Archive for the ‘Our eve Life’ Category

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 And let’s face it Missions are pretty much as out of date as it gets in the PvE department, I can’t think of a MMO with worse PvE than eve at time of press.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

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

 

 

May you live in Intresting Times

I’ve been on a little bit of a break of late from blogging. Funnily enough, it’s not the writing which has burnt me out (or the playing of eve), but instead the issues I am having with site speed and spam. The site is pretty close to where I want it to be at the moment look and feel wise, and the code is neat and tidy, scoring well on site speed tests. However despite this it seems to occasionally take an inordinate amount of time to load and that drive me crazy. All of my non eve playing free time went something like this:

  • Contact the host to ask why the site is slow
  • Host says its not slow
  • I explain it isn’t slow right now, but 5 minuet ago (when I was in the queue for support) it was.
  • Host points me at an optimisation guide
  • I politely thank them and disconnect
  • I follow the optimisation guide
  • The site is still slow
  • I contact support
  • Repeat ad nauseum

 

Couple that with the 5-10 spam comments we get per day which have to be manually marked and discarded (that better than it was at 10-30 per day) and you get blog burn out. After a few weeks solid of this just looking at the blog frankly depressed me. So I stopped. Sorry about that. To the few of you who have stuck around despite the sites slowness and my lack of posting: thanks, and I will improve, I promise. Life is still pretty busy for me, so I can’t promise an immediate turn around, but I will turn it around eventually.

 

Anyway nobody comes to an eve blog site to read about issues with blogs, so let’s talk a little about eve. Its been an oddly mixed month this month, with the Legion mostly on hold for the Tournament (that last match had me and my  fiancée the edge of our seats!). We did however launch on two campaigns one to defend our space and one to attack the former IRC alliance. Both of these attacks turned out to be the most boring deployments in my Nullsec career. First deploying to defend against the Solar Menace (who fucked off as soon as we turned up), then deploying to Cobalt Edge to fight with Rogue alliance who fucked off before we turned up. What the fun of kicking down sandcastles when all the kids have gone home? As Poetic Stanziel correctly points out, this hasn’t exactly been the most challenging deployment ever. As a result there have been literally no fleets for days, and a lot of the Legion who are not involved in uncontested structure grinds, or the tournament have been shacking up with Waffles to pass the time. Sadly this idea was only put to me a few days ago, just as we are (hopefully) kicking into gear again (just as I am about to go on holiday sigh). Still I managed to get a clone down to Waffle Space yesterday so no matter what I will be getting in on some fights in the coming month. I’ve also purchased a ridiculously expensive BLOPs with which to join in on fishing fleets, needless to say although I could replace it should I lose it, I don’t think I will be.

 

Outside of the Legion I have been a busy sole within eve, further expanding my PI empire to churn out 300m per month from the safety of empire. I have also been nurturing a new Industry toon so that I can experiment with making money through manufacturing, invention and research. So far it hasn’t exactly been a very profitable experience, but it has been a very interesting one. Certainly exploring manufacturing (which I have never done before) is rather like going back to being a newbi in eve. The mistakes I am making are certainly n00b errors (fyi cancelling a manufacturing job before it starts because you selected the wrong slot loses you all the minerals you shovelled in…). I am really enjoying the experience, but I am struggling to see where the profits are in building things. Certainly they must exist, because New Eden has no NPC manufacturers, yet wherever I look my best possible prices are too high. Is it just that miners don’t consider mineral costs and sell produce to low? Is it that a few people are making billions through PBO’s researched to perfection over years? Or am I just missing something in my calculations? Who knows, but I am having fun finding out. Certainly, you can expect to hear more about my manufacturing experiments in the near future.

 

Certainly I am very excited about Odyssey 1.1, and for the upcoming announcement on the Winter Expansion at Gamescon on the 24th. Once again my fingers are crossed for an iteration cycle on Sov.

 

Expect to see more posts from me soon, and one way or another I will get this site operating to my standards.

A month on the Tiles

I have to admit that this is going to be an interesting monthly update to write. This is because quite simply, I am having trouble remembering the first half of this month. Unfortunately this is not because of some alcohol induced coma, but instead because I have been so busy out of game, I just can’t remember that much of what I’ve been up to. P.s. a tip for anyone thinking of tiling a kitchen floor themselves: don’t.

