Archive for the ‘Eve Online’ Category

CSMX(XL)

February 26th, 2015
CSM, Eve Online, X
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This year I am struggling a bit with the pre CSM election process. I still feel that the CSM is an immensely important thing for the eve community. The group of player advocates has in the past done some great things for the game, and its curators. It’s really hard given the NDA nature of the system to judge who was a “successful” CSM member but I do believe that we can see the difference that the council make when they are stoked by good members.

On the flipside however you can also see when the CSM has gotten lost on its way to the goal of improving the game. I feel that last year is certainly one of those years. Don’t get me wrong I think that there are still some great members of CSM IX, but the net effect of the council this last year feels like it has been detrimental to the relationship between the CSM and CCP. Again there are likely unseen corroborating issues behind this, such as the recent shakeups in CCP and the changes of the handlers of the CSM.

But that’s not the main issue which is putting me off this year’s process. No, what’s putting me off is the glut of candidates competing for the spots this year. 77 confirmed candidates is a crazy number of people. Even if we cut off the 26 candidates who didn’t even bother to post their candidacy platform on the forums 41 people still remain. Of those only 36 have done Cap Stable interviews, but that’s 18 hours’ worth of interviews to listen to. As a quick side note serious respect given to all those involved in the CS interviews, you guys are starts for going through all the effort involved in corralling these candidates and producing the interviews!e

It’s just a huge amount of information to process. I struggle to keep up with the real life elections here in the UK with only 3 major parties running and a few additional extras, how on earth am I going to find the 20+ hours needed to sift through the candidates to find the gems among the rough? I think I am going to have to cull the crop through a preliminary judgement based on their candidacy posts rather the diving straight into the interviews like I have in previous years. Ah well.

Fly with a ballot paper,

Hark

Move Op Refinement

I have now participated in two move operations in the post phoebe world, and I have to say that I think the refined model is far preferable to the first attempt. The last move op was a 6 hour chuckle-fuck which seemed to be a serious case of two steps forwards one step back. 6 hours is simply a ridiculous amount of time, and I was lucky it took place on a Saturday when my sleep didn’t matter so much. I don’t think it helped that the new mechanics encourage us to move our stuff in an “Apex Force” of Archons and Super Capitals, which could only be harassed and sniped by hostiles. That’s not to say that harassing and sniping didn’t work, the six hours it took to move attests to the success of that action. I’m not sure it was good content however. Indeed from what I heard in fleet the enemy took to ddos’ing individual pilots (via  pretty interesting method of finding IP addresses). When an individual pilot disconnected. Not only was the fleet stuck waiting for them to log back in, but should we miss their ships emergency warp, they would end up stuck in space just waiting to be probed down and killed. Not fun really.

This more recent move op has been much less of an occasion. With only 90 minutes to move a good long distance. This time the route was optimised to minimise jump cool down so that we arrive at the destination with only a days’ worth of cool down, whereas last time we attempted to arrive with none.

There is still one last hangover from the changes which I personally need to adjust to however: carrier space. Pre Phoebe we moved in Autobahns where strings of cynos lit along a single route meant that it was possible to move back and forth between old and new billets. This meant that the number of Carrier loads you took with you was limited only by your patience and fuel supply. Now with an hour and a half each way, and very few return fleets it’s almost impossible to bring more than a single carriers worth of goods with you. I managed to slim my armada down to a single load + one battleship, which I have so far begged off on friendly super capital pilots to move for me. However I don’t believe that this is sustainable, so with a quick bit of account shuffling I have moved my dreadnaught pilot out of my main account and onto an alt account, and then out of a dreadnaught and into a second carrier. By next weekend I should be once again self-sufficient for move ops.

Fly for six hours strait with your head in your hands,

Hark

This means E-War!

Fighting BNI has been a very interesting experience during our stay in HLW. BNI have brought e-war into the battlefield in an entire new way which I had never really considered before. Specifically, in the major fights I have had with them, we have been engaging two enemy fleets, a core fleet of doctrine ships as you might expect from any alliance, and a secondary swarm of e-war noobies. The swarm are almost entirely in either noobships or ewar T1 frigates and form a ball around the engagement almost entrapping the two fleets at long range. From this surrounding position the ships then throw as much e-war (we found it was damping mostly) onto the enemy to hinder their ability to fight.

