed a Rapier who though he was safe to engage in Station docking range. He had carrier providing reps against our 30 interceptors: and went down after hull tanking the reps for a good couple of minutes.

The interceptor change has been fantastic and without doubt my highlight of the Rubicon expansion.

Am I being lead Astro? Or is it just Cheetah-ing?

For a little while now my Faction Warfare alt, Xa, has been dabbling in 0.0 exploration, as an enjoyable income source. Since the market crash on exploration items, people seem to poo poo the profitability of exploration due to its risk and ish/hour income. However for me, most people fail to take into account a very important factor in their isk/hour calculations: enjoyment. If you don’t enjoy the money making process, you are less likely to log in and spend your time doing it.

 

Some people enjoy mission running, and likely do get very a high isk/hour rate because they enjoy it. But for me I find mission running (and indeed even 0.0 anom running) incredibly boring, and thus rarely log in to do them past a weeks’ worth of effort. Faction Warfare was another example of this. Here the theoretical isk/hour ratio is pretty stunning, but thanks to the main mechanic being watching a timer tick downwards and pressing a scan button, I bored quickly and stopped logging in for it.

 

0.0 Exploration so far has been a different kettle of fish:

 

Constant danger of death: check.

A good feeling of pissing someone off by invading their space and stealing ‘their’ money: check.

Gameplay which keeps me active from start to finish: check.

A good balance of Risk/Reward: check.

Sign me up.

 

So far Xa has been running around in one of my old haunts (where I happen to have a lot of bookmarks) doing regular sweeps of a large ring of Nullsec regions, running sites and earning money. It’s pretty good fun.

 

But now I am starting to wonder if I should start looking at upgrading my ship to the new Astro Frigate. So far I have been using a Cheetah fit like this:

 

[Cheetah, Exploration]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Damage Control II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

 

Data Analyzer II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Cargo Scanner II

Relic Analyzer II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

[empty high slot]

 

Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

And it’s not bad. With Xa’s skills we have a 5 second warp time, a 3k sub warp speed with a virus at 40/120 for both Analysers. At 2.7k ehp It doesn’t tank (if you are caught your dead anyway). It also has the virtue of costing only around 30-40m fully fitted, should it get killed.

 

Now let’s look at the possible replacement, you guessed it, the Astero:

 

[Astero, Exploration]

Damage Control II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Overdrive Injector System II

 

Relic Analyzer II

Data Analyzer II

Cargo Scanner II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

 

Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

 

Warrior II x5

Hornet EC-300 x5

Hornet EC-300 x5

 

With this equivalent fitting, we have a 2 second align time(!). That’s crazy, simply crazy. To put that into perspective, let’s look at some locking times (all at level 5):

 

Instalock Cane (all sebo, T2 rigs + remote Sebo):

  • Astero: 2 seconds (2 second align)
  • Cheetah 1.8 seconds (5 second align)

 

Interceptor (1 sebo):

  • Astero: 2.6s (2 second align)
  • Cheetah:  1.5s (5 second align)

 

Interceptor (1 sebo +5 remote sebo)

  • Astero: 0.7s (2 second align)
  • Cheetah: 0.6s (5 second align)

 

This means that in a worst case scenario when you jump into a gate camp, the Astero only needs  the remote Sensor Boosted Interceptor to hesitate for a fraction of a second, whereas the Cheetah needs to sleep for a full 4 before it can escape, and against anything but a max boosted Interceptor, your chances of survival are almost 100%.

 

The Astero also sports a faster top speed at 3.5k under mwd, and you can pick one of your analyser modules to gain and additional 10 coherence over the equivalent Cheetah fit, or improve your scanning (you can only fit one of these rigs with calibration). The warp speed does suffer a little by comparison to the Cheetah at 5 au base, but in this fitting I have used the warp speed rigs to even this out at 7.5 (.5 au slower) incidentally these are some of the few rigs which will fit in the 150 calibration left. Not that it really matters, but the Astero does also have nearly 1k extra ehp at level V.

 

Drones are also an important factor, with the Astero sporting a fantastic 75m3 Drone bay allowing for either DPS drones, or GTFO EC drones.

