Posts Tagged ‘logi’

Blog Banter #54: Polarizing Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fly bombers,

Hark

Measuring Logistics

What a month this month has been. In my last update, I explained how I had been told to step up or step off, and that I was pulling out all the stops to try and do the former rather than the latter. As I stated last month the first step in my plan was coming to an agreement with my eve widow to be an “on call hero” for the month. The second part of the plan, which I decided after writing, was to actually get into some damage ships (shocking I know).

Its not for Logi’s

When it comes to participation reviews, Logi pilots are at a major disadvantage. Sure, ever alliance/corp/fleet respects the Logi pilots, and you generally get a lot of respect for dedicating to it. But at the end of the day a Logi pilots reputation is hitched to visibility and politics. The issue is that there are no metrics associated to how much, or how good or how worthy you are as a Logi Bro. Let’s use the example of two logistics pilots. Pilot1 is always on the ball, always ready to save peoples ships. He Can’t get on every opp, but when he does, he tries to make a difference. Pilot2 is shit (and based on somone I met in fleet a few weeks back). He only flies Logi because it saves him from purges, and ensures he gets SRP for lost ships. While on fleets he changes his fittings to include target painters, just to ensure he gets on kills. Which incidentally is a far higher priority than saving ships. Now let’s say the purge time comes around (or the reward time if you’re a glass half full kind of guy). How do I as CEO of numbers-corp pick which logi pilots or kick(or reward)? I unless someone has happened to notice that Pilot2 had a TP fitted on a logi, I have no way of telling who has contributed, and who has not.

This leads into the second issue of getting noticed by being a logi: There is no guarantee that you will be observed being the Logi Bro or not. I can do everything I can to save ships and do well, but if I am not on the right fleets, with the right people to notice me doing my thing there are issues. When it comes to purge time, a corp might run the stats gather and come to look at my kill count… 5. Hmm seems a bit low, anyone seen him on fleets? “nope”. Ok purge….

Logi Pilots rely on the right people seeing you doing the right things and telling it to the right people. Damage pilots can use stats as evidence. Logi pilots have to do one of two things: A. go out of the way to ensure the right people spot you. Or B. Find a balance between logistics and damage ships, which ensure you can survive and pruning. This is what I have been trying to do this month.

It has however brought forwards the fact that I have been playing logistics far too much recently. Back in Imperial Legion, our dirties group was pretty much the core of the Logistics Pilots. Every fleet, every roam every engagement, again and again: we were in the logi ships, it’s part of the reason I moved on. Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the logistics role and I still intend to fly it whenever its needed, but it’s time to get back to grass roots and enjoy killings things. That is after all what eve is all about.

So far I have been enjoying the killing immensely, flying some of the interesting ships brought to the fore by  the rebalancing changes; Caracal, Talwar and Loki. It’s been a fantastic time and I can’t wait to try out some of the even newer doctrines, although that may make my carrier a little tighter to pack.

Anyway let’s talk about the results of this change in balance. Last report I gave a breakdown of my playtime to show how I was slacking on the eve front. This month I will do the same to show the improvement. My total playtime this month was ~ 120 hours, over 50% of which has been spend in eve. These numbers don’t include my time in Dust or I think my time spend testing exploration on the Test server. My estimation is that I have spent 15 hours on DUST this month (some of which overlaps with the already recorded time as I often play Don’t Starve while waiting for FW matches to start).

I also managed to scoop ~300 kills this month which means I have average 5 kills per min spent in eve.

Unfortunately there is a bit of fallout because of this, very little work has been done on this site. Sorry, but eve and real life takes precedence. I still want to do some updates, and fixes for the site, but damn it If eve isn’t just too much fun. I will get it done, just no promises as to when. Ok?

As I mentioned before I have spent a good amount of time looking at exploration on the test server in advance of the group venturing out to test it. We took this experimentation forwards an are enjoying ourselves exploring; you can expect more posts on that very soon.

Fly with Guns,

Hark

Elevation

Well its been an expensive month in my little corner of our universe. When I first joined my Current Alliance 3 months ago I was admitted on the condition that I immediately being a strict training course directly into their main ship of the line (take note and newbies, this is pretty normal out in 0.0 and you should embrace it!).

