Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Insane Week

Mrs Kodachi is on the slow road of recovery from her week long stay in the hospital after her emergency appendectomy. Last week, the first week she was home, my mother in law stayed with us so I was able to resume a mostly normal routine and catch up at work.

Unfortunately, this week we are back on our own and its falling to me to take kids to school, pick them up, take them to dance and swim classes, do laundry, do dishes, and try to fit in most of a work day.

Something had to give, and it's been blogging. And by extension, the Blog Banter for This month.

Hopefully Kodachi-the-better will be improved enough soon for my sanity to return. Please be patient, good reader.

Monday, March 23, 2015

About Me

I was reading a post over at Harbinger Zero:

Thanks to Rowan of I Have Touched The Sky, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, which means that I have been given explicit permission by another blogger to bore you all by talking exclusively about myself. Thank you !


I jest, but I am grateful. We all enjoy sharing a bit of ourselves or we wouldn’t be doing this. But for me its a genuine treat. In my vocation, rarely do I get asked about me. Usually, its the other way around, and the rare question directed at me is a question about the nature of my community. So, while I detest chain letters and glurge, this one seems to have the proper context and fun attached to make it something more than it is.
I checked the OFFICIAL RULES to make sure I was doing this right, although there are apparently several variations, so it may not be quite the same as you would see in other places. 
So basically he goes on to give 11 Random Facts, then answers the questions put forth by the nominator, and then nominates other bloggers for a Liebster Award and provides 11 questions they have to answer. And, hoo boy, I was one of the nominees. So basically, there goes my friday.

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I have no middle name. When I realized I was odd in that fashion I felt like I was missing out. Fortunately, I'm the fourth son in a row with the same name so technically I can add "IV" and say "the Fourth" when introducing myself. But I don't.

2. The first computer game I ever felt the need to be competitive in was Archon for the Commodore 64. I had a friend I was playing against and he beat me soundly, so I spent the following days practicing against the AI and then next time I beat him so badly he rage quit.

3. I have a half sister ten years younger than me, but the age difference makes me often feel like an only child.

4. In university residence I asked my friend if he wanted to go to a mall with me for something to do and he said yes. When we got back his floor mates had moved his room furniture and set it up in the quad of the residence outside. He accused me of being an accomplish and doesn't believe me when I say I had nothing to do with it.

5. I cannot sit still.

6. I have never tried Chocolate Milk. I say I don't like it but the truth is I don't know. I used to have a lot of food "dislikes" that were really "it looks gross and I'm afraid to try it" like yogurt, tomato soup, hot chocolate but over the years I faced the truth and tried them all. I love yogurt now, can't get enough. But Chocolate milk? Now its just inertia.

7. In grade 8 I was not invited to a party of most of my classmates but they were all going to it after school on my bus since the girl hosting the party was on my bus. Instead of being embarrassed to death by having to get off the bus before all of them, I road my bike to school, about 5 km, in terrible spring rain weather. I didn't care, I was so mad and hurt. At school she came up to me to make sure I was not on the bus after school to make sure there was enough seats for everyone on the bus. Fuck you, C.E., just fuck.

8. In high school there was a day of Math-Science Olympics. Our math class had to form into teams of four and the "cool" smart guys formed a team that left me out (seriously, I was not always on the outs with everyone, people liked me I was just not part of their friend group, no hard feelings) so hree girls in the class needed a fourth made a team. I put my heart into preparation, making the team poster with a hand drawn Enterprise on it and made an Egg Safe Delivery system for a challenge. Went in and we ended up winning Gold over that other team. Proudest moment of my High School life.

9. I worked at a full service gas station for minimum wage for two years. Got perfect on my test for a Propane technician license that you needed for pumping propane.

10. Both me and my sister are missing our lower adult second molars, a condition called Hypodontia.

11. Batman is my favourite super hero, Darth Vader my favourite movie villain, and Battlestar Galactica My favourite board game.

* * * * *

11 Questions from Harbinger Zero


1) What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Human rights. The atrocities that occur daily in the world haunt me, I couldn't imagine trying to raise my children in that uncertainty and terror.

2) Would you rather be overdressed or underdressed at a party? Why?

