Thursday, August 27, 2015

Warship Wednesday - IJN Carriers

During my vacation I still found the occasional time to play World of Warships and continued my march up the Imperial Japanese Navy line of carriers, getting recently to the Tier VII Hiryu.
Taken from http://wikiwiki.jp/wobships/?Hiryu

There's been a lot of talk on the forums on how overpowered carriers are right now in the meta, but really what the people have most issue with is the power of the tier V-VII IJN carriers, the Zuiho, Ryujo, and Hiryu.

There is good reason for this outcry. First, the stats from the Asian server were released and it was glaringly obvious that the damage done and experience gains for those carriers were much higher than other classes which matches my experience in the ships. Secondly, these carriers are seen in battles with a lot of ships from lower tiers where Anti aircraft fire is pathetic. Battleships don't start getting reasonable AA until tier VII and higher, and escorting cruisers are not a concern until tier VI. Even if your side has a couple high tier cruisers, that's a lot of wiggle room around them to find juicy battleships and cruisers with poor awareness or rudder shift speeds to be zotted by a manual drop.

The weird thing is that IJN carriers really are their most powerful in terms of damage delivered at tier V in the Zuiho. This is because all torpedo bombers have torpedoes that do ~8600 damage each (except the stock Hosho) and starting at the Zuiho they all have 3 squadrons. As you increase in tiers they get more dive bombers using the damage plane squadron loadout but the torpedo damage potential remains constant.

Tier Name Stock Damage Mod Fighter Mod Est Dam using Damage loadout 1
IV Hosho 1/2/0 17134
V Zuiho 1/2/1 0/3/1 30301
VI Ryujo 1/2/1 0/3/2 1/2/2 34901
VII Hiryu 1/2/2 0/3/3 2/2/2 39501
VIII Shokaku 1/2/2 0/3/3 2/2/2 39501
IX Taiho 2/2/2 1/3/3 3/2/2 39501
X Hakuryu 2/3/2 1/3/4 4/2/2 44101

1 - estimate based on one hit per squadron out of four bombs/torpedoes which might be a little high for dive bombers, and a little low for torpedo bombers, but I feel is in the ballpark for my personal performance

What I found personally is that the Zuiho is godly in its power in matches unless the enemy has a very good USN carrier captain or two, and even then I'm confident I can top the damage chart for my team. As I climbed into the Ryujo and then Hiryu, I still felt very powerful but increasingly less so as more AA appears in higher tier ships.

Strangely, IJN carriers in higher tiers start to get more fighter heavy instead of damage heavy with the Shokaku and Taiho both sporting the same damage potential as the Hiryu.

The rumour mill has it that the 0.4.1 patch coming soon will have changes to address this domination by the IJN carriers. In the developer bulletin it says "[m]any Japanese and American ships have been rebalanced - detailed information coming soon!" and forum rumours have the Zuiho, Ryujo, and Hiryu all losing a torpedo bomber squadron, presumably being replaced on those loadouts with something else (my predictions: Zuiho and Ryujo get Dive Bomber for a 0/2/2 and 0/2/3 respectively while Hiryu gets a fighter squadron for a 1/2/3 loadout).

We'll see how the Hiryu feels once 0.4.1 lands, I'm hoping it still feels as fun as it does right now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Death of a Capsuleer


CCP has been getting very George R.R. Martin with its in game characters lately. Minmatar ex-prime minister's assassination two years ago was unusual. But this past summer we've seen Hilen Tukoss reportedly killed and now Jamyl Sarum, the empress of the Amarr empire, is dead at the hands of the Drifters as well.

But what's really unusual besides CCP's slide into charactercide is that both of those individuals were not only capsuleers but were in ships in space when they died. As every player knows, if you die while in your capsule, an immediate brain scan occurs and your consciousness is transferred to a brand new medical clone so you live once more.

In the case of Hilen Tukoss, the investigation of the corpse that was found floating in space at the Drifter Hive showed that there were anomalies in the brain scan upon capsule rupture (thanks Hydrostatic Lore Panel!) so he did not go successfully to his medical clone as far as we know.

For the Empress, things are not so clear to me. Its possible that in order to keep up appearance of the Doctrine of Sacred Flesh, she did not have any known medical clone anywhere (although she might have another hidden one again) so they are announcing her death but really she is alive and well somewhere else, or its possible she really is dead.

