For the best experience use full HD.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Polls and monitor mumblings.

There were 61 responses to the poll. Thank you to everyone who participated and special thanks to Grimmash, Hooligan Youth Reviews and James who left comments. I admire those who go the extra mile to make something better. Thank you.

On to the poll! These results are by no means definitive as the sample size is far to small to be statistically significant. However, the results do say something to me. Of those that responded, 65% play on a single monitor. Some of those monitors are large format to be certain, but a 42" HD monitor is still only 1920x1080 resolution. Most affordable computer monitors typically only give 1920x1080 resolution. That's the HD 1080P standard. It's good for Myth Busters, but it sucks for EvE.

While 1080P may seem a lot of screen real estate, it really isn't. Though the screen is big on a 42" T.V., you can still only put 1920 columns by 1080 rows of pixels on it. That is the same as most 24" monitors. All you've actually done is make everything bigger. This can actually make the fixed fonts in EvE unreadable and reduce your overall satisfaction with the GUI. More screen size does not give you more display capability.

I run dual 21" monitors which give me a total 3200x1200 resolution. Though I have to overlook a two bezels in the center, you'd be surprised at how fast the human brain can ignore that separation. And, for the price of one 24" monitor, your can buy two 21" monitors! All modern gaming video cards I know of and all laptops by nature support two monitors. It will make your EvE experience far better IMO. But don't take my word for it. How many monitors do the CCP developers have? Check it out for yourself.

"Yes, but THEY are ART developers," you say. To which I reply, "Yes, and you display the SAME ART... and they have pallet choices, etc. on the other screen and you have targets and fleet windows. There is not much difference there functionally."

I put most of my open GUI windows on the right side monitor. I have a couple smaller windows in the lower-right and upper-right corner of the left hand monitor. Here is a representative screen shot (caution, it is wide.)
The right side is busy but informative. Since this screen capture, I have swapped the d-scan and asset window. It's better to have d-scan next to the overview. The left side is open, retaining the beauty of EvE and available to transitory windows like market, PI, probing, etc. Notice I have placed most GUI windows in a vertical orientation including the new UI window. EvE is lists: lists of objects in system, lists of capsuleers in local, lists of assets in locations, and now lists of inventory in containers. It has never been an icon oriented game outside the tactical display. Icons are not the best tactical display for ancillary information; just ask the Air Force - any Air Force.

If you already have a small monitor consider adding a matched monitor instead of buying a bigger monitor and replacing it. You will get better functionality. Trust me, it's what I do RL. I am constantly having this discussion. The default configuration of new computers throughout my company's 10k PC network is now dual screen. If it's good enough for business...

Lastly, I noticed that a majority of people marked they liked the new UI. Considering the ruckus over it, this surprised me. However, now that I've had a chance to use it on a small 11" laptop screen away from home, I find the UI window too large to easily manipulate. The tree is actually too long on this 1366x788 single screen. It is in fact, far less usable on the single small monitor. However, I still don't see a performance issue on thie 2-year old Nvidia mobile graphics chip in this laptop. Nevertheless, I welcome any performance improvement CCP can wring out of it and look forward to seeing how it does tonight when I update.

Lastly, I just have to say this. The new UI isn't about making EvE easier. It is about making EvE harder - for bots. The UI is a coup against those who see Internet spaceships as just a way to make a real world buck. They don't care about the game and they don't care about us. I will accept a crippled inventory system (and let's be clear, the new UI is far from crippled) if it means the botters shed glorious tears. If you'd like to read a few, I recommend The Nosy Gamer. This blog is a fascinating read into an area of EvE with which I hope none of you are familiar.

Fly careful.

OOC: There's been a death in the family. Posts will be sparser for awhile. No condolences please: 97 years is a grand life. If you like, lift a toast to LTC Al Saunders. He preferred bourbon, neat.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let's talk G/UI -or- Please take my poll and pass it on.

I've been thinking about the Unified Inventory question a lot. Specifically, I'm curious as to why some hate it and others like it. I find myself wondering if the difference is in how we interact with our favorite internet spaceship game.

To the right you will find a new poll. Please take the time to add your input. I will post the results next week. I think it will at least give us something to think about.

If you like, please elaborate on your selections in the comments. I for one would like to know why you configure your GUI one way as opposed to another. What are the benefits you get from it. What shortcomings does your configuration address.

*WARNING: shameless request for referrals coming next*

If you would, please pass the link to this post and the poll around the EvE-o-sphere. The more results we get, the better the conversation will be. If I am totally ignored, I will ruin the economy by selling everything for 1 ISK! ...

Only kidding, this is just to quench my own curiosity. Participation is not compulsory. This is not Goonswarm.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No pink-green icing here.