Definitely overdressed. You can still look cool and suave if you're overdressed, but underdressed and you look like an idiot.

3) If you could actually live in one of your MMO character’s homes, which would it be? It can also be one that your character doesn’t directly own, but that is available in the game.

I would kill to live in the space stations of EVE's universe. Would be so awesome.

4) What is the best compliment someone could pay you?

Anything about my intelligence or creativity really go right to the heart. Winning the fiction contests that I have over the past couple years were tremendous boosts to my self confidence and esteem.

5) Which NPC would you enjoy having dinner with? Could be from an MMO, or it could be from a book/movie/tv show.

That's a hard one.

6) If someone offered you a substantial sum of money to stop playing MMO’s forever, would you take it? What’s your price point? A million? A billion? Nothing?

I would definitely take it if it meant financial security for my family and the wealth to do some things I've only dreamed of doing. There is so much this world has to offer beyond MMOs, I would survive nicely without them. Hell, I think I'd give them up for 500,000 dollars in an instant.

7) You get a VIP pass to spend the day at a developer’s offices, hang out with them, form inside contacts, see some stuff behind the scenes, and get cool swag. Which developer is it that you are going to?

No question, CCP. Let's talk about that new space CCP Seagull! I've got ideas for some wicked ship designs too! And I need some more ship models for my desk, please.

8) You and your friends get sucked inside an MMO. The bad news is you are stuck here for 24 hours (of real time), the good news is you have unlimited lives. What MMO are you in and what are you doing while you are there?

Again no question, EVE online. I'd be exploring some of the sights to see of the market hub stations like Jita 4-4.

9) What’s the first movie you remember watching in the theatre?

Popeye, my uncle took me to it. I was 6. However, I say Star Wars Episode IV before that, when I was four, at a Drive In movie with my parents.

10) A Magic MMO Genie appears and grants you the power to host a private server for one MMO of your choice: past, present, or future. Will you take him up on the offer, and if so, what game do you choose and why?

Hmmm, since EVE is the only MMO I've committed to and EVE is actually a poor single player game, this is a hard question. I think I'd have to go with The Matrix Online. I was considering trying it out when it was announced it was closing. Made me sad. Failing that, maybe City of Heroes, another game I was considering dabbling in just before it closed.

11) Best Campy 80’s Sci-Fi: Flash Gordon, Buckaroo Banzai, Ice Pirates, Outland, Megaforce, Runaway, Masters of the Universe, or some other one I’ve forgotten?

I lived in the boonies in the 80s and was quite removed from a lot of the sci-fi of the era. Besides Masters of the Universe, I never saw the others... except I seem to recall seeing Ice Pirates somehow, I don't know when. Anyways, the Masters of the Universe movie was hilariously bad and true to the material that I'm going to have to go with it.

Nominees:

Sugar Kyle

Rixx Javix

Wilhelm Arcturus

Ashterothi

NoizyGamer

My Questions

1. What was your first PvP experience in an MMO and did you like it?

2. What's your favourite season? What's your favourite season for gaming?

3. What is your favourite period / place in history?

4. Talk about the first computer game where you were pulled in by the story instead of the gameplay.

5. If you had to pick, which Bad Guy would you choose to be in any game?

6. What's your favourite novel or novel series?

7. Describe your perfect vacation.

8. Star Wars or Star Trek? Explain your answer.

9. If someone offered you a substantial sum of money to stop playing MMO’s forever, would you take it? What’s your price point? A million? A billion? Nothing? (Stole this one 'cause its good)

10. Smart Phones are a boon to humankind, true or false?

11. A solar flare is about to wipe all electronics on earth and it may take years to recover fully. You have three days to get all the gaming in you can, what do you play?

* * * * *

This took me a long time to write!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Capitalizing the Changes - Part 2

Yesterday I laid out the current situation facing combat capitals in the proposed FozzieSov sovereignty system. It can be summarized thus: the new system takes away the niche of structure grinding from capitals leaving them adrift in the changed meta.

So today I'm going to lay out my ideas for changing the four combat capital classes of ships to adapt to the new sovereignty mechanics as well as the new meta in low sec, wormhole space, and perhaps beyond.

WARNING: This post is not for the timid.

