Friday, May 25, 2018

Welcoming the New Triglavian Overlords

Into the Abyss will include the Damavik Frigate, the Vedmak Cruiser, and the Leshak Battleship. These will be supported with a full line of small, medium and large Entropic Disintegrators as well as Entropic Radiation Sinks to upgrade their damage and rate of fire. New ‘Precursor’ skills will be required to make use of this hardware, and those skills can also be found in Abyssal Deadspace.
So things to find in Abyssal space:
- ship blueprints (frigate, cruiser, and battleship)
- entropic disintigrators blueprints (light, heavy, and "Supratidal")
- entropic radiation sink blueprints
- skillbooks

The prereqs for the skillbooks do not look too intense on Singularity right now and I believe that will carry over to Tranquility.

In the dev blog they talk a bit about the weapons:
On release, the maximum charge amount will be 150% or 2.5x the base damage on the turret. To get an idea of what that means, the Leshak Battleship will easily push out over 2500 DPS at full charge. The time it takes to reach full charge will vary, but you can expect a time around 80 seconds for the Frigate, 120 seconds for the Cruiser, and 140 seconds for the Battleship thanks to its rate of fire bonus. 
This massive damage potential is balanced by the fact that weapon deactivation, for any reason, resets damage to the base amount. Deactivation could happen because of direct disruption, such as ECM, but range also plays a huge role. Unlike other turrets, Entropic Disintegrators have no falloff range and they deactivate immediately if the target leaves optimal. Range control will be critical when dealing with Triglavians, whether you’re the pilot or the opponent. 
The last must-know for Disintegrators is that they only use one turret hardpoint. Consequently, Triglavian ships enjoy several utility high slots which can be used for a range of purposes. You will see NPC Triglavians favoring remote armor repair, but players may choose energy warfare, smartbombs, or exploration equipment.
 And at the end of the blog:
We expect Triglavian ships to be especially powerful in environments where targets go down slowly. This includes small gang, Factional Warfare, and especially wormhole engagements. We also expect to be surprised with player innovation, as always, and to make sure those surprises don’t get out of hand, we’ve already set aside time to make follow-up balance adjustments shortly after release. 
Looking even further down the line, we intend to flesh out the Precursor skillset with more ships and weapons that push the boundaries in EVE combat. We hope Triglavians set the stage for what’s possible going forward and we hope you enjoy these powerful new options in the capsuleer arsenal.
I can definitely see value for these ships and weapons in small gangs coming up against a target with a big tank; hold them for a couple minutes until the entropic disintigrator hits full charge and then begins to melt them. But we will have to wait and see if the ship has the survivability, mobility, and utility to make the wait for the weapon worth it.

Diving into the abyss in 4 days!

Friday, May 18, 2018

More Thoughts on Abyssal Space

As the pressure of a busy spring begins to fade, and I am finally recovered from two weekends in a row camping in the woods with hordes of crazy kids and not enough blankets (I swear, I slept so poorly I swear my face felt like it was melting last Sunday), my interest in the upcoming Into the Abyss expansion for EVE grows.

Beautiful, but chilly.
I'm glad that CCP is looking closely at the effects of mutaplasimds on potentionally overpowered modules, but I still have concerns that large coalitions will weaponize statistics to overcome the randomness. Call me cautiously optimistic on that point.

I'm looking forward to diving into Abyssal space and trying it out, the design decision to limit it to cruisers only is a good idea as it makes it easier to balance the content against a single class of ships rather than all battleships, strategic crusiers, HACs, Mauraders, etc.

On the industrial side, I might look into becoming a builder of the new Triglavian ships if the build requirements are not too crazy and getting the BPCs frequently enough is possible. Might need another Raitaru for ship production!

Speaking of the industrial side of things, the 6th month May audit is coming up in the last week of May. I'm currently building a Fortizar as a test experiment with an eye into finding someway to secure a Fortizar BPO in the future. Have to keep dreaming.