And as is he who unwills what he willed, and because of new thoughts changes his design, so that he quite withdraws from beginning, such I became on that dark hillside: wherefore in my thought I abandoned the enterprise which had been so hasty in the beginning. - Dante's Inferno
Inferno is out and so are all the complainers. This time it's the Unified Inventory. Capsuleers are upset because it is totally useless... totally unusable... totally broken... too difficult for most things... worse than before... I give up. Why are people so upset?

Yes, it is different than before. Yes, it looks like Windows Explorer. It also looks like OS X Finder and Linux File Browser. The tree structure is the default paradigm in item management whether it be files or missiles. It has been since monitors were added to computers.  Back in my university days, our DEC, Prime and UNIVAC systems all offered tree oriented file management programs (yes, that was a long time ago - get over it.) When we started exploring the possible uses for the microcomputer (as PCs were first called) we all used XTree to manage the files on those new DOS driven devices. The paradigm is as old as you are.

So what is the real problem here? Change? Life is change. Progress is change. Everything new under the sun is change.

I am well aware that there are those for whom change represents a potential loss of control. Is that what this is all about? The loss of control? The realization that you might have to start over; learn a new way of doing something? Don't be ridiculous. That's like this famous song lyric - only worse.
(But damn, could she sing!)
CCP is damned if they do and damned if they don't. There is nothing they can do which will please everyone. But this time, the complaints are particularly juvenile IMO. Already CCP is moving to address issues (and there will always be issues going into production on anything.) We could have helped make it easier though, if everyone would have taken Jester's advice and gone to Singularity to test it first. CCP told you what was coming. How many of these complaints could have been avoided if more capsuleers would have taken the time to help with the beta? It wasn't like you weren't asked to provide feedback.

"But 80% of EvE players don't read blogs or keep up with what's coming in the game," you say. True, but they aren't the ones complaining. They don't read the forums, or post complaints - remember. That tells me the complainers are the ones who stay informed. WTF? Have you been asleep the last several weeks?

I logged in to Singularity. I ran through my normal business using UI - twice. It took a little getting used to but I found it better for the way I run things - much better in fact. I love having all my containers available in one list. It's efficient.

IMO, the new Unified Inventory is a tasty goody. It's a good recipe, and with a little care concerning the ingredient ratios and some oven temperature management, it will be a gourmet dessert - sweet and full-flavored. Everyone who is trying to make this into MacArthur Park needs to chill. You're out of line on this one.

Fly careful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Some days profit just falls in your lap.

Yesterday morning I took Space Ghost II out to see if I could find any WH anomalies. There were none. However, there was a mag site (useless) and a radar site (whoopee!) It was early in the day so I was hopeful the radar site was still intact. I returned to dock quickly and got Peeping Tom, my exploration Arazu, to do the actual checking.
This looked promising. I proceeded to the site ready to take it from any Serpentis guarding it.
Being blinded by the bright-shiny I found myself in when I dropped from warp turned out to be the only threat. The site was completely unoccupied. That bothered me. Unoccupied sites typically are unoccupied because there is nothing of value left to guard. I was certain someone else had beaten me to the site. Still, there were three Info Shards to hack in order to know for certain. I got to work.
I successfully hacked the first Info Shard on the second cycle and was happy to discover there was something there after all. The site had not been looted yet. I quickly burned over to the other two Info Shards and liberated their contents. There was no opposition to my plundering. It was easy ISK. I only hoped there'd be something of value in the haul.
And howdy was there! ISK doughnuts is what I call Engagement Plans and Collision Measurements. They look like doughnuts but they taste like pure profit. No ammo used. Less than 15 minutes expended. It'd take me longer to move them to market than they took to acquire. Fortunately I had other things I needed to move to market so the trip was already in the plans.

It took me a bit over two hours to get the price I wanted for the Collision Managements but demand is good. The prices are even higher (like everything else) than the last time I made free ISK like this.
Sixteen and a quarter million in profit - now that's something to smile about. Too bad it isn't that easy every day.

Fly careful.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I need some advice.

I'm an industrialist. I'm a carebear at heart. That doesn't mean I abhor fighting and hold in contempt the martial arts. Nothing could be further from the truth. I simply choose a path of serenity and peaceful coexistence. I defend myself when I must.

But the universe is changing. Change itself is neither good nor bad. Change is only inevitable. As markets rise and fall, so does peaceful coexistence swing from one extreme to the other. Life is a pendulum, first favoring one side and then doubling back on itself to pursue the other. Without external influences, it will eventual come to rest - entropic equilibrium. It is naive to believe that will ever happen. The universe is full of agents provocateur whose actions continually reinvigorate the pendulum. It's as close to perpetual motion as we'll ever come.

Soon the pendulum will begin it's climb again. Life will be different. I'll still be an industrialist, for in chaos there is profit, but those profits may be harder to obtain and even more difficult to retain. The new era requires a different mindset. I will not say a military mindset. That is for grand alliances and empires to ponder. But just as the mountain man existed side-by-side with the First Nations, adopting their wisdom to survive, so must tomorrow's industrialist adapt or die.

