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Monday, December 31, 2012

The State of New Eden


On this last day of 2012, I’d like to look forward rather than back. I've already given my review of 2012. I felt this was the rebuilding year. Now that it’s the last day of the year, I feel I should expand on what I meant by a rebuilding year. I believe the rebuilding is more far reaching than many realize. It is my hope it will change the fundamental nature of EVE Online.

New Eden is at a cross roads. That is easily said at any time. Leaders, when they give their State of the State addresses, can turn almost any sort of perceived change into “the cross roads” speech. Most often the only road they've crossed is the one road the organization has always traveled down with blinders firmly affixed. It’s like crossing under the English Channel in a motor car. At some point, you have to move to the other side of the road. It’s still the same road though.

But in this instance, I believe the term cross roads is entirely justified if for no other reason than this:
I made this screen capture of the Essence market today at 17:14 New Eden Time. You may think this is just more stuff to manufacture and that it will mean nothing more than adding a new ship class or three as in the past. You’d be incorrect in that assessment
.
The customers for these goods are not capsuleers. They are Dusters. They will have their own income. They will spend it in “our” market. To put this in real world terms, it’s like getting the Party’s blessing to open up business in China – all of China. No one playing today can accurately predict how this will reshape New Eden, but I can safely guarantee it will. Fortunately it will not affect New Eden like other new sources of ISK.

When incursions came to New Eden, a whole new play style developed around them. We all saw the incursion caravans. The entire process of running incursions became highly organized. There might have been risk, but I ran more risk flying an Orca full of Wetware Mainframes to Jita than most incursion runners faced. And their losses were compensated. This isn't what CCP intended and it wasn't how they wanted EVE Online to be. They demoted it as a play style and many have given up on it.

Then came PLEX farming where any noob could make billions! This was so recent I won’t even bother with a recap. CCP put a damper on that as well. They thought it would make EVE Online more like what they wanted, but it didn't work as they intended. People would rather PLEX for ISK than fight for ISK.

It is no secret CCP wishes EVE Online to be a PvP centric game. Otherwise there wouldn't be that decade old saying, “undocking is permission to PvP.” It’s the plain truth of the matter. There may be safer areas of New Eden to fly in, but there is no safe area.

But this PvP centric ideal is still unrealized by CCP. In fact, according to some of their developers, it’s been a complete failure. No matter what CCP has tried, capsuleers have turned it into a no risk proposition. Let’s look at the biggest failure. CCP originally setup null-sec to be PvP paradise – the end game in New Eden. It hasn't turned out that way. In fact, null-sec is some of the safest space in which to fly. There was a time when corporations constantly warred over who would control null-sec. That was a very, very long time ago – before Mabrick even became a capsuleer. Now null-sec is controlled by mega-coalitions who negotiate their wars ahead of time. Capsuleers are told where they can hunt and where they cannot. PvP is restricted to coalition sanctioned events only. And then, when PvP comes, an endless CTA precedes it and if you don’t show up you are sanctioned. I've had many a friend in null-sec relay how unfun this is.

Even NPC null-sec has turned sour. Rote Kapelle got so fed up with the lack of GFs they preceded to kick all those they saw as carebears out of the region. But even this effort seems to have wound down. Are they getting as many GFs as they’d like yet? Perhaps Jester can answer that question for us. I think not though.

Taken as a whole, null-sec as a PvP paradise is a failure. What other evidence do you need than Hulkageddon, Burn Jita and the Ministry of Love? Is null-sec so fracking boring that Goons came to high-sec to have fun? I know I've been told personally by a couple of Goons in positions of authority they do their high-sec high-jinks to keep Goon members occupied. I think that is the biggest unspoken truth about Goonswarm activities in high-sec. Null-sec is so staid now the coalitions have become the carebears of null – never taking a chance with their sovereignty, never risking their ISK flow and not providing nearly enough fun for the rank and file.

CCP sees this. Others before me have written about it. This is not some grand epiphany. Leaving a PvP game completely in the hands of players does not work. Here is the proof:
Ships Destroyed Past 24 Hours
More ships are destroyed in all other space except maybe wormholes than in null-sec every day.

As much as we’d like to think we are born killers, the fact is 80% of humans are born community builders. The current condition of null-sec was inevitable. There is no “fixing” it. To fix it would mean putting controls on it – forcing the occupants to act differently. That means it would no longer be null-sec. It isn't going to happen.

Fortunately, CCP in their wisdom or just blind stupid luck (I’d like to think the former,) built the solution into the Empyrean Age expansion. That solution is known as Factional Warfare. Just read this report from Drackarn if you don’t believe me. I doubt this fight was planned weeks (months?) in advance by coalition leadership. The CTA seems to have been done by the seat of their pants. It mostly just progressed in an ad-hoc fashion from what I can tell. And it was fun reading about it! If it was fun just to read about, I bet it was way more fun for the participants. That's the PvP CCP wants and needs.

But we’ve already seen how trying to force conflict over resources anywhere backfires. There has already been one run at turning FW into what CCP wants and it flopped big time because most capsuleers would rather farm than fight.

So what does all this have to do with the State of New Eden? Why is this a cross roads? Because in this instance the ISK source is not farmable. It is not bottable. It will not seduce any capsuleer into altering their play style to make insane amounts of ISK. The source of conflict for capsuleers does not revolve around the ISK faucet directly. There are no Technetium moons to protect through ridiculously ritualized sock hops with blasters. There are no PLEX to farm – at least not in the old way. There is no reason to caravan from one FW system to the next except to PvP. The only way to create more ISK is to create more conflict with other capsuleers. This is the cross roads where EVE Online might finally turn off the PvE road and onto the true PvP road.

I see a power shift on the horizon that CCP won’t stop from happening. If CCP prices Duster goods properly, and there is enough conflict to keep Dusters happily blowing each other up, this particular ISK source could be the largest yet. The place to be in New Eden will become the FW systems. Those who participate, whether they are individual capsuleers or corporations, will have the most fun and may even get stinking rich as well. With locations very close to high-sec, even noobs can get in on the gold rush. The likes of TEST and Goonswarm can stir the pot all they want, but who’s going to really notice with all the other roiling that’s going on? And you know what, that may be the best thing to happen to Goonswarm in a very long time. It certainly will be better for New Eden.

Happy New Year!

Fly Careful

Friday, December 28, 2012

Inspirational Movies for Capsuleers in 2013

EVE Online is real. However, that's just a saying. In truth it is just a game. I've yet to run into or know of any capsuleer, even The Mittani, who doesn't understand that basic fact. We may treat it as if it is real, it may even feel real while we play it, but it isn't truly real.

But who cares! When I'm logged in doing my thing I still feel like I'm in a POD piloting tons of spaceship through the vast interstellar night. It is boring at times. It is also very, very exciting at times. And because I love it so, I'm drawn to the genre elsewhere as well - or maybe I have that backwards.

But who cares! What really matters is that I enjoy the hell out of EVE and there are books and movies that inspire me to love it even more when I read/watch them. There are a few coming out next year to which I'm especially looking forward. With great things on the horizon for EVE Online, it seems only right to discuss the  great inspirations on the horizon as well.

#1: Star Trek Into Darkness

J.J. Abrams has finally taken Star Trek where no person has gone before. The franchise reboot not only brought Trekkies back, it put the word real back into reality when it comes to the Star Trek universe. The characters are more human than they've ever been. The action more intense. The humor... well, it is still Star Trek after all. I'm not really looking for social statements from this film. I'm looking to see Captain Kirk and crew overcome extreme hardship to kick some ass! Then, I'd like to see them do it to Goon Swarm and TEST... just kidding!

#2: Ender's Game (IMDb Entry)

[EDIT] There is no trailer for this yet, There is no OFFICIAL trailer for this yet, but OMG I can't wait to see what they do with it. If they stay true to Orson Scott Card's original intent, this could be quite the film about victory at any cost. If Harrison Ford can channel even a little of Rick Deckard into Colomel Graff, this should be as much a story of internal conflict as external conflict, not that capsuleers ever have internal conflicts - right?

#3: Pacific Rim

Giant freaking robots fighting alien monsters from another dimension! What else do I need to say? Oh yeah, these guys are capsuleers just like us with connection points all down their spines too. This is like EVE Online and Mech Warrior combined. I wonder if they have clones or is dead just dead in their 'verse?

#4: After Earth
"Every single decision we make will be life or death. But if we are going to survive this, you must realize that fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice." Need I write more? If that isn't an anthem for EVE Online, I don't know what is.

#5: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Okay, it's fantasy and not Sci-Fi - but still, I can't wait to see part 2!