Now I’ve seen and used a lot of fleets which lever utility slots on ships to add a bit of e-war to fights, armour tanking BS’s are pretty good for this (see NApocs), but I’ve never seen an Alliance use Utility members. It’s a fantastic idea, that I think only BNI could pull off. Not only are the Low Skill new players helping their alliance in a very real way, but it only takes a matter of days to become decent enough at damping to get in a frigate and do this.

As an enemy combatant all I can say to this tactic is “Bravo”. It’s annoying as all hell but an amazing way of getting the new guys involved. Good job guys. See you in the next fight.

Fly fresh,

Hark

Year in Review 2014: Plans

This is more of a reference post so it’s easy for me to review the goals I set for this year next year. Across the whole 2014 in review series I set the following as the goals for 2015:

Progress

  • 1.5k kills this year

Trade

  • Log in 96 times next year on the trader
  • Bring my banked ISK to 50bn (20bn earned in the year)

Blog

  • Continue with monthly update
  • Two short posts per week about things that have happened
  • Total of 67 posts in the next year

Year in Review 2014: The Blog

New Year 2014 Posts:

This year has gone significantly better on the blog than last year. Since moving to the new host the previous long loading times which were apparently nothing to do with the old host have mysteriously vanished. The result has been a refreshing lack of interaction between me and the blogs background workings. That said I am not entirely pleased with the layout of the blog, as I am starting to feel that the jQuery layout currently being used could be a little obscure if you don’t know what you’re looking for, especially now the in game UI it was reflecting has changed. However to be honest an entire site redesign would require a significant time investment which right now could be better spent either playing eve, or writing something more than the monthly update. It maybe that I will change my mind by the end of the year, but right now I don’t feel like a redesign is very likely over the next 12 months.

I mentioned writing something more than the monthly update in that last paragraph, and that’s for good reason. With only 30 posts last year almost half of the posts were monthly updates, and that’s not what I want for this blog. Really I’d like to be writing more frequently and not just on what I have been doing over the past month. However I often struggle to find interesting angles, and events that I don’t feel have already been covered better by others. Because of this I am hoping to write about more personal events, fleets, moves discussions and even just the simple logistics of keeping up with the null meta. After all its pretty unlikely that anyone else will be covering my own play time right?

The other issue I frequently run into when blogging is my own limitations with spelling and grammar. I am aware of the fact that most of my posts will contain multiple typos, misspellings and grammatical faux pars, I will have to beg you believe me when I say that this how bad my writing is after several editorial passes. Between the time it takes me to write something, edit it a couple of times to convey the right meanings, and then scour it for spelling and grammar mistakes, means that getting a post out of the gates is a serious time sink. Don’t get me wrong that doesn’t put me off blogging, after all the main point of writing this to try and improve my writing skills, that said I’d rather fulfil that goal with frequent interesting posts, than monthly dirges reporting the same things every time. To counter this I want to start producing short and sweet posts which can be processed between inspiration and publication quicker. This won’t be the end of the monthly update of course, but I would rather than was more of a review of the months post, alongside some relevant information which does apply to the whole month (statistics and trade etc).

With all this in mind, I will be looking to try and up the number of posts from 30 to closer 67, broken down into 12 monthly updates, and 1 short posts per week on something interesting/relevant to my play.

With all the said let’s look at what I have talked about this year.

The most popular thing I did this year was write a series of short guides about getting into Nullsec as a new player. The Dirty Guide to Training into Nullsec was written with the idea of exploring the best path for a new character looking to maximise their participation in Nullsec fleet combat. Before that post I also did a series looking at my life in eve so far once I hit 100m Skill Points it was an interesting post and what spurred me on to ensure that I continued doing yearly review posts such as this one. The next big post was my entry into the blog banter series on Polarization. I have to admit that I often struggle on the blog banters, as I find that I am trying to say things about the subject just to have said something, rather than attempting to add anything meaningful to the discussion. However, entries which fall in the realms of 0.0 or psychology are ones which I tend to get interested in and feel I can contribute towards. The polarization post was one such psychological question.

It was around June that I first posted on the dirties exploration into suicide ganking, something which I thought was pretty interesting as we had never done anything like it before. It was certainly a steep learning curve and one we never really got on top of, however it was a fun experience. Looking through my archives it seems I never posted the follow up blog, which I even finished writing, perhaps we can have a flash back in the coming months. After that things got a bit more sparse, as I got married in September and the time commitments for preparing the wedding, dealing with the fire and then all the aftermath consumed all the time I had left after playing eve. However I did manage a minor resurgence in December when I transitioned to the Surface Pro 3 and did a review of it from an eve players perspective.