Enough of philosophy though. The time for philosophical pursuits is fast ending. Onward to the subject at hand. I recently undertook a foray into WH space. I took the Prinz Eugen into an unoccupied C3 and blew up a Sleeper battleship and cruiser. It was lucrative. However, it became clear to me that the Prinz Eugen was not a hit and run fit. He could tank the Sleepers well enough but needed more DPS in order to deal with more than a couple Sleepers at a time and do so in a timely enough manner as to not draw attention from more itinerant and dangerous inhabitants.

So, now for the part where I need some advice.The point is to keep overhead down and to maximize return on investment. Keep that in mind. I don't want to spend a fortune to make a fortune. That's a sum-zero fool's equation. With that in mind, take a look at these two Drake fits.
They cost about the same. They do about the same DPS. One has a better tank and the other less signature radius. Which of these would you take into a WH? Does the smaller signature radius make that much difference? Is it enough to make up for the lack of tank and capacitor? How would you make a better anti-Sleeper Drake?

Fly careful.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inferno really isn't but it could be.

To be sure, there are lots of interesting changes coming with Inferno. I'll spare you the details. If you'd like a list, here is the site: http://www.eveonline.com/inferno.

To be honest, I'm not certain the expansion is living up to its name. Google gives this definition for inferno.

in·fer·no/inˈfərnō/

Noun:
  1. A large fire that is dangerously out of control.
  2. Hell (with reference to Dante's Divine Comedy).
Synonyms:underworld - pandemonium - abyss

Nothing in the so far announced features strikes me as "dangerously out of control" or "hell." So, of course, that got me thinking. What would be dangerously out of control and hellish? (Warning, I am about to make a very uncharacteristically non-carebear sort of proposal. Brace yourself!)

Certainly nothing players can do could possibly be out of control or hellish. We are confined by the parameters of the program. Burn Jita was not hellish. Hulkageddon is not hellish. There are far too few capusleers affected by either to properly fit into that definition. The game parameters have to change and only CCP can do that.

So I had to think about what I would consider hellish. Here's a list, in popping-into-my-brain order:
  • Market Collapse
  • Total lack of safety
  • An ability to fight back by myself
  • Loss of assets en masse
  • Loss of "home" be that station or high-sec POS
  • No way to escape
And at that point the idea hit me. We all know the Caldari and Gallente don't like each other much. We all know the Amarr and Minmatar share a similar dislike for each other. We all know Concord was created to help keep the peace.

What if Concord failed? What if the Caldari launch an assault to retake their original home world? What if the Amarr try to convert the Minmatar forcibly? What if the great empires of New Eden, the ones we carebears take so much for granted, started to war again?

Fleets of Caldari ships would cyno into Gallente systems, conquering space stations and destroying all non-Caldari forces. All Gallente everywhere would immediately become negative ten standing to the State - a move the Gallente would quickly reciprocate. A Gallente anywhere in Caldari space on that day would learn the meaning of hell I think. Flying a Drake in Gallente space would become an act of treason. This would affect huge numbers of players. The NPC production of T1 ships for both races could be diverted to the war effort. The same would happen with T1 BPOs. They would essentially disappear from the market for the duration. Trade routes would be interdicted. "Cavalry" raids could extend for many systems beyond the "front lines." It would really, really hurt.

So how does this happen from a game mechanic point of view? Well, sort of like Incursions but longer. In the case of a Caldari attempt to retake their original home world, I'd say it should last weeks and directly affect at least Luminaire, Mies, Oursulaert, Algogille, Couster and Synchelle (2 jumps.) Raids could extend much further into Essence. There might not be detrimental effects like Sansha produce, but Caldari fleets could hot-drop anywhere in those systems at any time. Belt rats would become Caldari patrols and they'd be professional and Sleeper tough. Special sites would replace regular sites - all professional-Caldari tough. Stations could switch sides as corporations tried to pick the victor. If a station flips, you loose access to your assets until the war is over. Agents could bug out. Life would become, well, hell.

This would be manna to Factional Warfare. No longer would faction warfare be limited to specific systems. I would go so far as to say the fates of the invaded systems should depend completely on the response of the militias. The empire fleets would be equally matched. Concord would side with the defending race to even out the odds. Only capsuleers could swing the balance one way or another. Apply the new FW sovereignty mechanics to those six systems. Give out copious LPs for victories. If the Caldari keep sovereignty for six (?) weeks, the Gallente sue for peace and the Caldari expand their empire. If the Gallente retake all six systems and keep them for just a day, the invasion fails and life returns to normal for awhile.