Fly Careful

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Manufacturing, not Murder, is my Motto

Just to set the record straight, the PvP engagement that resulted in my first ever PvP kill in 4.75 years of EVE Online does not mean I have gone to the dark side. My taste for blood is just about where it was before the event. Violence is sometimes necessary but still just as distasteful to my carebear sensibilities.

To prove that no universal constants have been reset, I give you these two images to ponder.

This represents a new step in my manufacturing education. Up until now, I've not had a reason to build a capital ship. Life in a wormhole with HBHI gives me one. And no, I won't be flying it. That will be the job of our fleet commander. I'm just going to admire my handiwork from afar.

Fly Careful

Monday, December 24, 2012

... To Those Who Wait

The night started out like any other. I woke my Nemesis from it's slumber, made sure the cloak was working properly and then checked d-scan. Sisters Core Probes in the system, at least seven of them. Looks like we had company. A quick check of corp COMs confirmed I was the only one awake so I set about ignoring the probes.

I've got PI into a good groove now. Production is sufficient to stock for four days without cross-leveling. This allows me to sit at safe, restart my extractors and restock the factories all in the comfort of my pod as hostile probes fly all over the system. Ah, that's the life eh?

It took no time at all to reset my livelihood, but I wasn't ready to go back to my sudoku. I decided to see where the ships were coming in from. Since it was late evening for me I doubted I'd see any of my corp mates but it's always nice to leave them accurate bookmarks for the morning.

I'd just scanned down my first WH signature when our corp CEO logged in. I quickly warned him there were hostiles in the hole and I had probes out.
[ 2012.12.23 03:46:26 ] Mabrick > Hostiles in the hole.
[ 2012.12.23 03:46:38 ] Mabrick > I have probes out. They have probes out.
[ 2012.12.23 03:46:45 ] AINeumann > thats always fun
[ 2012.12.23 03:47:09 ] Mabrick > I've seen no ships though, just probes.
[ 2012.12.23 03:47:25 ] AINeumann > i have a drake on scan
[ 2012.12.23 03:47:33 ] Mabrick > That's new.
[ 2012.12.23 03:48:45 ] AINeumann > what type of probes do you have out?
[ 2012.12.23 03:48:54 ] Mabrick > 5 sister core probes
[ 2012.12.23 03:49:05 ] AINeumann > ima launch combats
[ 2012.12.23 03:49:14 ] AINeumann > 5 of them
[ 2012.12.23 03:49:19 ] Mabrick > kk
[ 2012.12.23 03:51:23 ] AINeumann > just launching those should scare them away... but we shall see
[ 2012.12.23 03:53:26 ] AINeumann > no ships on combat scan
[ 2012.12.23 03:53:51 ] AINeumann > musta ran when he saw the proteus on scan then the combats out
[ 2012.12.23 03:54:09 ] Mabrick > Hmmmmmm, got some new anomalies. 4 so far. One is a radar...
[ 2012.12.23 03:54:44 ] AINeumann > it looks like we might have two whs besides the stat
[ 2012.12.23 03:55:06 ] Mabrick > At least...
[ 2012.12.23 03:55:32 ] AINeumann > if not 3
All totaled we had Two low-sec connections, one high-sec connection and two connections to higher class WHs. Both the higher class connections led to systems controlled by Russians. This was definitely not their prime play time, so we turned our attention to the other WHs. I checked out our static and the high-sec hole while AI finished up with the two Russian connections and turned to the other K162 low-sec connection. That WH led to Tama - shit. We went on team-speak.

I warped to an appropriate distance from the hole while the CEO jumped back. The WH flared and he was back. Then the WH flared again and I sat up straighter. A bright red buzzard began moving away from the K162. AI engaged. I closed the distance, uncloaked and locked him up. The Buzzard was fast and not trying to get away. I thought AI had him disrupted. I should have asked.
[ 2012.12.23 04:24:59 ] (notify) Approaching Quake590's Buzzard
[ 2012.12.23 04:25:10 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ∴ Buzzard  Quake590's Buzzard | [T3S] Rocky3  - to ∴ Proteus   HDF Sneeky | [AST] AINeumann  -
[ 2012.12.23 04:25:23 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ∴ Buzzard   Quake590's Buzzard | [T3S] Rocky3  - to ∴ Proteus   HDF Sneeky | [AST] AINeumann  -
[ 2012.12.23 04:25:44 ] (notify) Keeping Quake590's Buzzard at range (1500m) (...oops...)
[ 2012.12.23 04:25:56 ] (notify) Keeping Quake590's Buzzard at range (20000m)
[ 2012.12.23 04:26:11 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ∴ Buzzard   Quake590's Buzzard | [T3S] Rocky3  - to ∴ Proteus   HDF Sneeky | [AST] AINeumann  -
[ 2012.12.23 04:26:34 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ∴ Merlin   Tri-Bush | [T3S] Datary Orti  - to ∴ Proteus   HDF Sneeky | [AST] AINeumann  - 
A Merlin appeared on the overview followed by another Buzzard. Soon they were joined by a Blackbird and a Maelstrom. This skirmish had suddenly turned completely lopsided. AI's Proteus was triple scrammed and and jammed so hard its tracking computers fused. I doubt the Maelstrom had to fire more than an alpha at that point but I wasn't there to watch the final blow.

I had warped to a nearby safe to break the locks on my bomber, cloaked and returned to an appropriate distance from the K162. They all hung around the hole like bright red Weihnachtsschmuck. After 30 seconds or so, they appeared to be moving back toward the K162. I aligned, uncloaked and launched a bomb. Per my training, I didn't stick around but I did see it go off just before I entered the warp tunnel.
[ 2012.12.23 04:28:36 ] (notify) Approaching Wormhole K162
[ 2012.12.23 04:28:53 ] (combat) 1450 to Rocky3[T-3](Buzzard) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.23 04:28:53 ] (combat) 0 to Deadspace Signature - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.23 04:28:53 ] (combat) 0 to Wormhole K162 - Scorch Bomb - Hits
I returned to the scene hoping for another run but the hostile fleet was gone. I suppose they had no stomach for bomber games. I don't blame them. There are no GFs in a wormhole: only survivors and wrecks.

Rocky3's capsule hung in space not far from the K162. I could have easily taken it out. That's not my style. I let him go. He bookmarked the K162, warped off and a minute later returned to zero and jumped back to Tama. The hole was critical at that point and we'd easily collapse it in the not too distant future. At this moment in time, I got to loot my first ever PvP kill.
[ 2012.12.23 04:34:43 ] (notify) Approaching Wreck of: Quake590's Buzzard [1]
Happy Holidays to me!

Fly Careful

[1] I hope Rocky3 at least replaced the apparently borrowed Buzzard. Oh, and thanks for the 7+ mISK bounty!

Friday, December 21, 2012

♫♪♫ Do You See What I See ♪♫♪

Today, at 11:12 UT, NASA took a picture of our star, Sol, to commemorate the Northern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice. There is a very nice write up about it here. That's not what I want to talk about though. Being generally fascinated with all things solar, I love diving into the details of pictures like this.
Isn't that magnificent!? Now, this particular photo is in the ultraviolet. There are other wavelengths available for viewing on the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) website but UV is my favorite. So, I did what I always do. I started to zoom into the detail.
That's when I noticed something I'd never seen before on one of these pictures. There appeared to be a flaw in the image. That's very unusual. The equipment used is highly reliable and artifacts are easily scrubbed out of the images by software - providing they are of a known artifact type. This is routine in any astrophotograph.

I was intrigued. Unfortunately this image was low resolution and I couldn't get a sharper view of the artifact.  I went to the SDO web site, where they keep all these images, looking for a higher resolution shot. There is a (practically) real time camera image there one can use for such things.
The Sun Now window in the middle left side of the page has a zoom feature. I used it to get a better view of the area.
At about 40% zoom I could definitely see that there was still an artifact in the picture. I threw the zoom slider all the way to the right for maximum closeup. 
I was astonished at what I saw. There was a Tengu sitting at zero! Those damn Caldari, they're everywhere. Where's the Gallente Militia when you need them?

*grin*

Happy Holidays to all capsuleers! May you and your's have a wonderful, safe celebration.

Fly Careful

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BB42: It was a Rebuilding Year

A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever. 
By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation. 
Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?
I'm not much of a broadcast sports person. Sitting in front of a T.V. hooting and hollering from a Lazy Boy isn't my idea of sports entertainment. I've always preferred my sports live. If I must watch it on a screen, the screen has to be really big in the company of other sports fans who happen to also be beer connoisseurs. Nevertheless, I think the best way to review EVE Online for 2012 is with a sports analogy.