Sadly that was about it for the year. In total we garnered about 6k views over the course of the year, which is pretty terrible to be honest. However as the cliché goes: “I don’t do this for the views”. And that is true to some extent; as I mentioned earlier the chief reason for blogging for me is to exercise and practice my writing skills. Of course all that said it’s nice that at least someone is reading what I am posting (so thanks!).

That’s about it for the blog I think, hopefully I can fulfil my goals this year, (I have already started noting topics for quick hit posts).

Fly wordy,

Hark

Year in Review 2014: Trade

New Year 2014 Posts:

 

This one is going to be a lot of numbers, charts and spreadsheets. Where to start? I guess point 1 should be the revenue streams for the account in 2014 (not including Region Trading). These were:

  • Faction Warfare (around 1bn)
  • Ganking (around 400m)
  • Industry (900m)
  • Exploration (130m)
  • PI (400m)

 

All of these ventures were profitable past their original investment (except arguably ganking, which caused me to loose 500m’s worth of implants, but I don’t count that :P). None of the revenue streams remains active at time of writing, although I do have plans to activate PI and industry again at some point, and I suspect that ganking or faction Warfare might make an appearance again one day. This gives me an “other investments” total of around 2.8bn this year. Not bad considering I had some fun learning and executing all of the streams to some extent.

 

However as it has been since around  2009 my main income has been generated via the trading character I run. An, the trader has recorded trade data in my spreadsheet 67 times this year (an average of 5 times per month), which is… crap. Although not entirely unexpected in what has been a turbulent year. With next year hopefully being less demanding on my time, I hope to increase this number to 96, which is an average login of 2 twice per week in 2015.

 

Still it’s not the amount I log in that matters, but instead the amount of ISK that has been made, and that figure is far more healthy. Let’s get the big number out of the way: this year I made a total of 10.5bn ISK, after all deductions. That is a % increase of 53% since 2013, or an average increase of 0.58% per day. Not bad all things considered, and has moved me firmly into space upper-middle class. Looking back at last year’s posts it seems I was only just shy of meeting my goal of 11bn profit in 2014, I can only hope that I do as well meeting this year’s goals. But I promised that I would give you some sexy charts and so on, so let’s see the years profit broken down by quarters:

Quaterly

 

I find it interesting that I seem to always have a bad month just once every quarter before returning to a better figure. I think it’s less of a reflection of any accounting, or market trend and more on that of my psyche.

 

  • Month 1: log in lots, earn lots of money
  • Month 2: log in slightly less, earn lots of money
  • Month 3: log in hardly at all, and send money to hark to buy something big
  • Go back to Month 1

 

I guess it could be worse, and at least the cycle is sustainable, rather than draining my cash. Indeed looking at the spreadsheet even taking into account the bad months I earned around 28m isk/day and 859m/month in 2014, after expenditure on nullsec. Up from 25m/day and 750m/month in 2013. Projecting this onto 2015 I hope to average 38m/day and 1.1bn/month (based on average % increase per day from all records and current wealth). Should I succeed this would end 2015 with ~44bn Isk in the bank and increase of 45% on this year’s wealth. Certainly feasible. However rather than aiming for the trend already forming, I would like to set myself the goal of reaching 50bn (~58m/day) banked cash in 2015 an increase of around 20bn in the next year.

 

Returning to looking back however, here is what the year in trade looked like in chart form.

Chart

 

Fly what you can afford to lose,

 

Hark

 

Year in Review 2014: Progress

Year in Review 2014 Posts:

It’s that time again when it feels a good idea to look back over the past year and judge how life has been going. It’s been a rocky time for me eve wise with a wedding and a small house fire disrupting my play time heavily though most of the year. However despite this things are looking pretty good and I am happy with where the year has taken me. This post is going to be a general overview of the changes my characters underwent with a good look at the skills each has trained and learned. I will follow this with a post about my year in trade, one with a review of the years blogging and a final post rounding up my plans and goals for the next year so that I can easily review them next year.