BRACE FOR IMPACT!
Rationalization

One of the most striking features of Tiericide for the sub-capital ship classes has been how the amorphous blob of ships of various power levels was transformed into ships with defined roles.

This has two benefits: first it prevents ships from being obsoleted by better ships with the same role but superior stats (i.e. the old tier method), and secondly it makes the ships easier to balance when they have a specific main role they are supposed to accomplish as opposed to jack-of-all-trades multi-role. There are downsides too, such as pigeon-holing ships to specific roles and limiting player inventiveness and counter-expectation fitting, but overall I think these concerns have proven to be insignificant and the health of the overall sub-capital meta is extremely good right now.

Capitals, on the other hand, with the notable exception of the Dreadnought, are multi-roled ship classes with many of them overlapping roles with other classes, especially in the direct damage department. For example, all four have considerable direct damage applications, every one except dreadnoughts can do warfare linking, and both carriers and super carriers have bonuses to logistical modules. Yes, there are marked differences between the classes and the exact best application for each varies, but the fact remains that its a muddled mess that is hard to balance and find appropriate roles for in light of a structure-grinding-less future.

With all that being said, onward to my ideas.

Proposal

Let's start with the easiest and work our way to the hardest. Or another way to think of it, the least radical proposals to the most.

Dreadnought - this ship class needs no changes in my mind because it hits the sweet spot in several dimensions. It has a specific singular role and it does it exceptionally well, its not an insurmountable barrier to entry to any area of space, it has applications in null, low, and wormhole space. Even a blob of dreadnoughts does not guarantee success against all comers as the slow tracking weapons and lack of mobility limit their effectiveness on smaller targets. This ship class should be the starting point of any refactor and rebalance as an exemplar of capital ships done correctly.

Carrier - This one is a hard one because despite having many roles, the carrier class overall is in a decent place especially since drone assist has been identified as a problem and is being addressed. That being said, a class that is good at so many roles squeezes out other class from being in some of those roles. So in the end I think its time to break up the carrier's abilities to make the class more focused and leave room for another class to take over some of the roles.

Currently, a carrier can do a lot of things: Combat via fighters and drones; space healing via logistic modules and ship bonuses and Triage mode; moving ships and modules in the Ship and Fleet hangers; allowing in-space fitting changes via the Ship Maintenance Array; and most rarely providing warfare link boosting. In my experience, players first set out to get a carrier for its hangers to allow them to move their assets from base to base, and later on as the player becomes more of a  veteran than move to using carriers for combat roles, most usually in the uber-logistics triage mode supporting a fleet. Alternatively, experienced null players use fleets of carriers in remote repping mobs with hordes of drones as a powerful but slow moving combat fleet.

I'm proposing that carriers are rebalanced only for space combat and space healing roles and the other roles are removed. *Waits for uproar to die down* Yes, I realize that is a huge change but the jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-a-few is crowding out other ship class possibilities from flourishing or even existing. This means removing the role bonus for Warfare link modules (its mostly useless anyways) and removing the ship maintenance hanger/array and either removing the fleet hanger (with a boost to cargo bay size and/or fuel bay) or shrinking it.

Concurrent with this proposal, I think the cost of the carriers should drop by about 25%, a new capital class ship that has a Ship Hanger and jump drive should be introduced (kind of like a Jump Bowhead) for players to maintain the ability to move their stuff, and my super carrier changes coming up next are also implemented.

(I considered going even further and removing combat capability from carriers and making them pure capital sized logistics but I'm not sure that is completely necessary.)

Super Carrier - Ever since CCP turned these monsters from Motherships into Super Carriers they have suffered a series of nerfs: no more non-fighter drones, reduction in number of drones in space at once (with boost in Fighter Bomber damage to compensate), jump range reduction, jump fatigue... and now, one of the things they are still the best at, structure grinding, is going away under the Fozzie Sov system. Poor supers!

I think its time to acknowledge that we don't need another pure damage dealer on the capital scale between Dreadnoughts and Titans. Instead I think its time to take this beast back to its Mothership roots. I envision a ship that a fleet uses as a rally point in extended battles, a mobile defensive base where pilots can reship and regroup without having to put a POS in system.

