Monday, September 19, 2016

Take The Shot

Our roam had brought our little kitchen sink fleet to Kedama looking for trouble. Outside of a large Caldari Militia fleet in Martoh, where they were working hard to flip the system during a current push on the warzone, low sec was not teeming with targets and a few pirates in Kedama had caught out attention.

Local chat lit up with someone claiming another pilot in a Dominix was a bait ship for a fleet of battleships one system over. While we were checking out a large plex the accused Dominix pilot warped in on us and I was faced with the decision: warp away or engage?

The Dominix is a typical bait ship and the chatter in local made me think it was definitely a trap, but on the other hand just last week we caught a solo Dominix on a gate and killed it, and even earlier tonight a Rattlesnake pilot allowed himself to fight and get destroyed. So while I strongly suspected the current ship was a trap I felt it was worth taking the shot. Who knows? Maybe he is alone (after all, a battleship fleet is very rare in low sec just roaming around) or maybe we can kill him before reinforcements arrive.

Alas, it was not meant to be. We got him into armour when the reinforcing battleships started to arrive and I sent the rest of the fleet away. I was caught in the trap but it was just a Thorax so I didn't mind.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Aideron Robotics Is Recruiting

Created by Billy Daniels of Aideron Robotics.

Aideron Robotics is recruiting! 

Firing Up The Forges

I took a break from building capitals over the summer as the Placid market adjusted from the capital changes and the end of World War Bee. I decided to move to more personal capital construction for pilots in my corporation and the Gallente Militia, as well as anyone else interested of course.

This means that profit margins will be far lower, much closer to material and factory costs. I've held off on Astrahus production for the moment while the capital orders get up to speed but I'll still build those occasionally to keep the dust off the BPOs. I toyed with the idea of trying to build a Fortizar as the margins on selling that were large, but I don't want to commit all of my liquid ISK to a bit of a gamble with the Engineering Complexes on their way in November which I plan to jump on like I did with the Astrahus production and make some of that early adopter profit. Assuming, of course, that the Eng Plexes have similar BPO and material costs as the Citadels did.

The Eng Plexes also present a different consideration than Citadels did. With the latter, I had no great need to set one up for my production operations as public stations sufficed well enough, but the former might present an opportunity to lower factory costs if the cost of copying BPOs and fueling the Complex is overall cheaper than using public factories. Something to consider, especially if I share the Plex with other like-minded individuals.

Still, need the details on these new structures before any plans can be made for sure.

November is Coming.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The War On Logi - Boosting Update

Last December I wrote a post on how CCP has been making a lot of changes to the game mechanics that increase player participation while at the same time decrease the effectiveness of Logistics ships, i.e. Space Healers. I noted how the changes to remote rep modules to have optimal ranges and reduced effectiveness in fall off range was part of a plan to reduce logi's ability to easily repair ships in the fleet and then I ended that post with the following:

The War on Logi is part of a broader campaign the CCP has been launching that could be titled The War on the Blob (TM). There have been many initiatives over the past year to make players more active in piloting their ship and fighting with thought and intent rather than just locking primary and hitting F1, broadcast for reps.
- changes to fleet warp mechanics
- killing multi-input aides like ISBoxer
- Phoebe jump mechanics nerfing capital jumping tactical and strategic utility
- Fozzie Sov's distributed capture warfare mechanics across constellations
- Force Recons getting Dscan immunity
In the future:
- area of effect doomsdays (Scythe, Hand of God) and more area of effect electronic warfare
- Remote Rep capital blobs will be a thing of the past as Force Aux cannot repair each other under triage
- Dreadnoughts / titans getting weapons for fighting subcaps
- carriers with long distance fighter operations
- much larger grids
All of these things have, to one degree or another, negative impacts on mindless blob warfare, forcing fleets to spread out at a minimum and think and act more independent at a maximum. Expect to see more features and changes that encourage smaller groups of capable individuals and discourage n+1 blob warfare.
Now we have coming in November a massive change to the underpinnings of modern EVE fleet warfare, warfare links moving from off grid fleet effect to on grid area of affect as described in detail in this dev blog. I think this is the latest salvo in the War On Logi.