Thankfully I am a dedicated logi 5 pilot, with maxed out skills* so the past 3 months has been spent pretty much exclusively in Logistics ships keeping our dudes alive where I can. Usually I don’t have any problem slipping into most normal ships an alliance requests (all races all weapons systems trained to T2), in this case however our main doctrine is purely capital based, so even flying logistics, I’m missing out on a lot of fleets. But Hallelujah my training queue has almost completed. As of right now I can sit in my shiny new Archon (and do nothing but spin), with all its mods installed, and in just 19 days I will level 4 or higher in every skill which matters (at which point I will be combat ready). It’ll still be another 3 months until I have every skill required by the Corp to its proper level, but for now I am just looking forwards to getting involved in my first consensual capital combat action.
That said there is a LOT of organisation between now and my first Capital Op, but more on that later.
This will be my third capital ship trained out of the four available. My first capital train was into the wonderful Chimera, chosen simply because it was (and still is) without a doubt my favourite looking ship in the whole of eve online.  This is likely heavily influenced by the amazing Fan Video “Day Of Darkness II“, I’m no serious roll-player, but this vid always gets me going.
Then, when my Alt came to the age that it was an actual possibility, I realised that it would be amazingly useful for my alt and main to share a single carrier (or at least fly each others). As my alt was a dedicated Minmatar pilot, who already had Minmatar Battleship 5 trained (as did my main) it made an awful lot of sense for me to bite the bullet and trade in my pretty chimera for a Rough and Rusty Nidhoggure. Don’t get me wrong, the Niddy is a good looking ship in its own Minmatar way, but if were doing a looks contest, the Chimera is the gorgeous chiselled Young Sean Connery, the Nidhoggure is the rough tough bad boy Gerrard Butler (I like boobs, honest).

Sadly the latest trade in has been for the now aging Sylvester Stallone, the Archon. I mean seriously its tough as old blood boots, but the thing looks like its only half finished! I have enough cash that I may end up getting my alt a Niddy just so I can move my stuff around the universe in something better looking, its that or get the Ark (Daniel Radcliffe… Oh gods I’ll stop it now, I promise, boobs damn it).

Sadly the switchover hasn’t exactly been as easy either. When I swapped the Chimmy for the Niddy I was lucky enough to have a manufacture resident in my preferred low sec system who sold pre-fitted Carriers on contracts. I just jumped the Chimmy out, striped my travel fitting off, put the hull on contracts and waited 48 hours for it to sell. Then I bought the Niddy, tweaked the fitting (read fitted all cap mods), and jumped back home again. Easy. This time things haven’t been as smooth. First and foremost buying a combat fitting turns out to be a lot more expensive than 5 Cap Rechargers 6 Capacitor Power relays. I currently have 6 completely different fittings I need to purchase, as well as 20-30 modules which need to be stored in the ship encase we need to do the old switcher-roo mid-fight.
Between the cost of the fits (faction and dead space kit is standard where I live), the fact that carriers gained about 4-500 Million Isk in value since I last bought one, and “HOLY FUCKING SHIT STICK BATMAN, FIGHTERS COST A LOT”, its been a painful experience.  Don’t get me wrong I can afford to lose 5-6 of these before I’m bankrupt, I’m not about the break the golden rule of eve online here, but even having a fifth of your isk value invested in a single combat ship isnt something I’ve done since I was a fresh player in the game. As a result of seeing a large chunk of cash come out of my main wallet, I have done a little universal spring cleaning to generate some cash. Turns out I had a 4bn isk in assets I never fly anymore (Macharial, Orca, Hulks and Tengu). Which has generated enough instant cash to make me feel a bit better about the purchases.
Perhaps this is a good time to explain what an obsessive compulsive bastard I am? You see I have four main Characters I play:
  1. The Main (0.0 fighter extraordinaire)
  2. The Trader (main accountant and isk holder, also mines in a dire stretch)
  3. The Alt (Makes money through any shooty means, incursions, missions, FW etc)
  4. The hauler (no skills except for moving things and lighting cynos)
The Trader holds pretty much all of my liquid isk, and uses it as capital to invest in my many schemes. The Main char gets paid a salary of 300m isk per month to buy new ships and resupply old. But any additional outgoings from the Trader Char to any of my characters is placed in a debt spread sheet to be paid back into the trader account whenever another account makes some money. As result my trader keeps a steady level of isk in its wallet, slowly increasing as its investments mature and return. Every so often (generally when a wallet gets to fat on The Alt), I will deposit all the cash made across all the characters back into The Traders wallet to give it a little boost in investment cash.
For example with my current expenditure I had 600m saved up on the main for PvP ships. The Trader then lent the main 1bn to cover the purchase the Hull. The hauler already had 1bn saved up from FW exploits, and so was also lent an additional 500m from the trader to cover the Fitting costs. As a result the next 1.5bn made by any of my accounts (in this case by selling their old ships), will be paid directly to the Trader to nullify the debt.
I did mention was anal right? What can I say?

Hopefully the result of this will be something bigger than a Battle Cruiser to fly in combat. Quite a lot bigger in fact. Its been more than a year since I flew a Battleship into combat; sadly my old alliance was desperately short of logistics pilots. As a result I was always either in a Logi ship, or on the rare occasions I could fly combat, we didn’t have enough Logi to bring anything bigger the BC’s, but that’s a story for another time. Ah well, lets hope I don’t lose it to quickly!
Flying a little bit suspect I think,
Hark
*Seriously a tip for any pilot who hasn’t done it already, train into logistics ships. Max out the skills if you can (logistics Ships 5 is a bare minimum requirement btw), every alliance and every corporation wants more logistics pilots, you really wont waste you time.

