Monday, June 26, 2017

Board Games: Scythe and Mothership

Last week was super crazy but I did get a night in to play some board games with friends. Here are some pictures from a game of Scythe and Mothership:






I came in second, evil Red found a way to come from behind and win.





Pro tip: don't send your Mothership into a scrum without support.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Prediction: Project Nova Will Not See the Light of Day

When DUST 514 was cancelled CCP quickly announced it would replace the First Person Shooter with a new shooter called Project Nova:
Project Nova is the code name for CCP's free-to-play PC first-person shooter that's being shown to the press and fans for the first time at Fanfest in Iceland.
Unlike the recently canceled PlayStation 3 title Dust 514, which tied directly into Eve Online via interactions called orbital bombardment where players in one game could influence the battles in another, there are no direct ties between Eve Online and Project Nova outside of being set in the same universe.
The news since that April 2016 article has been thin on the ground out of CCP. This past April we got some more info:
And the fans in attendance or watching the Twitch livestream got just that during the EVE Fanfest 2017 Keynote from boss man Hilmar Veigar, who says they aren’t ready to show more of the game until they really have something to show, but I managed to get a few more hints from having a long chat with Jean-Charles Gaudechon, Managing Director CCP Shanghai.
“WE’RE STILL VERY MUCH COMMITTED”
Gaudechon joined CCP in 2013 and helped with DUST 514 and then Legion (which became Project Nova). There is no official title decided upon yet for what Project Nova will be called when it releases and it likely won’t be decided upon into the game is near done.
Methinks you protest too much.

Look, you've had a year and you can't show anything new? Or at all? That's a problem. That's a sign that you are not that committed because perhaps you realize that breaking into a market as competitive and filled with quality released is a lot harder than releasing a boundary pushing Virtual Reality space dogfight  game in a fledgling industry.

In fact, I suspect the unexpected and welcomed success of EVE Valkyrie has doomed the FPS division to also ran in CCP's leadership's eyes, and more resources and attention will be diverted to that market and that development division at the expense of Project Nova.

And in the end, that is why I'm predicting we will not see Project Nova on a PC near us ever.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Anger

CCP has been having a lot of missteps this past couple months and then they really stepped into it when they decided to give out ships for accounts that got fanfest tickets: a Pacifier frigate and for early ticket sales, an Enforcer cruiser. But not just to the account that purchased the ticket, oh no, but a free ship or two to every related account. For example had I been fortunate enough to go I would have gotten three of each total for my three accounts.

Combine that math with the ghost training exploit where some people were farming 20, 30, and more accounts, and they received a huge windfall.

Normally when the community is upset about something I tend to be more laid back about it all; after all, why get angry at a game? But then I nearly threw my phone through a window after a bad Clash Royale losing streak so who am I to judge...

The important thing is that I feel this time the anger is justified. CCP has seriously messed up and seems to be more interested in damage control, deflection, and circling the wagons rather than admitting the mistake and taking steps to rectify it. There is no doubt in my mind that one set of reward ships per ticket is the correct approach here, anything else is open to exploitation.

Will I be unsubbing over this? No, for me EVE is still just a game. But am I disappointed in CCP over this? Definitely.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I'm going to try and avoid most of the tempest in the teacup over the fighter changes targeting the 1% reaping rewards in their carriers and supercarriers while ratting. Instead I'm going to point out something that should be obvious but seems to be ignored in all of this.

Capital ships should not be efficient platforms for ratting. Period.

What I mean by this is that it never made sense to me how rats never escalated or disengaged when faced with a superior force. Wormhole drifters at least were made smart enough to escalate when faced with capital ships forcing wormholers to invest more capitals in risky w-space to reap the rewards offered. And the new Blood Raiders shipyards also escalate to match the force arrayed against them. But regular anom rats? Plink away at ships orders of magnitudes larger with sub-caps while ignoring fighters ripping them to shreds.

One will argue, and often do, that the investment in a capital ship demands that ratting be easy and rewarding. The risk, they posit, comes from losing the ship to other players. Which is bullshit and we all know it. Null sec space with its intel networks, immediate local, and nearby allies means that ratting carriers dying is by far the exception and not the rule. Obviously if it was a real risk fewer players would be doing it so much and so successfully.

