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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hi-sec warfare becoming a ganker's paradise?

I just read CCP SoniClover's dev blog on the planned changes to hi-sec war declarations for Inferno. There is much that is good for the meta game in these changes.
  • Unlimited war for a price
  • No war avoidance
  • No avoiding the cost of war
  • Mercenary contracts
  • War reports (the kill mail just looks awesome)
Then there are the parts that worry me. For instance, I'm a lone sheep industrialist. I'll never get filthy rich this way, but I also do not have to rely on anyone else. I have thin margins, but there is no interpersonal drama. I don't have to be pleasant all the time. I don't have to listen to whining. I can sit around in my underwear if I like without garnering an HR complaint. That fits my introverted personality just fine. I deal with people all day long. Why the hell would I want to do it for "fun?"

Unfortunately CCP doesn't seem to see it that way. Single player corporations like Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing [MABMM] may not survive the Inferno. The cost of declaring war against us will be inconsequential now that we can no longer avoid the war. The lulz from watching us burn in space will be worth it to the average ganker corp. Hell, Poetic Discourse was just saying that griefing EvE University would be worth a few hundred miskies (million ISK) and might have been worth 3 biskies had the mechanics worked out. What'll the new mechanic do to a lone sheep corp? Once warred upon, we either:
  • pay up - hand our profits over to the griefers so why bother to be an industrialist
  • put up - watch our profits evaporate as our investments explode around us so ditto
  • hide out - so much for playing EvE and ditto again
  • get out - go back to an NPC corp
Even if I decide to get out, I have to do it BEFORE someone war-decs MABMM. I might not be able to change corps while in a war. See the question about corp hopping if you don't think they're thinking about it. That leaves me open to the worst sort of ransom - the one I can't avoid. The very mechanics of this change would leave me vulnerable to a never ending war-dec. The dev blog even says so:
Q: How long will wars last?
A: As long as the aggressor pays every week and no one surrenders (or no surrender offer is accepted), then a war can last forever.
I guarantee the price of surrender will offset the cost incurred by the aggressor and continue to rise as time goes on. There is no reason for the aggressor to call an end to it. They will get their ISK back or reap all the tears in the universe forever - or at least a very long time. And if I do pay, that sets an extremely dangerous precedent doesn't it? After the enforced peace period the griefers might be right back for some more easy ISK. Now there's a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't situation.

So let's say I capitulate. I give up on MABMM and go back to the Center for Advanced Studies. How does that fit in with the rest of CCP's "vision." Well, here are two parts of that "vision" and how they change in this scenario. One is new (discussed at the recently concluded Fanfest) and one is as old as EvE itself.
Vision: all players can own a POS.
Reality: not if they're a lone sheep forced into an NPC corp (please correct me if I am wrong.)
Vision: EvE is a sandbox.
Reality: you can't partake in the sandbox alone so it really isn't a sandbox.
That last makes this scenarios about as un-EvE as anything can get. PvPers are so worried about losing the Everyone-versus-Everyone fantasy that they'll gladly sacrifice the sandbox? That would be a sad day indeed.

Now, this blog post is certainly a worst case scenario. And I am also certain Team Super Friends is smart enough not to eliminate the sandbox for even one EvE subscriber. Unfortunately, by closing the door on some of the people who currently game the war-dec system, they are opening the door for others. The situation will change with Inferno, but it will get no better for me and may even get a lot worse for lone sheep industrialists.

Fly careful.

Monday, March 26, 2012

All in a day's work.

Business had been busy lately. I'd needed to make a Jita run for several weeks but just hadn't had the time. It seemed every time I had the time, something came up that needed my direct attention and the run got put off again. Saturday I swore I'd get there regardless of interruptions, distractions or plain old tom-foolery.

But first, I decided to take a spin around the home system and see what was up. I jumped into Space Ghost II and soon had scanner probes blanketing the system.
There were only two results that really interested me. One was the WH. I always find them interesting. The other was the radar anomaly: a Serpentis Minor Shipyard. Not only do radar sites often have decent loot, this one required me to go all the way to 0.25 AU with my probes. That is very unusual. I activated warp and visited the radar site first. Fireworks greeted me.
No, it wasn't rats. Another capsuleer was already clearing the site. If I'd just been a few minutes sooner... I had to know who my competition was. The overview gave me my answer.
You use a Loki for 0.8 sec radar anomalies Caterpil? Really? REALLLLLY? I'd have run it with Space Ghost II and my single drone. Why the hell do you need a Loki? Talk about swatting flies with cannonballs. At least I still had a WH to check out. I reactivated my warp drive and made my way to it.
My database showed this particular type of wormhole leads to a class 3 system. It was probably occupied. I figured I'd check it out anyway. I jumped through to the other side.
The system on the other side was a regular star system and didn't play havoc with my ship's systems. It was less than 20 AU across and my directional scanner could reach even the most distant planet. D-scan quickly confirmed my guess as to occupancy. Care to guess where the POS was? Actually, there were two: one at the fourth planet and one at the fifth. There were also several ships in system. I wanted to know if they were piloted or not. D-scan soon told me all the ships in system were at the outermost POS. Making sure they were unoccupied was my next goal. I warped to the first moon of two. I was not in a direct line of flight between any known bodies within the system. That would hopefully keep me out of warp bubbles. I also landed a good distance away. Some of the ship types I'd noticed could have considerable range. If I hit a bubble and decloaked, I'd be toast. I was glad I did but not because of bubbles or trouble. The view was awesome!
Now isn't that a site to bring tears to your eyes? I mean, think of all the ISK to be made selling them fuel and ammo! I watched long enough to know that none of the ships were manned. It looked like I'd come in during their sleep cycle. 

