Posts Tagged ‘PvE’

Little Red Crosses

It should not shock anyone to know that eve is not the only game that I frequently play. Anyone who has read a monthly update (when I do them), will also know that I make my money in eve through trading. Furthermore, if some poor fool has frequently read my Monthly updates, they would also know that in the past I have had several other tributary revenue streams in addition to my trading.

 

Should you possess all of this information, you would know that PvE has never been an income source for me for any serious length of time in the last 3 years. This is not for a lack of trying. Indeed, I began my eve carrier as a mission runner, working with the Dirties to slowly climb the mission levels, and along with it my ships. Later after moving to Null Sec, I did a fair amount of ratting for my living, and this almost became what I would now classify as a main income stream, but never lasted. At several points, I have tried to re-invest in mission running as an income, and have even dabbled once or twice into running incursions to earn the big money. The issue is however, that so far I have found none of eve’s moneymaking PvE content entertaining to the point of preferring to play it over another game.

 

Why would I suffer through worlds collide, when I could instead play a round of World of Tanks? Why would I traipse between incursion sites rather than have some fun in Elite Dangerous? The simple fact is that the money earned in PvE and the enjoyment to had do not outweigh higher level of enjoyment I get from doing other things. I say all this because I am on the verge of having another go at trying to make incursions a secondary income stream. But every time I think about doing it, I find myself saying “when are you going to pick PvE over something else?”, at what time am I going to prefer playing an incursion rather than just firing up a better game? Have I missed something? Is there a fun way to play PvE? Is it just me that hates the monotony of shooting red crosses in any guise?

 

Fly like the damsel,

 

Hark

 

 

Tuesday Training: Mining Foreman V (Multi-Purpose)

Every so often on Tuesday I take a skill which one of my characters is training and discuss why I am current training that skill. I will also look at other uses for the skill, and who else might benefit from it. As I have several Characters across the skill spectrum I expect to cover skills for Young, Middle Age and old players.

This week’s Choices:

      • Em Shield Compensation V
      • Mining Foreman V
      • Hull Upgrades V
      • Amarr Industrial V

This week’s Tuesday training I am picking not because it’s an interesting skill, but because it’s an interesting insight into the gameplay of Eve, as well as the peculiarity of the Skill system. As always I will begin with the in game description:

Mining Foreman (x2) Char, Will

Basic proficiency at coordinating mining operations. Grants a 2% bonus to fleet members’ mining yield per level. Note: The fleet bonus only works if you are the assigned fleet booster.

Why do I claim this is a peculiarity? and why am I suddenly training Mining skills? Firstly let me stress, I am not planning any mining (although I do find the Prospect of hot dropping Nullsec Ore a cool idea). No, I am training MF because it is a requirement to fly the Orca. In the next few days I will be posting a piece on Suicide Ganking (a pursuit the Dirties have been enjoying for the last few weeks), and in this I make some notes on how the use of an Orca can greatly reduce the risks of  loot scooping during a Gank, referring to it as a “Fence”. As such one of my characters is now training to fill that support role.

The Orca has always been the best friend of the Criminal and the Carebear. I find it a wonderful reflection on Eve, that a ship designed explicitly to aid the more Carebear of activities (mining) has, throughout its history, been used equally by those who hunt bear-pelt. Gankers, Ninjas, War-deckers, all these professions can be aided by the use of an Orca. Which makes me wonder, should CCP recognise the multiple uses of some ships in their training?

I accept that there are not many ships which would qualify (there are few which are used so diversely as the Orca), but what if there were multiple options on how to unlock certain multi-use ships?

For example, with the Orca, I am forced to unlock it by training Mining skills I never intend to use. What if, instead, I had the choice, either unlock it by training the Mining Leadership skills (If I were a miner), or by training skills for Gank/Wardec support? Say, Shield/Armor leadership skills, or something which will actually benefit my usage of the Orca?

It’s really not something I’d develop out into a full proposal, but I do find it interesting food for thought.

 

 Fly Diverse,

Hark

Tuesday Training: Minmatar Engineering Systems

Every Tuesday I take a skill which one of my characters is training and discuss why I am current training that skill. I will also look at other uses for the skill, and who else might benefit from it. As I have several Characters across the skill spectrum I expect to cover skills for Young, Middle Age and old players. Please excuse this late running post, as I was unexpectedly out of town for the last couple of days.

