Tuesday, December 01, 2015


My current computer was 5 years old and while it ran EVE fine, it was starting to get long in the tooth despite an upgrade to add an SSD drive last fall. I tried to upgrade the RAM from 2 GB to 4 GB so I could play Call of Duty Ghosts but the motherboard rejected it despite a BIOS update. But I could survive, even if I couldn't run Fraps while playing games or enjoy my Call of Duty games.

But then we ran into a problem. The Boys like playing Minecraft together but only one of them could handle the 10 FPS on the old computer with the 19 inch screen. While this was not an earth shattering issue, it was starting to cause some irritation.

Well, I came into some money recently and got permission to upgrade my main computer so the 5 year old PC could be handed down the chain and replace the 9 year old PC.

I didn't get a top of the line machine, but I'm pretty pleased with the ASUS machine I picked up on sale. The CPU and video card are decently rated and I have ordered a 250 GB SSD drive to throw in later. I can record EVE at 60 FPS with no lag and highest graphics so I hope to get to making videos again.

 Here's the spec sheet for you hardware experts.

Processor Type - Intel Core i5-6400 up to 3.3 GHz
Processor Speed  - 3.3 GHz
RAM - 8 GB DDR4 2133 MHz
Hard Drive Capacity - 1 TB SATA HDD
Hard Drive Speed (Revolutions Per Minute) - 7200 rpm
Optical Drive - Super Multi DVD RW
Pre-loaded Operating System - Windows 10 64-bit
Graphics Card - AMD Radeon R9-370 2 GB (1 HDMI, 2 DVI, 1 DP)
Dedicated Graphic Card - Yes
Video Memory - 2 GB

Friday, November 27, 2015

Seismic Shift

DISCLAIMER: Sadly this post has nothing to do with Seismic Stan.

If you live and fight and die in low sec, you might want to brace yourself for the coming seismic shift in the meta scheduled for December 8th. There are not one, not two, but THREE whole new classes of four ships each coming that will completely disrupt the current meta and throw all known doctrines into disarray for at least a couple months.

First off we have the new navy E-war frigates:
Navy Maulus
With instability spreading across the cluster, the Empire navies are hard at work developing new ships to reward and equip their dedicated loyalist Capsuleers. Four new Navy Disruption Frigates are rolling off the assembly lines, wielding powerful electronic warfare systems alongside strong applied damage. These ships are an excellent match for small gang and solo pvpers.
Despite already having tech I and II e-war frigates, these ships promise to up the ante in the novice plexes where the tech II version cannot dwell, with short range but powerful combat capabilities. These ships are not earth shattering, but only the start of the shift.

Up next we have tech II logsitics frigates:

New Tech Two versions of the remote-repairing Support Frigates are being released, opening up new progression paths for your friendly neighborhood Logibros. These ships are especially well suited for supporting fleets of fast-moving Frigates and Destroyers without falling behind the pack.
This is going to be interesting as there is definite hole between the light tech I logi frigs and the tech I cruisers, something tougher than the former and faster than the latter. I can see destroyer fleets especially benefiting from these little medics.

Finally we have the mind-blowing Tech II Command Destroyers:
Four new Tech II Destroyers that favor defense and speed and can fit the powerful and versatile area-of-affect Micro Jump Field Generators, which microjump you and any ships nearby far from your current location.
These things are going to upset all corners of null, low, and wormhole space but low sec especially will see extensive use of these things. We can`t even comprehend all the uses yet! Chaining multiple command dessie jumps in a row to fling a fleet multiple hundred km jumps away, pulling enemy fleets apart to take on smaller numbers at a time, getting the jump on kiters, surprising station campers, the list goes on and on. Fleets that are precisely composed and constructed and need to have the logi wing exactly X km from the DPS wing are going to need to be watchful that enemy ships don't infiltrate one or two of these and rip those fleets apart. You've got 9 seconds to react, good luck.