 

All in all the Astero is pretty much better in every single way than the Cheetah (except hold space), except for one: The cost. Currently clocking in at 100m (at time of writing). Now no doubt this will continue to plummet as supply and demand begin to draw closer to each other, but just how far will it drop? I’m really no market analyst (nor an industrialist); so any prediction I might make is nothing more than guess work. But by comparison other popular Faction Frigates (the Dramiel &Daredevil) are around 50-60m each. So we are looking at a dramatic improvement, for roughly double (or even triple) the cost of the Cheetah.

 

Is it worth it? I’m drawn on this one to be honest. Yes the Astero would protect against Gate Camps, and has a better chance of survival if you are caught, but there is no bonus or module to improve capsular luck/skill. All it takes is a few seconds (with the new interceptor changes) of inattention to find a Tarnaris on top of you. Yes in this situation the warriors might help you kill a single frigate, or the EC drones might jam him long enough to escape, but if there is more than one ship on you, it’s “goodnight sweetheart”. Furthermore, if you are in Nullsec, there is nothing on board to escape a bubble camp, although the faster speed & align time will get you back to the gate quicker.

 

The question comes down to this: are you likely to lose three Cheetahs to fast locking gate camps for every one Stratios/Cheetah lost to inattentiveness? If so, the Astero might be a better choice. If not… well perhaps the Cheetah is good enough. That’s your call.

 

For me? Well. I don’t know yet. But the Astero is a very, very pretty ship…

 

Fly white,

 

Hark

 

Monthly Update

Well it’s time again that I bemoan the lack of playing I’ve had in eve, and to be honestly I’m not inclined to disappoint on that front. Things are on the Up though, and the end of this particularly busy period is well within site (next update could be a very different kettle of fish, all things working out, which they won’t).

 

This month I managed a moderately healthy 57 hours of gaming of which sadly only around 7 were spent in eve. Most of these hours have been snippets of time grabbed here and there in between jobs and other responsibilities. When I have been able to grab some quality eve time, it’s never aligned with fleets. Thankfully I think this is already starting to change.

 

Firstly as I mentioned above the new few weeks is the final run in what has been an unusually busy year, the next few weeks see me having 1 day weekends (a positive improvement) followed by one last fully booked out weekend, and then the calendar is free (for the moment). There is no kidding that more things will get put in there (visiting wedding venues is the current favourite time filler), but I am hoping to return to my old standard of one week booked, one week free. Secondly  Goons appear to have moved in next door, and hopefully that many warm bodies next door should induce a far higher volume of fights than what I have been seeing so far.

 

I have also been suffering from somewhat of a lack of direction for my two alt accounts. One, a 70m SP PvE/FW account was lacking a new direction. However I have decided to give exploration another shot (now the rush has subsided), and so suddenly there is a fair few easily identifiable holes in the alts training. That should both stop the random training I have been doing previously as well as (hopefully) massively increase my play time (and Isk, if I’m lucky).

 

The Indy alt, which is a paltry 2m SP, has been suffering from my lack of time investment. I enjoyed the short bit of industry I did on it, but this month the little time I had has been invested in actually playing, rather than calculating if mineral prices are worth it (I refuse to mine). Thanks to a couple of stupid mistakes, and the fact she is now leveraged for PI as well currently that account is running on an ISK deficit of around 40m (so much for a money making account). I believe I could have reversed this however if I had the playtime, again this is something I intend to fix asap. She is also rapidly heading towards invention skill so that I can open another avenue for revenue on that account (if I get the time).

 

The main is still ticking along nicely on my “un-nerfable” skill plan, and combat ship wise, the only ones I cannot fly are Command ships Titans, two Dreads, one carrier and the legion. I cant use T2 Tracking disruptors or SEBOs other than that it’s all green ticks. Oh and I still haven’t trained Infomorph Synconising, but it’s still very much part of the plan.

 

Isk wise my redoubled efforts to make money seem to be paying off with my liquid and trading assets totalling to only 100m off my previous all-time record. That effort has given me an 8% increase in wealth this month (although 1bn of that was a Charon I found down the back of eves equivalent of the sofa, ignoring that luck it would have been about a 3% increase).Now I just have to fight the urge to relax and stop making money, especially as I have the arduous task for releasing several hundred assets purchased as a long term investment, which are scattered across the region. Still seeing as that is looking like a good solid 3-400% increase in value, I think I can manage the effort.

 

All in all I am still complaining, but things are looking on the up!

 

Fly when you can,

 

Hark

 

 

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.