Posts Tagged ‘Inferno’

My Venture Into Speculation on the Mining Barge Changes of 08/08/2012

I did a tally yesterday on just how many blogs and feeds I currently view every day. ~94 was the answer; and it might be a little extreme. However for me, playing eve is all about accumulation of knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, I a real PvP player, I love fleet fights, I love small gang fights, I even love 1v1’s (although I really suck at them). But I also believe that to truly excel at this game, you need to back-up your fighting prowess with the ability to gather information, and proactively adapt you methods and styles in order to thrive in the new environments.
What’s more this doesn’t just pertain to PvP. In eve, if you want to individually succeed in PvP, you will also need to succeed in making money. Of course you can “opt out” of this gameplay style by purchasing PLEX, and I respect those who choose to do so (unlike a certain Goblin), but that play style is not for me. Today I want to look at a story of how this information gathering (on a topic as unrelated to PvP as you can get in eve) has enabled me to continue PvPing by earning me ISK.

Before I start, I want to preface this by stating that I am by no means a “Rich” eve player. My total wealth (liquid and assets) across four accounts is around 10Bn with an income around 700m per month (which is almost always spent immediately on PLEX + PvP ships), which is enough for me, but by no means an excessive amount. So here goes:

On the 14 of Aug this year CCP released a Dev Blog about some incoming changes to Mining barges and some changes to the T1 frigates. Now I love T1 frigates, and the changes were great, but what really got me excited was the section about Mining Barges. They were due to receive some “Balancing” and CCP was aiming to make hulks no longer the only option for miners. Although it was light on details, my observations on how the frigate changes had progressed, I had a fair idea of exactly what would happen to the mining barges.

Specifically my thought process was as follows: I know the hulk is the best mining barge. I know the Rifter was the best T1 frigate. T1 frigates were all categories into specialities and then balanced up to the level of the Rifter with that speciality in mind. I know that the Mining barges have been categorised into specialities… I am guessing that that same will happen, and that demand for non-hulk mining ships would dramatically increase.

With this in mind, I decided, that very day to dip my toes into the tepid waters of market speculation.

Initially I was timid and simply bough* 5 of each mining barge (except the Hulk, figuring that any % increase in demand for new ships would likely come out of the % demand for the hulk). The gamble, I thought, would come from the simple application of supply and demand principles. I demand for Skiffs etc was going to increase, and the production of them didn’t increase immediately to meet the demand, the cost of the ships would rise, and I would make a profit**. At this stage, I was looking at a 1.8bn ISK investment, and hoping for a few 100M ISK return.

As time went on, and I began to see an immediate slight rise in prices immediately after that dev blog, I decided to place large buy orders on the barges as well, which eventualy filled into around another 1bn ISK investment totaling me at around 2.8bn all in, across 75 ships.

Then on the 30/7 the game changed. A player blog I found linked on Redit, indicated that a Dump from SiSi showed a massive increase of mineral requirements to build the Barges. Assuming that the changes went live, as they were then (9 days before the go live date), I was, at least in the long run, guaranteed a profit on any ships purchased before the patch.

At this stage I had already produced a spreadsheet detailing my investment so far, and the minimum amount I needed the prices to rise by before I could sell for a profit (taxes). Now I took the new mineral amount, and using current market prices, divined the ISK rise in producing each ship. This number could then be added the current cost of the ships (assuming manufacturers would pass on 100% of cost increase to the customer, this is eve after all), giving me my predicted minimum sell prices post patch.

The only risk left (other than a change in the live production costs) was that too many players would speculate in the same market. My fear was that if 1000’s of players invested in the barges, impatient players might sell lower than the production cost (but still miles higher that pre patch purchase cost) in order to regain their capital early. This would slow the rise of prices in the ships, forcing me to hold onto mine for longer before I could sell for maximum profit. Thankfully Redit & the blog saved me.