 

That said I clearly have been playing games, with my raptor account scoring 140 hours played this month (an average of 5 hours per day). If I am honest through, that’s a dramatically inflated number, as I have been using my Tablet to run games in the background while I am at work; steam badge collection, for the use of. I think it’s fair enough to say that a good 20-40 hours of that time is this background running. Of that inflated 140 hours of games, I have managed to rack up 40 hours of eve, and 73 kills across all my accounts (working out at just under two kills an hour average).

 

I also had the great pleasure of a weeklong visit from fellow dirties members Arian Blade and a weekend visit from Lore Solo. We took the opportunity to run some awesome group roams thought faction warfare experimenting with some crazy fun frigate fits. We are going to try and expand these roams, and make them a regular feature. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some reports on here of what we get up to at some point.

 

In-between laying tiles, I have been enjoying a lot of Dust, especially working on the triple XP event over the last weekend. I’ve had a great time overall, but I am still severally disappointed by the low level of investment I’ve been able to make. I have also developed a distinct hatred of Death Taxies, to the point where by I just won’t talk about them in this update for fear of a fevered rant. Needless to say I find them… aggravating.

 

Back on the eve front, the Dirties group has also been experimenting with some new ways of working together to make money. So far things are looking positive, with us making a few Hundred Million for just a few hours’ work. To me its highlighted once again just how much eve makes us invest in our accounts and characters. Although this new plan is in its infant stages, eventually it is going to require some skill training before we can take it to the next level. I have always been one of life’s “planners”, and eve tickles that itch like nothing else. Spending time planning something which is going to take a few months, then walking it through the stages, to perfection… It’s a feel good factor for me. Mind you, you may have already gathered that from my Attribute optimisation post. Anyway, well see if we can talk about those plans at a later date, for now it’s all opsec and jazz.

 

Site wise I have also been doing some *fun* changes. If you visited over the last few days, you might have noticed that the site has been changing its clothes more than a Eurovision song Contest host. I wish it were for good reasons, but recently I have been un able to ignore the extremely slow load times (please tell me it’s not in my mind, and that readers are getting this as well). So far I think I have narrowed it down to just a few possibilities, and the site is currently running in “Cut down” mode, so that I can test my theories. Sadly being the main contributor to this site, and also being its sole administrator does mean that I sometimes have to pick between writing new content for you guys to read, and updating/optimising and generally administrating this site. Sadly that has resulted in a slowdown of posts in the last few weeks. We’ll just have to hope this is still just the initial overhead to get this site running on its own.

 

Anyway, I’m back to trying to get more fleets again, as I have been lacking in my destruction duties for the last couple of weeks. I doubt that ill manage that to any serious capacity until I have finished my work in the kitchen.

 

Fly with sore knees,

 

Hark

BB 47: A complex complex of Complex complexes

Is EVE too complex for one person to know everything? Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic? How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions? Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?

From <http://www.ninveah.com/2013/07/blog-banter-47.html>

A glimpse into my world as a programmer...

A glimpse into my world as a programmer…

One thing I have come to learn, working in IT, is that Complexity, is almost always on an “opt-in” basis. For example, the code behind an enterprise system is very complex. Looking deeper within that code, you will find that the developer has likely created resources, used through the project, which they exposes like an API, which are even more complex. But when I write a report on the system, for management, I don’t need to explain all of the complexity to them, they opt out of that, and get by just fine without it. And indeed for me, as say a programmer working on the outer functionality of the System, I don’t need to understand the inner depths of the API I am using, so I opt out of that as well. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know the complexity is there, merely that I understand enough to avoid any pitfalls which I might find, and that I know where to go should I need to gain further knowledge on the subject.

Eve, in many ways, apes real life in a quite amazing fashion and complexity is just one example of how it does this. I believe that eve is, very complex, indeed as the BB question hints, it is too complex to know everything. Much like the management in my example before, if an everyday eve player spent their time trying to understand every minute detail of the system, they wouldn’t have any time left to make decisions based on that information. That’s why in both real life, and eve, we have specialists.

Eve is an immensely complex simulation not entirely dissimilar to Deep thought’s super computer “Earth”. Comprised of complex circuitry invisible to the naked eye, with information passing around it contained in packets which have free will. It would be impossible to comprehend everything, and anyone trying would be a fool.

