Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Winners and Losers

The latest dev blog pretty much confirms that the summer's expansion is going to have a heavy focus on basic heavy industry. Called Building Better Worlds it outlines some pretty massive changes to industry and science that, when coupled with the mineral changes announced previously (in Reprocess All The Things), upset the apple carts in very fundamental ways.

Let's hit the major points and try to determine the winners and losers of each one.

Changing Market Groups - This one is neutral. While some of the re-grouping will make more sense, people used to the old way will get turned around until they learn the new categorizations.

Icons on Market Groups -
Winners: Everyone. More icons to break the wall o' text.
Losers: No one.

No More Damage to Parts In Builds -
Winners: Everyone. This makes sense and will relieve some unnecessary complications.
Losers: No one.

Removal of Extra Materials -
Winners: People getting into manufacturing or people setting up spreadsheets and trying to figure out how Material Efficiency.
Losers: People with existing spreadsheets, and coupled with the reprocessing changes, anyone planning on reprocessing stuff for minerals.

Removing Industry and Science Slots -
Winners: Alright, now we get into the big one. What we are basically doing is trading a time bottleneck for a cost bottleneck, and the big outstanding question is how much the cost scaling will impact the bottom line. At first the big winners will be small time producers who will no longer be dissuaded from the insane wait times in high sec stations for almost any activity slot and who don't mind spending a bit more ISK for their efforts. At first. But as bigger producers decide to reduce risk with the changes to blueprint usage I expect the stations in high sec to actually become more busy and thus drive costs up all over as they can more easily absorb the extra costs than small producers can.
Losers: Short term, no one. Long term, small scale producers will find themselves squeezed out by shrinking margins and forced to look into low sec or null sec.

Starbases Anchored (almost) Anywhere In High Sec And Without Standings Reqs
Winners: You think high sec is polluted with starbases now, wait until this change goes through! This is going to encourage more small groups and individuals to anchor POSes and allow more use of their unique mineral compression and research capabilities. No word on if the fuel requirement for charters is going away though, so assuming it isn't, big winners are people that produce those charters and small groups/individuals that want their own POS. As well as high sec war deccers that will have something to force the targets to fight or give up.
Losers: Small groups / individuals that don't understand the Byzantine controls and roles of starbases, nor how to protect for high sec war decs. High standing corporation creators (a niche but profitable occupation).

Blueprints must now be present at POS to start research / industry jobs
Winners: Hard to find a winner here. Perhaps some high sec war dec corporations might get the opportunity for some rich BPO drops from a POS bash. Corp thieves in corps that mess up security in the POS hangers.
Losers: Large organized POS farmers who kept their blueprints safe and locked down in station hangers and are now faced with the added risks of putting the BPO in the POS, or the added cost and effort of making BPCs. More on this subject from my corpmate Lockefox at his blog.

Copy Time Reduction
Winners: Hard to say. There is going to be a lot more copying going on in order to use copies in POSes instead of originals, but some copy pack manufactures might benefit from faster turnaround. On the other hand, those high end copy pack producers used POSes to make the copies so it might be a wash and loss for them.
Losers: Anyone who depended on the long copy time to reduce availability / supply of a particular item. Another perspective at EVE-fail blog.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Aideron Open Fleet : Flight of the Incursii!!

I'll be running another open fleet on Monday April 21st 0015 (Sunday night EST @ 8:15 pm), forming up in the Essence Gal-Mil HQ system of Fliet, or Charmerout / Yvangier if you're nervous about venturing into low sec without being in the fleet. 

Desired ships are Incursus hulls of all stripes: Incursus, Enyo, Ishkur, and Utu. If you can't fly one of these, Navitas Logi or any other frigate is welcome as this is a "for fun" roam instead of "serious business".

Hope you can make it!

Bright Lights, Big City

When I started my EVE blogging career back in late 2006, I never intended to become known. It was something I just did for myself. As Crazy Kinux pulled together the first EVE bloggers into the blog pack, I was one of about 20 EVE blogs and near the top in terms of output. It was a small insular community, a tiny fraction of the playerbase that was not well known outside a few reader.

But in 2007 and 2008 blogging as a hobby for EVE players exploded and the roll of blogs skyrocketed from a handful to over 500. Those were the heady days as podcasts were just finding their listenership as smartphone prevalence was still low, and Twitter was not yet born and streaming on Twitch was a fantasy. News sites like and didn't exist yet either so the only competition for the information and news that blogs provided was the cesspits that were forums.