These are just suggestions. I'm certain many of you have better ideas. It's too late to get this into Inferno but every blockbuster gets a sequel. How can Inferno 2 live up to it's name?

Fly careful.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Does profit outweigh risk?

An unusual thing happened yesterday. It began when I took Space Ghost II out and scanned for anomalies in the home system as I do fairly regularly. I went out early in hopes of actually finding some that others hadn't already eliminated. It didn't help. I found only one. It quickly resolved into a wormhole. I decided I'd check it out. I had some time and there is something I've been looking for but more on that in a bit.

I got to the wormhole and determined it led to a Class 3 with a "normal" system on the other side. I entered the wormhole. On the other side, I found a nice 32AU system with nine planets and a giant orange star. A quick d-scan informed me that I was near the center of the system and there was... nothing. All but one of the Customs Offices was still run by Interbus. I showed no ships. There was only one medium cargo container on d-scan.

However, the two most outer planets were out of d-scan range. I was certain they'd be where the stations were. I re-positioned twice to d-scan them. I found nothing. The system was vacant. That is a strange thing. The only wormholes I've ever seen vacant were Class 5. I decided to setup a safe spot and probe the system in depth.

My probes convinced me the site was indeed unoccupied. D-scan had shown all the standard sleeper sites still intact. The probes showed me all the anomalies were there too and no player structures whatsoever. If there was a ship it was cloaked just like me and just passing through. I found one other wormhole to low-sec in the time I had and headed back. I had a board meeting and would need to return to complete my experiment.

I returned 12 hours later and confirmed the vacancy sign was still hung. All the previous sites, anomalies and wormhole was still present. I returned to base and re-shipped into the Prinz Eugen. It was time to see just how profitable sleepers are. I returned to the wormhole and quickly warped the Drake to safe. I then selected a standard site for my test.
According to sources, I could expect a frigate with neut, scram and web; a cruiser and possibly a battleship on the first wave of this site. The second wave would have five cruisers and four frigates and the last wave two battleships and auxiliaries. One of the BBs would be a remote repper - I'd have to see about that. This was an experiment, not a full out assault.

I warped in at 70KM. I figured I'd let them come to me and see what sort of range they have. The BB was present and immediately opened fire at 108KM. At around 100KM he started hitting for some serious damage.

[ 2012.05.13 05:27:06 ] (combat) Phantasmata Missile belonging to Sleepless Defender hits you, doing 640.3 damage.

My shields held. The frigate closed the distance very, very quickly. It was obviously an FF, a fast frigate. I wasn't going anywhere fast when it got within 10KM. My only concern though, even with the neut-scram-web, was that someone would de-cloak and spoil the results. At around 50KM the CA started hitting and my shields started coruscating madly under the assault and losing buffer. Since the BB was was still outside my range, I opened up on the CA.

It was a tough drone, about what I'd expect from a rat Machariel - maybe a little tougher. It was tough enough I was hoping I could take down the BB. Seeing how slowly the CA shields dropped made me wonder if I could break the BB's tank. I was glad this wave had no remote repping. I decided there would be no third wave for me. The Prinz Eugen has a good alpha but the DPS lacks. I have some training to do it seems. The CA popped and I immediately turned to the BB. It was a long fight. My shields never hit alarm but it got close a couple times. I eventually broke its tank and the BB exploded magnificently. Once they were out of the way I ignored the impotent frigate and took a good look at the site.
Sleepers have interesting construction. Anyway, with the FF getting more and more frustrated, I proceeded to loot the wrecks. This was my main goal after all. How much was 24 minutes of combat worth? I was tempted to pop the FF, as it was slowing my looting to a literal crawl, but that wasn't the purpose of this engagement. I continued to loot with its neut-web-scram in place. Fortunately it appeared to be having capacitor problems. One of the three modules would turn off frequently. That would be my opportunity to get out with the loot.

Eighteen minutes later (rolls eyes) and many DS spams later, I had the loot.
I aligned to safe and waited for the scram to go offline. It did a bit later and I punched the warp button. The Prinz Eugen took of like a rock from a sling. I was back home in no time.

Once I was back in high-sec, I located a system where I could sell the loot. It was a good price, about the best available according to region price histories. This would give good results! So what is a Sleeper BB and CA and 24 minutes worth?[1]
About four times what a similar amount of time would bring doing PI or mining in high-sec. I'm certain it would compete with level IV missions. With a friend or three, it might even be more lucrative than Incursions. With greater risk comes greater reward - and this level of profit may just outweigh the risk.

Fly careful.

[1] I realize that I have not taken into account the time I spent finding the wormhole and determining it was unoccupied. That wasn't the point of the experiment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Concerning "Death Squads"

I was asked a question by Karn Prime in local last night and I didn't answer it. There was not a quick and simple answer. But It is something I've been mulling over since before Burn Jita. Here was the question.