I didn't know if there were any cloakies about though. Before I popped probes I wanted to see if there was anything worth scanning down. A few seconds later I had my answer: nothing. The system was very well maintained. Whoever lived here probably groomed it daily for the loot. I figured there was no sense popping probes when there was no safe place to do it from and probably no anomalies to make the risk worth it. I still had a Jita run to make so I headed home. 

After I reshipped, I began the journey to Jita. On the way there, as often happens, I approached a gate sporting a Concord tiara. You know the type I mean - the ones that result from someone committing a criminal act and being "not tolerated" into radioactive dust?
Anyway, it didn't concern me and I continued on my way. Not much later I was leaving Jita: my business complete and a cool 50 million ISK richer for the journey.
Getting out of Jita is always interesting isn't it? I made my way home and docked up for the night. Later that evening, I read about this incident from Kane Rizzel. I went through that exact gate 9 minutes and 3 seconds before Keira.
[ 2012.03.24 22:29:01 ] (None) Jumping to Stargate (Hatakani) in Kassigainen solar system
I have to agree with Kane. Always fit a tank. Life in New Eden is dangerous and fate is a fickle bitch.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I hope to hear from Fanfest 2012.

There's a shiny new Quafe Ultra edition Iteron 4 parked in my hanger. He's all red and gold; sleek and dark. When the hanger lights glint off him in just that way, I shiver. He's beautiful. I certainly won't fly him considering what a ganker magnet they've become, but I do love spinning him.

I hope it's the start of more beautiful things to come. I'll likely watch the keynote addresses, but I bought the live stream for the ship. I bought it for the way the gold highlights the shimmering redness of it. I wanted the ship and it was easy to get. It cost less than a couple lunches at the brewery down the street from work. I can take a PBJ to work for two days.

That's what I hope to see come out of Fanfest this year. No, not the PBJ - ship skins! I don't want no stinkin' clothes. That was a ridiculous pipe dream to pull in the other 50% of the population. Clothes alone won't do that but that's another post. I don't want golden bullets either. I want customized ship skins that'll make me weep for the beauty of them. I want my own logo instead of the Gallente Federation's. I work for myself. I want the universe to know it. Not with the heat of my guns, but with the wealth in my pocket and the means to show it off.

We already know Dust 514 will be F2P. CCP is obviously going to use the model I wrote about here. That includes micro-transactions. And they aren't just for DUST 514. The HD live feed is a micro-transaction. How many of us paid for it? How many of us would do it again because it's cheaper than a plane ticket to Iceland? How many of us would pay a similar amount of money for a customized ship skin?

Actually, for a skin that dies with the ship I'd probably not pay so much. However, I'd forego an Americano with room for such a skin. I could do that a lot actually - every day of the week practically. And as many have said, CCP (and us too since we play their game) would benefit greatly from the revenue stream. So I am hopeful. The technology is falling into place. All CCP needs to do is commit. I'm hoping they will at this year's Fanfest. How about if CCP?

The ship is so beautiful...
Fly careful.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So, you think the EvE UI is too complicated...

In almost 4 years of being a capsuleer I can't even begin to recollect how many times I've heard other capsuleers complain about their ship's interface system. Many go on for far longer than I wish they would about the inadequacies of the UI. They lament everything about it from local channels to the market display to the overview window. "It's way to complicated to effectively pilot a ship in combat," they claim.

Let's see about that. Here is my tactical display setup.
Granted, I have a double monitor setup giving my a very nice width that I most certainly take full advantage of. However, it breaks into two groups practically down the middle. Information is on the right and visuals are on the left. I'll also grant that it gets a whole lot busier when the engagement has a few hundred (or thousand) combatants and drones. Buy that's what filters are for. If you look, I have five filters arrayed as tabs. It lets me quickly focus on the most dangerous threats whether they be wormholers or 'roids.