So let’s take a look at Hark first shall we? At the end of last year Hark had reached 100m sp, and un surprisingly this is an increased by 21m SP over the course of this year. This works out at an average of ~2490 SP/Hour, which is excellent considering the maximum is 2700 (+5 and skills optimized) or 2520 (+3 optimized). The following categories are Harks top 5 with comparison what I wrote in my 2013 review skills post:

  1. 38m Space Ship command (+1m)
  2. 16m in Gunnery (same)
  3. 10m in Missiles (+1m)
  4. 8m Engineering (new entry)
  5. 7m in Mechanics (new entry)

The changes at the bottom of the top 5 are due to my current Int Mem mapping which absorbed almost all of the 21m SP (Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics, and some T3 sub systems).

Here is a full breakdown of those skills:

Hark currently has 262 known skills broken down as follows:

Skills

  • Lvl 0: 2
  • Lvl 1: 9
  • Lvl 2: 9
  • Lvl 3: 11
  • Lvl 4: 94
  • Lvl 5: 137

She has also accumulated 76,244 free skill points for emergency fitting situations. Her current skill queue will finish on the 19th of June in 2015. She is also just a shave over five years old.

So what has actually changed over this year? Well Hark became Un-nerfable in Feburary meaning that she can currently fly every combat ship in existence (only excluding the command ships and the newly added confessor which I will be training soon). Next up she perfected her Drug and Overheating skills to give me an extra edge in combat situations. Finally towards the end of the year I began training all my rigging skills to level 5 maximise their efficiency and to give me some extra fitting room on certain ships and rigs.

Next year I will be continuing my Int-Mem mapping plan by finishing off my rigging skills, and moving into becoming an e-war pilot, something which I have only dabbled in so far. Once that has been completed, I will need to pick a new optimisation mapping to move onto. Not sure what the new mapping will be but I would guess at Perc-Will (For Weapons Skills & T3 Destroyers), Char-Will (for Command Ships) or Will-Perc (for T2 ships). Whatever it is I look forwards to planning it in the later part of this year.

As opposed to Harks planned and projected skill plan, Xa has been a bit wayward this year. Oscillating from Ganking, scanning and Faction Warfare with reckless abandon. This is due to her becoming a bit of a jack of all trades designed to do all the same things Hark does, but outside of Nullsec, mostly for fun or profit. Looking back I wish I had had the foresight and willpower to separate her and Hark’s roles clearly, had I specialised her in capitals and Hark in sub capitals I could by now an immensely specialised  capital pilot at 70m skill points. On the other hand I wouldn’t have had the freedom to experiment and play with Xa over the years, which has earned a lot of money and fun.

Xa and Hark are also no longer the only accounts I have running. With a dedicated industry account now active and training I have a new revenue stream opened to me in the latter part of the year. The account has been profitable, however branching into a second product seems to be proven over taxing for my limited playtime. Perhaps as my time increases I might be able to ramp things up again. That’s not the only account change which has had an impact on my game play this year, as dual account training allowed me to double up one of my accounts to bring a new Dreadnaught pilot into my ranks. I’ve stopped paying for the dual training for the moment, as I’ve not utilised the Dread as much as I had hoped I would. However it is getting tempting to fire it up again to cross train the character into carriers allowing for easier transport of my assets in Nullsec in the post Peobe universe.

Play wise things have pretty much followed the status quo, I’ve had some periods of inactivity, some periods of war. I still struggle a little with the internal culture of PL, but not enough to cause friction, certainly not enough to stop enjoying to combat and efficiency they provide.  I have been sad this year to see the loss of my wingmen & fellow Dirties members from the game. I still hold out some hope that they may come back at some point. Ex certainly has dabbled back into the game, but only enough for some smaller scale money making endeavours. Really the game is not the same without my friends flying with me, it doesn’t change things enough to stop me from playing, but it does detract from my overall experience. This year I managed to get on ~624 kills with March standing out as the highest kill count month for the year. The three biggest fights that stand out in memory for the year was one in October in Hysera with Snuffbox + friends. Carriers were dunked and Snuff took quite the licking, something which no doubt rankled them a bit considering how salty they got over the whole “kings of low sec” thing. The second was iirc an Aeon kill event we party crashed in Haras in May, if I’m honest I remember there being a lot of kills, but little else detail wise. The final and largest fight was a massive set of brawls in Sendaya with HERO in what was a great little skirmish using Hawks and Talwars. It’s funny that my biggest brawl of the year was in the smallest ship. Fighting HERO and specifically BNI is an interesting experience which I hope to write about soon.

