Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Great Moon Mining Operation Migration of 2017

The devs released a blog detailing more information about the upcoming Refinery structures and the changes to moon mining:
For anyone looking for a TL;DR here’s your convenient summary:
 Refineries coming this winter
 New Moon Mining Paradigm
Must extract ore from moon to space, mine and reprocess it to get the moon materials
Refineries use exclusive moon drill service module to extract ore from moon to space
Only one Refinery can mine each moon at a time
New Ores
20 New moon ores that are mined from moon extraction
Reprocessed into 1 main moon material and other minerals (moon or regular)
Only available in asteroids created from moon drill process
Moon Composition and Distribution
Moon composition to be a percentage of different ores
Mix of moon ores and existing ores
Full reset of moon distribution on Expansion Release
Moon Survey Improvements coming in August
Friendlier looking UI for results of Moon Composition
“Copy to clipboard” function
Indication of probe missing target
Timer for results from each probe
We can look at the provided information and make some predictions.

1) The current profit centre of buying raw moon material and refining it in a POS to resell on the market for a profit will cease to exist for all intents and purposes due to the ease and security of setting up a Refinery. No more dealing with POS  mechanics like setting them up, fueling them, and silo micro management. When ease of production comes into play, profit margins decrease.

2) The redistribution of moon ores will cause some upheaval in null and low sec space, not only because the location of valuable moons will have changed, but moon mining operations requires actually miners to extract the wealth for refining, thus alliances will need to be close enough to guard the structures and pilots using them.

3) Small groups (alliances/corps) making money from moons will be more difficult as the number of trusted people needed to run a moon mining operation increases. I.e. operational security is easy when its two people running it, but loose lips/spies will make it harder to extract the wealth without more cost.

4) It will be easy for smaller groups to get into low end moon mining as mid range value moons will actually be profitable. Right now a moon is either valuable or not, but the new model where many ores of different types and amounts will make more moons feasible for mining.

I plan to exploit this moon land rush by building as many of the refineries as I possibly can this winter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Time to Revisit My Strategic Cruiser

The revamp to Strategic Cruisers has come and gone and today I finally checked my hanger to see what happened to my sole Proteus.


As you can see, it was a cloaky combat cruiser with multiple long range tackling mods and a decent offensive capability, basically a sneaky heavy tackler.

Now it has two more turret hardpoints but loses the two magnetic field stabilizers. It has also gained a 50m3 drone bay (25 mbit bandwidth) it didn't have before. Here are how the subsystems shook out:


I'll have to sit down with a ship fitting tool like Osium and see if I need to get new subsystems. At first glance, the ship is still the same heavy tackler but now with more guns and less stabs, probably shaking out to similar DPS in the end. I still have the range boost warp scrambler and disruptor, but I might see if there are better propulsion modules available to me. Overall, not too bad.

Now to actually use it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Captain's Quarters - Potential Never To Be Realized

Way back in 2012 I posted an imaginary backlog overview for Team Avatar about the future direction of the Captain's Quarters had the Summer of Rage had not occurred and scuttled CCP's plans for walking in stations:

Story #22317 - Sharing Space
Description - As a user I want the ability to invite another user into my captain's quarters.
Conditions of Acceptance - Provides the other character is in the same station and online: a user can send an invite to them. If accepted, they appear in the user's quarters (transition method can be immersion breaking for now).

Comments - I know there are some technical hurdles to overcome but social interaction in a shared space is fundamental to Incarna and its pivotal we get there even in a baby step. If we can have the new character walk in through the door, that would be awesome, but I'll settle for a teleport at this stage.