So how do, or should, we keep up to date with the vital information which we need to live our everyday lives in new Eden? The answer is simple, we require several interfaces with the system each of which will trawl select aspects of the system, and pull important data from the muck. The interface will then need to process that rough nugget of information; trimming it and distilling it into a hard pure diamond of information, which it then presents to you, to instantly digest to gain the core of needed information. You need enough of these interfaces to bring you enough data nuggets to survive. What are these interfaces called? Well collectively, it’s a “community” individually, you might call some “friends” others “Blogs” and still more “Forum Posts”.

Eve is too complex to understand, but as humans we have developed a wonderful capacity to knowledge transfer. This is why, to me, you cannot play eve effectively without engaging with the community. Players who try to play eve without the community are attempting to learn everything for themselves, and as a result they are doomed to failure. Eve is complex, and that’s why it is so important that we engage in the community, to use the interfaces to learn quicker than we would as an individual.

Dunning-KrugerThis is not infallible however, as we are often exposed to micro versions of an aspect of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The issue is that the incompetent, by definition cannot comprehend their incompetency, because they lack the knowledge to define what is competent and what is not. Put simply we as humans cannot see where we lack skill, because we lack skill to recognise it. This is also why, as Jester rightly points out, we are all hanging over precipices, we can’t even see, hoping that someone else will fall down first so we might define our own ignorance. Does this mean eve is too complex? Does this mean that CCP don’t document enough, or should make eve simpler?

Categorically, I say no. I believe that such a mirror to real life is part of the wonder and excitement we experience by playing it. Yes once every so often you are going to be the person who falls down an invisible hole so everyone else learns, but we all have to learn to pick ourselves up and keep going. Furthermore we can all mitigate the likely hood of being the “Fall guy” in two ways: (to continue using the falling analogy), we are all like a person walking through an infinitely massive room, in pitch black with holes in the floor. By expanding our group, walking with more people through the darkness we are statistically less likely to be the person taking the fall. Furthermore, we can help the people closest to us to recover when they do take a fall for the group, and indeed in return we will hopefully receive that help when we take a fall for them.

In summary, yes eve is complex, no you can understand everything. No CCP shouldn’t “fix” this because it is this very factor which make the eve community so important to every player. It’s that emphasis on communication, and collective learning which enriches our community and nurtures a deep sense of camaraderie, the only thing which can offset the cold dark nature of the game we play.

Fly incompetently and proud,

hark

Attribute Optimisation

neuralRemap

I am ashamed to admit that I have never really put much effort into my skill queue before. I still put more effort into it than most of the Dirties group (generally I have a month’s skill queue racked up in eveMon), but still the dark arts of Attribute Optimising has always scared me off.

For readers who are unaware of this particular practice. Let me summarise: All skills have primary and secondary attributes. Your characters level in each of these attributes directly effects how fast you gain skill points in them. For example a character with base attributes (17 across the board) will train Battleship V in 39 days and 3 hours. Where a character remapped to 27 Perception (primary) and 24 Willpower (secondary) will train it on 27 days 21 hours.  Quite a difference, and that’s only within a month. Once per year CCP allows players to remap their skill points to new values. So here is how it works: You commit to training only skills which have the same Primary and Secondary attributes, once the year is up, you can remap to another set of attributes, and train only their skills. Doing this a capsular Doing this a player can save hundreds of days training per year. That’s a lot.

Before you all go running off to eve mon to set a 365 day skill queue, you need to understand the downsides to this practice. Eve skills tend to come in miss matched. For example as a new player I could optimise my skill points to Perc/Will for a solid year to train T1 Ships, Gunnery and Missiles. However in order to get the maximum out of my training, I would have to avoid training Drones, Shields, Armour and Fitting skills until I could remap to a new configuration. All in all it would take 3-4 Remaps (or years) before you had a character balanced in all the key skill areas. In the long run, this is quicker, but in the short term it means you’re going to be shit at flying and fitting ships until years down the line.

Attribute optimisation is also very inflexible. For a Nullsec pilot such as myself following FOTM is a must. If you can’t fly ships complimentary to the Doctrine, you shouldn’t be flying at all. This means that if you are missing skills that a fleet fitting requires, you have to quickly flip push your skill queue aside in order to fit in with the new ship of the month.