You see in the Blog, the writer noted that after crunching the numbers the procurer was getting the best % increase in price. Redit bit into this and started to salavate over procurers (I’m sure not everyone did, but there were a lot of posts just about buying this 1 ship). Procurers of which I still only had 5 of were suddenly THE speculation of the masses. Luckily for me, my investment was much more evenly spread.

On the 8th of Aug I returned home from work at 4:30pm GMT and booted up my client. I noted that the T2 barges were virtually non-existent on sell orders (last minute investors?), whereas T1 was still in abundance, and only beginning a slow climb upwards in prices (still above my minimum sell point, but nowhere near my predicted price).

Immediately I placed all my Mackinaws on sale for [original selling price]+([increased mineral cost]*2) rounded to the nearest 100. ie. 400m (I bought them for 120-150M each). At this point I should note that there were some buy orders for 500M, and the sales statistics showed that at least 1 of these had already sold. However with limited online time, and other projects needing my ISK investments, I wanted to release my capital at a speed balanced between best profit and best speed. I also placed my Skiffs on the market at the same price.

Within half an hour 6 of the 9 Mackinaws and 1 of the skiffs had sold releasing 2.6bn ISK. The shrewd amongst you will see that at this stage I was still only 200bn ISK down on this whole deal with another 68 ships left to sell. As the evening went on, and Mack sales continued I began to see a rise in Coverter prices, and using a similar calculation to the T2 prices (but rounded to the nearest 10m), I added my stock to the market, in the hope that the market would speed past the mineral + extra cost point and over my sales.

I am still awaiting the sale of most of my T1 ships and currently stand 1bn in profit over this venture with a projected minimal return of 3bn (over my initial investment), although I will need to wait for the prices to rise to at least their base mineral cost before I can realise this final profit.

However, some interesting observations from my story:

– The new Mackinaw in VERY popular. Maybe there are a lot of high sec miners out there who don’t have orcas (not in a corp makes me sad [but richer] panda). Could this have been the bots buying new ships as per Nosy Gamer?

– 7 Sales in the first half hour of my time post patch!? Really? Why did these people not buy them on the 6th or earlier? When prices were around 150M? Did they miss the dev blog until they read the patch notes while updating? Did they read the dev blog but not bother buying one till (after) the last minute? Really!?

– I realise that I probably could have sold my Mack’s for more than the 400M I did, but honestly 400M was enough for me. At a profit of 250M each, the profit of just two of them will keep me in PvP ships for a month. I like money, but I’m not greedy.

*I actually believe that purchasing the ships from the market, with the information I had at this point was a massive mistake. By buying them rather than placing buy orders I was adding an extra 1.25% markup requirement to make a profit. cutting into what I thought would be a slim profit margin.

** Roughly translated:

1.    Buy mining barges

2.    Wait for more people to want them

3.    ????????

4.    PROFIT

Friggin’ update

Its been quite a while now since we has any major changes to the Attack frigate changes, CCP Ytterbium has been on holiday until recently, and CCP Fozzie has been holding the reigns until he returned. It would seem that for the most part the changes have been recived well enough that CCP has not had to make any major changes. The condor is the only frigate on the watchlist for changes, but with the Attack Frigates going live on the 8th of aug, its unlikely we will see any changes between now and then. I have primed some RvB friends with instructions to provide a detailed “Before and After” analysis and will post that shortly after the changes go live.
frig

Combat Frigates: Tormentor Edition

After my last post on Fears for Tiers its seems only right that I should update now that some more information has come out regarding how these changes will actually proceed. CCP Ytterbium (what a name!) has posted a thread in the Ideas and discussion sections of the forums on the proposed changes to 5 frigates for Inferno.
Two first points of interest. Firstly the location of this thread is an indication of the content; i.e. and idea not solid fact. However it does give us a very valuable incite into exactly how the collective mind of CCP is thinking about these changes.
Here is a summery of his first two posts for those not willing to trawl the whole thread:
The Attack Ships will be:

Tormentor: role changed from mining frigate to medium range combat vessel
Punisher: improved role to fit close-medium range brawler
Merlin: overhauled role to fit medium-long range turret platform (may be reconsidered as resists loss is pretty hefty)
Incursus: overhauld role to fit close range brawler
Rifter: role untouched, it already is made of win and dipped with awesomesauce

Attack ships are expected to be a well balanced mix of spank tank and speed, with the slight draw back of capacitor issues (still under consideration). The aim of this class is pretty much to all be similar in power to the Rifter, which is receiving only a minor change (very slight cap nerf very slight HP boost).
In my previous post I was a bit puzzled as to where Mining Frigates were going to sit in all this, and in the end assumed that they would simply classed as a Support Frigate. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With the benefit of 20:20 hind sight this does make sense. CCP has stated that the aim of these changes is to make ALL T1 ships viable in combat in equal measures. We also know that the tier chart below (from a previous dev blog) clearly shows the T1 ships should be more of a versatile platform.
With this in mind we can clearly see that the decision to revamp a ship specialised for mining into a more general combat role, does make clear sense. But the question remains; what will happen to newbe mining progression? Ytterbium adds that they are currently considering adding an ORE frigate and/or giving some more mining roles to the newbe frigates.

This does also portend to an interesting future for the eWar frigates.Ytterbium Mentions that they will retain their current split (EWScanning) but need a boost. Judging by the statements given on each role in the initial dev blog, they will still require far more damage and mobility, with a small buff to tanking in-order to fit with the role described (again summarised in my previous post)

This is some great stuff so far; and if CCP can really turn all these frigates into Rifter equivalents, we could be seeing a lot more variation in frigate combat than we are at the moment, all of which encourages the emergent content which seems to have been leaking out of the game of late.
Looking even further into the future (as this will likely be the template used for cruisers and above), we will likely see the same changes to mining cruisers and perhaps similar boosts/nerfs to all ships as per their class classifications. My only worry is the time frame for these changes, going slow to receive feedback is one thing: five ships per 7 months seems a little to slow for my liking*.
Thank for reading
Hark¬
*This is pretty unfair of me, CCP  spent a lot of this time looking at all ships and the roles themselves, and have already stated that they are short on development time for this change. These are mitigating circumstances, but if my time in development has taught me anything, its that there are always mitigating circumstances.

Fears for Tiers

Just because everyone and his dog is blogging about Mittens, I’m going to concentrate on what’s really important right now; Internet Spaceships. Just before Fanfest (2012, hello readers from the future) CCP announced their intent to do away with the Tier system of ships working class by class up the ships converting them to a “Ship Lines” along with a fleshing out of missing classes and inconsistency’s in the skill tree.
Currently, frigates are divided up into 6 or 3 tiers depending on who you ask. Players talk of 6 tiers (one for each ship not including the newbie frigate), whereas the dev blog which talked about these changes specified that there were currently 3 tiers (including the newbie frigate). I’m going to go with the player version of tiers, as the CCP grouping makes no sense what so ever (more on this later).

The new Ship Lines will have 5 types which specialise as below:

Ship Line

Damage

Defence

Mobility

Notes

Combat

++

++

++/–Range

Attack

++

+/-

++

Bombardment

++

+/-

+/-

++ Range

Support

+/-

+/-

Force multipliers

Industry

+/-

Mine or haul

So let’s talk generalisations:

Tier 1 – 3 all have 6 slots and are never well tanked, if CCP’s intent is to make all frigates equal the first step with these should be to bring them up to par with the current tier 6 ships, giving them 10 total slots or balancing them to make up for this deficit.

Tier 1 is a clear cases for the Industrial line with balancing they should make good miners/mini haulers

Tier 2 is all about speed making them most likely to become Attack Vessels. To match this profile they will likely require a boost to damage and a minor buff to their defences.