To this end, I say that the class keeps the large ship hanger, maintenance array, and fleet hanger. It should keep its Fighters and Fighter Bombers, but lose the warfare links (there are better ships for that role) and the bonuses to remote repping modules. Instead give the ship a unique module (or cool Tactical Destroyer like mode shifting) where it can enter "Depot" mode which allows it to project a POS-like force field (20 km radius?) with boosted resists and lots of hitpoints. However, when in Depot mode the ship is immobile and cannot jump, and the cycle for the mode is 30 minutes long (i.e. short enough to not be a major time commitment and long enough to pose a serious risk). Also, while in Depot mode it can still use its fighter bombers and Remote ECM burst. I would think that there would be restrictions much like Deployable mobile structures about where it can be deployed to prevent exploits like activating it right next to a gate to make the gate effectively blockaded or on a station undock, etc, and I think the ship should not be able to receive remote reps or cap while in this mode.

I can see this class becoming a focal point for fights as fleets attempt to use it to resupply in a pitched battle and the opposing force moves to try and destroy them while they are locked in place.

"What happens if someone plops a fleet of these on grid together?" As long as the restrictions on where Depot mode can be activated includes "Not Within 30 km of another Depot Super Carrier" I don't see any issue. Its no worse, IMHO, then the current situation when someone jumps in a Super Carrier fleet except that their utility is currently lower under FozzieSov with fewer targets to grind.

Titan - Much like the Super Carriers, the Titan class has received a number of nerfs over the years as CCP realized that massed fleets of these ships were capable of widespread devastation with very little in the way of reasonable risk, the occasional Asakai or BR- battle notwithstanding. Today the class stands at a relatively decent position in comparison to carriers and super carriers, even under FozzieSov as its dual roles of  Line Breaker (with its Doomsday and large racks of capital weapons and damage bonus) and Jump Portal still have useful applications.

However, the Titan class presents a problem in that its roles are mutually exclusive (i.e. you can't be both a jump portal pig on the back line launching fleet of battleships or whatnot to battle AND a front line flagship breaking apart carriers and dreadnoughts) and the second role, that of jump portal platform, presents a significant advantage to forces that have that at their disposal compared to forces that do not have one at their disposal. This disparity is evident in null sec and low sec; in null sec alliances with Titans have more tactical flexibility to maneuvure their sub-cap fleets (prior to Phoebe they had a lot of tactical flexibility as well but that's been reduced), and in low sec the divide is even more marked as a corporation or alliance with even a single Titan can dominate a region of low sec against alliances without that asset. Black Ops Battleships with the Covert Jump Portal Generator does address some of this divide as its much easier to obtain a 1 billion Tech II battleship than it is a Titan, but since the power versus cost investment ratio of the ships you can send through the Covert Cyno is significantly lower, e.g. a fleet of battleships with tech 2 logistics versus a handful of Stealth Bombers and Recons.

To that end, I think its time to break the Titan class in two: the primary main class keeps the doomsday and capital weapons and bonuses but loses the jump portal, clone vat bay, warfare linking and bonus to fleet members. As a result, I think the cost of the Titan in this version as a Super Dreadnought should be dramatically lower. In conjunction, a new capital (not super cap) ship class is introduced which we'll call the Mothership class which will fit the clone vat bay and the jump portal generator. This will be more expensive than a dreadnought but less expensive than a Super Carrier, will be able to dock, and have virtually no offensive or defensive capabilities.

This smaller ship class would bridge (HAHA Pun intended!) the gap between the small-medium corporations that do not have anyone with access to a Titan and those that do, lowering the barrier of entry to hot-drop/counter-hot-drop gameplay and the interesting emerging outcomes that spawn from that facet of the game.