See you in the Abyss!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Return to Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition

Its been at least 5 years if not more since I sat down with my friends for a game of TI 3rd Ed, one of the most intensive grand strategy board games in existence. 

There were 5 of us for this game, playing with almost all the optional rules from the Shattered Empire expansion. I was the Xxcha Kingdom (yellow), Dave was the Mentak Coalition (Orange), Clayton was the L1Z1X (blue), Andrew the Jol-Nar Universities (purple), and Chad as the Yssaril (green). 

Click to enlarge any of the pictures.

Game setup. I have less space being in the 5th spot so I got 6 bonus trade goods off the bat. Yellow and Green got 4, while purple and blue got more space. As you can see, there is a swath of systems with no planets cutting off purple from everyone else. This is crucial later on.

First moves. People with two carriers have an early advantage.

Turn 2. I ran into some native insurgents at the second planet I tried to take and lost all my ground troops. This not only stymied my early expansion, but left green free to take Hope's End beside Mecatol Rex, the only adjacent planet to the ancient imperial seat. Blue beings making aggressive moves by placing a fleet on a wormhole.

I was very frustrated and pinched between green and orange. I felt I had been dealt a fatal blow at this early point.

Is blue threatening green via the wormhole? Or purple?

Turn 3. I sent a new fleet on High Alert from warfare strategy card to take Tar'Mann in force, meanwhile the blue fleet started an eternal war with orange, the latter who held the upper hand after the first battles.

Meanwhile, the purple fish people build up ships and technology.

I don't want to start a war with orange as he is fighting blue and keeping blue contained; I worried if I struck at orange blue would get too strong. I didn't want to start a war with green as he was the only challenge to purple's growing fleets. So I decided to go for Mecatol Rex for that sweet 6 influence and hoping really to jump start a green/purple conflict.

Turn 4ish. Blue and orange's war gets bloody and blue's fleets get decimated. My secret objective is to take a home system so I decide to try for blue's weakened capital, but purple took the Warfare strategy (to deny it to me out of fear) so I could not get there right away. I attack instead the adjacent system while using Diplomacy to make sure Mecatol Rex cannot be attacked this turn. However, between when I attack the Sumerian system and when I can next move that fleet, blue builds at least twice in his home system and makes his defenses more than I can overcome. I retreat back to Mecatol Rex and fortify my position there to try and hold it as long as I can, still waiting for the purple/green war to erupt.

The peak of my power. Purple growing very advanced and very strong, and green's fleets are not threatening them at all much to my frustration. Meanwhile, blue retakes the space I held and starts a counter-offensive against orange.

The War for Mecatol Rex. Unbeknownst to everyone, both purple and green had secret objectives for taking Mecatol Rex (whereas I did not, but I knew from experience that someone must have). My large fleet seen in the last photo was engaged by a green invasion force, but the dice gods were slightly in my favour and I badly damaged the green fleet down to just two damage dreadnoughts, including killing the invasion force. Then, purple fleet swooped in and killed the crippled green fleet before having their ground invasion stalled by my diplomat. 

Meanwhile, orange and blue are setting up fleets for another round in their grudge match.

Next turn we see blue executing an end run around orange's front line fleet to attack an exposed flank. Orange would counter attack with everything in the system beside it, exposing it to a green attack who took it and three planet for a public objective about taking three planets in a turn.

Purple, having used a strategy card to secretly see the next public objective card, knows it says "Have fleets of at least 4 ships in two other home systems == Win the Game" and starts making plans for three turns to do exactly that, abandoning plans to take Mecatol Rex for his secret objective card. The plans start to come to fruition here as he uses warfare and the Mecatol Rex fleet to attack and hold blue's home system just after blue lost a battle to orange.

Here we see green's fleet that took the three planets for an objective point, putting him in the lead overall.

And here we see the other half of purple's plan as he swooped through an unguarded wormhole to blockade and conquer green's home system. 