All in all its been a productive and interesting year in eve despite the limitations of real life. Which brings me onto the next year: My key goal for the next year is to dramatically up my kill count. With the other dirties out of eve for now it seems to me it’s about time I caught them up on kills. Both of them are sitting on 3k+ kills where I am only on 1.5k. My aim for this year is to get as many kills in a year as I have gotten in the past 6 years on my main character. I am looking to break 3k kills which works out at an average of 125 kills per month and 30 kills per week. Achievable, but tough and something I’ll be monitoring in my monthly updates from now on.

 Fly like its soooo last year,

Hark

Mobile Eve: Surface Pro 3 Edition

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So a few weeks ago I made the call to upgrade my Windows 8(.1) tablet from my old Acer W700 to a brand spanking new Surface Pro 3 (i7 252Gb). So I guess the obligatory question needs to be answered:

“Will it run eve?”

If you’ve read the previous post on running eve on the Acer, you probably know the answer, but the SP3 has a few tricks up its sleeve which might just surprise you. I’ll keep this post in a similar format to the original mobile eve test I ran so that a direct comparison can be drawn between the two tablets.

So let’s talk about specs first:

CPU: i7-4650U clocked at 2.30Ghz.

RAM: 8Gb

OS: Windows 8.1 64bit

Graphics: Intel HD 5000

As per the original post, I won’t be reviewing the tablet in general. But as a quick once over, its smaller, lighter and has a better screen than the original. The Type cover makes it far more useful in mobile situations (read the train) and the pen is a godsend. My only complaint is that the edge detection is inferior to the Acers, meaning that auto hiding the task bar makes it impossible to open with a finger. However despite that it’s an excellent tablets which I highly recommend. But let’s get onto the meat of the post. Eve.

The HD5000 (with the i7 version) has fixed the alt tab issue the older HD4000 had and so eve is at no risk of locking up your graphics. This was a pretty minor annoyance however, and one which I suspect will persist on the i5 version of the SP3.

So let’s looks at settings shall we? My first test was at full graphics. It took a pretty big toll and the system was noticeably slow to respond to mouse movements and clicks. Docked up I was getting an average of 18fps and 10fps undocked.

Next I removed the Anti-Aliasing and this gave me a few extra frames, however the system was still noticeably slow (18fps docked, 10fps undocked).

Then I optimised the graphics for performance (using the pre-set in the graphics menu). This was far more acceptable with 60fps in the hanger and 45fps undocked, without doubt the setting I would advise for playing with.

I tried dropping settings lower, but it made no difference what so ever. Heat wise the surface did start to get a little hot during the play testing but not so much as classify as “overheating”. It’s also worth noting that CCP have moved onto Dx11 from Dx9 since I last ran my test so the improvements I am seeing in this surface vs the Iconia may be either hindered or helped by that change.

So the tablet will still run Eve fine, and indeed marginally better than before. To the point now where I might be willing to play the game on the tablet in serious situations should the need arise (not going to get rid of the main PC however :P). But the real upgrade is the utility given by a minor change in the form factor. I mentioned in the previous review that eve does not accept touch input. A lot of games have this issue, where by UI elements expect a “mouse over” event before a “mouse click” event. This is expected behaviour of course for any interface using a mouse. However when you switch to a touch screen the “mouse click” and “mouse over” events happen in the same instant, meaning that 90% of the time the click will execute at the mouse’s old location rather than where you just prodded. A second prod will activate the UI element. However when you then click on the next thing you want to do, another click is executed on your old location and then the mouse moves. It’s not unique to eve, but it does mean that playing eve with your fingers won’t ever happen until there is a major change in the game engine.

Playing eve with a pen however is a different kettle of fish. Because the pen moves the mouse around when in proximity to the screen, UI elements get the “mouse over” event long before you click and I can confirm that using the SP3 pen works perfectly with eve. It’s even more precise than a finger, so the smaller UI doesn’t matter anywhere near as much, and indeed might even be considered better than a mouse for some tasks such as PI.

It really works fine on the move, anything you can do with the mouse alone, can be done holding the tablet (say on a train). Of course the moment you need to type something you’re going to need to use the type cover, which requires a flat surface to be comfortable. Skill training, PI, fitting ships, checking cargo, even flying can be done in slate mode however.

In summary the SP3 is an excellent secondary eve running client which might even work as a main in a pinch.

Fly mobile,

Hark

Post edit note: I have a friend with the i5 version of the SP3 I will confirm the FPS figures for that and report back soon!