[ 2012.05.10 03:23:24 ] Karn Prime > did you read about the Goon death squad?

Here is the answer that question really deserves. I need to quote something here. It is from the official CCP banning page found here.
3. HARASSMENT
An immediate permanent ban of an account may result if a player:
  • a. Organizes or participates in a corporation or group that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies.
Severe offences may result in an immediate ban without warning; however, warnings may be given for first time offenses, followed by account suspensions of varying degree and ultimately a permanent ban if a player:
  • a. Is abusive, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, ethnically or racially offensive, or threatening to another player or an official EVE Online representative.
  • b. Uses role-playing as an excuse for violating the guidelines regarding fair play with others.
  • c. Sends excessive e-mails, EVE-mails or petitions, petitions with false information or repeatedly petitions under the wrong category in an effort to circumvent the customer support queue. <snip>
7. MISCELLANEOUS <snip>
  •   g. Engages in griefplay tactics which may include, but are not limited to, market/courier exploits.
I believe all those words I highlighted apply to Goonswarm. Their actions walk a very thin line. When they single out one individual they feel has slandered them, and perpetrate vigilante justice upon that person, they cross that line.

"But it's just like all the other things they're doing!" I can already hear some of you saying. No, it is not. They can run an event like Burn Jita because it is not aimed at one person. They can form a cartel and enforce its declarations because it is not aimed at one person. They can bankroll Hulkageddon and it is still not personal.

Sending a "death squad" whose only purpose is to ruin the game play of another person is personal. It is designed to cow the individual into not speaking their mind. It is designed to silence them through threat and intimidation.

Everyone has a basic right to speak their mind; the right to disagree. Threatening them to make them stop, whether "in game" or not, is a violation of that inalienable right. It goes beyond game at that point. It becomes malevolent  purpose: dark and wretched Gestapo-tactics. It is the worst of human nature given rein to express itself in the cruelest manner. It is that thing we fear will come for us in the night with torches lit because no one else cares. "But it's only a game," you say. True, but the emotions behind the action are the same - and just as vile. I truly hope I am preaching to the choir here...

I think the rules here are clear. The only thing that remains to be seen is if CCP will enforce them.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How the carebear sees it.

You've just had a rough day at work. There were far more demands on your time than minutes allowed. You moved from one crisis to another with no end in sight. To cap the day, your boss calls you in at 5 until 5. He says you aren't pulling your weight around the shop and he'd better see some improvements soon or he might have to let you go. You think, fuck you, and all you want is to get home and pop someone's pod.

You finally walk through the front door, throw your coat on the couch, grab a beer from the refrigerator and walk over to your PC and log in. You decide you need to check a couple blogs to catch up on what happened while you were gone from the game.

You open up your web browser, click on a bookmark you've used a hundred times before and suddenly your screen is covered in a warning that your PC might be at risk.
It looks legit. Security Essentials came with Windows 7. You breath a sigh of relief and click on the button labeled "clean now." Suddenly a download bar appears. That shouldn't happen, you think to yourself. Suddenly it dawns on you, you've been duped!

Frantically you push the power button and take your system down hard. You bring it back up, all the while hoping that you were fast enough. You log in and the first thing you see is a warning that says,
Warning
Firewall has blocked a program from accessing the Internet

C:\program files\internet explorer\iexplore.exe
is suspected to have infected your PC.
This type of virus intercepts entered data and transmits them to a remote server.
You try and launch EvE. The launcher starts and then immediately shuts down. You try again. Same result. You get more warning messages. They look bogus but every time you try and start a program it immediately shuts down. You get an offer to purchase a program that will clean your system. It will only cost you $100. You know it's extortion but what can you do? The hacker has your EvE computer by the balls.

You pay the $100 and the messages are suddenly gone. You hope that it never happens again, but you are worried the hacker left his calling card on your computer. You call a friend who knows about these things. He says you've probably been left with a root kit. He says you've proven yourself a lucrative target - you paid - he'll be back. You say, "I guess I shouldn't have done that." He replies, "Derp."

This is a gank. How does it feel?

Fly careful.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What hi-sec carebears really need.

During World War II, a group of civilians built airstrips on coral atolls for the U.S. Navy (and many other things.) [Edit: my mis-communication - as Corelin (?) correctly points out, they were all uniformed servicemen. I should have clarified they were civilians with specific skills the Navy actively recruited for the war effort.] The Navy referred to them by their acronym. We call them...
Their motto? "We build. - We fight."  They didn't wait until the bullets stopped flying to build the airstrips. They didn't wait until the coast was literally clear. They raised their bulldozer blades as shields and welded steel plates to their grader cages. The sooner fighter-bombers got onto an island the faster the island became secure; the faster they could move on to the next island; the quicker they got to go home.

When suddenly confronted with combat, they Seabees did not run away. When the fight was thrust upon them, they grabbed their rifles and joined the defense. They did not shrink away like cowards, complaining that life was unfair.