The original players had done very well. They'd won several championships. Morale was high. Being used to winning, they could not imagine anything else. Consensus was reached on a bus to Abilene: they were too good to be anything but champions. Arrogance blinded them to the truth. It's not what you've done in the past that matters, but what you'll do in the future. They believed they were the pinnacle of their game, and perhaps they were, once. In truth, as their egos grew their performance declined. They thought they executed the playbook just as well as before but that was a conceit.

Previously mastered fundamentals were never revisited  This led to a slow erosion of teamwork. Some played for personal glory forsaking the strength of the team. Others become more enamored of the fame than the game. Leadership both on and off the field lapsed. As fundamentals atrophied, unforced errors eliminated any chance of a playoff birth in 2011. For the first time in eight seasons EVE Online had a losing record. By that point they were a team in name only. It was time to rebuild.

Options were exercised. Under-performing players were released. The coaching staff was shaken up. The playbook was rewritten. The team refocused on fundamentals. Execution became more important than flash and dazzle. They started with the simple plays. In the games of the 2012 season, they advanced steadily on the ground; every gain hard earned. It took perseverance to win and required a team once again dedicated to themselves and the game. Though there was no playoff birth for this year's team, they compiled an impressive winning record. The fundamentals relearned, they can again dare to think about championship titles.

But like any franchise, the future is as much about ticket sales as fundamentals and execution. The best team unwatched will never succeed in being true champions. Without the fans, a team is nothing more than an afternoon social club. In 2011, attendance dropped for the first time in franchise history. Many long time fans had become disillusioned and left for other teams in other stadiums. Now they are back but fickle as ever. Furthermore, many seats are still empty. Even the best of the old seasons had only ever filled half the stadium. Attendance continues to be a problem for this team.

I am certain the General Manager knows this. I expect flash and dazzle will again creep into the playbook. After all, it's the thrill of the big play that pleases fans most. Win big and more fans will come. Everyone desires to claim membership in a winning organization. They want to shout "we're number one!" at all the losers on the other side. People crave that vicarious glory, but only the most exciting teams can bring them into the stadium and keep them there.

I just hope the coaches and players don't forget the fundamentals. They are the foundation of the game and without them flash and dazzle will always sputter and fail. Die hard fans will put up with this, but not the fickle glory seekers. They will leave in droves if you disappoint them even once, and the team will never be the champions they wish to be. In the end, the stadium will slowly fall into disrepair. One day the city will decide to build a hall of fame where it once stood.

Fly Careful

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wormhole Lessons: How to Safely Mine

One of the great things about living in a wormhole is you can be nearly self-sufficient in terms of things you use every day. Most of the resources you need for POS fuel are available in many wormholes. There are also resources available for producing ammunition and even ships and modules. In fact, in many wormholes, if you want a ship beyond a certain size you have to build it inside. The mass restrictions of many wormholes will prevent you from flying it in.

But there is a catch. Wormhole space is dangerous space. It is very hard to gather the needed resources when hostiles lurk. There is no CONCORD. There is no one to tell you who is in system with you. You are completely on your own to try and determine this information for yourself. There is no sure way to be 100% certain there are no hostile ships in the hole with you. And all ships not of your corporation are assumed hostile.

There are things you can do to greatly mitigate the danger though. The first step is to be familiar with your wormhole. What has the recent activity been like in it? Eveeye.com is a great resource for this. It will show detailed activity in your hole for the past 48 hours. It will give you generalized information for longer trend lines too now. This coupled with your own observations will give you a really good insight to the comings and goings of your hole.

When you reach certainty that you have no lurkers in the hole, you can think about step two. This step is something you should do every day regardless. Scan every square cubic kilometer of your space. Determine where every single Cosmic Signature is in your hole. You should already be an expert on your hole. You should know how many possible random wormholes can connect yours to other locations as well as were your static leads in general. Another element of being an expert on your hole is to know the relative scan strength of all your possible signatures. Start here.

As you scan the signatures down, keep track of their signal strength when you first detected them. This should be done with your probes centered on the star in your system while in their standard formation whether that is five, seven or some other number of probes. This is so you can sort out the K162s from the rest of the signatures. This is important. None of the other holes, including your static, will open until you warp to them. K162s are opened from the other side. You have no control over them. The others you can leave closed by not warping to them, but you must deal with the K162s. There are two ways of dealing with K162s.

The first way is to forget mining that day and try again another day. This may be your only real choice if the K162 is really fat (has a large mass allowance) and you have a small corporation or are the only one online. There is no safe mining with a K162 open.

The second way to deal with it is to collapse it yourself. This procedure is known to all who live in a hole. It is mastered by some. In fact, our mining last night was brought to an end because a K162 opened up. I quickly located it and got to watch a masterful collapse operation.
Once you are certain there are no open connections to your wormhole, you are ready to safely mine. There is one last MANDATORY requirement to mine safely. You must continue scanning. I'll say that again. YOU MUST KEEP PROBES OUT AND CONTINUE TO SCAN. Here's how it works. When you have all Cosmic Signatures identified (100% scan resolution) set them to ignored - all of them. Place fresh probes so your entire system is covered. Our hole is 61 AU across. One scan probe set at a 32 AU radius will cover it. I use two probes to be certain. Then, just like you would spam d-scan, spam the analyze button. If any new Cosmic Signatures appear a K162 just opened. That is all that it can be. Return to the POS immediately, your whole is no longer safe.

While the scan is clear, you can mine for as long as you like.
The new Venture, with its one utility high, is custom made for doing this while mining. We mined for over four hours last night with as much assurance of safety as you can ever have in a wormhole. It was bliss. BTW, I did not come up with this on my own. I learned it from other Wormholers as it's been mentioned in the comments on this blog. I'm just passing it on to any who might not have read the comments. It's a very effective tactic.

Fly Careful

Friday, December 14, 2012

Freakin' Wormholes

By now I hope everyone is comfortable with the idea I now live in a wormhole. I know I am. It was something that I'd thought about doing since the first time I ever wandered into a wormhole. That was not long after they started opening their tortured maws in New Eden space. To be honest, my first foray into wormhole space didn't end to well.
[ 2009.03.27 02:59:42 ] (warning) If you go through this wormhole you will end up in the far reaches of space. Concord will not be able to help you there!
Do you wish to continue?
[ 2009.03.27 03:00:10 ] (notify) Warping to J122803 I

<snip>
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:10 ] (notify) Speed changed to 370 m/s
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:14 ] (combat) Argos misses you completely.
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:14 ] (combat) Argos misses you completely.
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:14 ] (combat) Argos misses you completely.
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:23 ] (notify) Speed changed to 805 m/s
[ 2009.03.27 04:25:29 ] (combat) <color=0xffbb6600>Argos barely scratches you, causing 495.3 damage.
[ 2009.03.27 04:28:18 ] (info) Your Escape Capsule does not appear to be fitted with an on-board scanner.
[ 2009.03.27 04:29:46 ] (warning) If you self-destruct your ship you will lose it! Are you sure you want to initiate the <b>2</b> minute self-destruct sequence?
To cancel a self-destruct sequence you should select self-destruct again (if any of your ships are already self destructing this will cancel it).

<snip>
[ 2009.03.27 04:31:49 ] (notify) Your Capsule self-destructs.
Yeah, I forgot to bookmark the exit hole. *facepalm* I was a year old. I'd recently lost my first ship to pirates. Now I lost one to stupidity. Well, it was only a T1 frigate. Yeah, I went into a sleeper site in a frigate. What the hell did we know about them back then anyway?

Since that first adventure I've been fascinated by wormholes. I often played the tourist in wormhole space. I poked around. I practiced being stealthy. I wasn't always successful. I lost a Helios to a POS gun when I inadvertently uncloaked within range. Sometimes I got lucky. I once "salvaged" a bunch of POS modules from a station that'd possibly run out of fuel. As my curiosity about wormholes grew, I even ran an experiment on the profitability of becoming more than a tourist. I think I always knew I'd end up in a wormhole.

But it's not all wine and roses. There are some very annoying issues in wormhole space and I don't mean other capsuleers. I don't mind them. It's all part of living in wormhole space. What really irritates me are the program bugs that still exist in wormhole space.

None of them are inherently dangerous... well, there is one that prevents modules being turned on and off but I've not experienced that one in months. It is rare, but that one can be fatal under the right circumstances. Then there is the two-thirds readout issue. You log in and your shields, armor and structure bars all stop at two-thirds full. I never think to take a screen shot of it either so can't show you what it looks like.