Tier 3 ships are exploration ships. By process of elimination, these scanning ships cannot be any of the damage centric lines, nor can they be called Industrial by nature. Therefore we must argue that they indirectly Support fleets. Currently these ships are very under par in damage and would require a buff to fit this class.

Tier 4 has 8 or 9 slots (generally if this tier has 9 Tier 5 will have 8 and vice versa). The tier centralises on racial electronic warfare hence I suspect the variance in slots. This class clearly goes into Support.

Tiers 5 and 6 have 9 and 10 slots respectively. They are all combating centric and each race tends to have one specialised in each of their primary and secondary damage types. Although all these ships are combat centric, they are very racially individual as to whether they are Attack, Combat or Bombardment ships. This is a good thing in my opinion and the spread should be kept.

So where does this leave us? We now have 6 frigates spread with:

1 Industrial

1 Attack

2 Support

And two other ships spread between Combat, attack and Bombardment (different for each race).

For a well skilled experienced player this seems like a great change. As these ships are used a lot for cheap solo PvP where before we all used the tier 6 or occasionally tier 5 (Rifters and Kestrals) we might now consider the Tier 2 speed ship as a viable option.

In terms of how much CCP should boost these ships, I believe that price should be a good reflection of power. Currently T1 average around the 0.7M ISK range. Whereas the T2 versions are closer to 18M average range; roughly 25 times more expensive. I would not advocate a 1 for 1 price to effectiveness ratio, but if CCP boost the frigates until T2 is only 12-13 times better that the T1 equivalent, we might just see more T1 ships in combat.

It’s an interesting change, and in my opinion keeps the complexity and variability of EvE while at the same time making it easier to understand*.

Thanks for reading

Hark

*No I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive.

New Module: Lock Breakers

I have finally had a chance to catch up on some of the videos of fan fest this year. Having just finished watching the New Module presentation just one thing has caught my attention. Targeted lock breakers.

This is going to be a game changer. For anyone who has not seen the presentation I will quickly brush over the concept:

It is a module which breaks all locks on you. The module is chanced based, but the calculation includes the number of people currently targeting you. E.g. If one person is targeting you the chance of success is low, with 20 the chance is high. It was also noted that this would be a sub-capital only module (at least this was my interpretation; the exact phrase was “Doesn’t work on capitals” this could mean the reverse and its covered by the anti-ewar caveat on capitals, let’s hope not thou).

I’m sure your keen mind is already boggling at the possibilities, just as mine was.

Before Fanfest I discussed the “leaked” micro jump drive, and analysed my thoughts on how this would affect the game and whom it would affect (incidentally that module was also officially presented at the presentation), I want to do the same now with this.

First and foremost this could change the landscape of 0.0 warfare. For a long time now large fleet fights have concentrated on large groups of people attacking single targets in the enemy fleet to ensure its speedy destruction. This module (depending on its penalties and fitting requirements of course) could well change all that. Large blobs could soon find themselves frustrated by targets breaking lock and running from their malevolent grip faster than a soapy nun in a poker house.

However its effectiveness dependent on how the module is implemented. If it activates at the end of its cycle, it’s is likely to be too late for the defending ship, as blobs over a certain size (especially alpha fleets) will have killed them stone cold dead long before the cycle ends (even if it’s only a short one). On the other had if it’s activated on click and then has a cool down timer, we might see the emergence of super-fast locking battleships, which lock, lose lock and re-acquire in a matter of seconds allowing them to still blob the target.

What is good to see is that even in their most powerful form these modules are still going to require skill to both use and counter, and could see the emergence of new kind of psychological warfare (which I love). Assuming they have any kind of activation delay the skill of this module is going to be in when to press it. If you’re being targeted by an entire fleet, do you attempt to break lock early and warp out, or hero tank for a bit to cause maximum damage, but risk getting alpha’d. Equally there is a skill based counter to the module. If you know the cool down time, you could attempt to scare a selection of targets into activating early (locking up a tertiary target early, and re-lock them, then primary them before the cool down finishes). Equally FC’s are going to have to learn to keep a VERY fast locking ship back from initial tackling to hopefully catch anything attempting to run away, alternatively bubbles get even more importance on the battlefield.