Hi-sec has been attacked. The war is upon us whether we want it or not. How will carebears respond? Shall we cower in Empire protected stations and hope the enemy eventually goes away? Or, will we become the Seabees of hi-sec?

Here is my answer to that question.

                    [Seabee Orca][1]

                    2x Medium Shield Transporter II
                    Medium Remote Armor Repair System I

                    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
                    100MN Afterburner II
                    EM Ward Field II
                    Thermic Dissipation Field II

                    Reinforced Bulkheads II
                    Damage Control II

                    3x Large Core Defense Field Extender I

                    5x Medium Shield Maintenance Bot I
                    5x Light Shield Maintenance Bot I

                    [Seabee Hulk][2]

                    3x Modulated Strip Miner II

                    Medium Shield Extender II
                    2x Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
                    Upgraded Thermic Dissipation Amplifier I

                    Micro Auxiliary Power Core II
                    Damage Control II

                    Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
                    Medium Ancillary Current Router I

                    5x Hornet EC-300
                    5x Light Shield Maintenance Bot I

These are not inexpensive fits - and they require some fair skill to fly. They do not maximize mining yield. They maximize survival. This Orca should be able to protect a small mining fleet against a small griefer gang. The Hulk pilots can protect each other without the Orca. Together, they are a formidable force that can protect less experienced miners. Throw in a few noobs in mining catalysts, et al, and you've got a task force. What griefer gang would bother a fleet like this? No alliances are needed. Only a common purpose and the will to resist. The choice is yours. I've already made mine: they are my default mining fleet fits.

Fly careful.

[1] The Orca is based mostly from the supertanker Jester posted here.
[2] The hulk is fitted courtesy of ideas from Agony Unleashed as posted here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

If this is null, Goons can have it.

I got this communique yesterday (buttons too!) and it really summed up why I like being a carebear - but not in the way you'd think.
"I’d like to hand a few of these to some people I play Eve with…"

"I logged in last night just in time to hear that an Alliance FC who had a strat OP starting 30 minutes previously was planning to fly around in his alt and shoot people in the systems who were not fleeted up. Claimed it was a CTA (Call to arms) – it was not. Also, we were told to check the forums for ops and info. The OP said “tonight (May4, (May 5 in game)”, which last night would have meant Friday night, not last night. I was not online for the broadcast. A bunch of people logged off. I played with my hi-sec alts. One of the Alliance Diplos cornered our Diplo and asked why one of our people had a mining fleet up in fleets when there was a CTA going. The mining Director, who had the fleet up, and who was doing her job – we need minerals and we need ice – logged out shortly thereafter in an extremely agitated mood. She really doesn’t do PvP more than to dabble in it. For all the good things this alliance does, sometimes the leadership is completely FUBAR."
"For me, the other day, I was ending a fleet mining op in a huyrry, hauling ore, (I am  [redacted]), because the Alliance had just sent out a ping for an inbound hostile fleet – form up now kind of thing. So I hauled all the ore (2 orca trips) then jumped my way over to the staging system, docked, changed ships, then was singled out on comms by the FC (who was also the Alliance Leader) with a couple of others to leave fleet because we were still docked. I was 5 seconds away from undocking – the fleet was still in system. So I dropped fleet, said “F… You”, and unfortunately, pushed the talk button when I said it, so it went out on fleet comms. He replied “f you 2”, and I said in as nice a voice as I could: “oops. I’m sorry. Wrong Comms”. It really was – I had no intention of saying that to the alliance leader out loud. On one hand I regret it, on the other, not so much."
"So, last night, when the OP start time was 45 minutes past, I was not even considering joining, and was quite curious why the FC was still hanging around with an alt worrying about the people who were NOT in the fleet. Seems to me he had a fleet to run. Ahhh, the joys of incompetent boobs for leadership."
"The same FC was bitching at people in the intel and alliance channels all night. Some of these buttons below would apply to him, for certain."
"Obviously, NONE of the Alliance leadership has ever heard of Schofield’s Definition of Discipline. I am tempted to spam them all with it. OF course, one has to have the intelligence to understand it, and the capability to apply it correctly even if it is understood. Somehow I doubt these guys qualify on either count."
"Needless to say, I did not have fun last night – my stomach was churning like crazy, and I got very little accomplished. I’m hoping tonight will be a better night. IF things continue this way, I may have that 2 word convo with the alliance leader again, and go elsewhere. I don’t have to live in 0.0, although I really like this corporation. I just don’t think we have any or enough influence to get any real changes made."
And no, I won't identify my friend and get him booted from CFC. He'll have to do that himself. But I have to ask, what makes people play a game in such a vitriolic environment? Seriously, EvE is MY game. I play it on my terms the way I want to play it. This is the way that is most FUN and RELAXING for ME. Now, take those three capitalized words and put them together. MY FUN RELAXING ME. There, I knew you could. That is what EvE is really about.