And the stage II objective that let's purple win the game is exposed at the beginning of turn 9 (or 10?)! But he needs the round to get to the objective phase at the end of all the players' actions to claim it.
So here is how the game ended: green was in the lead with 5 vps (thanks to that three planet grab two turns before), and several of us right behind him at 4. However, the game winning public objective is up that give purple the win regardless was up and there was not a lot of fleets left to fight him and his advanced tech. However, green was speaker and picked Bureaucracy strategy card and with three Stage II objectives left, one of them was Imperium Rex which ends the game immediately, and the card lets the player draw two and pick one meaning there was a good chance green could pick up the Imperium Rex and win early.

However, the turn before all that happened I made a desperate play to try and take orange's exposed homeworld for my 2 point secret objective. He had only a damaged dreadnought and I had a destroyer and cruiser. Had I successfully taken out the damaged dread, I could land on the planet unopposed, claiming 2 VPs to put me in the lead ahead of green, thus meaning green would have had the choice of picking to end the game immediately if he drew the Imperium Rex card and giving me the win, or not playing it and letting purple win with the fleets in the home systems objective card.
Doesn't matter as the dice gods abandoned me and I could not kill the damaged orange dreadnought before it took out both of my ships.

Thus, green played the Bureaucracy, drew two objective cards and one of them was Imperium Rex. He played that one and being in the lead, won the game right out from under purple's nose.

Personal Analysis:

I let that early bad luck of losing my invasion ground forces against NPCs at Tarr'Man get in my head and I played too aggressively after that, although hold Mecatol Rex change the flow of the game and was nice having all the influence it gave. Had I turtled a little bit more, I might have had more stuff to throw at Orange's home system and get that VP lead later on.

The board layout was icky; had there been more planets to hold closer to Mecatol Rex, there might have been more fighting there and green and orange might not have squeezed me so much, and purple would not have been able to build up unopposed possibly.

Oh well, it was an amazing fun game and next time... *shakes fist*

Busy Boy

I've been exceptionally busy at work and at home so blogging has suffered. I do know I have to do an audit of my industrial project this month, its coming later in May. Stay tuned.

As a bonus, I have a new Twilight Imperium 3rd ed battle report coming today.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

War, War Never Changes

For a low sec Faction Warfare alliance, we sure are spending a lot of time in null sec lately with numerous timers, CTAs, and fleet actions!

Last fall going into null sec was a diversion from a war zone that had grown stale and quiet as Caldari Militia licked their wounds, but multiple successes turned the expeditionary force into an occupancy force for the Gallente Militia and Galmilistan was born in Cloud Ring region.

The big attraction for holding on to these systems in Cloud Ring are these two little icons...
Those two things are Outposts, and on June 5th CCP is going to do a one time conversion of all outposts in the game to special faction Citadels, items that cannot be gotten in any other manner in game ever again. From the dev blog:

Each of these new faction Citadels will have the stats of an improved Fortizar, and share the Fortizar’s docking restrictions. Each will gain a set of special bonuses connected to their former station identity: combining the defensive benefits of a Fortizar with extra bonuses usually reserved for more vulnerable structures.
- The Minmatar Outpost replacement Citadels will gain a bonus to reprocessing (smaller than the bonus on Refineries)
- The Amarr Outpost replacement Citadels will gain bonuses to manufacturing (smaller than the bonus on Engineering Complexes)
- The Caldari Outpost replacement Citadels will gain bonuses to research (smaller than the bonus on Engineering Complexes)
- The Gallente Outpost replacement Citadels will have an extra service module slot and gain a bonus to service module fuel use
- The “Immensea” Conquerable Station replacement Citadels will gain extra defensive benefits, hitpoints and slots as well as milder versions of the bonuses from the other four faction Citadels.
These new faction Citadels will be able to be unanchored, scooped and redeployed just like any other Upwell structure. They will not be manufacturable by capsuleers.
The faction Citadels replacing upgraded Outposts will receive another exclusive benefit: new special edition faction structure rigs. Which of these powerful rigs you receive will depend on the upgrades installed on the Outpost being replaced. The combined Outpost upgrades installed on each Outpost will all be added to a single faction rig so that the other two rig slots will remain free for use with normal L-set rigs. 
Like the faction Citadels themselves, these rigs will be exclusive to the Outpost upgrade event and no more will ever be added to New Eden. These rigs will begin installed and will be destroyed if removed or if their host Citadel is unanchored (just like a normal rig).
Needless to say, these are going to be very valuable assets to the owning corporations on June 5th, so other entities are poking around the edges of existing owners and their space looking for weak spots where these outposts can be conquered before then and held until after the conversion.