 

This week’s Choices:

  • Minmatar Engineering Systems V
  • Surgical Strike V
  • Capital Ships V
  • Command Centre Upgrades V

 

A fresh sheet this week, with no skills previously covered! But as I mentioned in the last training Tuesday, I’d really like to look into the T3 skills. Minmatar Engineering Systems V is the very last Subsystem skill I need to train to have a base line of V, and I have been very pleased with the ships effectiveness. But let’s take a look at the skill itself.

 

Minmatar Engineering Systems (x1) Int, Mem

Skill in operation of Minmatar Engineering Subsystems used on Tech III Ships.

 

This skill is pretty much the same as all others in the category, simply replacing the Engineering with either; Defensive, Offensive, Propulsion or Electronic, and the Minmatar with the other races.

 

All of these skills have similar shadowy skill descriptions where the actual reward isn’t shown in the skill itself, but to understand their advantage we need to understand T3’s, so: Subsystems, important enough to own their own section of the skill list, are unique to T3 ships, and allow pilots to customise the slot layout, fitting resources, hard points and bonuses of a T3 ship. Each races T3 ship has 5 subsystems slots, which can be filled by one of four sub system modules. There are lots of nuances to the system, but the core concept needed for this post is that each of these five choices will provided a different bonus to your ship, which is multiplied that Race/Subsystem skill. By having all my T3 subsystem kills to V, each T3 ship I have gives me 5 bonuses 5 times each. For example my old Loki setup gave me:

 

150% (30% per level) bonus to Stasis Webifier range

20% (4% per level) bonus to armor resistances

25% (5% per level) additional Power Grid (coming to a total of 600 additional PG)

50% (10% per level) bonus to After Burner speed

 

Now these Bonuses can change dramatically depending on the sub system itself which makes the T3 a very versatile ship class that’s popular in both PvE and PvP. Of course all things must have downsides, and the issue with the T3 class, is that the subsystem skills are the only ones your likely to have to train more than once (assuming you keep your clone up to date!). You see every time you lose a T3 ship you will also lose one level of your highest trained corresponding sub system, picking at random if they are all trained to the same level. Owch.

 

Of course T3 Sub system skills are only a x1 multiplier, meaning they take around 8-10 days from start to finish, with 3-4 days of that being level V. Levels 1-4 all take well within a single day to train. So although the loss of skills isn’t insignificant at level 5 they are still going to take some time to repair.

 

Here it is worth noting that although I have some Lvl4 mission running experience, I have never personally used a T3 to do them. I always found them underwhelming in both Tank, and DPS, despite their excellent signature and speed tanking abilities. Personally I felt that a Macharial beat them in almost every category. But at the same time I am aware that they are worshiped as PvE gods by some, likely for good reason, so if you are a young PvE player, looking for advice, the following may not apply to you.

 

T3 ships are expensive, both in training time (if you lose them) and Isk (also if you lose them), they do however feature in several current Nullsec Doctrines, and have had a place in Null for a while now. I would advise that for a new player looking to break into Nullsec, they are very much a 2.5 tier train:

 

Teir 1: Train Tackling ships & versatile hulls such as Interceptors, Interdictor and T1 logistics, to maximise your usefulness to fleets.

Teir 2: Train ship of the line hulls, ensuring that you can use all hulls and all weapon systems

Teir 3: Train specialist ships to help your fleets, such as Logistics, Recon and Bonus ships

 

Quick enough to train that they don’t quite fall into Tier 3, but also specialist enough that they are not Ships of the Line. Although they don’t take long to get into, you will need excellent ancillary skills to use them effectively. In including both overheating and drug skills, both Veteran categories which I may discuss at a later date!

 

Fly like a Swiss army knife!

 

Hark

 

 

Don’t call it a comeback…

One month I will come on here and tell you all about how wonderful everything is, and how well all my endeavours have gone. This is not that month.

 

Activity wise however, this month has actually been pretty amazing, with PL finally recouping and deploying after the wrecking shot which has B-R (#NOMAD). The new deployment, while a little unclear on purpose, has both promised and delivered great content. The deployment has, so far has already used more Turret based ships that I have used since the beginning of the Halloween war in total. I’ve never been a huge fan of capital combat, but as a realist I have to accept that Slowcat doctrines do get the job done. They just don’t get it done in a fun way. So returning to the turret based ships of yesteryear has been a truly pleasant experience.