Each one of these new classes individually has the potential to shake up the established doctrines and common knowledge, combined they will overturn almost every aspect of low sec combat.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I am an amateur artist, specifically sketching with pencils. I started way back in university and did it for a couple years but stopped. Recently I've taken up pad and pencil again in an effort to get some ideas for a novel out of my head and found I still enjoyed the feeling of creating images with naught but my hand.

Anyway, my EVE-fanatic son Twin B asked me to draw him a ship from the game and of course I had to do a Rifter. First I eyeballed a couple from an old EON magazine and then I tried freehand drawing one.

I'm not happy with the freehand Rifter. The nacelles are too far apart. But practice practice practice...

Warship Wednesday -

Since the beginning of November I've been on a tear for improving my win rate going from a low of 50.86% on Oct 31 to a current high of 53.94% as of today.

I believe the drop from ~52% to under 51% was due running in the lower tiers with the new Russian destroyers and German cruisers where the quality of players can run the spectrum from excellent to horrible in random groups, and as I rose the ranks into the tier IV and V range the players are more experienced and the results of good play more consistent. Also, I found my grove in certain ships like the tier V Furataka cruiser which can be dominating in same tier play with its big 203mm guns and decent durability, plus I got all the upgrades for the Amagi and New Mexico battleships, both solid in their respective tiers. Also, I found that a second go around with the Bogue tier V carrier using the all damage strike pattern worked for me and I had some good success with that to close out the training for the Independence which I've just got yesterday.

On top of those factors, I also really adjusted my battleship play and have been trying to less aggressive with my big brawlers so I can avoid over-committing, which is a problem I tend to have in the early game, especially if I'm at the top tier in the match. This has improved my win rate in the Amagi to 54% over 35 battles.

So I mentioned I just got into the Independence after finally getting the Bogue under control. Its tier VI and starts with a balanced 1/1/1 loadout which is nice compared to the painful loadouts of the Bogue, but after having decent success with the strike loadout I might try the same thing in the Indy when the module is unlocked. I'm also starting up in the IJN Aoba tier VI cruiser, and still working on the Konigsberg at tier V. I haven't made much progress with the tier IV Izyaslav destroyer as I've been working the new long term missions and the destroyer mission required tier V destroyers of which I have none in port at the moment. 

Speaking of the missions, there are four of them, one for each ship type. I easily completed the battleship one since I have three battleships of tier V or higher, and the carrier one is almost done, just need about one torp hit on an opposing carrier to complete it. The Cruiser challenge requires 100 plane kills and I have about 51 and 4 days to do it using the three cruisers I have. Its gonna be a tough one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Echo Chamber

A couple weeks ago I talked about how the Kickstarter to write a fictionalize account of the Fountain War was struggling because it was too ambitious and a little tone deaf: 
Think of it with this narrative: the winner of the war, the side who started the war for all intents and purposes to simply bring low a competing organization, is now promoting a book to glorify their victory at the same time they can whitewash any unpleasantness or missteps under the guise of "fictionalizing" the story so it makes a good read.
On top of all that, continuing the "Grrr Goons" narrative, the target goal of $150K seems like a blatant money grab, overcharging in the kick starter to make EVE players foot the bill of producing what feels like a victory-lap propaganda piece.
From that perspective, again one I do not share, it is not surprising to see the kickstarter struggling.
I want to reiterate that I would like to see this initiative succeed even if the end result is not my cup of tea. I also honestly believe that this is not a money grab by the Mitanni or any of the related individuals at TheMitanni.com.

But the tone deafness and lack of self awareness coming out of that camp via this post by Sion Kumitomo titled "Shake It Off" is almost painful to read. Near the end:
Because you know what? That hurts us all. And you know what else? Mittani will still be here, with the thousands of swarm brethren and the black ships of the Imperial Armada at his back. Your impotent /r/eve badposts won't save you from the wrath of our guns any more this time around than it did any of the others.
You can't disparage the community at large for reacting poorly to a Goons led initiative when you have spent a decade or more building an Us Versus Them narrative in the meta-sphere. Take a look at that paragraph I quoted The attitude in that paragraph is so tone deaf yet no instinct in the writer's body said that in a post trying to take the high road and chastise people for being reflexive jerks it was sorely out of place.

