Posts Tagged ‘Ships’

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

Large fleets, impressive but stagnant?

While I was at Fanfest I had the fortune to actually be seated on the front row during the ship balancing round tables, watching the interaction between CCP fozzie, CCP Rise and CCP Ytterbium, was great, each of them are very different people with differing opinions, the three of them together I feel are going to give us the most well thought out ship balancing I think eve has seen.
The Grid

The Grid

I could go on for some time about the many topics that came up but one particular area interested me: Fleet Boosters. I should say from the outset that I am pro boosting ships being on grid, I feel that no role should be so dull or easy that it should be done effectively afk. I suspect this will get me flack from the many people who like to fight solo (even though they are fighting with at least two ships); I even enjoy flying solo myself, but Eve at its heart is a mmo, if you want to fly solo that’s great, but in general flying with friends is what makes this good game great.

That personal opinion aside one of the ideas that was floated was that boosting ships could be changed so that they effectively boost ships within a sphere around them (kind of like a hictor bubble), this would mean that the pilots of these ships would require actual flying skills to place themselves in the correct places and large fleets may even require multiple boosting ships, it would also mean that your average grunt would need to check their position relevant to the boosters as well as the logistics.
This to me sounds like if it was implemented that we may actually end up in much more dynamic mobile fleets where actual flying skill would be needed. It would mean that highly skilled pilots (or budding pilots) would be able to aspire to roles within fleets that could make or break an engagement, reliant on their flying skills.
This however started my evil mind turning and led me to have a conversation with the CCP devs after the meeting finished and here I will outline where my evil thoughts went…
Boosting Radiance Ships? Maybe not...

Boosting Radiance Ships? Maybe not…

As some people who have read my posts before may have noticed I do not understand why most random events in eve are positives, some of the most interesting stories are about when an unforeseen event has occurred and how people have managed (or not) to cope with them. All this talk of ships creating bubbles of “ship boosts” had me wondering, would it not be fair to have ships that do the opposite?

My thought was if CCP want more people flying command ships and for it to be a much more active and responsive role then surely the obvious way to make this happen was for there to be something for them to have to actively counter? At the moment there is a class of ships post tiercide that only has a single ship in it: The Battleship disruption line, and in it the scorpion. This currently has a bonus to ECM burst modules, what if this ship was changed to create a Hic like bubble of effect around it with an ECM effect and balanced against  sensor strength boosting command ships? Suddenly you would have pilots of these two ships attempting to counter each others effects, the command ship defensively while the disruptor would be attempting to fly his ship so he didn’t impact his own fleet but not so far forward he was out of range of his own support, suddenly fleet and even individual positioning within a fleet become more complex, dynamic, responsive and even rewarding of flying skill, not just skill points.
At this point you can expand on the idea, if you stick with current racial ewars then a how about an area effect tracking disrupting Amarr ship? A area effect sensor damping Galente ship? ( think of the effect on logi) How about an area effect target painting Minmatar? (that could mess with AHacs).
I think that if you gave people the opportunity to fly these ships that could negatively impact enemy fleets you would actually reward pilots with the experience and ability to fly well with a whole new class of ships that would really bring something new to fleet combat and that would then have the knock on effect of making command ships much more interesting, responsive and fleet combat much more dynamic. Each Disrupting ship would require a different command ship to counter.
And this idea carries on again, currently bombers have only two forms of ewar covered “lockbreaker” and “void” seems to me that some are missing here but I think you can all follow that idea on to a logical conclusion, I suppose here is the point to say what the devs had to say about the suggestion.

Press F1 for help

The idea was met I feel with guarded interest and support, it appears that the main issue that is holding up what they want to do with command ships (and by effect potential disruption ships) is a system issue. Currently bubbles are a problem, interdiction bubbles work because when a ship attempts to enter warp a single check is made by that ship “am I in a bubble?” if the answer is yes warp fails. currently ecm burst, lockbreaker and void bombs send out a single pulse and ships in the area are effected once. The problem with what they want to do with “boost bubbles” is that the server would need to know which ships at any given time were being effected by positive (or even negative) effects from one moment to the next and as fleets get larger the number of checks on this gets larger as well and can rapidly become a large resource hog, it is something they are looking at a solution for apparently but they could not say anymore at this time.