* * * * *

There you have it, my vision for capital ships in the post FozzieSov universe. Instead of four classes of ships with multiple overlapping roles you have six ships with specific and interesting roles:
- Carrier : Logistics Platform
- *New* Jump Bowhead : Space Trucking
- Dreadnought : Capital DPS
- Super Carrier : Mobile Assault Base
- Titan : Anti-Capital DPS
- Mothership : Jump Portal Generator

These more focused classes will be easier to balance and provide a more gradual progression of power and expensive from the sub capital classes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Capitalizing the Changes - Interlude

An unknown commenter to my last post left this idea list:
How about we make dreads effective against battleships with improved tracking. Then we make battleship weapons better against all T1/T2/T3 cruisers with improved tracking, or even tightened target sig on lowest tier guns. If need be, we increase the spread between BS target sig and frigate ship sig.
We buff titans by making doomsdays prevent incoming reps to the target, and put some bottom up pressure on motherships either by reducing their locktime and limiting friendly locktime boosts, or give them titan style target restrictions along with skynet. That would also prevent repping escort subcaps. To compensate, we give them augmented fleet booster effects that only apply to standard capitals.
For the sov angle, we make sov level matter. Make sov 5 require being surrounded by sov 4/5 systems and sov 3 by sov 2/3 systems and so on. Only the lowest level systems would be vulnerable to standard entosis. Harassers can whittle away at empires, but not headshot them the day after a particularly long slosh op. Protecting capital shipyards means protecting the periphery, and most of it.
Next, we make dread siege have the same effect as entosis, but with fewer restrictions, able to open up a battlefield in +1-2 sov levels. One dread is just as fast or effective as forty dreads.
We let HP blob bashing remain a viable mechanic, but add four anchorable shield augmentation modules that double all shields. Each augment is only available at successive sov levels, and cost a fortune to operate. Unaugmented POS and structure shield will be made weak enough to be vulnerable to small cruiser gangs. In lowsec and npc null, the owning empire manages the shield augment system to equivalent sov 1/2 effect.
This person has ideas... not sure what to make of them, but definitely has a vision very different from mine.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Capitalizing The Changes - Part 1

What is to become of capital ships?

Dominion sovereignty is a beast that requires millions of hit points per structure be ground out in order to take control or systems and stations from your enemies. This put upwards pressure on fleet size and ship size in order to maximize time efficiency that, when combined with a maturing demographic with more skill points and ISK to utilize as well as the realization that a super cap blob is in effective immune to being defeated by anything else except another super cab blob, pushed null sec alliances to create large standing fleets of capital and super capital assets in order to be competitive in null sec warfare. In contrast to the downward pressures we've seen in many changes to ship balance over the past couple years, this upward pressure had not been addressed up until the Phoebe changes came into effect last fall which severely limited the tactical and strategic power of capital ship fleet movements.

And now the Fozzie Sov changes proposed for this summer will remove a major motivation for having these fleets as sovereignty warfare will no longer require grinding millions of hitpoints, thus the only remaining upward pressure will be their opponents capital fleets, and like a table with two legs removed (strategic/tactical flexibility and maximization of firepower required) the upward pressure will wobble and eventually topple. If your opponent never needs a capital fleet to attack your sov, why would you expend resources to maintain your own capital fleet?

So back to the opening question, what is to become of capital ships?

CCP Fozzie and others have stated many times that capital ships severely need a turn through the rebalancing machine to turn the classes into something that is more properly integrated into the overall EVE ship meta. But what exactly does that mean? What role should capital ships have?

Note: I'm only talking about the four combat capital ships: Carrier, Dreadnought, Super Carrier, and Titan. The industrial capital ships (Rorqual, Orca, Freighters, Jump Frieghters, and Bowhead) are outside the purview of this discussion and have little effect on it regardless.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

In any game your ultimate goal is to have a circular balance between choices: choice A is superior to choice B, and choice B is superior than choice C, but choice C has some advantages over choice A. We see this in classic games such as chess and Stratego where there is a distinct hierarchy in power of the pieces but the weakest piece has power to rival the most powerful in certain scenarios (e.g. pawn promotes to Queen, Spy kills Marshal).

We also see this balance in modern computer games like World of Tanks where the five classes of tanks all have advantages and disadvantages when compared to each other:
- Light tanks are most mobile but weakest guns and armour
- Heavy tanks have big armour and guns but slow
- Medium tanks blend mobility with guns and armour but have less mobility than light tanks and less firepower/armour than heavy tanks
- Artillery has big guns with long range but super slow and no armour
- Tank Destroyers have big guns but lower armour and mobility

In order to be successful in World of Tanks all five classes need to work together in a coordination fashion, leveraging the strengths of the other classes and covering their weaknesses.

