Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shhhhhhh.... Writing!

I'm concentrating on my Pod and Planet entry for the next few days so quiet on the blog front for the next few days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Return of the King

Last March I had three posts discussing the meta of ship hull sizes in the current low sec Meta. In Downward Pressure I talked about all the mechanic changes that encouraged the meta to favour smaller ship sizes. Then in Swimming in a Shark Tank I looked specifically at Battlecruisers and Battleships and their available roles in low sec and concluded that "Battleships need more abilities that other classes can't perform" in order to see more general use of the hulls. Finally in Battleship Ecosystems I talked about where Battleships might carve a niche in the meta of low sec without reverting to the "large ships only" meta of previous years.

One factor I missed in all the theorizing about the downward pressure on Battleship use in low sec was the psychological power of the ever-present threat of capital hotdrop from low sec powerhouse on any battleship operations.

Imagine you are a moderate sized faction warfare entity in this past summer and have an opposing IHub to bash to take a system. You suspect the enemy faction will form up to resist so you consider a battleship fleet that can deal the damage necessary to bash the IHub but also the tank and firepower to fight off the enemy fleet. HOWEVER, you operate within the jump range of several powerful low sec entities with access to dreads, carriers, and titans and have been known in the past to hotdrop fleet of any considerable tonnage or value. They have scouts/spies and cyno alts everywhere and the jump range of battleship-blapping dreadnoughts (with Loki webbing of course) means they can reach the entire warzone with ease any time they please.

When combining that factor with all the other downward pressures I talked about in terms of mobility and cost, the decision for fleets in the warzone was to avoid battleships and use cheaper and faster Attack Battlecruisers for when DPS was needed, and anything smaller for all other operations. Even if a hotdrop didn't occur all the time, it happened enough to create a chilling effect on the use of battleships; natural selection on ship types if you will.

Phoebe changed that dynamic much like it changed everything else related to capital ships.

With a massive jump range nerf and jump fatigue penalties, using capitals (or titan jump bridges) became a strategic decision instead of a tactical one. I've discussed how this limitation on large scale capital operations opens the door to small scale use of fewer capitals by smaller entities in local scenario, but the unexpected upshot of Phoebe is the Return of the Battleship fleet.

Without the constant threat of hotdrop from more distant entities, Battleships retake the throne as the best fleet to use for general application of heavy combat. The combination of tank, damage, and range along with micro jump drives give a battleship fleet the power to take on and hold the field against many other fleet types. This is valuable for strategic operations where holding the field is the primary objective compared to simple roaming and random encounters. While local capital are still a factor to consider, they typically don't have the numbers or backup to be an existential threat to the battleship fleet in low sec; indeed the opposite is true as we find that battleship fleets are a greater threat to small scale capital use in low sec than other capitals!

Due to the large spread in numbers, wealth, and abilities of low sec entities, not to mention the inherent nature of faction warfare complex size restrictions impacting fleet composition, I don't foresee large hull warfare dominating to the exclusion of all others. Indeed, the preliminary stats on the Amarr Confessor Tactical Destroyer promises some great fun at the lower end of the scale (both for the pilot of the ship and the pilots of the ships that get kills of them). But make no mistake... the King has returned and he's pissed.

Aideron Formup

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am like Prophet, No?

Back in September I charged that ISBoxer is equivalent to botting:

In essence, ISBoxer is just a bot that doesn't have a preset script to follow, but rather follows you.

This is why I think CCP is wrong on this issue and should change their stance. A bot is a bot is a bot. It shouldn't matter if the bot is independent or dependent on the player for their instructions, it still allows a single human to sustain larger operations over long periods of time with fewer mistakes than a human without using ISBoxer would be able to. It doesn't matter that it does not affect the economy or is not a tool of the Real Money Traders. Its a bot, and CCP should make it an exploit.
The number of commentors that disagreed with me was quite staggering, but one entity did agree with me: CCP.
Based on the discussion in this area and our will to be more clear and concise with the community regarding this part of our rules, we have decided to also apply this two-strike policy to prohibited forms of Input Broadcasting and Input Multiplexing as of January 1st 2015.
We would like to add, however, that we will not be taking action retroactively and will only be policing this policy as of January 1st, 2015.
Input Broadcasting and Input Multiplexing of actions with consequences in the EVE universe, are prohibited and will be policed in the same manner as Input Automation.

This includes, but isn’t limited to:
• Activation and control of ships and modules
• Navigation and movement within the EVE universe
• Movement of assets and items within the EVE universe
• Interaction with other characters


Minority Report

So I'm sure you've all seen the latest EVE trailer by now:
This is an awesome video. For those of us immersed in EVE it is a condensed version of the anticipation and joy and the sometimes admiration for our opponents that we feel on a weekly basis. The existing playerbase loves it and all reports point to new accounts and characters skyrocketing. This IS Eve!

Well, sorta.

Look, I hate to be a Debbie Downer here but this trailer is very misleading and the many of the people joining the game are going to be in for a shock.

I was playing Sunday night. FCing in fact. I had a good night as my fleet had a few roaming PvP fights that we won, one that we whelped, and a strategic op to defend a POCO timer. Three hours of consistent and interesting PvP activity, but if it was recorded and included in that video it would have been condensed down to less than 30 seconds.

I'm willing to bet that each of the group operations captured in that trailer accounted for 2-3 hours of play time, or in other words, 10-20 hours of PvP (and some PvE) activity squeezed like a fruit for a couple minutes of worthy trailer.