Into this environment I found myself one of the more popular blogs as I had a lot more time to write tomes for posts and I had very little competition. I had a regular writing and editing gig at the EVE Tribune news site and for EON Magazine. For a while, I became a little space famous.

For me, I was at a perfect level of fame. Well known enough to be regularly recognized when in space and get shoutouts and occasional fanmails for my writing, but not so popular as to attract griefers who wanted to ruin my gameplay to make a name for themselves. I didn't get rich from my fame but if I ever needed a helping hand or was looking for a place to hang my hat, I had lots of offers. 

Alas, it all came to an end around 2011 as a new breed of better bloggers started to arise like the charismatic Rixx Javix and Robo-Blogger Ripard Teg, coupled with the new wider reaching mediums of podcasts, Twitter, and Twitch streaming, and the rise of new sites. On top of all that, I had a new job that required a lot more of my time and effort leaving less for in depth blogging. 

That's not to say I still don't get benefits from my fame. When I was looking to go back into Planetary Interaction in wormholes, I had an offer right away. When I was moving into Orca production, I had a partner to assist in defraying costs email me the next day. 

I may no longer be Space Famous, but my previous brush with celebrity status still pays dividends.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Banter 55 : Famous or Infamous

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 54th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

* * * * *

Last Blog Banter we talked about heroes in EVE Online. The followup to that topic has been provided by Wilhelm aka The Ancient Gaming Noob:

Write about somebody who is "space famous" and why you hate/admire them, somebody who isn't space famous but you think should be or will be, or discuss space fame in general, what it means, and how people end up so famous.
I'd like to add another take on the subject, is there a cost of being famous in EVE and if so, is it worth the price?


Morphisat's Blog - Fame
Eveoganda - The Cost of Fame
Sand, Cider and Spaceships - Space-Famous
BadWrongFun - Space Famous
Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah - Bright Light, Big City
Another GD EVE Blog - Fa-aaaame (fame!)
Roc's Ramblings - Infamous
Khanid Kataphract - Famous to me

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Need New Blog Banter Ideas

My backlog of blog banter ideas is running low and I would like to solicit suggestions from the community. If you have an idea or ideas, please comment here or email me at kkodachi gmail com.

People in Glass Houses...

Last night was a quiet night and I was plexing in Heydieles, more looking for fights than Loyalty Points. We had a small gang (~4 of us) for the plexing effort but everyone else was next door in Indregulle farming LPs.

I'm watching short scan when I see an Imperial Navy Slicer appear. I'm in my trusty Rixx Javix Special Incursus, so while a Faction frig versus Tech I frig may seem unfair I have the high ground and lots of PvP experience. I'm willing to take this fight. Sure enough, here comes the Slicer. I'm locking him and scramming him right away and he returns the favour with a neutralizer thrown in. His lasers slice through my shields and I activate the armour reppers and get ready to cycle the cap injector. Drone out, guns hot, we're on!

Its a tough, close fight. Its antimatter versus multifrequency and he's actively repairing like me. I manage my overheat to get more damage and repair without burning out my modules. My nanite paste in the ancillary repper is gone in short order. We're both taking damage and repping it, but who was going to break first?

I still hit the scanner every chance to see if more bad guys are coming when I see a Police Pursuit Comet on scan. Not good. I overheat weapons again hoping to kill the slicer before the Comet lands. Its on grid, locking me, and throwing its drones on me... but the Slicer is down! And my friends are arriving as well. I tried to grab point on the Comet but he beats it and warps off leaving his drones behind. I collect loot and post a "gf" in local before warping off to the gate to go back to Fliet to repair my barely functioning ship and log.

The Slicer pilot responds:
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:13 ] Kirith Kodachi > gf
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:22 ] Sturmvogel Ichinumi > gf

Then I see this in local from the Comet pilot:
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:30 ] ADA W0NG > good shit with boost
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:37 ] ADA W0NG > shame
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:37 ] Kirith Kodachi > NO BOOST BABY!
[ 2014.04.08 02:04:46 ] ADA W0NG > and 2 v 4?

I was stunned into silence.