If the above email is what it's like in null sec for even one day, I have to call bullshit on the assholes that make it that way. I learned a long time ago, in a different life, that a soldier's second favorite past time is bitching. However, it is incumbent upon a leadership to make sure the soldiers are bitching about the job they are required to do and not the leader personally. "It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey." That last sort of leadership, in the end, is more destructive than enemy cannons could ever be.

And knowing that EvE is full of such clueless people is why I like being a hi-sec carebear industrialist. I am beholding to no one. I don't have to put up with shit from anyone. And if I don't like what Hulkageddoners are doing, I can ship up and try to do something about it - without getting clearance first from some dip-wad. That is fun. Being harassed and insulted because you are not doing what someone else demands you do is crap.

I hope my friend finds funner times ahead. He's not really into outright PvP. He likes a good fleet op. He loves making ISK. In many ways, the promise of null sec is just what he needs. The reality of null sec life is not. And if that is null, Goons can have it - but then again, they are the cause aren't they. "The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself." (And by inferior, Major General Schofield. meant rank and nothing more.) Doesn't that just about sum up Goon leadership?
In other news, we are working on a project which will require ~social media~ traction, namely the ability for us to ‘own’ Eve-related feeds (#tweetfleet, #eveonline) for days or weeks. There will be more news about this later, but in the meantime make a Twitter account if you haven’t already to allow coordinated RTs of key messages. Mash this butan, make account, it ain’t rocket science: https://twitter.com/
As a side benefit, #tweetfleet is chock full of hysterical, thin-skinned publords who become furious when trolled, and there’s no moderators to protect them from us.
*** This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all-all, replies are not monitored ***

(Emphasis mine)

Fly careful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A data dump on Datacores and Dharma.

"A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful." - Thufir Hawat

Over on the forums is a thread on changes coming to the Datacore system. For the non-inventor and/or noob out there, a Datacore is needed whenever an Industrialist wants to "invent" a T2 BPC from a T1 BPC. It's integral to T2 production. There was a time when T2 first came out that some lucky individuals got T2 BPOs. However, the Eve economy is so freaking huge that those BPOs don't come close to accounting for a significant proportion of production. However, I digress.

CCP is going to change capsuleers obtain Datacores. Here it is in CCP Soundwave's own words (with other diatribes removed - SSL:)

#85 Posted: 2012.05.02 11:12 

CCP Soundwave wrote: We're not removing research agents or the ability to farm datacores from them. What we're going to do is slow down the rate of datacores you accumulate and put a small pricetag on them.
Additionally to that, they're being added to the Faction Warfare LP store, with a dynamic price.
We should have a devblog out later this month with the exact details.
Dini Mueter wrote: Thank you for that clarification. Can you confirm whether or not the datacores added to the faction warfare LP stores are only the racial ship engineering datacores or will it be all of them?
CCP Soundwave wrote: We've divided all of them into the LP stores.

#88 Posted: 2012.05.02 11:21 

CCP Soundwave wrote: Additionally to that, they're being added to the Faction Warfare LP store, with a dynamic price.
Mara Rinn wrote: At least your previous suggestions of moving a large portion of data core production to exploration made sense. This change sounds an awful lot like you ran the hat around for ideas on boosting the attractiveness of Faction Warfare, and data core production by blowing up militia ships happened to make it into the cut.
Do you really want people engaging in Faction Warfare simply because it is a better income than level 4 missions or Incursions? What do the current FW community feel about having their numbers bolstered with mercenaries?
Mining with guns, all over again.
CCP Soundwave wrote: Mining with guns was bad because it detracted from real mining. This is bad because it detracts from......what exactly?
We want to move T2 production more towards low and zero-sec. This gives us a very cool venue for FW to influence the rest of the universe instead of being a closed-loop system.

#95 Posted: 2012.05.02 11:44 

CCP Soundwave wrote: Mining with guns was bad because it detracted from real mining. This is bad because it detracts from......what exactly?
Mara Rinn wrote: What happened to previous ideas of increasing data core availability through exploration?
CCP Soundwave wrote: Right now, 0.0 feels a lot more healthy than low-sec. There are a few good ways of making money there right now and I'm not sure adding another steady source to compete is as good as doing something for low-sec. Exploration is something I see getting a lot more rare and "jack-pot" type rewards, rather than something farm-able like datacores. It's profession that should rely on you tracking down diamonds, not standing at an assembly line.