Personally I am very pleased that they are even looking in this direction and I am hopeful that they will find an elegant solution so that soon we will see much more interesting fleets flying in elegant shoals of death responding to each other in much more dynamic ways than the current “everyone anchor on x at 10km, follow targets and hit f1 in time. I can but hope. [Editors note: even worse. “Every one stop your ships and assign drones to XXXXX”]

Retribution: The Morning After

Well, that was a refreshingly smooth expansion release! I was at work during the release itself, but my twitter feed seems to indicate that the servers were actually back up an hour early, despite some solo wormhold fixes by CCP Tuxford we seem to be up and running without any issues. Well… at least any release related issues. There is of course the subject of CapArmRepGate in which CCP put a tiny line in a patch notes to document a massive change (in effect a 25% drop in armour carrier remote rep). Just to add some spice to the mix, this change was only implemented because CCP believed that the nerf already existed for capital shield remote reps, which it did not. However this CCP Fozzie stepped up and apologised, promising a change roll-back in the next content patch. But still in comparison to past releases, and indeed release by other companies, this has been a very smooth ride.

Moving on from the release itself, I want to talk about my first impressions. First and foremost, the targeting UI. Wow, just wow. I wasn’t really that excited by this when it was announced (well a little excited, but not much), but I really was amazed by just how much such a relatively small UI change makes to the freshness of the game. It really makes the game feel that little bit more modern. That said I have one minor complaint; the bouncy new target lock. Specificity when you lock a new target and its details are added to your targeting bar, the targets you have already locked below it, bounce slightly like a stack of marshmallows having a pebble dropped on it. Now I don’t know about you, but when I describe the eve UI, and especially the parts of it concerned with killing people. I don’t want to have to use the words “Bouncy” or “Marshmellow” to describe it. I just don’t feel that soft spongy (more bad Kiling-UI words) feel it gives represents the hard ruthless feel of the eve universe. Also if your trying to sort targets into the wonderful new columns while the targets are bouncing up and down like a fricking set of double d’s in an earthquake, its very annoying.

Familiar?

Seriously thou that’s a nitpick, the UI changes are wonderful, new life into the old UI of eve. Esspecialy the new columns I breifly mentioned in the last paragraph, as a logistics, its great to be able to sort rep targets into columns by priority (and keep the enemy your trying to sneak a shot onto away from the friendly   It makes me wonder what effect it might have if CCP spent some time fixing the Windows 1.1 style windows in eve to something new. Who-knows maybe next patch?

Next up for me was the new NPC AI (I’m still working on some Epic Arc blog posts, but you’ll get more on this later). Again, for me, this was another breath of fresh-air into the game. I really don’t enjoy mission running that much these days, because its easy mode. Therefore anything which makes it a bit harder, or more interesting, is great news to me.

Unfortunately, I really haven’t had a look at the new cruisers as the moment (My RvB char couldn’t skill up in time to try the before cruisers out (nor the after ones for the matter), but given the excellent work that’s been going on so far in the re-balancing department, I have no doubt these will be great. Right now I’m just getting  ready for the Battleship changes to land, and the resulting 0.0 doctrine changes which might follow. As a side note, I love it when we get to fly something different in 0.0, especially if its something different from Armour carriers (because I cant fly them yet :p).

There are loads of other changes which are more subtle, and will come to light as game play continues (like the null-sec music), and things which will take a while to be seen (like the new modules and ships). Next blog I intend to look at what I hope will come in Summer 2013.

Fly bouncy,

Hark¬

Stimulus Package for Null

Today I want to take a look at the economic situation in nullsec and what we could do to encourage industrialists to dive into the big bad world of nullsec. It should note that I really am no an economist, nor am I by any means an expert on, well pretty much anything, but this is merely attempt to expose and analyses (perhaps more for me than anyone else) the issues facing nullsec as it currently stands. It should also be observed that I am attempting to hold CCP true to their statements about nullsec producing more, and indeed will analyze this from the point of view that this is not working. I will be ignoring LowSec during this analysis as I honestly don’t know it well enough to be anything other than insulting to its residents.