The Gaps in-between Our eve

By now I suspect we’ve all seen the fantastic “This is Eve” trailer, and no doubt noted its success. I don’t want to spend much time critiquing the video (as in my bias opinion its clearly fantastic), but I do want to talk about the bits in-between the video clips. Sure the fights and flights shown represent the best bits of eve, the peaks of intense excitement that make this game worth playing, but what is the video not showing? What happens in-between those peaks? What is the humdrum maintenance and preparation work that supports these potent moments of excitement?

 

Let’s start with money, it makes the universe go around after all. In eve, PvP Costs money, there is pretty much no way around this. PvP almost never ends in profit for an eve player, and so most of us dedicated PvP players spend a lot of our time in-between the fights in one way or another generating cash with which to fund our habit. For me this means logging in every day during my lunch hour (I take the weekends off!), to update trade orders, prod my PI chains and occasionally shovel minerals into a production line. It’s a fairly tedious process, but one which I do enjoy on at least some level. Keeping track of my investments, and watching my asset value chart slowly climb upwards is always gratifying. I doubt CCP’s next advert will be about it however.

 

Keeping up with the meta is also something that fills the time between the fights for me. Eve online is constantly moving forwards in Fleet PvP. Especially since the beginning of the fast cycle releases the FOTM and fleet rock paper scissors has been changing at a rapid pace. When your Alliance is stationed deep in Nullsec, with no easy access to Jita, changing fits can be a time consuming and even risky process. This mostly entails checking the Alliance forums frequently, and watching for potential changes to established fleets, and new and  upcoming flavours which might take over the meta.

 

New compositions are the easiest to accommodate, most of the time you simply buy a new ship from alliance contracts, as the new fleet will be shipped out by your logistics network. Although you do have to keep an eye on how many runs you’re going to end up doing with the carrier to ship them all home. In the post Phoebe universe, nobody wants to do an extra set of jumps for just one ship. Changes to fittings on the other hand are the hardest to accommodate, as most of the logistics people will be brining entire fitted ships out, conversion kits are rare at best. Often, you’ll need to source individual modules at highly inflated prices, or run out to Highsec to source the items. Alternately most Alliances (mine included) have frequent jump freighter runs which you can leverage to keep your fits up to date. It’s not glamorous, but in its own way refitting ships is kind of fun, if nothing else but in anticipation of the fights to come.

 

We also send a lot of time waiting for the fights. Eve is a demanding mistress, and one who doesn’t generally let you dictate the times of your liaisons with her. You can spend hours by the phone waiting for her call, or you might find her calling you before you can even finish booting your PC. Most alliances (all of the ones worth joining) have some sort of electronic “paging” system. The most popular of which are IRC and Pidgeon, these are simply ways of FC’s or leaders mass messaging people who are not currently logged in, to let them know that something is afoot. If I have more than a few hours free time for some gaming, I will rarely log directly into eve, instead I will throw open MIRC and await the sirens that calls us to arms.

 

With all this administration work to be done, you might be wondering how often you actually get to have the fights depicted in the trailer and of course this varies from group to group. For me, I find that I need a window of around 5 hours free to find a fleet(during peak times at least), and that if I am looking for something to do I will find it on average within that timeframe. Of course you can never guarantee what that fleet is going to look like; combat in eve is, after all, like a box of chocolates (assuming your incompetent enough to have lost that little menu card).

 

None of these things are as exciting as the segments highlighted in the trailer, but they are all enablers for the lifestyle I choose in eve. As such I enjoy them for what they bring me. Speaking of which I believe I have some ship fittings to sort out, so I’d better get back to it sharpish!

 

Don’t always be flying,

 

Hark

 

 

 

Eveleet Damnd’erebus

So I mentioned in the last monthly update that Elite Dangerous was featuring in the Dirty Group’s playlist quit heavily at the moment (something that’s quite amazing considering the grouping mechanics aren’t working right now!). And lot of people have been talking about Elite Dangerous (ED) and Star Citizen as “eve killers” over the period of their development. Indeed, when we started playing ED, I was wondering if this was something that would make me quit eve. Now at the risk of ruining the suspense, I’m going to tell you right now that the answer is “nope”, but I wanted to write a little about why I feel this is the case.