Then there is the issue we've run into the last two times we've Ventured out to a gravimetric site. We lose the mining laser graphics and even the turrets themselves don't show up on the ship. I DID get a video of this issue last night. Have a look for yourself (and I apologize for the static in the audio - must be a wormhole bug.)
I think Tur summed it up quite nicely, "freakin' wormholes." Perhaps one day CCP will get around to addressing these little annoyances. Even if they don't, I don't think I'm leaving - not for some time, if ever. I  really like our freakin' wormhole.

Fly Careful

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bad Timing with Good Results

I logged into EVE Online Sunday night late to unexpectedly find the entire corporation online and running Sleeper sites. This surprised me. It'd been a bit of a dicey weekend. We'd had raiders all day Saturday and they'd taken out most of the sites. I spent a couple hours Saturday waiting for a cloaky Loki to make a mistake, but he never did. I had that on my mind as my ship powered up from it's overnight hibernation.

My timing could not have been worse. As usual, we were all saying our hellos and what not on Team Speak. That's when the others pulled the trigger on their ambush. Suddenly my four corp-mates were surrounded by a battleship, several command ships and who knew what else. My corp-mates were PvE fit so proceeded to bug out.

The good news was that the Golem and the Kronos, recently being fitted with state of the art micro-jump drives, made it safely away. The Typhoon Fleet Issue, being the next most valuable ship in the fleet, did not. Before Tur could make warp he was pointed. The Bhaalgorn laid its heavy neut on him and, being already hammered by Sleeper fire, the outcome was inevitable.

But that's not the story I want to tell. That's the back story. As my corp-mates were trying to get out of the ambush, I was warping to 30 kilometers off Tur's battleship. See, I've taken to passing the long wormhole "nights" in my Nemesis and, as Russel Casse exclaimed, "I'm packing!" Such a well executed ambush deserved some type of response after all.

I dropped out of warp just in time to see the Typhoon Fleet Issue explode. On TS, Tur was keeping us updated. He immediately started aligning his pod to escape. My fingers hovered over the console as I slowly approached his wreck. I'd landed at about 32km actual. There was very little time.

"I'm out; in warp!" Tur said over TS.

I fingered cloak off and mashed my bomb release a split second later. The nice thing about bombs is targeting is optional. It was a clean release and I began aligning for my own warp out. It was not an inline. I'd not had time. As I peeled away, just before I entered warp, I saw the waves of heat expanding around Tur's wreck as the Scorch Bomb detonated. Then I was in the warp tunnel and the scene faded.

I landed at a celestial, bounced to a safe then returned to the scene of the ambush at a greater distance. By the time I returned, there was only the Bhaalgorn and an Astarte remaining uncloaked. Tur's kill report (got to love immediate intelligence!) showed a Helios and Manticore in on the attack - ten [EDIT: nine plus one Sleeper] in all. There could have been cloaked adversaries around. It didn't matter. I aligned on the Bhaalgorn.

Our CEO requested an update on what they were doing. He asked if they were shooting wrecks. Loot and shoot did appear to be what they were up to. Evidently they didn't consider one Stealth Bomber to be much of a threat. In 20 kilometers we'd see. That's when they both aligned and warped out. A minute later they were no longer on d-scan. Since we now covered the entire hole with ships actively pinging, we deduced they must have left. I guess they didn't want to play games with us now that we were all in PvP ships.

I now had time to warp to a safe and consult Aura's records on the bomb run.
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 0 to Gaseous Cloud - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 1443 to Wasp I[HBHI](Wasp I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits

[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 1443 to Wasp I[HBHI](Wasp I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 1443 to Wasp I[HBHI](Wasp I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Awakened Upholder Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Medium Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 345 to Hobgoblin II[KAIRS](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 4462 to Caledoni[KAIRS](Absolution) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Awakened Upholder Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Medium Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 5107 to Thaeden Jul[KAIRS](Absolution) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Wreck of: HDF =Flagulatus=[HBHI](Minmatar Battleship Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 345 to Hobgoblin II[KAIRS](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 345 to Hobgoblin II[KAIRS](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Sleepless Defender Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Large Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 3500 to Phalanx131[KAIRS](Astarte) - Scorch Bomb - Hits[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 345 to Hobgoblin II[KAIRS](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Emergent Defender Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Small Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Emergent Defender Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Small Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 3500 to Boshell[KAIRS](Astarte) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 730 to Valkyrie II[HBHI](Valkyrie II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 730 to Valkyrie II[HBHI](Valkyrie II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 345 to Hobgoblin II[KAIRS](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 500 to Awakened Upholder Wreck[HBHI](Sleeper Medium Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 567 to Valkyrie II[HBHI](Valkyrie II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 1443 to Wasp I[HBHI](Wasp I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 499 to HighHeeledHarlot[-V.D-](Manticore) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2012.12.10 03:50:16 ] (combat) 0 to Plasmic Gas Cloud - Scorch Bomb - Hits
I didn't get any kill-mails so I know I didn't pop any of the ambushers. I possibly took out some drones - their's and ours abandoned. I possibly denied them the salvage from Tur's wreck though I could not save his 'phoon. My login timing was bad and my arrival was late. Regardless, it was very satisfying to see I at least got DPS on target. My training paid off and the results were good. The bomb landed well. This carebear considers that a personal success.

Fly Careful

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Wish List for Hauler Rebalancing

Last Wednesday, I ran through my reasons for declaring the scanning change to the Orca and Blockade Runners was a good idea. That post, though lengthy, was limited in scope and discussion. It looked at pn;y two issues: the Orca needing to be an Industrial Command Ship, providing bonuses to mining like combat Command Ships do combat, and the Blockade Runner needing to flt fast and remain stealthy.

There is much more that needs done to rebalance industrial ships. Just because I think the Oca should be like a Rorqual light doesn't mean I think CCP should eliminate the unintended roles it currently  performs for the greater community. As was pointed out, there needs to be a way to transport rigged ships for example.

So let me start there. As I've alluded previously, I once lived a much different life than I do now. One thing I learned about in that previous incarnation was the concept of the RoRo ship. Officially they are the LMSR, Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off ship. They allow fully functional combat vehicles to arrive in theater ready for action.
This is the role I envisage for the Deep Space Transport (DST) ship. My wish is to see this ship reincarnated as a LMSR. Just as LMSR today can transport any Army vehicle, the EVE Online LMSR fleet must do the same - up to a point. I don't see the point of including capital ships in this requirement. They are themselves a sort of LMSR aren't they?
To accomplish this change, the cargo hold of the DST must give over to a ship hanger bay. Making it as large as the Orca's with all the same parameters (i.e. no pi├▒ata affect) would be a start. Also, CCP would need to give it a jump clone vat. Why? How do you think the capsuleers get to their ships? It would be the only non-capital ship capable of using a clone vat. Now wouldn't that be something? In addition  there may need to be a ship visual redesign... or not. I'm not too hung up on that though it might ruin immersion for others. In the end, this little used ship would receive a new life with a dedicated role as a combat transport. It'd go in harms way and deliver its cargo of ready-to-fight ships anywhere and then bring in the pilots to fight them!
The next role I'd like to wave the wish wand over is Planetary Interaction. I already have a ship for that, the  Primae. I never use it. It is not "big" enough for the job. My previous Wetware Mainframe high-sec production line required tens of thousands of cubic meters of cargo space to cross level resources on my six planets. The Primae has only a 100 m3 cargo hold and a 1000 m3 PI commodities hold. That's useless. To fulfill it's role CCP needs to increase the PI commodities hold to at least 20k cubic meters. I'd frankly prefer 50k. And why not, this is a wish list! All it can haul is PI products and Command Centers. It's role specific at that point and useful. But since this is a wish list, there are a couple other things I'd like to see. I'd like it to be warp stabilized and have a utility high added with enough CPU for an Improved Cloaking device. And lastly, I'd like to have that nifty Target Spectrum Breaker technology built right into the ship. It'd activate automatically if anyone gets a lock. That's not too much to ask for is it? Come on, POCOs are so easily camped this ship needs the chance these improvements give it. It's still explodable, but the pilot trying to do so would actually have to have some skills to pull it off. That's all I'm asking.

That leaves freighters and the T1 cargo ships. The latest changes to freighters, from what I've been told by the few freighter pilots I know, are good ones and well received. I think freighters, and that includes jump freighters, are right were they need to be now.

The T1 cargo ships on the other hand are not. Progression through them is accomplished strictly by skill acquisition, the "old" way. Fortunately they are not expensive and having these ships based on skill progression rather than role didn't make budding industrialist automatic losers like fighting a Rifter with an old Atron. But that doesn't mean they should remain the same. To begin with, there are too many of them. No capsuleer buys all of them in progression. I know I didn't. I went from the Iteron to Iteron Mark V in one swing. There is no need for five separate ships in this role.