 

I’ve also had the chance on this deployment to use a new Turret based ship, I’d never used before: the Dreadnaught. My Moros moved with me to our new staging system, and I got the opportunity to deploy it on what was a fairly (for eve) safe fleet. This gave me the chance to get used to its operation, and  foibles so that I now feel confident enough to deploy it in earnest. The staggering damage output has blown me away, and I look forwards to doing more with it

 

Xa has also begun to shake of the sluggishness of a winter hibernation. Other than the casual selling of assets in the name liquidation, she’s really done nothing since late last year. With the liquidation now coming to a close, I am starting to think about what to do with her next. Exploration was fun, and I intend to go back to that at some point, however first I think I need to finish the Epic Arc quest I started well over a year ago… the Isk/Hour ratio on that one is way down.

 

Unfortunately to finish that, I’m going to need to move Xa from her current corporation (which is in Faction Warfare), to allow her free movement across New Eden. As Xa is currently the CEO of the corp, I will need to train another alt to take her place during her absence. Still it’s worth it to make more money and play more eve.

 

The Manufacturer has also remained busy this month, with production increasing exponentially again this month, something I doubt will continue much further. With any luck I will bring her total assets up to about 600m next month, allowing me to pay back her loans, and begin processing blueprints I bought in a fit of unfounded ambition before checking build costs. It’s all part of the learning curve they say. Still I’m not counting my chickens before they are hatched here, this is after all New Eden, and all kinds of things can go wrong between now and then.

 

She has also dusted off the PI factories and actually started to process the glut of raw product I have been building up over the last 5 months. When Highsec POCO’s hit TQ, I was stupid and forgot to empty my materials out of the now vulnerable Interbus POCO, losing about 50m’s worth of Raw mats to an entrepreneurial capsular. For some reason, since then, although my extraction planets have been going from strength to strength, I was never bothered enough to shift it to the production planet for processing. The net result is a massive build-up for Mats, I am now starting to work my way through; though again not counting that profit until it’s in the bank.

 

Regular readers will have a good idea of my current skill status from the now (slightly ir)regular Tuesday training post I do. But to give a month forecast:

Hark is finishing sub systems this month and moving into perfecting tanking

Xa is filling gaps in her racial skill set

The dread Alt is finishing Fuel conservation and considering her next move

And the Indy is perfecting her production before moving into PI

 

Isk wise is where the slight bump in the road for this month lies. They say never to fly drunk, however I would further add to this, that trading when ill is also a poor life choice. While home ill last week I attempted to do my regular trading log in, and managed to sell 3 Rokhs for 100m under their RRP, netting the trader a loss of 300m ish. This is now third top on my most costly mistakes list, after Jumping to a beacon blind, and accidentally trashing a Hulk and then confirming it (drunk).

 

Despite this I am still cruising in for 500m profit this month, even including the 500m I have spent on Dreadnaught insurance. This is pretty impressive as between a cold, and bone-idelness I have only logged in the trader ~6 times in the 30 days. I’m expecting next month to come in far better, both in logins and in profit.

 

Fly with turrets,

 

Hark

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Training: Amarr Cruiser V (and Cross training)

Every Tuesday I take a skill which one of my characters is training and discuss why I am current training that skill. I will also look at other uses for the skill, and who else might benefit from it. As I have several Characters across the skill spectrum I expect to cover skills for Young, Middle Age and old players.

 

 

This week’s Choices (Only two as one was covered last week, and one the week before).

  • Caldari Electronic Systems V
  • Amarr Cruiser IV

 

Not much of a choice really, and both ship skills as well, what’s come over me? I’m going to discuss the Amarr Cruisers IV train, briefly in terms of what it gives you, but broadly as an excuse to talk about Racial Ships, and cross training.

 

First of let’s look at the skill itself:

Amarr Cruiser (x5) Perception, Willpower

Skill at operating Amarr Cruisers

 

Not much huh? But here is what you’re really get for your money:

Skill level I:

  • Arbitrator
  • Augoror
  • Maller
  • Omen

Skill level II:

  • Ashimmu (if you have Minmatar Cruiser II)
  • Augoror Navy Issue
  • Omen Navy Issue
  • Phantasm (if you have Caldari Cruiser II)
  • Stratios (if you have Gallente Cruiser II

Skill level II

  • Ability to train Amarr Battleships

Skill level V:

  • Ability to use/train all T2 Amarr Cruisers

 

For each level of the skill you also get a bonus to the four Amarr Cruisers (and the faction cruisers). An example of this would be for the Omen, where each level of Amarr Cruisers give you an additional 10% reduction in Medium Energy Turret activation cost, and an additional 5% bonus to Energy Turret Rate of fire per level.

 

Impressive.