Taken at face value, these two incidents represent a couple of the unique ways a capsuleer can die even while in a pod. We may be immortal, but we're not "Immortals".

Monday, August 24, 2015

Filling In The Backlot

Back from vacation! Woo hoo! 

One of my habits when watching TV or movies is thinking about the production of the show. Where are they filming, how are the sets laid out, etc. I particularly like trying to find clues if they are filming on location or on a backlot. Some TV series, like Supernatural, often film on location with real places filling in for places in the story, which is a cheap way to get a realistic visual feel. Others, with bigger budgets and visions like movies will use a backlot to film on.

Some backlots are nothing more than empty wilderness and others are complete sets of buildings on a street like the above image but its all fake. I like trying to figure out if an outdoor city scene is a location or a backlot in a show by looking for clues that not all is as it seems. Is the street lacking potholes and defects? Are the lamp poles too devoid of endless flyers? Are the sidewalks even and facades unblemished? 

There is an unlived look to backlot city scenes, a pristine-ness that real cities never have or cannot maintain. They're scuffed, worn, dirty, damaged, repaired, replaced, recycled. They're real. 

I have a point, really I do. 

Playing in EVE often feels like living on a backlot would be as opposed to living in a real city. There are buildings but there's nobody home; there are actors but no people. In EVE, there are stations and empires and NPC ships, but it all feels like empty buildings and actors as opposed to thriving civilizations of people.

One of the biggest contributors to this empty feeling has been the inability of NPCs to shoot each other. Such a simple thing that one would think would be easy to have in a game but in EVE's legacy code NPC ships were restricted to only target players. Thus a cluster of solar systems with empires and pirate factions constantly at each other's throats was represented solely through lore stories and videos (like the start of faction war between the empires with the Empyrean Age downtime), the occasional scripted missions ("Oh no, a ship blew up! It must have been the enemy, we need you to get revenge!"), or even more rare live events where CCP actors get dressed up in lore characters and drive the narrative.

And that's what makes the recent events between the Drifters and the Amarr Empire so interesting. Here, for the first time, we have honest to goodness NPC on NPC action (oh my!).

Imperial ships firing on Drifters and vice versa represents a turning point in the backlot of EVE Online. It is now feasible for players to get caught up in the machinations and wars of the empires as opposed to only hearing about them tangentially. Imagine, a mission assigned to you where you are a small part of a larger fleet engaging an enemy fleet, everyone but you NPCs. Or exploration sites where Navies fight against pirate forces and players can join in on one side or the other. Incursions where the empires actually try to fight off the hostile forces.

The EVE universe still feels like a backlot, but at least it feels a little more real to me now.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Vacation!!


So I'm off work for the next two weeks and in the wilderness for the second week, so the blog will be silent until Aug 24th!

If you need to get a hold of me, twitter or email will be best. Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

Reply to Tweet From Susan Black

On twitter I got a message from Susan Black (@gamerchick42) about my post from earlier this week:


In a comment on that post, Ripard Teg provided a better looking graph of the data which I will post here:

The purpose of my earlier post was not to compare overall base logged in numbers from 2014 to 2015 because, as many people point out when I post about those numbers there has been a lot of mechanic changes in that time period from Phoebe on out which can contribute to that decline such as the jump changes regulating a lot of cyno alt characters to the logged off bin and ISBoxer get the much needed ban hammer.

What I was trying to investigate, and perhaps did not explain properly, was whether or not the trend of the logged in player numbers going down from the start of the summer to near the end of summer as demonstrated by 2013 and 2014's lines in the graph above, would be replicated by 2015's numbers and how closely it would match and whether it would show any deviation upwards or downwards to indicate if FozzieSov had a positive or negative impact.

My conclusion was that the low point in the summer seemed to have ended earlier than previous years so might be evidence that FozzieSov has increased player activity compared to where it would be this year had FozzieSov not been deployed. There is no question that activity is not as high as previous recent years but, as stated above, there may be mitigating mechanics changes to account for some if not all of that drop.

I hope that clears it up!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Warship Wednesday - Hidden Stats

Or: How The Fuso Battleship Went From Horrible to Awesome!


Last week I said goodbye to the stellar tier V IJN Kongo battleship and moved into the tier VI Fuso battleship... and was promptly left aghast. In my first battle I looked at a target in binocular mode and was floored when I saw my range of my artillery was only 13 km. This was a huge shock after the Kongo with its almost 20km range plus the boost from a scout plane to get me to around 24 km.