My opinion on the current situation of nullsec (lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: Ships, Modules, Static Structures, Fuel, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, Super Capitals, fuel, ammo
Natural resources (ordered by amount harvested): ISK (bounties), Faction Modules, ABC minerals, normal minerals
Exports: Moon goo, Faction Modules, ABC minerals

My opinion on where we should be based on this dev blog(lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: T1 ships, T1 Modules, Static Structures, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, T2 ships, T2 Modules, Fuel, Super Capitals, ammo
Natural Resources (ordered by perceived amounts harvested): ISK (bounties), ABC minerals, normal minerals, Faction Modules
Exports: T2 ships, T2 Modules, Faction Modules, Moon goo, ABC minerals

The biggest difference between these two lists is the T2 conundrum. Currently to produce T2 ships and modules there are several direct inputs to the production line;
– Minerals (high volume, high mass)
– T2 products (high volume, high mass)
– Blueprints (low volume, low mass)
– Production slots (immovable, but available in stations)

During the Industrial Age, Sheffield was the heart of British production. Why? Because it was situated in the center of the mineral deposits needed to produce the Steel (mainly Coal and Iron Ore) and had excellent transport links to its buyers and export centers (Canals and rivers).  The comparison to a nullsec station is uncanny; i.e They are population and production hubs located right next to the Moon goo and ABC mineral (un-minable in any other place), and with jump bridge networks able to export the products much faster than a highsec freighter run. Yet our industrialists still insist on moving the raw materials light-years out of nullsec (where the light, non-volume materials are), manufacturing the product, and then shipping a large percentage of it back out to null sec. Lunacy, shear unadulterated lunacy.

So why? What is different between the real world and eve?

My first thought was towards the shipping costs of heavier materials in the real world; there steel as the end product is easier to transport than moving the raw materials  most of which will become waste product(coal 100% waste, Iron ore 30-50% waste): why pay to ship something you’re only going to throw away at the other end. Similarly in eve we do have “waste product” from in some parts of the industrial process (we don’t ship ore, we ship minerals). However unlike the real world, in eve the transport cost of an item is based around its volume rather than it’s mass. Volume becomes a secondary consideration.
So although we use “size reduction” to force us to refine minerals before we consider shipping them, we cannot use the same method to force us to produce items near to their source. As we would either have to make minerals incredibly large (a nightmare for the actual extraction process, a mackinaws bays would need to be bigger than a jump freighters), or we would end up with hundreds of ships being able to fit in a single hauler.
As a result, the guardian (for example) has to be, and is, bigger (and thus less efficient to haul) than the equivalent amount in minerals. The exact numbers assuming PE4 is 2652.456 m3 for its raw materials vs 115,000 (un-packaged) or 10,000 (packaged), in layman’s terms you can get 3.7 times more guardians in a cargo hold if you just take the minerals.
This seems like a very likely candidate for the difference to me, especially when you consider the mentality of the parties involved. Nullsec dwellers, are by and large not industrialists (there are exceptions to this). They don’t welcome industrialists into their folds, as they are preceded as “Carebears”. All they care about is finding the most efficient and quick method of creating money from their harvested goods i.e. shipping them to high sec and selling them. Industrialists only care about getting their raw materials (as cheap as they can) and selling them preferably quickly. As a result, as the least powerful of the chain, the customer is lumped with putting up with the least efficient part, buying the product miles away from its material source and shipping it back in its  least efficient form.
Nobody cares about the inefficiency of the customer’s part of this transaction. The Alliances don’t care enough to start mining ores and bringing in other highsec materials to produce them for their members (and likely don’t want to bring in carebears to do it for them, so as to not cause resentment against “the guys who don’t help defend our space”). Industrialists don’t care enough to go out to nullsec and produce items, they don’t like it and they don’t feel welcome there, the profit isn’t worth the risk.
In my opinion the only way to move tech 2 production to nullsec is to make it such a pain to move the raw materials out (i.e. like meat space where weight affects transport…). This would force 0.0 alliances to bring industrialists in to their space instead. Food for thought? Or just my ramblings? Who knows.

Hark industriously¬