The hypocrisy is strong in this one. Let's review shall we? I engage with a Slicer by myself and we fight for a good minute or two before the Comet, a corpmate of the Slicer pilot, jumps into the plex and attacks me, turning the odds from 1:1 to a 2:1 fight. And then when my friends join up, all of them in Tech 1 frigs and our opponents in Faction frigs I might add, turning the tables and giving us the 2:1 advantage, he complains in local.

ADA W0NG, next time you and your buddies message me before engaging and I'll be sure to arrange an appropriate equal-sides fight for you at the sun, OK? I mean, that's the EVE way, right? *sarcasm*

Monday, April 07, 2014

Endorsements for CSM9

Once again we're in the election cycle for Council of Stellar Management and I feel compelled to endorse candidates to vote for. For details on how I pick my endorsements, see this post from last year called "Earning Endorsements".

This year I'm going to give my top 5 candidates followed by several others that are on my list. I will admit I have not had time to listen to all candidate interviews but I'm listened to many and I think I have a feel for what I'd like to see.

1) Sugar Kyle

A fellow long time blogger and low sec resident, I was initially worried that Sugar would be too passive or laid back to discuss topics with the other CSM members if elected based on her writing style and perceived personality. After several interviews on podcasts I saw I had the wrong impression and she moved quickly up the ladder from a possible vote selection to my top vote selection. Smart, good communicator, and understands the fabric of low sec space? Yes please!

2) Ali Aras

Ali has been a standout member of CSM 8 and I like a lot about her and her approach to CSM duties. My one concern is her demonstrated inability on Declarations of War podcast to swing punches with Alekseyev Karde and Ninjaturtle in impromptu debates and I wonder if in CSM confines she is better debating with typed words rather than spoken (something I am very familiar with). Regardless, the word from other CSMs is universally positive so my concern is low.

3) Mike Azariah

My third endorsement from last year is the same this year! I'm pleased with how Mike did on the CSM and I see no reason to not endorse him again. His viewpoint on casual high sec play is valuable in a room dominated by intense "serious" players from other regions.

4) Psychotic Monk

I endorsed him last year and still think he would bring a good differing viewpoint to the table. I wish he had blogged more since last year to get more visibility and see more on his views.

5) mynnna

I was not surprised that mynnna performed well on the CSM 8 because Goons take the role seriously and only send candidates to the elections that will work hard at representing them. I was surprised during his interviews for this election cycle how much I agreed with what he said, and coupled with the praise from other CSM8 members, convinced me that it would behoove me to show him my support. Conversely, I cannot stress how much I don't endorse Sion Kumitomo, the other Goon candidate.

* * * * *

Other candidates on my list in no particular order:
Mangala Solaris
DJ FunkyBacon
Xander Phoena
James Arget
Steve Ronuken
Asayanami Dei

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Willful Ignorance

I've been listening to the interviews of CSM 9 candidates on Cap Stable podcast and got to the one for Sion Kumitomo, one of the CFC / Goonswarm candidates (with Mynnna being the other official candidate). Listening to his interview infuriated me.

In November of 2012 I wrote about the stagnancy of null sec in a post called "Why So Stagnant?". Let's review what I said then:
The reason for the stagnation is that the null sec alliances at the top have been too successful for their own good.
What do I mean by that? Well, I think that the reason we don't see new FCs rising into the spotlight is because we don't see new alliances and power blocs rising into the spotlight anymore, and the reason we don't see alliances coming on strong out of the gate is because the current null sec power holders have become so good at the fleet doctrine meta that any new competition is quickly smashed and routed before they can get a foothold. The only way to get a new alliance into null sec is to find a benefactor or sponsor and thus accept their FCs and doctrines and command structure over yours. In other words, new FCs are not rising to prominence because current FCs are already so good at their jobs. 
Now this is not to say that current alliances are purposefully keeping new pilots out of fleet command opportunities. In fact, every alliance I've ever been associated with has had training programs to create new FCs and I have no reason to doubt the current powers that be are any different. But the reason we don't see any new major coalition level FCs (or at least very many) is because the current class is very very good at their job already. 
Contributing to this stratified ceiling is the increasing size and coordination of fleets that the current power blocs can muster (specifically the HBC and CFC but not limited exclusively to them). In the past, a big fleet was 100-150 pilots for a major conflict, and getting all pilots in the right ships with the right fits was an exercise in near futility. These days it seems that each side can fill out multiple fleets and each one has pilots in perfectly standardized fits that work in the doctrines. If you are not up to the numbers and professionalism of the current crop of null sec alliance war machines, you are not going to be in null sec long. More importantly, you are not going to break the stagnation as a result.
Here we are, about 15 months later, and nothing has changed. Even worse, if we take Sion Kumitomo as an exemplar of high level sov null sec opinion, the current leaders of sov null sec can't see that they themselves are to blame for the stagnation, not CCP's mechanics. Sure, the Dominion mechanics do not help in the matter but the fact is that the professional gamers in the null sec coalitions' leadership have min-maxed those mechanics to the point where they have built a great wall around sov null sec to keep everyone out but themselves and then sit around complaining there is no one new to fight. And should someone new try to scale that wall, the incumbents use those same mechanics to strangle the life out of them.