Turns out the stock Fuso has range worse than the tier IV Myogi.

If you look at the ship's modules and hover over the Fire Control System, you see its firing range is 13.2 km, and if you work your way up to the second Fire Control System, it gets a slight improvement to 14.5 km.


I resigned myself to being a short range brawler and started working on the experience for the second hull of the Fuso and last night I got. I strapped myself in, got in a match, and WHOA! Almost 19km range?!?! HOW?!

Turns out, there are some hidden stats that you need to dig for. Under the modules the second hull of the Fuso looks like this:

It gives a +9 rating improvement to artillery over the stock hull but doesn't say why. However, if you look at the right side where you can view specifics of the weapons and modules on your ship we see this for the stock hull:

If you hover over the module for the upgraded hull on the left side of the screen while having the Artillery section expanded on the right side you see the hidden stat increase:
See that? The upgraded hull gives an additional 6.6 km to the main battery firing range (probably for the badass super structure upgrade), and that's without the second fire control system's 10% bonus which might be another 2 km on top of that. Plus the spotting plane. MUHAHAHAHA


FozzieSov Preliminary Report Card

We're three weeks into the Fozzie Sov era and its time for a preliminary report card based solely on the question: are more people logged in and playing?

For a baseline, let's first look at the summer of 2014 to get an idea of the ebb and flow of players logging in over the summer with its related holidays and good weather (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).


So we can see the PCUs dip as June and July unfold and typically pick back up in the end of August.

Now, let's see how 2015 is doing:



So far we see the traditional dip starting in June but July has been trending higher than we saw in 2014. Not gob-smacking outrageous improvement, possibly not even a statistically significant improvement, but the low point of the summer so far was prior to Fozzie Sov's deployment on July 14th, not post. 

There's not enough there to say that Fozzie Sov is a success in its current form, but I am happy to report its not a failure either. And I recognize that the July 14th deployment was one more milestone on the imfamous three year plan of CCP Seagull, so the stage is set for the next big part.

Charts courtesy of EVE-Offline

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Ambush

I had plans for a couple posts late last week but then work kicked up and then the weekend hit and I was away from home and Monday was a holiday here in Canada... so here I am many days later trying to gather my thoughts again.

Anyways, I'm back in action for the blog for the rest of this week, then off for two weeks in the woods for my annual camping trip.

Carry on!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Warship Wednesday - Goodbye Zuiho, Hello Ryujo

Click for weirdness.
I've been motoring along on my tier V Battleship (Kongo) and Carrier (Zuiho) and earning experience to the point where today I was finally able to unlock the tier VI Ryujo, a carrier I have fond memories of from Closed Beta.

I moved the captain up and demounted the one upgrade I had on the Zuiho so I could install it on the Ryujo, then sold the carrier that did me very well over the past few weeks.

The Zuiho has easily been my best ship since I purchased it. I was in 27 battles, 63% victory rate which is exceptionally high, and 43 warships destroyed. My next best, the Kongo, destroyed 35 ships in 38 battles. Experience wise it was always a big earner with an average of 1630 pts and a high score of 2909, my second best after an amazing game I had once in my Isokaze destroyer where I got over 3000.

The reason I am doing so well in the Zuiho is a number of factors. First off, I practiced the crap out of manual torpedo drops in Closed Beta and I've become pretty good at it now such that I'll manually drop on cruisers and destroyers and feel confident of a hit and/or kill. (Related note, manually dropping drops is fearsome deadly and probably should be scaled back a bit.) Secondly, at tier IV most captains are still not used to facing carriers and what they should do to protect themselves, i.e. remaining situationally aware and turning hard as soon as the planes are spotted heading your way. Thirdly, AA is terri-bad all over at tier IV, only marginally better at tier V. Its not until tier VI that cruisers start to shred planes... IF they are in the right position or the carrier commander is not careful.

Combined... yeah, its been seal clubbing. For example, in the last battle in my Zuiho there was an enemy Zuiho and we both went after each other right away as luck would have it. He did auto drop torps and got a couple hits which I easily survived. I manual dropped and sunk him with 5 hits. Practice that manual drop.

On the battleship side of things, I've been doing well in the Kongo and I've got about 2-3 more battles to go before I have the 47000 experience for unlocking the fearsome Fuso. I'll miss the Kongo, its a nice vessel overall and performs well with decent speed and AA.

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