The current 'balance' such as it is in EVE for capitals seems more to be the latter with carriers at the bottom and Titans at the top (but no spy to bring down the marshal). Of course, its not as simple as that so let's take a closer look at the classes before we propose any radical changes.

Fleet Inspection

Carriers - Eventually almost every long term player owns a carrier. At one time it was the most efficient and practical solution to moving your stuff and other people's crap from point A to point B. It probably still is even with the Phoebe changes to jump range and the addition of jump fatigue because nothing compares to 1 million meters cube of assembled ship carrying capability, 40,000 meters cubed hanger for stuff, ability to jump, AND can dock at stations.

But not only are carriers great at moving stuff logistics, they also have considerable combat capability. They are one of only two ship classes that can use Fighters which can chew up battleships, and they are the pinnacle of space healing Logistics as they can use capital sized versions of the repair and cap transfer modules AND have the ability to go into triage mode which makes them even better at the role with super lock speed and longer ranged and more powerful reps.

Carriers are simply the Swiss Army knife of capitals.

Dreadnoughts - On the other hand, you have the counterpart to carriers which has two modes: damage dealer extraordinaire, or it can go into siege mode and be the "MORE DEEPS" damage dealer extraordinaire but with the risk of being immobile for five minutes.

Dreadnoughts are the hit-man of EVE when you have a target with lots of hitpoints. When battleships are not doing the job fast enough, you call in some dreads and they go siege green for a cycle or two and usually that's enough to take out almost any target not receiving active reps. It has to be a very specific type of target too, i.e. on that is not moving hardly at all because those capital guns do not have tracking or explosion speeds worth talking about.

Unlike carriers, Dreadnoughts do not do anything else.

Super Carriers - They are just like carriers except bigger, right? WRONG! They share some similar characteristics such as the bonus to logistics modules range, a large ship hanger for moving assembled ships, a large fleet hanger for moving other stuff, ability to use fighters, and all on a larger scale than the ubiquitous carrier, but it comes with a few other traits that turns it into another class entirely.

For one thing, no triage module so the effectiveness of its space healing is a fraction of what the carrier can accomplish. Secondly, it cannot dock so the ease of use of its carrying capacity is severely downgraded compared to the smaller carriers. Third, instead of fighters the super carrier class usually has Fighter Bombers which are better suited to striking large immobile or super slow moving targets for tonnes of damage whereas fighters are more capable against smaller targets. Finally, super carriers represent a massive investment of capital, more than 15 times that of a single carrier, so their use has to be carefully managed or one slip up and its gone as every hostile in thirty systems will come shoot you if you get caught to get on the killmail.

What this means is that super carriers tend to be used for the specific role similar to dreadnoughts where they jump in, use their fighter bombers to assassinate a large slow or immobile target, and then jump out.

Titans - This ship class suffers from a dual personality. On one hand, it has a capital-ship-only doomsday weapon and a fierce array of capital sized weaponry (for example, the Ragnarok can fit 6 turrets and has a 125% bonus to Capital Projectile Turret Damage per level of Minmatar Titan skill). But on the other hand, its more often used for its ability to fit a Jump Portal and sling fleets to destinations light years away on unsuspected (or suspecting as the case may be) targets, not to mention its warfare linking bonus which is less often used but still is a support role mechanic as long as off grid boosting is a thing.

To add a little to the confusion is that Titan's sport huge ship maintenance arrays (5 million m3), large fleet hangers (100,000 m3), and clone vat bays which seems to imply that its to be used in a logistical manner for moving war materiel from deployment to deployment.

So is the Titan a front line combat vessel, or a support vessel?

* * * * *

So that is the current state of capitals and the reduced role they face in light of sovereignty requiring no structure grinding on any scale. Next post I'll discuss my ideas for revamping combat capitals into a more holistic design that will fit into the new realities going forward.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Update

Mrs Kodachi is slowly recovering from her sudden appendix removal and should be home from the hospital in the next couple days. Hopefully means my routine will return to normal starting next week and blogging can resume as normal. Thanks for your well wishes and patience. :)

Thoughts On FozzieSov

I've had a very, very, VERY insane week so far to think about FozzieSov and what it means to the game if implemented as is right now. And I've had some time to listen to other pontificate / wonder / enthuse / rant about it, so I feel ready to give my impressions and thoughts on the new proposed sovereignty system.