Goons have spent ten years looking down their noses at everyone Not-Goon or not allied so much that they do not know how to engage the community at large as equals. They have spent so much time in their Goon-persona laughing at "fails", "pubbies", and "scrublords" that when its time to take the mask off to treat everyone like human beings they act surprised when the other side can't forgive and forget as easily.

Look at that paragraph I quoted again. In a post trying to change the attitude of the other side it seems very out of place, yet very typically goon, to remind everyone "we're bigger and better than you and there is nothing you can do about it". Its sad really.

I suspect what happened when all is said and done and an honest retrospective can be had, the leaders behind this will realize that they were caught up in their own echo chamber telling themselves how much everyone liked them and how they were capable of anything, and its understandable when you consider all of the successes that goons have enjoyed over the years that one could get caught up in the hubris of it all. But a stark reality check was required that was missed. Someone outside the circle to say "this can't be a goon led thing because people HATE goons and don't trust them... this is not a surprise because you BUILT that reputation on purpose and reveled in it for years".

Rixx Javix was mentioned in the post by Sion Kumitomo in a paragraph that again highlights the need for a good editor over at TheMitanni.com:
Moreover, let's not pretend that any of this controversy is anything other than it is.
It's not "Mittani is making money!" It isn't just CCP that monetizes players, this is something you see fairly frequently across EVE. Rixx Javixx had a gofundme so that he could produce artwork that he's partnered with CCP on and for which he presumably gets a cut. Sort Dragon's gofundme for a new computer so he could keep leading fleets and delivering content had a similar result. Avalloc sells people Bees and Test paraphernalia. Markee Dragon, Mad Ani (who now streams Star Citizen), any website with ads (including CZ, EN24, and this one), server drives, selling IT help, FC's getting accounts paid, workers for alliance interests getting PLEX, and more. The commonality here is that is that someone somewhere is making money. Where is the outrage over these self-interested charlatans?

Rixx was understandably upset about it being implied that he is part of a group of "self-interested charlatans". I think that Sion's writing needed quotes around those last three words to highlight that he was being sarcastic or something, but regardless, this is indicative of how the whole post comes across as a temper tantrum. You'd think someone in Goonswarm would understand that any time you put yourself out there in the public interwebs to expect the slings and barbs of trolls and haters. To rail against it all is really a "Leave Brittany Alone" moment here and a part of me drinks up the delicious goon tears even though I'm sad that the kickstarter itself is failing.

In the end, Sion Kumitomo is right in that the failure is a loss for the community. Hopefully instead of blaming everyone else he and others involved can take a good hard look at themselves first.

NOTE: This post title is a reference to back in 2011 when The Mitanni said in an interview about CSM6:
[Interviewer] 6.) Many community members have said that the strong 0.0 message of the elected CSM members, including yourself, is bad for the future of EVE. How do you respond to such accusations?
[The Mitanni] :Two things. First, the ‘community’ in the context of sites like Eve Report means ‘the eve blog community and #tweetfleet’, which is a niche of the game’s population with an unfortunate tendency to assume that their echo chamber actually represents /everyone/, rather than people who blog about a space game – and eve bloggers don’t seem to have much to do with nullsec.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Suspension of Belief

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about
what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.
Because of Space-Magic
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, its only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?
* * * * *

CCP has done a marvelous job at combining game mechanics and the game's lore over ten years.

Want to have players simply respawn? Cloning and neural transfers. Want players to learn skills over time? Implants. Want players to be considered near-god-like figures in the universe? Capsuleers with perfect control over their ships. The list goes on and the environment is rich for additional extrapolation with near god-like technical abilities that the people of New Eden have access to. I have tried my hand at combining game mechanics and lore in the past as well:
Common Damage Types Used in Naval Parlance
Essay - The Unintended Rise of the Capsuleer and its Effects On Cluster Politics
The Non-Signatory Factions to the Yulai Convention
Time Dilation
Stargates - Introduction to Cluster Politics

However, there are some instances where it falls down and no amount of techno-babble or hand waving can save grace. How massive ships are assembled in seconds in stations, for example, or why the empires allow capsuleers to wage massive destruction within their borders, or why suicide ganking is considered a viable form of gameplay (although that last one can be explained by 'capsuleers are all psychotic crazies' which is not far from the truth).