One thing this will not do however is end the blob. I’m sure that some people are hoping this will mean a gang of 10 can take on a gang of 50 with far better odds. But assuming that large fleets have good discipline this is unlikely to happen. There is still no disadvantage to brining 50 people against 10 people. It just means each of your 10 engage 1 enemy and still win. At worst fleets will have to hold back some of its members from engaging in case the initial group lose lock. If the blob has a Hic or a Dic it the module makes no odds at all, except just how long it will take to die.

Outside of 0.0 fleet fights we could also see some interesting uses of this module; will they for instance work on NPC’s? Could we see people tanking PLEX’s and missions by breaking locks? Could it even make Mission/Incursion running even less of a risk, as with multiple NPC’s targeting you, your guaranteed to be able to break a mission gangers lock on you and run away?

Finally the biggest effect which we might see is dependence on logistics. Let us assume for a moment that this module is good enough to make primarying a single target with 100 people in effective. let’s say that when someone is targeted they pump the module and warp off before a new lock and be acquired (bubblers have been killed early in most battles). It would mean that it is now more effective to break your fleet down into squad based groups (1 tackler, 5 DPS lets say) and allow them to engage as a smaller group. This is going to make fleet MUCH more dependent of logistics. Now instead of all damage going onto a single target (with 60% of it being over kill) we have damage being applied across and entire fleet. Logistics are going to have to work harder than ever and may be required more than ever.

TL;DR

                – Invest in SEBO BPO’s

                – Invest in logistics

                – Keep investing in bubblers

                – don’t be surprised when the blob adapts

– <3 your logi.

CCP: Titan Docking

Just a quick rough one here*. For anyone not constantly enjoying the delicious tears in the Upcoming titan Nerf adjustments forum post, CCP has discussed the issue of titan docking.

The full post by CCP Greyscale can be found here, but I will paraphrase:
A single poster in the thread (possibly the only one either not glistening with tears of rage or chalking with delight) called Crystal Wolf had an intelligent and interesting discussion with Greyscale about the Titan Nerf. Towards the end he asks if, to avoid ill will from titan pilots, CCP might consider normal or GM docking for Titans.
Greyscale replies:
“We’re investigating whether it’s possible to add some easy way for people to “park” sensibly; CSMAs are supposed to offer this function, but their total lack of security obviously makes them fairly non-viable.
These changes should be on singularity prior to deployment, but I don’t have an actual schedule available for that.”
This is a very interesting point. Titan Docking has been an issue of contention for quite some time. As currently a Titan Pilot is pretty much locked out of any form of PvP not involving titans, but what does this mean?
Firstly there are two ways a titan could be “Parked”; Stations or POS’s
Stations would require a very small change, as CCP just need to change the Titans properties so stations accept the docking requests. But this would also have some knock-on effects as well:
Trusted 3rd Parties
Services like Chribas 3rd party trading would become obsolete. If players can trade in stations there would be no need for trusted 3rd parties in Super Capital trades (although other large transfers might need them).
Less Titan Deaths
Currently quite a lot of titan deaths are due to them being caught were they logged off, as stations are invulnerable catching a sleeping titan will be a lot harder (although station bubble-wrapping might catch them).
The second option for titan “Parking” would be the revamping of POS’s much mentioned in CSM campaigns and even by CCP as something they really want to do. If POS’s were revamped it would be a great opportunity to look at the CSMA system and make it a more viable option for Titan Parking.
Perhaps is a fools hope, but I really hope this is a hint of a new POS system incoming for Inferno… I know I know, but a man can dream right?
Thanks for reading
Hark
*finar finar, giggidy giggidy, that’s what she said.