 

Boring stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the broader topic here, racial cross training. In eve I’ve met many pilots who are loyal to their birthing faction’s ships. They are vehement in their dedication to perfecting their chosen races ships, and train them (and thus their weapon systems, and tank type) exclusively. They also tend to get a bit hett up under the collar when people start mentioning doctrines which use anything else. I was one of these people too once, and I can tell you now, without hesitation that there is no good reason for it.

 

Cross training to a competent skill level for all four races takes around 5 months (ships, weapons and tank). To a new player, that may seem like an awful long time out of their skill queue, but in the long run it’s a pittance for the utility you get in return. In exchange for those five months you will always be able to fly something in your Alliance/Corporations doctrines, even if it’s a lowly tackle ship. You will also be able to apply the correct tool for the job; ratting in Guristas space? Use shields, Blood Raiders? Perhaps a Armour tanker would be best. There is nothing worse than coming up against a tough challenge (in PvP or PvE) and not having the right skills to overcome it, being able to fly each race, reduces the chances of this happening.

 

Furthermore, should you take the time to train those racial skills up to level 5 (I’m not saying you should out of the gates, but if you do…); you also get 4 ships each time you train T2 ships. Bonus!

 

Of course there is always a stage in your pilots life when cross training isn’t going to be worth it, in my opinion the utility this gives you makes, that is really only the first few months of an accounts life. Looking back as an experienced pilot, and having already training a good few alts, my advice would be to spend the a few months learning one race’s skills (weapons, tank, ships) to level 4, and practice using them; then immediately move onto another race. Once you have all the races to T1, then go back through and start training the skills to T2 (with a few exceptions).

 

If you a younger player, more than a year old who can only fly one or two races of ships: it’s time to break free, train a new races kit and enjoy the difference it can and will make to your abilities!

 

Fly multicultural,

 

Hark

 

 

Bah Humbug!

And just as eve starts to liven up a bit, Christmas happens, and things start to die down! Typical. On the plus side the war shows no signs of dying down, so hopefully things will pick up again post-Christmas to bring next month up. That said, this past month has been something of a good one with 109 Hours of gaming, of which almost exactly half (56 hours) was spent in eve. What a good time. That playtime gave me a good tally of 131 kills most of which came from some very close to the line Capital Operations. It’s been fun!

 

The industrial Character has also seen a fair amount of playtime this month, with preparation for the next batch of T2 items well underway. Unfortunately her capital is a little bit low, as I have been lazy in my sell orders. Nothing a quick trip to the local trade hub won’t fix though. I Still hold hopes that this character might become profitable (She needs to make 120m to break even without including the time spend or the Account cost >.<) in the first few months of next year.

 

Xa has been pretty inactive recently, with next to no exploration or FW done, despite my talk about getting an Astero. Perhaps that will be a new year’s present to myself, in an attempt to get her active again. This said her lack of FW and exploration is somewhat explained by the fact that I downloaded jEveAssets for the first time and discovered just how much ISK I have tied up in unused assets all over new Eden. Thus I have been collecting all this trash and selling it over the period of this month. Unfortunately this has required a lot of hauling, and sitting around waiting for items to see at reasonable prices. It’s been worth it thought, So far I have raised 1.5bn, with an estimated 1.5Bn left to go (including a random X-type I have lying in a mission hub for no good reason…).

 

Trade has also been brisk this month, with a noticeable trend of large high cost items being bought and sold with a higher frequency than normal. Lots of people buying themselves (or others perhaps) presents has helped my wallet to the order of around 2bn (not including the assets sold by Xa). A pretty good month all in all.

 

That’s all for now, although I will be posting a good few posts in the next few weeks, including a yearly wrap-up, and a series of posts on what will be a massive landmark for my Main Character.

 

Untill then,

 

Fly with a festive launcher,

 

Hark

 

 

Interception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Constant danger of death: check.

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

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

A good balance of Risk/Reward: check.

Sign me up.

 

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

 

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

 

[Cheetah, Exploration]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Damage Control II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

 

Data Analyzer II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Cargo Scanner II

Relic Analyzer II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

[empty high slot]

 

Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

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

 

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

 

[Astero, Exploration]

Damage Control II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Overdrive Injector System II

 

Relic Analyzer II

Data Analyzer II

Cargo Scanner II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

 

Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I

 

Warrior II x5

Hornet EC-300 x5

Hornet EC-300 x5

 

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

 

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

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

 

Interceptor (1 sebo):

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

 

Interceptor (1 sebo +5 remote sebo)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fly white,

 

Hark

 

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

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