Improving Logistics: The Pocket Carrier (NEME)

Every fleet Pilot knows how important Logistics are. Every Fleet Pilot worth his salt has at some point had his arse saved by a Logistics Pilot and typed something along the lines “Thanks logi”. Yet as always there is always a shortage of Logi Pilots whenever a fleet is forming. Why? This isn’t World of Warcraft, it’s not like were all stuck in one role. With just 2 months of training any pilot can make a huge contribution to a Logistics team. So why don’t more pilots do so?
I’m actually in the midst of writing a guide for logistics at the moment, and this is a question that I keep hitting up against. The only answers I can find are:
 1. Too complex
 2. Too skill intensive
 3. Too boring
 4. Too expensive
 5. No kill mails
 1-3 are complete crap and oh so much misinformation. Flying logi does not need a PhD (I can do it for Christ sake). Flying Logi is easy to train into, base line Logi takes around 2 months. Flying Logi is not boring when it hits the fan you are going to have more fun than you can handle; you’re also the only active people during repping operations!
4 is a fair point if your fleets run Battle Cruisers or below, but as soon as you hit BS and T2 ships, you’re actually cheaper than the Ships of the Line. Most Alliances worth their weight will also have a ship replacement core in place for Logistics pilots; some even allow Logi pilots to make money out of the deal.
So the only solid reason I can see for not flying the Logi, is the lack of kill mails. Now I think that’s a succinct summery for a deeper issue; people like to feel directly involved in the battle. The kill mail is just the visual evidence of that. Pilots like to kill things, and don’t feel involved in the battle, unless they are doing damage.
Many have stated that the solution is simply to put repping ships on kill mails, and this is a rather interesting, if uninventive solution, it also appears to have been easier said than done. Here is an alternative; Pocket Carriers.
Pocket Carriers have been bandied about for a while now, but have never actually been officially acknowledged. I’m suggesting they should be added as a balanced alternative to Logistics. The class uses Tier 3 battleship hulls (Rokh, Abbadon, Hyperion and Maelstrom) and should require the following skills to fly:
            – Battleship 5
            – NEME Ships (Nanobot Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) 1
                        Logistics 4
                        Drone Interfacing V
           
You might note the new skill called NEME ships in there. Yeah it’s a crappy acronym, but it’s based on the British Army core dedicated to Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (REME), which seems a good fit for a repair ship.
I really don’t like having to have Bs5 in the pre-reqs, but the CCP mould says T2 ships must always require LVL5 in the hull type, so I guess there is no real choice. This means that training will take around 3 months, an extra month on top of Logi skilling. My hope is that the awesomeness of these ships will draw people into them, gaining Logi on the way.
The NEMEs are balanced between each other in a very similar way to the Logistics ships, although for fun I suggest we switch around the chain/solo types to the opposite of the Logistics counterpart. I.e. Amarr & Caldari work solo; whereas Galente & Minmatar Chain. They also use the same high slot layouts as Logistics:
                        Chain – 2 Energy Transfers | 4 Racial Remote Reppers
                        Solo     – 4 Racial Remote Reppers
I should add that as these ships have NO hard points for guns or missiles, pilots have no choice to but fit utility highs. Right now your probably thinking “But Hark, these are just maxi size Logistics, why would I want to fly that!?” Here is where the big difference comes. NEME ships are also heavy drone users. With a bay size around 225m3 they can fit a full flight of Heavy, Medium and light drones, and still have space for ewar drones. They also have a far bigger tank than Logistics with a maxed out tank of around 100-120k ehp (in eve hq).
I can hear your cries again now “Hark you’ve gone too far the other way! Now no one will ever fly the old Logistics!”. Oh my ever unsatisfied reader, let’s look at my suggested Bonuses:
            (Per level battleship)
            250% bonus to ETA range
            250% bonus to RARS range
            6% to done damage
           
            (Per level of NEME skill)
            % reduction in capacitor usage to make the ship stable when running full reps/energy transfer with an AB + about 1-2 cap mods (inc rigs)
           
            (Role bonus)
            % bonus to CPU/PG needs of remote transfers to balance
            -20% repair amount transferred
 So what does this mean? Well the reps can now go further than Logistics (105k @L5 compared to 63K). You should also notice the negative bonus to repair amount (yeah that’s not a typo); this means that on a NEME Ship, a T2 remote repair module will be slightly less effective than the Meta 4 on the Logi.
 To summarise the NEME/Logi Comparison looks as follows:
            Both fit similarly
            NEME rep further but less
            NEME tank more, but can’t sig tank
            NEME can actually put damage on the field (about 390-440DPS), but costs a bit more (aim for 300M hull)
It’s just a rough draft for discussion, and I’m sure there are holes that need filling and tweaks that could help. But it’s worth a thought. Doubt it will go anywhere, but you never know.