All in all, my opinion has been that attribute optimisation is another good example of Malcanis’s Law. So why am I suddenly looking at using it? Well the fact of the matter is that I am one of the “Older players” mentioned in Malcanis’s Law, and in just 80 days I will be “Un nerfable”. With my current skill queue in 80 days I will be able to fly every T1 ship in the game (saving mining ships, including capitals), every T2 ship in the game (again excluding Mining ships, Command ships and T2 industrials) and use 90% of their modules to T2. I believe that this means that no matter what becomes the Flavour of the month in the next 12 months, I will be ready to fly it without changing my skill queue. It’s a bold claim, and one which could be foiled by a few things; New ships/Modues, exhumer fleets, Command Ship fleets etc. But that’s a gamble I feel is worth taking.

This new found inflexibility coupled with the bare fact that I am running out of non Lvl V skills to train means that attribute optimisation has suddenly become a very attractive prospect. So for the next 80 days I am training for the last few modules and ships, before I start training and optimised skill queue. For other older players, looking at perhaps doing this as well, or newer player who are think they might benefit from doing similar, I will loosely go over how I have planned mine.

First of all eveMon is a must for this exercise. It has a wonderful set of tools precisely for the purpose of optimising you skill queue. Not least of which is the ability to filter skills by their attributes. For reference here are the different remap sets:

All the Skills

P.s. I did this on purpose to make you think you had a hair on your screen…

PercWill – Gunnery, Missiles, T1 & T3 ship command, Offensive and Propulsion T3 Subsystems

CharInt – Planet Management (command centre upgrades & Planetary consolidation), Social Skills

CharMem – Trade Skills

CharWill – Leadership Skills, Jump clones, Contract skills

IntMem – Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics, Planetology, Science, T3 Subsystems (defence, Electronic & Engineering)

IntPer – Navigation

MemChar – Corporation Management, Research Project Management

MemInt – Industry

MemPerc – Drones

PercMem – Weapon Upgrades (though not advanced)

WillChar – Trade Skills

WillInt – Doomsday Devices

WillPerc – T2 Ship command

Now for me, as a combat pilot, the key areas which I want to improve first are; Tank, Spank (gunnery, missiles and Drones), Ship skills and navigation. Now Drones and Navigation don’t have a full years’ worth of training in them for me (200d and 78d respectively) I also have them trained to a level with which I am pretty happy. That leaves Tank (IntMem) and Gunnery, ships and Missiles (PercWill). Armed with this, I created a skill plan which gave me my un-nerfable status, then remapped to IntMem for perfect tanking and some Electronic warfare skills. Once this is completed (400 days), I will be planning out another years’ worth of skills, likely using Perc/Will to perfect Gunnery and Missiles. The result of all this? With a balance remap (23 in all except Charisma at 19) and +3 implants this queue takes 592 days, Optimised it takes 509 days. Giving me three months of additional training for a year and a half of skill queue.

Do I lament not doing this before? Not really, until recently the nature of my game has mean that I needed the flexibility of a balanced attribute mapping. I always tried to take a years’ worth of training and optimise my attributes to that particular mix (which means I’ve never had much Charisma, no surprise there). But now my skill plans are featuring more and level V skills it really does seem like it’s worth it.

Fly optimal,

Hark

The Skill Dilemma

Seeing as there have been a lot of people looking longingly at their skill queue these last 18 or so hours, I figure it’s a good time to post some thoughts on the training system. For a note to all of those talking about re-imbursements, Poetic does make a very good point about what to expect. Besides, you should all stop complaining, I was on a gate, engaged in a fight when the servers went offline… I doubt CCP is going to reimburse me for my soon to be inevitable loss! Because these downtime is not due to errors, I do wonder if CCP might take advantage and release Odyssey early, after all downtime is downtime right? Anyway, on with the original post.

 

The skill system, is harsh mistress to us capsulars. I can remember as a new player, how over whelming the skill sheet can be; so many skills which you don’t understand, so many ships you want to fly, and so many things your friends say you should train for. When you first start eve the skill queue is like a wall to climb, a barrier between you and the ship of your dreams. So you pick a target, set a straight line, and run for it. Forgetting all the nice to haves, and even some of what people tell you is essential, all go sit your ship quicker.