At this point, I can only assume that Sion and other leaders of null sec are practicing willful ignorance. Everyone there refusing to admit their own culpability in the state of null sec because they all sit there with guns to each other's head knowing if they accept responsibility and put down the gun that the others will execute them for trying to break the stagnation.

Another point I had issue with was Sion's disdain for renting empires. He seems to think that renting was forced upon them by the changes to Technetium but doesn't see renting as a good alternative. I thought to myself, what is the alternative? Renting is actually a pretty good system for sov null sec: the income is derived bottom up by lots of pilots instead of a handful, and renting empires are distributed and vulnerable to disruption by the enemy... if massive agreements/treaties like the B0tLords Accords didn't exist to prevent meaningful combat in those arenas. Would Sion like to go back to a single source of income so the coalitions could fund their massive wall-protecting war machines again? Ultimately, as long as alliances and coalitions "live beyond their means" of their own pilots and space, renting is the best of bad options for income generation. Perhaps CCP can add more income generators for these space communist empires, but I suspect now that they are hooked on sweet renter payments, they will never give them up. These are professional EVE players after all, and will always move to min-max the equation.

In the end, I fear the only way the wall will come down is for the current null sec residents to quit from boredom. Any change that CCP introduces will be consumed and gamed by the entrenched professionals whose investment in the status quo ensures that only their desire to stop guarding the wall will see it breached.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Learning Lessons

Being an Fleet Commander means trying to know everything about everything all at once. In other words, trying to form an accurate picture about what is going on all around you and your fleet so that you can make the right decisions to minimize loss and maximize the opponents' losses. And when you fail to succeed in that task, when something is missing from your mental picture, you can make disastrous decisions.

Take last night for example.

I had a small fleet of Tech 1 frigates at my disposal and had just come from a fight in Deven and my scouts were looking at targets in Heydieles in a couple complexes. The targets were over 44 AU away so I had the rest of the fleet jump in and align to the complex to speed our arrival when the scouts went in to tackle. As we aligned a neutral Catalyst destroyer landed.

So here is the mental picture in my head. I know the Catalyst pilot is alone for 14 AU because the deep scan is clear. We have two logi pilots here so we have enough reps to avoid his damage if he chooses to attack. I'm the only low security status pilot so if he starts to lock me I'll just warp off.

"He's yellow boxing me," Athalia reports over comms. "And he's redboxing me!"

Yet, the neutral on the overview remains neutral. And my brain breaks. Overview malfunction? Did someone engage and didn't say? What the hell?! Something was missing in my mental picture and the who scenario fell apart like a truck with a broken axle.

I gave the order to engage to try and save our pilot and to my fleet members' credit they most certainly did but the sentry guns opened up and our ships were not built for that type of fight. We ran after a couple of losses.

As we regrouped and reshipped I continued to go over what had happened. What did I miss? How did he engage freely on Athalia under gate guns? Sec status? Fine. Kill rights? No. Did we shoot first. No. Then someone said the magic words... "I bet we still have suspect timers from the first fight." OF COURSE! WE WERE ALL BAD GUYS!

In the earlier fight in Deven we engaged some neutrals during the fight and received suspect timers for our efforts. Since I'm so used to fighting war targets, and I'm personally engage-able anywhere due to having a low sec status, I completely forgot about suspect flags on our fleet. That's why the neutral could engage us without sentry guns vapourizing him.

Lesson of the day: Remember when you have suspect timers in your fleet! Related: know the low sec status pilots too.

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