Its these instances of stretches of imagination that somewhat break the suspension of disbelief and pull us out of the game's environment, but its a necessary evil because no one really wants to play a realistic game that puts all the same constraints and limitations on us that real life already does. Suspension of belief in these cases is required to allow us to continue to enjoy the game due to the mechanics and gameplay as opposed to the explanation behind it.

Which brings us to Citadels.

CCP was faced with a difficult problem. They wanted to create massive player built structures that could effectively replace outposts of starbases but didn't want to accept the risk-reward model of either one: outposts have relatively high risk (high price tag and risk when deploying the egg) and high reward (all the functionality of a station and is invulnerable and you don't lose your stuff but can be locked from it); while starbases have low risk (low price tag, relatively fast and quiet setup) and low reward (living out of a POS is painful and requires fueling, vulnerable to attack). In order to cleave this problem cleanly for citadels they opted for a middle road where citadels offer a lot of the reward of outposts with some of the risk of starbases (i.e. destruction).

All is well and good except a roadblock to the hybrid model presented itself. Players, either individually or via corporations/alliances, store massive amounts of stuff in stations and outposts, dwarfing the piddly amounts found in starbases. The added risk of complete and utter loss of material could be enough risk to prevent widespread adoption of citadels which was directly opposed to CCP's plans. The hybrid reward model needed a hybrid risk model and thus born was the mechanic that your stuff in citadels didn't get lost, but rather simply impounded at the nearest NPC station and liberated for a fee. (Super capitals, wormholes, exceptions, etcetera) But how do you explain this via the lore? What possible reason could there be for this mechanic in the universe that houses the game?

One solution would be to simply accept that mechanic needs trump lore needs and that a suspension of belief is called for to resolve the issue. Another option, which I suspect CCP will lean toward, is to posit that the new NPC corporation that is providing the background for the introduction of citadels will also provide the in game infrastructure for securing and transporting player/corporation assets in the event of a catastrophic citadel failure, and that capsuleers pay for this insurance via fees and everyone understands that interfering with any asset recovery will mean immediate lockout from all citadels in New Eden (much how I try to explain why players do not directly interfere with stargates).

In the end, the important overriding concern is if the game is fun. All else can be sacrificed on the altar to ensure this goal.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Upwards Pressure

I've talked about downward and upward pressure before in relation to the optimal ship size that players feel compelled to select. For example  tiericide that improved frigates and cruisers put downward pressure on the ships player's selected. Warp speed changes also did this. However, micro jump drives put upwards pressure on the equation.

Recently we've been introduced to the massive overhaul of capitals that I covered in some detail here, and coming soon are new tech II Command Destroyers as described by CCP Rise:

So here's the basics. We are adding a new line of Tech II destroyers based on the Algos, Dragoon, Corax and Talwar along with a new type of module called the Micro Jump Field Generator, which the new Destroyers will have exclusive access to. I'm going to go through some basic questions here at the top and then give you all the details after.
These two things have something in common that makes me step back and go hmmmmm...