Things I Like

- Separation of Structure Dependencies - I hated how what structures could be attacked and when was all tied together into a flow chart of doom:

It was confusing, frustrating for attackers and defenders, time consuming, and time wasting if the defender had surrendered and moved out. How many null players left the game after grinding through this flowchart in a region the defender abandoned? The new system has three simple flow charts, one for each sov structure:
I think its cool that one alliance can control the Territorial Claim Unit (TCU), one can control the Infrastructure Hub (IHUB), and another can control the Station (if present). It feels more descriptive to me of the actual situation in space than some legal wranglings of a massive flow chart; defenders huddling in a station while the attackers take the TCU and IHUB, for example.

- Freeport! - I love the idea that a fight for a station involves a period of time where the station is a freeport, i.e. both sides can dock. I can see some huge fights and casualties erupting as pilots try to evac assets from a station while the attackers start pouring in.

- No Structure Grinding (Sort Of) -Yay! No more hundreds of thousands or million of structure points to grind through multiple times to take a system! In my time in null I wasn't on a lot of structure grinds but the ones I did go on were tedious and annoying. I couldn't imagine having to do it night after night to take over an entire region.

- Constellation Matters - The idea that once a fight for a structure occurs that the corresponding command nodes that need to be captured spawn across the constellation instead of just in the system is brilliant. Since the shape of constellations varies so much and the position of systems relative to each other determines movement strategies and engagement possibilities, it really makes each battle for a constellation unique.

Things I Don't Like

- Troll-ceptor - If the fitting for the new Entosis modules are too low, its going to enable horrible gameplay where one pilot in a small nearly uncatchable interceptor is going to set off reinforcement timers over a wide area. Such a small investment of effort by one pilot requiring a significant defense response by an entire alliance is unbalanced gameplay. I think the fitting for the module should be able to be used only on a cruiser at the very least, preferably battleship in my books.

- Fast Burn - one of the best things about a battle for a system under the Faction Warfare Distributed Objective system is that a battle for a system can run for days or even weeks as long as the defenders have some ability to defensively plex as well as compete against the offensive plexers. This can lead to massive long running fights over days as both sides tug of war at that control bar. The FozzieSov system seems to resolve a lot quicker meaning prolonged fights for a structure control will be over quickly and not have that epic feel to them unless both sides are evenly matched. To be fair, there are a lot more fights to be had for control of a system (TCU, IHUB, and Station) so this might balance out in the long run.

- Four Hour Vulnerability Window - I've heard people talk about how faction warfare's system is "gamey", but this takes the cake. At least in our system you decide when a system is most vulnerable to attack based on their activity and strength compared to your own side's; the FozzieSov's mechanic of alliances setting a four hour window when they are vulnerable seems like a horrible mechanic. I understand CCP is reluctant to have constant vulnerability of structures to attack so that alliances can build empires and farms and fields and feel like they have a chance to counter, but I think that it would all balance out as pilots learn to defend the structures from attack, especially if there was some sort of de-reinforce mechanic, i.e. Attacking Alliance puts a structure into reinforce any time but they now have to guard it from being un-reinforced by Defending Alliance until the battle starts for control. This would allow us to throw out the silly mechanic for 4-hour vulnerability windows and create running battles like faction war has. Alternatively, I'd like to see the size of the vulnerability window grow or shrink depending on another factor like alliance size (#systems controlled) or something like that.

* * * * *

Overall I like where this system is heading, but I think it needs some tweaks before it hits in June.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Exhaustion

There has been light blogging this week due to a perfect storm of events. Work has been extremely busy and my wife has been ill laid up for the past few days meaning my time during the day has been a frantic juggle between getting kids to school or Dance classes, cleaning up and/or feeding them, keeping up with work where my job as Scrumlord and Architecture representative are constantly keeping me busy (as well as being a developer)... so yeah, I'm too pooped to pop blogs off.

On the upside, after 9 pm the last two nights I get done all my jobs and can relax with some PvP in EVE, netting some good fights including killing a couple Confessors and a Svipul, the former which prompted this exchange in local:

I was flying the Griffin. Good times...

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