Now let's contrast this with some other UI's that are available in this world.

F-14 front...
... AND back (it takes two!)

F-15 Eagle
F-16 Falcon
F-18 Hornet
F-22 Raptor
X-29 Experimental
And the coup-de-grace and interestingly enough my personal favorite:
The Chinese Chengdu J-20!
These all look far more complicated than my EvE UI and I haven't even shown the MiGs! I'd say that flying an airplane requires a lot of information right at the pilot's fingers. After all, if it were easy, anyone could do  it. We all know that isn't so.

So why do capsuleers think they should have it any easier? Whenever I hear one complaining about the overview, I'd like to hit their eject button and send them right out the top of the canopy. Let's get one thing straight: there's nothing so intense and demanding in human experience as the three dimensional aerial dual. No amount of nip and tuck of the UI will change that. If you can't master the fire you will surely die in it. That's life and death in the air - and in space. Get used to it or move on.

Fly careful.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Incredibly beautiful glass cannons.

The lines are oh so sleek and the Tornado is a "better" choice. It's a glass cannon for sure. But it's an incredibly beautiful glass cannon. Oh, and it can reach out and tap you - hard - at 200K plus.

And in case you're curious about that 200k range...
[Talos, SGT York]
8x 425mm Railgun II
10MN MicroWarpdrive II
2x Sensor Booster II
Tracking Computer II
Tracking Enhancer II
2x Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Damage Control II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Algid Hybrid Administrations Unit I
Medium Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
Medium Ionic Field Projector I
Of course, you'll have to figure out the correct ammo and scripts to load. I can't give away all my secrets now can I?

Fly careful.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's the (not so) little things making me smile.

On March thirteenth we get the next installment in the "fix EvE" campaign. What got my attention most was this blog by CCP karkur. In it he made this statement,
"A number of you wanted to be able to drag a blueprint over to the Quickbar and get a folder with all the materials needed for that blueprint. 
When I started implementing this, I felt the ability to drag inventory items to the Quickbar was sorely missing, so I added that first. Then I found that there was a small problem with non-market items, as they were not allowed in the Quickbar. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to bookmark such items to do "Show info" on them later, or search for them in contracts? Well, now you can add them like any other items, by dragging them over to the Quickbar or by using the right click menu. They will be greyed out so there should be no confusion why you cannot load the market details for them."
ZOMG, will that make life easier or what! So often we get so wrapped up in the meta-game, and the big picture, we completely forget the best things are the little things - even if they aren't so little. These improvements are huge to an Industrialist's play style. Thank you CCP karkur and the entire Team Avatar for your efforts. Bravo!

Still, I'd like to add one more wish to this list. It'd be a really cool thing if not only could we drag inventory items to the Quickbar, but we could have a Buy All feature. This change will make it easier to see all the components needed for a BPO, but we still have to locate and buy items individually. Sometimes I don't care where an item is or even how much it'll cost so long as it's the lowest cost I can get. Then there are the times I'm in Jita or Dodixie. I already know the prices are good. I just want to make the purchases and get on with business.

This Buy All feature should have a couple of presets. One preset would be a filter for distance. It would work the same as the Buy order setup. A second filter would set system security prerequisites. This would be a min security and max security setting. It would allow Carebears to only buy in hi-sec and those that are sec status challenged to stay out of systems where Concord might take offense.

So how about it Team Avatar? Do you think a Buy All feature is possible?

Fly careful.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Goons did screw up - if not for all the reasons I gave.

Back in October, I said the Goons Screwed Up on their Ice interdiction. This is not something I've forgotten to follow up on. As an industrialist whose fortunes are tied directly to the markets, I have a vested interest in such power plays. I've had my ear to the ground concerning this and my efforts seem to have brought a sort of confirmation. This report comes from a safely anonymous source because I don't want to threaten his current position. I  trust him, and always will trust him, with my life - literally. He's an honorable man, a vet and a brother. I share bonds with him that transcend blood.

But I know that means little to you, the skeptical reader. Just so you know that he knows what he's talking about, here is what he told me yesterday (emphasis mine) about the recent BDEAL story.
"About 6 weeks ago, <redacted> leadership came to us and said that BDEAL was about to crater and fall apart, and that it appeared that TEST was unhappy with them. The decision was made to leave BDEAL and Fountain."
He's in it up to his gun turrets. He knows what's going on. In his own words, "yes, we are Goonswarm pets, sadly." So, without further adieu, here is what he told me about the Ice interdiction.
"...the interdiction cost them a lot, and they were [sic] evaluating it. Even though they had null-sec ice (and Deklein where they live has Amazing sec status systems (-.75, -.80, -.92) – ours in <redacted> and <redacted> pale by comparison (-.25, -.03, -.07)), they still paid bounties, and they were apparently affected by the higher prices too."
He went on to say,
"...they postponed and are debating whether to ever do another ice interdiction until they evaluate the impact it had on the alliance and how much it cost. Seems it hurt them too. They are also apparently waiting on the price of oxy isotopes to drop below $1000."
Since isotope prices are already below 1000 ISK, I have to put more weight on "the impact it had on the alliance" portion of his statement. This has evidently caused a fair amount of disagreement within the Goons. In fact, it may be the key reason Hulkageddon has been in a state of information blackout. Could it be the Goons are tired of the cost and the bad reputation it's bringing them? Okay, they probably only regret the cost. I can understand that. I'm an industrialist.