This is an awesome video, and it accurately captures the best parts of EVE, the parts that keep us logging in for years at a time (myself included), but it is NOT EVE.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More Details On Tech 3 Destroyers

Crossing Zebras had an excellent interview with CCP Fozzie and CCP Rise and some new details about the Tech 3 Tactical Destroyers were revealed.

- The most likely way to switch between the modes will be new buttons on the left hand side of the HUD near the cargo and camera and scanner buttons, probably three mutually-exclusive radio buttons, as the functionality is intrinsic to the hull as opposed to a fitting choice.

- Their strength is in switching modes between sniper, speed, and defense so while in one of those modes they will NOT be stronger than contempories specially fitted for those roles. I.e. comparing a Cormorant Sniper to a Tactical Destroyer (aka TacDes) in sniper mode we should see the specialized ship perform better. That being said, they did say that the comparison should be more against the Harpy in this example as its more of the equivalent contemporary in terms of power and price.

- As per above, a TacDes should be in the same ball-field as assault frigates in terms of price (extreme interpretation on my part here)

- The role switching will be done through switching ship hull bonuses

- The relevant bonuses will be very race themed and geared to very straight forward roles. I.e. the Amarr Confessor won't get a neutralizing bonus in one mode as it makes the modules useless in other modes. Basically, you should not feel like you want to change your ship fitting per mode. I expect to see a laser range bonus for sniping mode, speed bonus for speed mode, and armour resistance increase in tank mode, for example for the Confessor.

In my mind, its like having a beam laser fit Corercer with a module on the ship that switches between tracking enhancer and energized adaptive nano membrane and overdrive injector when clicked.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gallente Tech 3 Tactical Destroyer: Drones or Guns?

I got into a discussion in the super secret podcast channel with Connal Tara of Fly Reckless podcast fame about whether or not the Gallente version of the new Tech 3 Tactical Destroyers should be a drone ship or a gun ship.

His point of view was that Gallente does not need another drone platform as they are "rather prevalent after all" and my counter argument was that the line overall has more gun ships and that except for the Ishtar there are no decent choices for advanced drone ships in the Gallente line.

I thought I would use my blog here to expand on my point.

Ship Hull Type
Atron Frigate Guns
Incursus Frigate Guns
Tristan Frigate Drones
Catalyst Destroyer Guns
Algos Destroyer Drones
Thorax Cruiser Guns
Vexor Cruiser Drones
Myrmidon Battlecruiser Drones
Brutix Battlecruiser Guns
Talos Battlecruiser Guns
Dominix Battleship Drones
Megathron Battleship Guns
Hyperion Battleship Guns
Ares Frigate Guns
Taranis Frigate Guns
Enyo Frigate Guns
Inshkur Frigate Drones
Nemesis Frigate Missiles
Eris Destroyer Guns
Deimos Cruiser Guns
Ishtar Cruiser Drones
Phobos Cruiser Guns
Eos Battlecruiser Drones
Astarte Battlecruiser Guns
Kronos Battleship Guns
Sin Battleship Drones
Proteus Cruiser Mostly Guns

As you can see by my quick chart, most of the ships are gun ships and of the 9 drone ships you see 5 are tech 1 and only 2 of the tech 2 drone ships are main combat ships as opposed to expensive specialty ships. Specifically, the awesome Ishtar heavy assault cruiser and the Ishkur assault frigate which I find rather underwhelming compared to its Tech 1 Incursus ancestor.

On the other hand, there are 16 gun ships excluding the Proteus, 8 of them tech 2, with 3 of them what I would consider "combat" ships: the Taranis, Enyo, and Deimos. Also, if you count the Proteus which is often found in a gun setup when used as a combat ship, that's yet another advanced Gallente ship with guns.

So yeah, I feel that I would most like to see the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer as a advanced drone boat to balance the scales a bit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EVE Industry Status Tool v0.1 Complete

My experiment in Python coding is complete for a first iteration. I present to you, EVE Industry Status Tool version 0.1.

Click to embiggen.
Its rough. No, really rough. I need to work on widget placement strategy, I want to explore tabs because some statuses are more important than others, I want to look into adding contract status, corporate office asset lists, etc. But overall I'm pretty pleased, it gives me 90% of the information I need at a glance without having to log in or fight with EVEMon.

If anyone wants to beta test it, let me know. It requires no installation, just a zip file you unzip to a folder, and a config file you edit to put in your CEO's appropriate key and validating code.


Zloco @4d3m1RR asked on twitter "What is thi EVEOnline Now? #tweetfleet"

So I went to the address and I found this:

It appears to be a unified page of dev blog posts and images. Was this announced and I missed it?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pod and Planet Fiction Contest

The annual Pod and Planet fiction contest is once again upon us!

As it sounds, it's a fiction writing contest, for stories based on EVE. The stories can be set in the rich world of the New Eden milieu, or in the background of the interactive game world. Your choice-- write, create, sharpen up your story-telling skills, and maybe win a nice prize.

This will be the third one of these in three years. Check out the Reading Bank page for links to the 165 tales the EVE community produced in the first two contests. There was some surprisingly good stuff. By pro writers, regular writers, and people writing fiction for the first time ever. We have some really intelligent and talented people playing this game.
There are 32 billion ISK worth of prizes including a 4 billion ISK top prize. My entry from last year is called The Life of Nina Cruse and while I'm really proud of that piece I was quite bummed when it didn't even register in the honourable mentions for its category. I talked to one of the judges and I suspect that my liberties with the neural transfer technology might have rubbed some of the lore master judges the wrong way in the category that was meant for fiction true to the lore.

No matter, its a new year and a new contest and I plan to enter again! If you have a writer hiding in you I hope you enter too. You have until December 3rd.

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