Story #22318 - Sitting Down With Other Character
Description - As a user I want to be able to sit down on a couch that another character is sitting upon.
Conditions of Acceptance - I can sit on a couch that already has a character sitting on it.
Comments - Would be nice if the couch in captain's quarters had two-three sitting spots you could pick from, and you can't pick a spot currently occupied by someone else. This is story is to allow players to have their avatars look comfortable while socializing.
Story #22319 - Add prototype Tic-Tac-Toe Minigame
Description - as a user whose character is sitting on the couch, I want to click on the holoscreen and choose to play a game of Tic-Tac-Toe (our prototype minigame for testing and development purposes)
Comments - This story is to develop the infrastructure for launching mini-game interfaces. Assume the user can pick from multiple mini-games.
Story #22320 - Allow two players to participate in Minigame.
Description - As a player with a visiting player, I want to play the minigame with the visiting player instead of against AI.
Conditions of Acceptance - The resident player (i.e. the player who owns the captain's quarters) can start a minigame and allow the second visitor player to take the position usually played by the game AI. The player avatar names are listed indicated who is who on the minigame interface, and the winner is obvious in a screenshot.
Comments - Once we have two people in a captain's quarters and a minigame interface, it makes logical sense to allow the two players to play again each other.
Epic Story #22321 - More Minigames
Description - As a user I want to have a choice of multiple minigames
Conditions of Acceptance - Mulitple minigames are added to the interface to choose from.
Description - This epic is going to be broken down into stories for each of the minigames we are developing such as Sec Wars, Jita Hold 'Em, and Rogue Drone Invaders.
Story #22322 - Gambling
Description - As a user playing a minigame against a visiting player, I want the ability to wage bets on the outcome.
Conditions of Acceptance - The bets can only be in ISK at this time. There must be a confirmation after both players have made their bets and hit OK so that they can make sure they were not cheated in the betting by a last second edit by their opponent. The winner wins the total pot of the bet. A draw will see the bets returned to the players. A forfeit through quitting or logging off will count as a loss and thus the other player wins the bet.
Comments - Eve players love to gamble, let's give them the ability to. NOW Incarna will have the compelling content to encourage players to use it.
* * * * *
We're way beyond what we can fit in this release (and maybe the next!) but let me through up the future epics to give you an idea of where we are headed.
Epic Story #22323 - More Visitors
Description - As a user I want to be able to invite and host up to 5 other players in my quarters.
Epic Story #22324 - Persistent Quarters
Description - As a user I want to be able to rent a permanent Captain Quarters in a station such that I can decorate it and furnish it as I see fit.
Epic Story #22325 - Upgradable Quarters
Description - As a user I want to be able to upgrade my quarters to a larger and more luxurious model so that hosting 5 other players does not feel crowded.
Epic Story #22326 - Furnishings In NeX
Description - As a user I want to be able to purchase furnishings for my rented permanent quarters,  to decorate it to my tastes.
Epic Story #22327 - Establishments
Description - As a user I want to be able to leave my captain's and go to a station's public establishment where other players docked in the same station might also go.
I really believe there was room in the EVE universe for this vision or something like it where gameplay, even just of the casual sort, could exist for players NOT in a spaceship. I say 'was' because today CCP announced they were retiring the feature entirely to save on maintenance effort:

The Future
Taking usage metrics and development time need for maintenance into account, along with the fact that captain’s quarters uses older middleware and technologies that slow down or block discussion of future engineering efforts, we have decided that the time has come to retire captain’s quarters with the August release.
Retiring captain’s quarters frees up a significant amount of development time that can be used elsewhere to focus on preparing the EVE Online client and the graphics technology used within it for a long and visually stunning future. This allows Team TriLambda to dedicate more of their time to the core of gameplay in New Eden – spaceships, and space.
[...]
Bringing captain’s quarters up to a standard that would reflect current graphics technology would take roughly 6-8 months of development work, which we feel for the percentage of players utilizing the feature, is not a sensible investment of development time that could be used on furthering the visual side of core gameplay in New Eden.
As explained earlier, the current condition of captain’s quarters means that the underlying infrastructure would need to be stripped out of the client and rebuilt from scratch.
 In other words, we fucked up the initial implementation so bad while ignoring space gameplay that players got mad so we stopped all development and support for new features for years and thus players didn't adopt it so we have no reason to continue supporting it. 

At least they recognize that they assassinated their own stillborn child and at least have the decency to bury it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Recovering

I went radio silent last week because my wife had some planned surgery on June 30th and since then I've been taking care of the three boys, aged 9, 9, and 7 by myself as she heals.

I took the week off work and I knew that staying at home would be insane. Kids just off school, bored from the lack of constant stimulation of friends and class , bickering with each other, destroying the house faster than it can be repaired... yeah, screw that. So I planned a lot of activities while I was taking care of them that left very little time for me to relax.

We visited my parents' place one day with its large pool, we went to a large playground/splashpad in Ottawa, we went to a large wave pool, and then attended a family re-union at a cottage on a lake. I have swam more in the past week than I did for the entire previous year.

I have also sat and played games for a grand total of zero minutes overall.

Today I'm back at work where stealing 15 minutes to write a blog post is feasible.

Hopefully back to EVE and blogging regularly this week. Ah, so nice to sit down.

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.

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