First off, from the capital dev blog about new doomsdays we have the Hand of God:
 Doomsday Codename: Hand of God
Utilizing Jump Drive technology, the Hand of God will generate an anomaly in space. After a short period of time, anything that isn't a structure or capital class ship will be teleported, together, to a random location in the same system away from the Titan, while the titan stays put. While the effect isn't powerful enough to teleport capitals, it will disrupt their warp and jump drives for a period of time.
And then from the Command Destroyers post:
Second, how exactly does the Micro Jump Field Generator work? This module is exactly like a Micro Jump Drive except that when it fires, it pulls any ships nearby along with it for the jump. There's a lot of specifics to consider here but the big restrictions you need to know are that you cannot use this module in high sec, you can not pull invulnerable targets (ships that have just undocked or just jumped through a gate and are still cloaked), you can not move capitals, and you can not jump into starbase shields. You CAN however do a lot of really crazy thing such as pull bombs that are midair, pull dictor bubbles or chain multiple jumps in a row using several Command Destroyers. As for numbers, we have a base spool up time of 9 seconds, a reactivation delay of 160 seconds, a pull radius of 6km from the ship and a jump distance of 100km. The module requires 5 PG and 31 CPU to fit and requires the same skill as normal MJDs to use.
The common theme here is that players are starting to get the ability to move enemy ships via some mechanism other than bumping. And not just a single ship, but multiple hostile ships. This is what we in the blogging community call a "BIG DEAL". The titan's Hand of God doomsday is one thing that will have impact on large fights involving Titans with that weapon installed; its safe to say its impact will be minimal to most of the EVE playerbase. But a destroyer based hull? That has massive long reaching ramifications in null sec, low sec, and wormhole space. The most obvious use is disrupting hostile logistics wings but there are so many other possibilities.

But what does it mean to the meta? This common theme of getting to relocate enemy ships points to, I believe, CCP game designers trying to break up the blob even more than the Fozzie Sov implementation has already tried to do. By giving players area of effect tools to disrupt enemy fleets, it will force fleets to spread out more to try and negate some of the impact. Furthermore, it will put pressure on players to be more self-sufficient in surviving as the frequency they find themselves without portions of their fleet should increase.

Due to this increase on self-reliance, I expect an overall slight upwards pressure on optimal ship sizes for players in fleets because larger ships have greater survivability when separated from the fleet or separated from logistics than smaller ships do. I could be wrong; it might be that smaller ships have better chances of regrouping after a hostile forced-micro-jump, but my gut suggests otherwise.


BONUS: CCP Rise on twitter asked for a shot of all four command dessies for the O7 show this afternoon and I send him this:
I'm so proud. Look out Rixx! Next poster will be mine...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Eyes

I recently tweeted a picture of my twin seven year old sons, S and L, playing EVE together.

My son S is a true geek at heart. He loves Star Wars, space ships, minecraft, computers, tablets, etc with an enthusiasm that is one part adorable and one part infuriating. "Yes, son, I know you wish X-Wings were real, you've told me a thousand times!"

He's been wishing he could play EVE for a while but I've told him no on account of needing a lot of ability to read the menu commands at the very least. But this year in grade 2 he and his brother have become very proficient readers and I decided to let him take the plunge. His twin, L, of course wanted in on the action as well. So with my close supervision, I helped them make some test characters on free trial accounts until letting them make more permanent characters on a couple of my accounts. Their favourite part of character creation was making the butts jiggle... they are 7 after all.

Soon they were in game and killing rats and looting wrecks ("Is this thing rare, dad!?" and "Can I use this dad?!"), mining asteroids ("Look at all the ore I got! I'm going to reprocess it for lots of tritanium and then sell 59 of it!" followed by "Oh yeah? I'm selling two nocxium and I'll get more money because its more rare!"), and buying new ships after I gave them a little seed money, L went with the trusty Punisher while S decided to mine all the things with a new Venture. Look out mineral cartels.

L, aka Julia Cak

S, aka Rose Alina

S planning his future conquests
Its been quite the ride guiding them through the experience of learning EVE and appreciating some things (god, it does look beautiful) and still frustrated by some things (like the map, even the Beta one, still so unintuitive). Their joy is infectious however, and makes me appreciate the game again.

I plan to keep them on my accounts and make use of the plex-for-second-skill-queue feature for one child, while simply stopping training on my alt for the other child as I don't need that alt to get anything more at the moment.

If you are in the Chaven area in Domain, wave at Julia Cak or Rose Alina if you see them, they are probably mining or ratting and having fun.

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