Hence the timers, defenses, and CTAs. For now, we are a sov holding entity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Initial Post Fanfest Thoughts

Disclaimer: I have not had time to dig into all of the information released about the new Abyssal pockets, Triglavian NPCs, and mutation mechanics for modules coming for the May expansion Into The Abyss. But here are some initial thoughts I have from the event and what I did pick up.

New Space: The Abyssal space sounds like just another type of wormhole space, but leaving nothing to chance this time to ensure players don't unexpectedly decide to move in and live there. On one hand that makes me disappointed about long term exploration possibilities since its basically feels like just instanced mission dungeons, but on the other hand I'm excited for the weird effects and environments these pockets can have and the new PvE content that they can host.

New Ships, New Weapon System: Ambivalent overall. I love the look of these new ships, but the new weapon system that increases damage over time (hello Inferno Dragon!) sounds great at first, like a weapon that smaller groups could employ against larger super fleets, but I suspect much like Strategic Cruisers, will find greatest use in mass numbers that large coalitions can bring together. Big losers might be the smaller elite groups that depend on up-shipping to maintain dominance.

Module Mutations: Random mechanics always sound neat at first, just like invention did when it first released. But here is a hard truth about random mechanics: you do enough of them, the randomness is eliminated via statistics. Ultimately the randomness will only punish the small guys trying out the mechanics, and the big producers will reap the benefits of the new powerful modules. Plus balancing these new mutated modules is going to be a pain, and ultimately will be the new benchmark for PvP ships if they come down in price. Remember, cost is not good a balancing factor.

Overall the feeling is hopeful pessimism. A lot of the devil is in the details of this expansion, so I eagerly await the dev blogs on some of this new material.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Triglavian Medium Cruiser in Yulai

One of the new Triglavian ships was in Yulai for a couple days this past weekend and I took my sightseeing alt Ninveah there to check it out and take some pictures.

Pictures do not do this model justice. Even with all the damage it is a beautiful ship.

WHAT WE KNOW: quick summary, we know there are three new ship models for the Triglavian Collective, frigate, cruiser (above), and battleship. We suspect that these ships are beating the snot out of Drifters (who are also getting a couple new ship models). The ship above was piloted by a CONCORD NPC and was "in quarantine" before docking at the DED station.

I currently suspect that these are going to be new "pirate" faction ships, perhaps to fill the Caldari-Minmatar crossover. Or rather I hope so. More NPC ships a la the Drifters would kinda suck.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fanfest is Coming... I Hope Its Good

Last year's EVE Fanfest in Iceland left me feeling un-enthused about EVE and it has lingered for the interceding year, culminating in my plea from January, "Come on CCP, give me something to blog for".

Since then we have heard whisperings about new ships from heretofore unknown faction called the Triglavian Collectivenew Drifter ships, and improvements to Upwell structure mechanics. My interest has been piqued.

I'm cautiously optimistic about Fanfest this year, I'm hoping for a big reveal or two that will energize me going into the next year. I have no illusions about Faction Warfare getting any love though; I'm optimistic, not insane.

Come on CCP, give me something more to blog for. :)

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