Rokh

A stack of Rokhs waiting to go on the market

 
For me it was the Rokh. Even though back then, it was only able to field 4 missiles (I was a missile only Caldari like so many before me), I loved a tanky ship, and it doesn’t get much tankier than a Rokh. I didn’t care that with my skills it would have the DPS of a limp slap. I wanted to get one fast, and the skill queue set a strait path towards it. That’s what the skill queue is to a new player, something to rush up. And as you zoom towards your chosen role, you, as I did, miss things. T2 weapons aren’t essential are they? Who needs tech II drones of every race? Level 4 shield resists are high enough right? I can fit what I need with only minor fittings skills so sod em’.

Then you get the big things you want and the skill tree changes its nature a bit. You’ve hit the mid game and you start to look back, and you realise that the wall you have scaled isn’t actually complete. There are some pretty huge holes in it. But there are still goals upwards, still things on the horizon you want so bad. Capitals look amazing, and the other races would be cool, so you could fly  in fleets with your alliance. So you keep climbing onwards towards the bigger goals, but now you take more care, and you don’t rush for ships like you used to. During this period, you might even go back and fill in some of the glaring holes in your wall, just because you have to justify some of the bigger more expensive ships you have or want.

Then, at last, you hit the big time, everything you really wanted is trained, all the races, all the T2’s and a few capitals of course. The skill queue changes its nature once more, it’s not a wall to be climbed, it’s a wall to be painted and patched. So far your rapid accent has left only a few upward strips, so it’s time to go back and fill the rest in. You double down and go back to getting the basics you guiltily knew you should have gotten during the first accent.

DSCN2842

Totaly my skill tree

 
The final stage is what I am looking at crossing into now. All the holes are plugged, and the wall is looking pretty damn solid. All that I have left in front of me is decorating it will a little splash here and there. Sure there are a few ships left to unlock, but none which I can see me flying anytime soon. I’m having to start to think about capping off to level 5’s because there is just no new goals to train towards any more. I suspect I am going to have to set my own goals now, looking at ascertaining “perfect” tanking, or “perfect” gunnery, that’s going to be a long project though.

That’s not to say I am losing interest in the skill queue any more. Far from it, I have enjoyed every stage of the skill game so far, and I expect I will enjoy this next stage just as much. It’s just a sad passing for me now that nothing has that fresh ship feel any more. At this stage in the game the furthest I am from a ship (excluding titans, in which I have 0 interest) is around 60d and that’s just because I would need to train a lot of leadership skills prior to embarking. I’m missing BLOPs, but that’s 7d, I’m missing Marauders, but that’s 6d… even The last carrier I can’t fly is only 38d away (but that will reduce to 9d as of the 4th).

It’s kind of sad that there is no new ship class on the horizon for me, but really I wouldn’t trade my position for anything. There are still plenty of ships I have skilled and never flown, so I am content just enjoying the freedom of having the SP to do whatever I want.

But here is what this whole post comes down to. A message to newer players: I won’t give you the same advice that no doubt everyone around you has given since day one. I won’t tell you to train T2 before you go up a ship class, or to train fitting/core skills before rushing to battleships. I never followed it, and I suspect, nor will you. Here is what I will advise though. Enjoy the progression. Enjoy the rush of finally getting in a new ship, because that will dry up one day. Make sure you make the most of whatever part of the skill game you are in at the moment.

 

Fly like a bitter vet,

 

Hark

Personal Exploration

Much like distilling, making what I want to say fit in 140 chars, can take a good few days.

Much like distilling, making what I want to say fit in 140 chars, can take a good few days.

In the last few days I have been talking a lot about the new exploration mechanics (and the changes being made to them). All the posts can be found below:

  1. personal exploration
  2. explorin gentitlement
  3. exploring exploration

 

Twitter really isn’t the best medium for communication. I never really got the bug for it, and to be honest I hate having to try to limit my expression to an arbitrary character limit. I hear the argument that imposing the limit distills the information to get you the interesting facts fast, but I disagree. Can anyone truly argue that this is better than the book?

 

“Little, hairy people + wizard/dwarves/elves take a really long time to triumph over evil.”

 

Could a religion (for better or worse) have sprouted from:

 

“God makes world. God makes people, gets angry with them & makes them follow rules.”

 

Source http://memeburn.com/2012/06/10-famous-novels-transformed-into-tweets/

 

I don’t think so. But I Digress. I do have a presence on twitter, partly because it is useful for publicising this blog, but mostly because I believe that twitter & tweetfleet are an important part of the eve community/meta. And both community and meta are important to me. The reason why I bring this up is because I had a good (if character limited) conversation with @MagnificentHaze yesterday evening surrounding my post on the Exploration changes (no I am not as mad as I made out honest). You can find the full conversation on twitter (if you know how to use it better than I do). But it came down to a discussion on what was, and what was not good multiplayer experience.