First of all I think it’s important to emphasise that no matter what the uneducated or uninformed parrot, ED and eve share very few similarities. They are both in space, have persistent universes and involve PvP. That’s really about it, and to that end you might as well include Starcraft and Star Realms). Eve is an MMO, whereas Elite Dangerous is an Persistent Universe Optional Multiplayer Online  game (please note that this is my personal opinion on game classification, and something some people with disagree with. I will vehemently deny, for example, that World of Tanks is an MMO it’s is an MO at best. If someone wants to talk about what an MMO is I am happy to discuss it in the comments; But I digress). Eve shares a lot of control interface with RTS style games (admittedly one with a single unit under your direct command), whereas ED uses (obviously) a space-sim control style. Eve online forces you to be online in a single shard, whereas ED give you the option to be online in a 32 player max local instance. To me that really makes them chalk and cheese.

Both games are hard, that’s for sure. Eve has its notorious learning curve so classically depicted in the line graph. ED so far, seems to love nothing more than to goad you into making a mistake so that it can slap a massive fine on your arse. That difficulty is something which within eve is where I derive a lot of the pleasure I get from the game. Eve is hard, and surviving for almost 7 years is an achievement which I am proud of, surviving and doing well for yourself is something even more special to me.

In ED on the other hand, although the difficulty is inducive to the fun, but does not define it. I think that to me, it’s more the spectacle of the game which fires off those pleasure neurons. Docking in a station is a sight, and the concept of getting a group together to crew a capital ship and its fighter wing deep in the backend of the galaxy is something  which really excites me. To gather a crew together and do that would undoubtedly be an amazing achievement and great fun.

But ED doesn’t give me the sense of domination which you get from playing eve, it’s not as harsh (for good reason). If I kill you (or die) in an anaconda (currently the most expensive ship in the game), it will cost you a 0.23% of the anacondas original cost to buy it back again (without equipment). That means that you have neither the sense of loss, nor the sense of destruction in ED as you do in eve, at the end of the day all I have done is inconvenienced you. In eve, were I to kill your Revenant (arguably the most expensive ship in the game) you will lose not only the entire value of the ship, but you might never be able to get it back again (or the reputation you lost). ED also puts a façade (albeit a very good one) where the “Massive” in Massively multiplayer resides for eve. ED limits the number of people within an instance (I believe that this is currently 32, but have no official source). So that you’ll never get the sense of scale which the 5k player battles in eve will give you, or even then 100 man battles. Your wits and skills will only ever be pitted against 31 other people, less if you have a group of friends to play with. And that’s another point. The potential for group play is a little bit neutered when you can only play with 31 other people at most, especially when each friend removes an enemy. If me and 10 of the Dirties are cursing around in our anaconda & escorts, what are the chances of us all ending up in an instance with a hostile force of similar power? Will we just end up shredding 21 individuals? Or a few groups of 5 hopelessly outmatched by our numbers? Or worse will 5 of us be in one instance and 5 in another? I’m not sure that will ever work out.

On the other hand eve will never have the sense of grandeur that ED already has in bucket loads. Let’s face it, eve will never be able to emulate the glory of human innovation that the stations in ED represent. Nor will the play ever be as immersive as ED will be with an oculus rift, the medium just simply won’t allow it. We also have the issue that because of the choices CCP have made in the fundamental design of the game eve is always going to be a little bit detached from the player. Immersion simply isn’t eve’s strongpoint. From a PvP standpoint, fights in ED are also going to be far more player skill intensive than eves fights will ever be. Don’t get me wrong combat in eve is a skill in and of itself, but there are so many other factors in play in these fights that my personal skill will never be the key component in the end result especially in large fleet fights. Sure in a 1v1 my competence will have a fair effect on the result, but never as much as it will in ED. How well I click buttons, know the meta and how long I have been playing can never compete with the raw skill of dogfighting in space. I love the fleet fights in eve, but it’s just a different scale of combat to that of ED.

These are a lot of words that basically are trying to say that ED and eve are different games, and not only that, but they both tickle different pleasure centers in my brain. I could go on pointing out brilliance and flaws in both games, but right now, as they stand ED and eve are not competing for my dedication. It is possible that one day ED could become a direct competitor to eve, with a massive expansion of max concurrent players (let’s say 500 in an instance max), with a full player driven economy and industry/crafting system I might start thinking about packing my eve bags. And sure maybe one day that time will come, but right now I think I would rather just enjoy both games for what they are: different.

Fly in two realities,

Hark