Besides, investment should never be considered a strong balance factor because once the investment is paid, the payout and its duration over time far outstrips it. This has been true when super Dramiels with snake implants were untouchable, it was true when Svipuls were dominating, and it was true in any other case where time/ISK investment were far outweighed by the advantage gained.

If CCP is going to allow carriers and supercarriers to be used for ratting, I think they should make it as difficult as ratting in a battleship successfully. Have rats target fighters with prejudice; have deadly capital rats spawn with capital warp scrams; or have the rats run away from the carriers. Anything to make the reward scale appropriately with the risk.

And anyone complaining that the current reward from carrier ratting is matched by high sec incursion running, I'll point out another obvious fact: two wrongs don't make a right.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hanger Cleanout

Over the past year I've been trying to slim down my hanger through attrition by using my Sunday Night Roaming fleet to use ships that otherwise don't fit into normal fleet doctrines and using them until they die.

Jan - Abaddon
Feb - Omen
Mar - Daredevil
May - Pair of comets and an Oracle I had forever

And last Sunday I broke out one of my oldest prize ships, a Vigilant cruiser, and lost it in a fight with Templis CALSF. We knew Stalence in his Megathron was bait but the night was quiet up until then and we were itching for a fight. At least we killed the bait.

At least the faction webber and warp scrambler (over 100 mil combined) both got destroyed in the explosion.


Friday, June 09, 2017

The Fine Line of Strategic Cruisers

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about Strategic Cruisers and how they fit into the meta going forward.

Currently they can perform in several roles better than the Tech II ships they emulate: heavy hitting cruiser with small signature better than a heavy assault cruiser, super tanky cloaky recon, super tanky e-war combat ship, etc. As well as being about to do other things like command boosting, nullification warping, fitting cloaks, and so on.

The idea was that the Strategic cruiser would be unable to do these roles as well as the dedicated Tech II versions for the same price magnitude but could be re-configured as needed by the owner. That didn't hold up so well as the prices fell and the risk-reward ratio for the tech III cruisers proved to be higher than the competing tech II versions.

What do I mean?

In EVE, a combat ship can be evaluated into a single number, a risk versus reward ratio. In other words, you want to maximize the reward side of the equation while minimizing the risk side.

For a pure combat ship like a Heavy Assault cruiser, this primarily comes down the the reward being its damage delivery potential on a target versus its risk of how likely it is it be caught and destroyed. While HACs have a higher reward value (i.e. more damage) than a strategic cruiser, the latter has superior signature and tank thus lowering its risk value by more, giving it a better overall ratio.

Cost plays into this ratio as well, increasing the risk as the price of the ship increases. But since a fully fit strategic cruiser is in the same price bracket as competing tech II ships, the ratio still evaluates better for the tech III ships.

In comparison, while the Tech III Destroyers easily outclass Tech I Destroyers, i.e. have much larger reward value, the risk part of the equation balances out the ratio because they are a different price bracket, and when compared to price-parity Tech II Destroyers we find they are in different roles and thus we do not need to worry about the risk-reward comparison.

CCP is faced with the question of how to balance Strategic Cruisers such a way that they are still good for pilots to own and use but don't replace Tech II cruisers in the same role. As I wrote last week, CCP have made or are going to make the changes required for Strategic Cruisers to actually be as flexible and strategic as they were originally envisioned to be, so there is a chance here for CCP to role-change the ship class out of competition with Tech II cruisers and into a new unfilled role of Multi-role Combat Cruiser.

Let's hope CCP gets it right!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Time Limits

A lot of the games I've been playing lately have one thing in common.

I've been playing Overwatch and Dreadnought (now in open beta) on my PC, and Clash Royale on my phone, because they fit into my lifestyle where having more than 15 minutes to sit down and do something is increasingly rare. Thank god for my reserved EVE night.

Again this has me thinking about the missed opportunity here for EVE to provide some sort of simplistic built in arena game play. Have 6 or 8 ships with prefit modules of certain fleet archetypes, let people queue up, and let them loose in a closed arena. Almost like an EVE ship version of Valkyrie for crying out loud. I would play the shit out of that in my spare time.

To be fair, if I could afford a VR headset and new video card, I'd be playing Valkyrie.

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