So, in keeping with the philosophy behind the revamp of frigates and cruisers, we should look to their "big brothers" to determine how many T1 haulers there should be and what they should do. My estimation is there should only be three.

The first  ship would be your basic cargo hauler, like the Iteron, but more expandable in its cargo hauling capabilities as the pilot gains secondary skills. It would perform distribution and courier missions as well as be a salvage hauler in high-sec.

The second ship should be a quasi Viator. It should be faster than a Blockade Runner, have enough CPU for an Improved Cloak but have a scannable cargo hold. Yes, I said faster - as fast as an Interdictor. It would not be stealthy but it would be damn hard to catch! To justify this speed the cargo hold should be set at something small like 1000 m3 with two lows that could be used for Expanded Cargohold modules if desired.

The third hauler would have an ore hold instead of a cargo hold and augment high-sec mining fleets that don't have Orca support. It would not give mining bonuses, just increased ore hauling capability and tractor beam bonuses like an Orca.

There is no T1 version of the Primae or DST RoRo. What's the point? If a capsuleer needs a ship with those specific capabilities, they will just have to train for them.

So that's my wish list for hauler rebalancing. It fits my understanding of CCP's new ship balancing philosophy. There are ships to cover each hauling niche currently in use. It gives capsuleers a variety of tools with which to ply their trades in New Eden. In the future, as Dust 514 comes online, we might see more specialized ships like Landing Ships Personnel and Landing Ship Tanks for those planets without a POCO. These are transports too. Should the dream of fighting in stations ever come to pass, we could see T2 armored assault versions of these transports. And they would all have specific roles to serve in the fleets of New Eden.

Fly Careful

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

There are capsuleers in New Eden who will never, ever, under any circumstance "sit idle" in space and watch perfectly tuned lasers reduce asteroids into transportable dust/sand/pebbles.

There are capsuleers in New Eden for whom that is the perfect job. Ensconced in their pod they are free to contemplate the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

Then there are the vast majority of capsuleers who'd mine asteroids if two conditions were met. One, it would have to be fun. Two, it would have to be profitable. And number two might not count with most of them.

Enter The Venture. My CEO gave each one of us industrial types one as an early Christmas present. It took hardly any time at all to train into it. I flew it for an hour last night mining Arkonor in our wormhole.  Here are a few adjectives to describe the experience: fun, fast, hilarious, thought provoking. Okay, that's two words but it fits. Here's why.

There were two Ventures (mine and Tur's) and Spiral in a Mackinaw. When the sleepers arrived to defend their space, Tur stayed in his Venture while Spiral and I reshipped into Drakes. The sleepers couldn't hit the damn thing. With a 1MN AB  and low friction nozzles this frigate flies at 2700 m/s plus! With two Cap Recharger IIs, it is cap stable with the AB on. There are enough slots for a couple different fitting styles. You can go a traditional shield tank (but it's still rather paltry.) You can speed fit like I did. There is enough CPU for an Improved Cloaking Device II. It will take a scan probe launcher. Tur fit a smartbomb launcher to his and that was funny as hell to watch. I'm sure there are a few other things that could be done with it - like ECM modules. The point is, this is a versatile ship that can mine anything, including Mercoxit if my computer simulations are correct. Flying it is like flying a hot rod. It is fast, agile and the speed fit can go from standstill to warp in a couple seconds. Last night was the most fun I've ever had while chewing 'roids. The ship is awesome to fly. Oh, and it has a 5000 m3 Ore hold, and though I've not formally done the numbers, compares favorably to the Mackinaw in yield per minute. All together it's a win-win!

This is what it looks like to mine at more than 400 m/s. In the time it took the song to finish, I'd about half filled my hold with Arkonor. This little ship makes mining feel like the Daytona 500 - pun intended. Or, turn it into a Grand Prix if you like. Nothing says you have to orbit in a flat circle.


Fly careful.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Industrial Ship Rebalancing and Roles

Last week I stated moving the unscannable cargo hold from the Orca to Blockade Runners was a good decision and lauded CCP Greyscale for unapologetically breaking the news. However, not everyone celebrated. Jester, in his post Plastic wrap all the things!, had little good to say about the reason given by CCP Greyscale for the change. To be clear, Jester does not come right out and say it's a bad idea - directly. Still, the overwhelmingly negative vibe in that post draws the reader to such a conclusion like a gravity well draws mass.

So I did some more thinking on the subject. I admit my first post was an immediate reaction. I've thought about the Orca's role on many occasions. I've always felt the ship is too good at too many things. But I hadn't thought about it recently; not really since CCP took away the ability to use it as a deep-space mobile POS, aka a ninja salvager's wet dream. I needed to confirm to myself that I truly did feel CCP made a good decision.

They did. It is. This post will discuss why I think so.

The first thing I want to discuss is barrier to entry into the transportation game. There are two of them. The first is cost. When I bought my Keiko over a years ago, it cost me a half billion credits - modules and all. That is a lot of ISK. It took me a long time to afford to fly that ship. Today the cost is double. The hull alone costs 30% more than my total price 16 months ago. An Orca hull is now selling for over 700 mISK in Essence.
The Viator by comparison, though it saw about the same percentage price increase, recovered better and is far more affordable at around 130 mISK for the hull.
This not only reduces the buy-in cost of the transportation game, it also reduces the inevitable replacement cost of ship and cargo. Thought the math is simple, I'll spell it out anyway. A pilot can buy five (5) Viators for the price of an Orca.

As Jester pointed out, any well fit Tornado can catch and kill a Blockade Runner not perfectly flown (and maybe even then.) But that same Tornado poorly fitted can tackle an Orca. And, it makes no difference that it can't finish off the Orca before CONCORD arrives. As much as we'd like to think they do, gankers do not fly alone. The good ones will have as a minimum an alt in a Prowler with SEBOs to assist their Tornado. Whether you fly an Orca or a Viator, if they want to gank you they will. Nothing you can do will abrogate that fact. However, you can reduce the cost of the loss. With a smaller hold and a much lower price, the Blockade Runner does just that.

The second barrier to entering the transportation game is training. It takes over 50 days to train into an Orca from scratch, and that includes none of the necessary skills to fly it properly. It takes around 35 days to train into a Blockade runner. That 15 day difference may not seem like much, but to a new Eve Online player it can be the difference between making it and giving up. But really, who's going to train either of those two ships straight out of the gate except an alt? Nonetheless, it's a valid point.

But neither of these are the elephant in the room. For me the biggest issue is roles. An elephant should be an elephant; not an elephant, a rhino and a giraffe all in one.
Image by ManipUL8
This is what made me immediately approve of this change. I have always thought the Orca has an identity crisis. Is it an Industrial Command Ship meant to bring substantial bonuses to mining fleets? Is it a mini-freighter? Is it a mini-carrier? To date it has been all three of these things and all at the same time. With capabilities like that, who needs the transport class ships at all?

The Blockade Runner also had a role issue. In its case, it wasn't that the Blockade Runner was being used for roles outside it's intended niche. It wasn't capable of filling its niche. What good is a stealthy cargo ship that lets any noob with a scanner find out what's inside?  It makes common sense to this industrialist that the ship intended for stealthy hauling would keep it's contents secret. This makes far more sense than ORE designing a ship to keep asteroid dust and mining bits a secret.

CCP's balancing effort isn't only about combat ships. The industrial ships are out of whack too. Just as many players, including Jester, have pointed out. All ships should have a unique and beneficial role to play, industrial ships included. And what's really cool about industrials is they can be modified more on the fly than the combat ships. It makes plenty of more sense for CCP to make these changes one attribute at a time because they aren't affecting anyone's balance of power.

Easing these changes in over time gives industrialists time to alter their production processes. Unlike PvP, industry can take months to plan and execute. If you rely on the Orca to facilitate that production and CCP changes it all over night, your entire business could be endangered. With incremental change over time, you'll have a much easier time of adapting your processes and maintaining your margins.

Eventually, when CCP finishes all these changes, the Orca needs to be the queen of the mining fleet as it was meant to be. When ring mining comes, each fleet must have an Orca leading it to boost the survey scanner strength enough to find the residual Technetium left in that pile of rubble that was once a moon. This is what the Orca was designed by ORE to do. That is what it should do.