[edit] Thanks again to Haze, who has given me a link to our conversation: https://t.co/gfwdpASGqR

 

In the end I described how we as a group run the sites, and why I feel that the Loot spray was good multiplayer. First let me reiterate why the loot spray was good for single players.

  • It made you make tactical decisions on what to scope (even more so now that containers are named for what’s in them).
  • It required you to be a good manual flying pilot.

 

Ok so now how we run the sites. As a group of three we fly from system to system scanning down signatures, if there are more than one in a system, we split them up to scan them down faster. Once we have a site we warp in and power towards the can. When we arrive we divide the cans up between us, and all start hacking at the same time. When someone finds their system core they generally say something to the effect of “I’ve got it, ready for me to pop?”. This way we don’t all finish the hack at the same time and get overwhelmed. Assuming everyone says yes, the person who found to core kills is, and the rest of us ignore our hacking screens for a few moments to help tractor loot. This continues until all the containers are popped and the site is done. We do have to be careful about not moving more than 5-6K off the active hacking sites (as this explodes them), but good piloting skills makes this easy enough to do. We also have to concentrate on not tractoring the same target (as this locks you out for a cycle), and ensuring we catch all the fastest moving cans before they stray too far. As a result of our teamwork we complete the site 3 times as fast as a solo player, and scoop 100% of the loot as opposed to the 50-60% of a solo player.

 

I just don’t understand how the change is an improvement over what the loot spray brought to the table.

 

 

Exploring Entitlement

In the last few days I have been talking a lot about the new exploration mechanics (and the changes being made to them). All the posts can be found below:

  1. personal exploration
  2. explorin gentitlement
  3. exploring exploration

So… Things have moved in the prenatal world of Odyssey Exploration and I am afraid to say that in my opinion some of the changes are for the worse. Let’s aim for the jugular first off: Loot Spew.

 

Previously in exploration when you hacked a container it would give you a seconds warning, and then ejaculate loot out in one, sometimes two directions. These directions appeared to be pretty random, and they did cause some issues (as I mentioned in the previous post). My reaction to this was that CCP should simply reduce the number of structures in the vicinity of the Loot throwers and use this as an excuse to find and refine rouge clipping issues, to make the sites less frustrating.

 

entitlementHowever, there was a more sinister plot afoot. You see a large part of our community feels that they are entitled to everything, now, if not sooner. It seems that to them the idea that they might have to fly tactically to collect loot, or make choices about which cans to grab, or worse yet, share the loot was just horrid. So using the Structure issue as a soap box, they seem to have persuaded CCP to slow down the loot spew to a crawl. Seriously!? This really sucks, I liked the fact that the can farted loot out at a rapid pace. I liked that the game encouraged pilots to be good at manual flying to collect maximum loot. Now we have to just sit there like a fat man at a buffet selecting which greasy morsel to shovel into our lazy mouths. Worse still this hasn’t even fixed the issue of the invisible clipping, it’s still there! The old method of spewing loot was also a further encouragement to bring friends. Our group would bring three people and position ourselves around the structure to ensure that at least someone was close to the main spew, ensuring we would collect all the loot. Now it seems one person can collect 80% of the loot by just sitting wherever they are, meaning that its less efficient to bring friends. As you might be able to tell, I am a little bit pissed by this; mostly because I saw the exploration changes as a step in the right direction. Content enhanced by group play, which encouraged pilots to develop useful skills for PvP.

 

imagesOk… Deep breaths hark.. That’s it. Ok.. Wooosaaaah.. Wossaaaaah… oook…. *sigh* With that done, let’s look at some of the other updates.

 

It looks like hacking itself is being made a little bit easier, while at the same time reducing the bonuses on Cov-ops frigates (another reason the last post was out of date, we didn’t even realise the cov-ops frigs got a bonus).

 

It’s also worth noting that currently the rigs that boost Hacking and Archaeology are different, so to get a bonus to exploration, you will need two rig slots on your ship.

 

Anyway, that’s the latest from the forums, I really hope that CCP changes their minds on the spew, or at least iterates on it in another patch.

 

Fly rubbing your earlobe,

 

Hark