#108 Posted: 2012.05.02 13:48 

CCP Soundwave wrote: We're not removing research agents or the ability to farm datacores from them. What we're going to do is slow down the rate of datacores you accumulate and put a small pricetag on them.
Additionally to that, they're being added to the Faction Warfare LP store, with a dynamic price.
We should have a devblog out later this month with the exact details.
Max Teranous wrote: Sup.
Dynamic pricing in LP stores? How are you going to do that then? As currently the LP store rewards are horribly set and are all over the place. Is this new dynamic function going to be for Datacores only or all LP store items?
Max
CCP Soundwave wrote: We have a pretty cool system, which Ytterbium will outline in a devblog :)
All I can say is that if you're good at killing things, you'll benefit.
Malcanis wrote: Dynamic LP store prices would be one of the best possible economic changes you could make. It's one of those boring-sounding, undramatic changes that would have a very large affect.
(Especially if you also combined it with a look at the LP store to promote more specialisation - each major corp within a faction should have unique specialities)
CCP Soundwave wrote: This is basically exactly it, yes.
You can read his first comment (and the thread itself if you want) here.

This is an interesting turn of events. Datacore acquisition will certainly become a more active enterprise. If you want to take the "lazy" way out and still farm them it will cost you some extra iskies and your return on investment will diminish. That doesn't hurt my feelings. Invention is a pain in the ass to be honest. I don't like it but it's a necessary evil. Still, this is not the way I'd have hoped to see invention go. I'd prefer a system that was actually more invention like: creating a new thing from inspiration and some elbow grease like Thomas Edison did. As it is, Invention is just one more cog in the production line. Data Cores are just another ingredient like Photon Microprocessors.

And speaking of those, the first thing CCP Soundwave said that really got me to sit up was, "We want to move T2 production more towards low and zero-sec." I read this and the first thing that hit my brain was, no more OTEC! What, Goons are going to wage a price war against their own production lines? If T2 production goes to null, then the entire last month or so of market turmoil is moot. CCP will yank the very mechanism that makes it possible right out from under the perpetrator's feet by "giving" them T2 production outright. I'm laughing my ass off at the thought of that. It turns OTEC aspirations into just so much self-flagellation. But there's a darker side to that which needs more thought. In summary, if T1 is hi-sec and T2 not, where must the experienced industrialists go to grow? That's right. And I see some problems with that but must address it in a separate post.

The second thing that caught my attention was, "Exploration is something I see getting a lot more rare and "jack-pot" type rewards, rather than something farm-able like datacores." This really excites me in some regards. I will miss the regular spawning of gravimeteric sites from which I can extract better ores than usually populate hi-sec. But the thought that when I do find something, it will be a bonanza really sounds excellent! I wonder if they are also looking at a change to the type of things you can find via exploration. Hopefully there will be more about it later.

But back to the reason for this post. In all of this, I see CCP working to make Eve a more active place to live and work. Those that get out and do things will reap the rewards. Those who just want to kick back and do nothing will get almost nothing. There's a new Dharma in that I think. Perhaps it will reach all the way out into null where tech moon mining is perhaps the most passive form of income in the entire game. It was supposed to be something alliances fought over. It was suppose to be the dynamo that drove conflict in EvE. For awhile that may have been so. But when everyone starts to make gentleman agreements, lock all the resources down to central control, hand them out as rewards for being good little stooges and turn that dynamo into the most risk free isk available - things have to change. I'm not advocating singling them out for some sort of nerf. That's never good policy. However, it is within CCP's purview to tweak the rules of the game. I "feel" some of that in this. It feels good.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A little bruhaha in Cloud Ring.

Black Mark resides in Cloud Ring. A few days ago their membership did this:
At the same time, Fatal Ascension's membership did this:
Here's the reason why:
"Black Mark used to own Cloud Ring. They were in the CFC, and made decent allies on our “southern” border for fade / pure blind. Unfortunately for them, they apparently had some serious alliance leadership issues. Last week, they were told to leave Cloud Ring by Goonswarm. They were given a week, during which they still went on ops with us and so forth. Yesterday, they apparently gave FA the finger, after several corporations defected to FA (we only let in a few – apparently some of those who were not part of the problems) and told us they were not leaving. So now we have a civilized war-game going with Test Alliance – we reset each other a week ago for fun and games, AND a “real” war against Black Mark." [1]
So it seems that the PAX Goons is not as tight as some feared it was. Of course, I think Black Mark will loose this fight. FA is too large and can always call for Goon support and Raiden(dot) and the other non-Goon alliances are not putting up much fight these days. Probably because they've had it handed to them on several occasions.

Still, this all has bearing on the whole feasibility of OTEC. There are 7 Technetium moons on Cloud Ring. Five (5) of them are controlled by Black Mark. When they need ISK, they will sell and I bet it won't be for the agreed upon cartel price. Goons will have to take those moons to keep that from happening. Sooner or later, they Goons will overextend themselves and the game will change again. To be sure, I'll be around to see that happen.

Fly careful.

[1] Anonymous sources should remain safely anonymous.