And while I'm on the matter of fitting the Orca to its proper role, why does it have that big fat cargo hold to begin with? I can see why it has a ship maintenance bay. That's to get more barges to the asteroid field or even a swarm of mining frigates. (Oh yeah!) I understand why it has a drone bay. The ore hold is self explanatory as well. But how many crystals does an Orca need to carry for its mining fleet? Surely not the 1260 it currently can. How many spare drones does it need to take? Can a fleet even loose 6300 Warrior IIs in a single fight unless it's the Orca that gets popped? Does it really need to haul around 1,260,000 rounds of Antimatter Charage L? Why can it haul more cargo than an Iteron V, a ship designed to haul cargo? I vote the next change for the Orca is to reduce the cargo hold like CCP did with the other mining barges. Maybe even give that space over to more ore capacity!

Considering all this, CCP Greyscale was absolutely correct. The Orca was never intended to do what it is routinely used to do. That is not the players fault. Players press every advantage, it's their nature. CCP should never have made the Orca such a strong all around ship to begin with. It has a specific purpose and it isn't to make the Jita run in 12 parsecs. But hindsight is 20/20 and I can't waggle my fingers at them now. After all, no one was screaming at them for doing it back then.

And lastly, the fact CCP Greyscale didn't take the time to point all this out has nothing to do with deception. There was no incompetence, idiocy or deliberate thump-nose-finger waggling. CCP was within a week of a major update to EVE Online. They ALL had better things to do than mollify bitter vets viewing events through the perfect lens of hindsight.

Fly Careful

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Goons up to their same old tired pranks.

If I said this is a complete surprise I'd be lying.




I'm tempted to fly out tonight just to see what happens. Maybe I'll run into more than the four (4) Goons I saw during our war. I wonder how many people will shoot at me just because I've a bounty on my head? I wonder what the bounty is on The Mittani's head? Don't worry, I didn't contribute. I have more sense than to waste my ISK.

Fly Careful

Monday, December 3, 2012

Operational Security Means...

New Eden is a very, very large place. There are 5000 known star systems and another 2500 known wormholes. Though there are tens of thousands of capsuleers flying their ships at any given time, the chances of running into a particular pilot on any given day is pretty small if you are not known to fly in the same region.

But I now live in a wormhole system. That means that I find myself flying in different regions every single day. If it isn't our low-sec static leading me there, it is any number of other connections doing it. Though I can't quote you the odds, I'd say a wormholer's chance of running into someone specific tends to trend higher than your average stay-at-home capsuleer.

So it was a couple days ago that I found myself with some extra time and decided to scan down for the corporation all the new signatures in the wormhole. Unlike the other's in HBHI, I actually enjoy scanning. I suppose it's the reiterative process of the whole thing. That appeals to my CDO oriented grey matter. What's CDO you ask? It's like OCD but the letters are alphabetical - AS THEY SHOULD BE.

So anyway, I scanned down our static and went through to find where it exited. It was a lovely hole, only one gate to high-sec and seven jumps from Dodixie. But that's not the first thing that caught my attention. As I switched to local, something I don't use a lot of these days, there was an eye catching red skull in the list - and it was someone I instantly recognized so I said hi.
For those who do not know him (and if you are reading this I'm certain you do so please forgive me,) Rixx is another blogger. He maintains Evoganda, one of the finest blogs out there. He is also a Tusker and a pirate of no small skill.
So, we had a short conversation in local.
21:53:15 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Lisbaetanne
[ 2012.11.30 21:53:33 ] Mabrick > Hi ya Rixx!
[ 2012.11.30 21:53:42 ] Rixx Javix > ello
[ 2012.11.30 21:53:59 ] Mabrick > Fancy meeting you here!
[ 2012.11.30 21:54:21 ] Rixx Javix > yeah i can get around
[ 2012.11.30 21:55:24 ] Mabrick > Ditto. Nice to see you though. *grin*
[ 2012.11.30 21:56:03 ] Rixx Javix > what r you doing here?
[ 2012.11.30 21:56:45 ] Rixx Javix > unless you cant say ofc
[ 2012.11.30 21:58:05 ] Mabrick > Can't really say. *wry smile* Can say I didn't expect to see you in local. New Eden is such a small place at times.
[ 2012.11.30 21:58:19 ] Rixx Javix > it can be
[ 2012.11.30 21:58:28 ] Rixx Javix > no worries im moving on shortly
[ 2012.11.30 21:58:36 ] Rixx Javix > in less than one minute lol
[ 2012.11.30 21:58:48 ] Mabrick > I'm sure you can read about it later too. Good luck!
[ 2012.11.30 21:59:04 ] Rixx Javix > yeah u2
[ 2012.11.30 21:59:08 ] Mabrick > thx
And that's when it struck me. I am such an IDIOT. I just told a highly skilled pirate, who has lots of highly skilled pirate friends, that I was in the system doing something I didn't want to discuss. Now, if he reads my blog at all, he has to know I've moved to a wormhole. If he had the time and inclination he could easily deduce what I was doing in Lisbaetanne in a Helios. Did I mention I was in a Helios? I just potentially made our excellent static connection a pirate's dream come true. I fully expected the find the K162 camped next time I came through doing that thing I couldn't talk about.
Fortunately it was not camped. Rixx must have had better things to do. That was very fortunate for us. This was a lengthy fleet operation. We made enough transits of our static that we left it critically destabilized. Rixx could have had a field day. I feel damn lucky. And I've a good reminder of an important lesson I learned a long time ago in a different life. Operational security means keep your mouth shut.

Fly Careful

Friday, November 30, 2012

Restribution

No, that's not a misspelling in the title. It's a play on words. Why? Well, because the up coming "expansion" is not really an expansion but it certainly does contain just about everything left what needs iterationalizing. That's not a real word either but it relays what I need it to. And after reading through that long, long list I want to say, good job CCP! You seem to have left very few stones unturned in this iteration of the iteration expansions. It seems the many stones you have turned have been carefully considered too. I see evidence of this when I read dev posts that say things like,
"Yup. The immunity of corp hangars (and other special bays) to scans and their inability to drop loot was a neat workaround, but it was also essentially unfinished functionality, rather than an intentional feature. We recognize the need for secure hauling in the current environment, hence the scan immunity on blockade runners, but feel that the way it's being provided currently is unintuitive and clunky, and that the "safe hauling" capacity on Orcas is unnecessarily large. Blockade runners should pick up the slack on high-value, low-volume items, while for higher-volume shipments, we're leaving it up to players to figure out how to handle the new situation."
The emphasis is mine. I love it when reasons for doing something are so plainly stated without a hint of remorse because it was a GOOD decision. And BTW, I used that no scan hold almost exclusively in high-sec to avoid gankers so this affects me greatly. Yet I still think it's a good decision. I agree with CCP Greyscale, this should have been the role of the Blockade Runner not the Industrial Command Ship. Kudos to CCP Greyscale and the team!

All that said, I hope this is the last iteration oriented update. Don't get me wrong, it was great when Crucible came along. Gods know how many things needed tweaked, fixed, and fiddled with because they just weren't working as intended. Unfortunately so much of that sort of thing had built up during the epoch of the killer-feature expansions one single iteration update was not enough. This is the third (!) but I think there is finally light at the end of this fix-it tunnel.

Some areas still need some developer love to be sure. Sovereignty is possibly one of them as several other bloggers have pointed out. But null-sec is what it is. Sovereignty grinding is what it is. Is it boring? Yes, it is. Is it necessary? Yes, it is. As Stabs said in his latest post, "structure grinding is about where it should be so people don't lose their hard-won space too quickly or too trivially." Changing it to become easier because it better suits certain people's disposition is no reason to make a change - especially if it adversely affects another. Can you imagine what it would be like if citizens could change Constitutions the way some EVE players want major game mechanics changed?

No, CCP needs to take a very cautions approach to how they change something like sovereignty mechanics.  They tried it once before and arguably caused more issues than they resolved from what I've read. But since I'm not an expert on the subject, I'll stop here. CCP just needs to proceed very cautiously is all I put forward.

And, while they are pondering their next iteration and proceeding very cautiously, they can put all those devs to work on something new! After the last 18 months of iterations and fixes, I find myself jonesing for some newness in EVE. It's not that I'm bored with the old stuff. There is much of it I haven't even tried yet. But I'm tired of the status quo. I want something on the lines of Apocrypha, which ushered in worm holes and an entirely new way to live and die in New Eden. There have been some ideas bandied about in blogging circles already.

TurAmarth over on A Carbon Based Life has blogged a lot recently about walking in stations and what that could mean to EVE Online. I too would love to see a first person shooter expansion to EVE Online. If variety is the spice of life, our current set of spices in EVE Online are all herbs (if you don't see the analogy it means all our game play options revolve around some type of ship based activity - PI is the only exception.) I'd like to see some other types of spices added to the recipe!