But the fact remains, the Goons did screw up. Now it only remains to be seen if they screw up again.

Fly carefully.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quantum Entanglement Plays On

The mission seemed simple enough. Drop of the band Quantum Entanglement with their manager. What could be more simple than that? Other than hormone driven groupies, there was nothing to worry about. That is at least what the agent told me. I didn't think she was completely on the up and up when she recommended I use a well tanked combat ship.

I picked up the band in Prinz Eugen and took them to the prearranged drop off. The choice of words the manager used when he took them on board seemed to confirm my suspicions. These groupies would be packing.
The next thing I know the manager's went through the nearby acceleration gate and a small pirate fleet lands. There was also a heavy missile battery that appeared out of nowhere - a neat trick. It immediately started to work its way into my buffer so I took it out first.
In short order the missile battery was a bunch of free floating spare parts. That left only the three battleships and three frigates. The frigates didn't web me so I ignored them. They weren't doing any appreciable damage and I could always launch my flight of Warrior drones on them. The drones would make quick work of the frigates.
So I slugged it out with the Admirals. Soon it was one on one and I was blowing his armor off in large chunks. He wasn't long for this universe. One he was out of the way, I turned my attention to the frigates. They were just hovering out there shooting ineffectually at me like the idiots I thought they were. The three of them couldn't ass their transverse velocity together to be safe. I sent them on to the next life with two shots apiece. I decided to hold the Warriors in reserve in case I ran into some smarter frigate pilots who knew what a webifier was used for. I also had started to suspect that the manager taking off at the exact moment the pirates warped in was less a coincidence than a plan. When I went through the gate after the manager, I found out I was right.
The fact that they knew when I was coming through verified the manager was not on the up and up. I was certain he had no good intentions for the band. I'd have to free the band in order to complete my mission and collect payment. All that stood between me and that goal was the small fleet of pirates and about 50 kilometers to the acceleration gate. Taking no chances, I sent my Warriors after the frigates and engaged the nearest heavy.
Each pirate battleship took about two thirds of a full rack of missiles to pop. I wasn't certain if reinforcements would arrive but I had thousands of missiles in the magazines and time enough to use them all if necessary. I'd yet to hear the low shields alarm yet during the battle. I could tank these guys all day long.
And while my shields shook off the damage they were spitting, my salvos ripped them to shreds one by one. Even at near point blank range they couldn't handle Prinz Eugen. He's a death dealing machine is all I can say.
Prinz Eugen: the #1 distributor of pirate battleship parts in New Eden
Then the reinforcements landed: more Megathrons and a half dozen cruisers.
For the first time since the fight for Quantum Entanglement began, I heard the low shields alarm. The cruisers were tipping the balance out of my favor. With their higher rate of fire, they were slowly chewing through my buffer. Fortunately I had more DPS to throw at them. I'd recalled my Warrior drones when the last frigate popped. Now I unleashed them on the cruisers. They were too fast for the cruisers to hit and steadily chewed through their armor about as fast as I chewed through the battleships'. To help the drones out, after I took out the nearest Megathron, I iced two of the cruisers in quick succession before turning back to the big boys. Their fleet was no longer doing more DPS than my shields could absorb. I'd tipped the battle back my way. Soon after, I made it to the acceleration gate and continued my pursuit of the band's dead beat manager.
Upon deceleration, the only ship in scan was the manager. His pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears. Still, I checked out his ship. Surprises are unwelcome manifestations of sloppiness.
 I'd never seen an Independent Veteran Dominix before. But it was only one battleship. It was a decent enough fight. For a member of the music industry, he handled the battleship almost adequately though the outcome was never in question. My last salvo pretty much summed up the entire fight.
The band was very grateful. Evidently the manager had gotten some really bad drugs. They'd been laced with industrial solvent and he certainly wasn't in his right mind. The band even said they'd name their next album after me. Yeah, I bet they say that to all their rescuers.

Fly careful.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


For daring to take a RL mini-vacation and not post anything for an entire week, this week's Jerk of the Week is none other than...
I'll try and have something more interesting to say at the end of the weekend. Until then, here's something to make you smile:

Fly careful.