Today on Stabbed Up, Stabs outlined an idea for an expansion with a null-sec theme. I like this idea too. I'd just ask CCP to place the gateways very carefully. I recommended faction warfare systems in Stabs comments. I also recommend a power requirement that has to come from a planet based power station so that DUST 514 players have to be involved to make it work. Both these are to prevent any current large alliance from taking over the gate system and becoming EVE's highwaymen.

I know there have been others. I invite any blogger reading this to post a link to their idea in the comments and tell us a little bit about it. If you are not a blogger but have an idea, leave that in the comments as well. I'm curious to know what players might like to see in an Apocrypha type expansion. What new worm hole level feature would you like to see come to EVE Online?

Fly Careful

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last Night was Relaxing

Last night we relaxed - well, as much as you can relax in a wormhole. We did a little of this.
While Spiral and I worked on the Arkonor 'roid, Tur kept a lookout and spammed d-scan. It's always a risk, but it has to be done because... well it just has to be done. Why do other pilots take out Rifters hoping for the 1v1 GF? Chances are they will be thrashed at a gate camp but they do it anyways. It's no different for miners. At least we can realize a little profit from our venture.

Anyway, I was a little late to the party and only got in three runs. Oddly enough, I hadn't actually refined ore at our POS so wanted to see what my rates would look like. Tur put the Medium Intensive Refining Array online and I loaded some Arkonor into it and hit frappe.

It processed 1400 units of Arkonor in 90 minutes with no direct indication of yield or feedback of any sort. It is completely different than high-sec stations that's for certain. It's a good thing most industrialists don't suffer from immediate gratification issues. I returned after the 90 minute refining period and found this waiting for me.
A 200 unit batch of Arkonor, if perfectly refined, yields 333 Megacyte, 166 Zydrine and 300 Tritanium. Extrapolating for a 1400 unit batch would yield 2331 Megacyte, 1162 Zydrine and 2100 Tritanium - perfectly refined. Yeah, 75% efficiency sucks, but it's better than hauling it out to refine just to haul it back in to make shit with. You might as well hang a gank me sign on your bow if your going to do that.

Fly Careful

(NOTE: Due to RL 12 hour days for the next two weeks posts will be lighter and more sporadic.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Requested: C3 PvE Ship Advise

Last night was a good night. The entire corporation was online. We cleaned hole - which is like cleaning house but sometimes more dangerous. We fleeted up and took out the four standard anomalies and the two radar sites that had popped up since the last cleaning.

The anomalies were business as usual. Our fleet was (mostly) active armor fit consisting of two standard battleships, a Navy Issue battleship and two Marauders. We sliced through the sleepers in The Oruze Construct site, the Solar Cell and the two Fortification Frontier Strongholds in short order. Then we turned our attention to the two radar sites.

The first radar site we ran is (arguably) the most dangerous C3 site. The Unsecured Frontier Database has a first and last wave that includes scramming frigates. They are true SOBs and the DPS of the other ships is formidable. My current Megathron does okay though it can't tank all the DPS for long and with a targeting range of only 96 kilometers has a little trouble with standoff. Our fleet commander, Strigon, did an excellent job keeping us at range through the first three waves but he had to advance to draw aggro putting him 30 kilometers closer in. That may not seem like much, but it can be a galaxy away when you pull full aggro and are scrammed to boot. Battleships are so sloooooooooow.

I'd like to extend my standoff and take full advantage of the Spike advanced ammo I always carry. However, I am not going to do that with a standard Megathron. I'd have to sacrifice either tank or give up being cap stable to do so and neither option fits our fleet doctrine. And before you go pointing out to me there are other fleet doctrines, like RR T3 cruisers, I have to say that's not my call. You are welcome to tell me all about it (because one day I may have my own fleet doctrine *wink*) but right now my ship needs to be cap stable and armor tanked.

So, to that end I need to make a decision. What ship will do what I want and also comply with fleet doctrine? I have, of course, gone to EveHQ Fitter and come up with a couple of choices that would work. Here's what I'm currently looking at (ignore utility highs as I swap them depending on mission:)
[Megathron Navy Issue]
7x 425mm Railgun II (Spike L)
Core Probe Launcher II (Sisters Core Scanner Probe) 
3x Cap Recharger II
Sensor Booster II (Targeting Range Script) 
Damage Control II
Large Armor Repairer II
3x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Explosive Membrane II
2x Capacitor Power Relay II 
2x Large Nanobot Accelerator I
Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I 
[Statistics - Mabrick]
Effective HP: 109,195 (Eve: 100,667)
Tank Ability: 426.28 DPS
Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists - EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 47.50%, Th: 30.00%
Armor Resists - EM: 77.94%, Ex: 73.21%, Ki: 71.32%, Th: 71.32%
Capacitor (Stable at 32.46%)
Volley Damage: 1,536.80
DPS: 223.27
This ship is basically my current Sleeper PvE fit with a Cap Recharger II traded for a range boosting SEBO and the extra low slot of the Navy version used for a Cap Power Relay II to keep it cap stable (and neut resistant.) The DPS and active tank are the same as my current Megathron but the Navy version comes with 30% more EHP. That keeps it well within fleet doctrine. The range scripted SEBO lets me target out to a very, very nice 145 kilometers. That's nearly at optimal range for Spike! *LOL*
[Kronos] 
4x 425mm Railgun II (Spike L)
Core Probe Launcher II (Sisters Core Scanner Probe)
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II 
4x Cap Recharger II 
Damage Control II
2x Large Armor Repairer II
Energized Explosive Membrane II
2x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Capacitor Power Relay II 
2x Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I 
[Statistics - Mabrick]
Effective HP: 80,396 (Eve: 73,127)
Tank Ability: 887.67 DPS
Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists - EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 60.63%, Th: 38.75%
Armor Resists - EM: 74.44%, Ex: 71.26%, Ki: 75.08%, Th: 70.92%
Capacitor (Stable at 24.44%)
Volley Damage: 1,756.34
DPS: 255.16
This ship does not quite reach out as far as the Navy Issue fit above, but 108 kilometers is still a considerable increase over my current targeting range. This ship also has an EHP only slightly better than the standard Megathron but it has TWICE the active tank and does more DPS - and it's still neut resistant too. There is also the option of dropping the second large repper and doing the same SEBO Cap Power Relay fit as above. That gets me the range (174 km!) but strays a bit from the Krono's strengths. I've read you should always fit to a ship's strength in several places so believe it. If I was willing to drop a EANM II for the second large repper II it might be a good compromise, but I don't have the necessary PvE experience to say anything definitive about it. Part of our fleet doctrine is 70% or better resists but I'd fudge on that a bit for the range. *grin* It's considerably more expensive than the Navy Issue but this ship can solo smaller sites should I elect to accept the risk inherent in a WH with that decision.

What do you think? Which way would you go? Does the "compromise" Kronos fit make sense? Do you have a fit you think is better? Don't restrict yourself to Gallente ships either. I can fly all race's battleships (except Minmatar but I will correct that by the end of next weekend) so feel free to post any PvE battleship fit you've got in your archives. I really would like to see them for educational purposes if none other. Thanks!

Fly Careful

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankfulness

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. It is a day when we reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. No one ever said our Pilgrim forefathers were an overly creative lot. As Rixx has already done, I am dedicating this post to those things within EVE Online for which I am thankful. Without further adieu here it is.

Hiigaran Bounty Hunters Inc. [HBHI]

I started EVE Online as a lone-wolf miner. Then I became a lone-wolf industrialist. That's just the way I am. It is, however, not the only way I am. Like most humans, I have a wider range of social personas that I can apply as I like. However, independence and self-sufficiency are still high on my list at all times. HBHI has given me the opportunity to not only fly with a great group of capsuleers, but they have allowed me to keep my independence as well. Most nights I log on and am the busy lone-wolf industrialist. Then there are those other nights when we fleet up and head out to take care of other business. It seems I have my cake and can eat it too. It doesn't get any better than that.

Anyone who has ever left a comment on this blog.

Though I am thankful people actually read this blog, it is primarily and always for my own enjoyment. And one of the things I very much enjoy is reading comments. I may not respond to all of them, but I do read all of them. Most give me interesting points of view to think about. Points of view that are typically alien to my independent carebear psyche. It broadens me as a player and a person to read differing points of view or even similar points if view with a different raison d'etre. I am not the same person I was when I started and that is both unusual for a game to cause and somewhat surprising in hindsight: way cool.

Goonswarm

In any space opera, there must be a protagonist and an antagonist or the story doesn't work. In other words, there is no Star Wars without Darth Vadar. Perhaps the best thing that happened to me this year was Goonswarm's war declaration. Most of what's happened since then resulted from their disagreements to what I wrote about the Mittani. At the time, I was not terribly pleased with the action. Hindsight has shown it to be a watershed event. It opened up possibilities for Mabrick that he never saw coming (see above and others.) I have to be thankful for that as disconcerted as I am at the thought.

The EVE Blogging Community

What a great group of authors, journalists and commentators; I am thankful to every one of you for equal parts inspiration, competition and support. Keep up the excellent work!

My Sweetheart (last but certainly NOT least)

She has not owned a television for 20+ years nor does she watch mine. She does not play computer games. She has a laptop because it's the best word processor and gives her access to her beloved web comics but it's not for gaming. She'd rather play scrabble or wallop me in a game of Hand and Foot. Yet  every night she watches as I retreat to my man cave to spend hours online that I could spend with her quietly reading. There are times I know she resents this and occasionally she will even tell me so. But she would rather me do all the things I enjoy and be happy than not. There is not enough gratitude in the world to express how awesome that is.

There are other people and things for which I am thankful, in fact this could be a very long post - but who really wants that? Five is certainly enough with which to take up your day. As a last request though, think about what you are thankful for having when it comes to EVE Online. Make a comment about it if you like. I'll be certain to read it.

And finally, I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Mabrick - Fly Careful

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Secret of my "Success" - for new players to consider.

According to EVE HQ, I have actively played EVE Online for 95 days, 22 hours and 27 minutes total. That averages out to just over 1.18 hours a session. It really isn't all that much, but I've have logged on a total of 1950 times to date. There have been 1702 days since I first interfaced with a ship. I have played practically every day since I joined up - especially my first year.

What's more, I am not one of those types who log into EVE and watches a movie or a football game at the same time. When I play, I am playing. That is what I have chosen to do with that hour or so. I try and get the most out of it.

I'll also add that I played for 365 days before I lost my first ship (a Hulk, my first Hulk in fact.) to PvP. Actually, I lost it due to stupidity, complacency and greed but I've already blogged about that so I'll skip it. You can read about the incident here if you like. The reason I mention it again is I think that's a long time for a noob to go without running afoul of other players.

I don't mention all this "just because." There is a reason why I went so long, logging in every day, without getting into trouble. Here are the key behaviors that allowed me to learn EVE Online without getting turned off by the utter harshness it can deal out.
  1. Mind your own damn business! - This is number one for a good reason. If you mind your own business, you will avoid the majority of noob-killing scams out there. By minding your own business, they can't lure you in.
  2. T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. - Thank you Robert Heinlein. If you don't know this stands for "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" you've lead a sheltered life. Take this acronym to heart. There is no free ammo in a can. There is no "leaving Eve and giving away all my ISK" philanthropist.
  3. Paranoia will not destroy you but griefers will. - Be paranoid the entire time you are in space. Constantly evaluate what the other players around you are doing. If a war ship shows up in your belt and does not immediately start mining (something of the past there I think, may not happen today) then they are up to no good. If they approach, dock up. You are always better safe than sorry.
  4. Don't give them what they want. - Stay away from those that are acting out. If you are bumped, ignore it. They can't hurt you just bumping you. They want a reaction. The only reaction you should give them is to move to another belt if necessary. If they follow you, move again. If they follow you a third time, petition against them for harassment if you like but say nothing. Do not egg them on by mouthing off  because that is what they want.
  5. Don't talk trash. - Humility is a shield booster. They may not need a reason to shoot you, but you shouldn't give them one either. Be smart, keep your opinions and retorts to yourself.
  6. Stay in an NPC corporation. - the taxes are not nearly as high as replacing your best mining barge. Put up with the taxes. Avoid war declarations at all costs. 
  7. Don't sell your last barge. - Avoid the temptation to fund your new barge with the sell price of your last barge. Keep your last barge as a backup and don't strip it. When I lost my Hulk, I still had my Covetor fully fitted and waiting. How much worse would it have been to not only lose my best ship, but then to have to buy a new one and all its fittings to replace it? You should always have at least one backup ship.
  8. Stay in high-sec. - At least until you know what you want to do and can take care of yourself. 
This is how I stayed safe. This is how I managed to go a year before losing a ship. To date, that is my most expensive ship loss. Minimizing that type of revenue drain is key to being a successful industrialists. You'll take enough risk on the market, don't take those you don't need to.

That all said, this is oriented toward a lone-wolf miner play style. You may not want to be a lone-wolf miner. I can't really help you with that unfortunately. You only get to be a noob once and I spent my time chewing on 'roids and avoiding trouble.

However, there is something I can do. If you are reading this blog and are over a year old, consider using the comments below to list the things that helped you most during your first year. I'll do a simple compilation and put a perma-link on Mabrick's Mumblings to it. Maybe we can help future noobs that way. Deal?

Fly Careful



Friday, November 16, 2012

You must save the thing you love one noob at a time.

Rick C, who has commented here before, left this comment on my last blog post and I'd like to discuss it a bit.
"Been following the last few posts with interest. As I've commented before, I'm a newer player with a year under my belt now......and I find myself bored. The real life friends who got me into the game have gone down the bitter vet path, and I've been off playing other games since most of my corp is AFK. 
In a year's time I have: 
-Spent a month learning the game alone.
-Started playing with friends in their low sec corp. Found I was too new to be of help, and of course was told to get a Drake to be of use.
-Left the low sec PVP corp and learned the meta game with a few RL friends.
-Rejoined a low sec corp to help with Indy and POS maintenance.
-Spent hours orbiting gates waiting for that 30 second excitement that rarely came.
-Was at war for a few months and always told to remain docked up if my corpmates (different time zone) weren't on. So I was docked up.
-Went off and made my own Indy corp after experiencing the extreme boredom of war with a mostly EU timezone corp.
-Put up both hi sec and low sec POS's that I still maintain with my corp mates.

At this point with real life, new job, etc I just don't find the time to put in any longer. I log in a few times a week, deal with PI, occasionally deal with our low sec Cobalt moon POS, then log off.  
Recently some former allies needed a hand as they had been war dec'd and needed to rep their POS. So, I came to help guard their fleet, and found myself sitting idle for nearly an hour. Yup, bored. 
I don't know if I'll continue with Eve, but it's interesting to read that there seems to be a drop off in interest beyond myself."
If I had a million ISK for every time I've read or heard this story I'd be Greedy Goblin rich. His bullet points encompass much of what is wrong with EVE Online from the new player perspective. From the learning cliff indicated in the first bullet to the admonition that he should stay docked up because they were at war, I feel that Rick has gotten a rough deal every step of the way.

Is this CCP's fault? Do they have to fix this? It's easy to say "it is" and "they must." The truth is, it isn't entirely their fault. Much of the blame rests on Rick's friends who brought him into the game. To be brutally honest, they're not great friends in my book. They hung him out to dry.

We all know what CCP can do to help this issue. We've asked them, and they've tried, to lower the learning curve for new players. We've asked them time and again for PvE content that is engaging and fun for single players. To be honest though, I can't tell CCP what meets that need. I'm not sure it's even possible with the way EVE Online is.

That leaves it squarely in our lap to resolve. This is something I believe CCP has come to realize as well. The structure of EVE is such that it really does take a village. We've striven to "make EVE real" but we failed to understand real life communities lavish special attention on their children. We teach them how to function in the community. That is the role of the grown ups and it is something we as veteran EVE players fail to do time after time.

I have this to say to every bitter vet out there. If you want EVE to be real you must make it real in every sense of the word. If you want EVE to succeed, you must make it succeed. In a real community, we punish those who prey on children; not celebrate them. In a real community, we safeguard our young and teach them what they need to know to be contributing members of the community. They are our future and noobs in EVE Online are no different in that respect.

There are many in EVE who strive to do exactly this. We should all be more like them if we really want EVE to last another decade. CCP alone cannot do this. Not with the behemoth they've created. Not with the gritty, harsh, and unforgiving virtual reality we've asked them to give us.

To Rick and every other new player out there looking for a place to play EVE without being bored or shafted, I recommend you look into EVE University. If they are not your play style, you can look here for other organizations.

If anyone reading this is new to EVE and has a question, feel free to contact me and I'll help as I can. In fact, I think most members of the EVE blogging community would. Just ask us. We are a resource and you should use our combined knowledge of the game to assist you. If you run across someone who is new, point them in my direction. I don't mind. Just don't let them hang.

Almost a year ago I accused vets of killing the thing they love one noob at a time. There is a corollary to that premise. The rest of us must save the thing we love one noob at a time. It is a responsibility we've shirked long enough don't you think?

Fly Careful