Back in 2011 I wrote a soon-to-obsolete EVE Masterclass article on fleet boosting called The Mechanics of Command, and in that article I layout all the skills, modules, ships, and implants that deal with boosting. I use a theoretical pilot named Joe to give examples of how the math adds up:
 Pilot Joe has Armored Warfare V, Armored Warfare Specialist V, and an Armored Warfare Mindlink implant. Using the Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence on a normal battlecruiser he gives 22.5% bonus to all armour resistances to the ships he is boosting in fleet. However, the same pilot and module in a Damnation Fleet command ship with Command Ship skill at level IV gives a 25.2% bonus to armour resistances, and he could fit and activate two more warfare link modules as well.
If pilot Joe trained up for a Legion strategic cruiser and fit his Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence module on it with the Warfare Processor subsystem and Amarr Defensive Subsystem skill at level V, he would give a 28.12% bonus to armour resistances.
That is one warfare link, the "Armoured Warfare Link - Passive Defence" module, and a properly fit Tech 3 Strategic Cruiser can fit three of the modules. As you can see, the end result of a trained up pilot with implants and command ship is a dramatic improvement to the ships in the fleet. There aree three armour warfare links:
Armored Warfare Link - Damage Control: Reduces the capacitor need of remote and local armour repairers by 2%.
Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defence: Increases armour resistances by 2%.
Armored Warfare Link - Rapid Repair: Reduces the duration of remote and local armour repairers by 2%. 
So imagine a Legion or Loki with those three warfare links running for the fleet, with perfect skills and fancy implant, and the fleet having a wing of Guardians with faster ~28% Remote armour repairers aiding ships with ~28% better armour resistances... the impact is dramatic, and all from a ship relatively safe in deep space far from the fight, unaffected by enemy tackle, Ewar, or weapons. Shield warfare links have similar effects.

Come November that is all changed. Now a boosting pilot will be on grid and have to watch out for enemy attacks. They may have to decide between being in range of the Logi wing to boost their reppers or being in range of the DPS ships to boost their resistances. Fleets may need multiple boosting pilots to cover both circumstances, or to step up and replace lost boosters when they get alpha'd off the field. With all the coordination required and danger involved, it seems nearly impossible to achieve the same end result of having your fleet get boosted resistances and faster and more efficient logi reps all at the same time for the duration of the whole fight.

Another successful broadside from CCP in the War on Logi.

Hey, as an upside to this change, fleets that that practice and perfect getting as many boosts consistently applied to the fleet as possible will have a serious advantage over fleets that don't master that art form, unlike the current situation where it is trivial for both sides to get perfect boosts for the whole fight. This is a chance for elite alliances to shine.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Ten Years

This day ten years ago I downloaded EVE Online and created Kirith Kodachi and began my two week trial.

Stolen from Kokatu
I remember the first time I heard about EVE it was from a friend describing how he was in a stealth bomber hunting an industrial ship in an asteroid belt. The target got away, but his enthusiasm was contagious and I read up on the internet about this space game. When I saw the picture of the Caldari Wyvern mothership I knew I had to try it out.

I almost didn't survive those first two weeks, but my friend saved me from high sec missions and I realzied that "doing things with others" was the secret sauce to this game. I didn't start writing about EVE on my blog until the beginning of October when I recorded:

3) EvE. I admit it, I'm right damn hooked. So hooked that this blog is now going to see some EvE blogging along with the warhammer stuff. Its my gaming blog after all, its just been that warhammer was my main fix.

Sigh. I decided to start posting my EvE ramblings here because I noticed today that on a corp forum board I am part of I amassed 48 posts in less than a month, putting me in fourth place of the most posts. First has only 99 and he's been on since June 16th. I am sick, sick, sick.

I started EvE after many weeks of waffling and browsing the web for info on it. What finally convinced me to join was the method of increasing your "level" by learning skill points. Basically, you set a skill to train and it takes a set amount of time based on your attributes and the skill in question. This training even occurs when you are offline so I can get a more powerful character without playing constantly. The lower time commitment required to get into the game sold me and I love it.

I started on Sept 9 and followed the tutorial over a couple sessions. It took about 2 hours to complete everything the tutorial had to show but it was so worth it. By the time the tutorial was finished I was comfortable enough to set out on my own. Being a Caldari pilot my first non-newb ship was a Heron which I later realized was a mistake. The Heron is more for electronic warfare and not straight up fighting, but I didn't know that. I died after a few missions in it. I upgraded to a Merlin frigate which is much better suited to fighting and I had some success in it. After about 10 days, I was ready to join some friends like Adam out in the low security (low sec) space, home of pirates and outlaws. Woot.

Adam flew out to meet me on the edge of high sec space and I packed up my meager belonging and entered the unknown. Many jumps later, I was secure in the headquarters of the Interstellar Privateers of Res Communis, aka IPoRC. The gents there helped me outfit my Merlin for real combat and my training began.

Over the next week I developed my skills and ratted ("to rat" means to hunt NPC pirates) while building up the skills to fly a cruiser. Meanwhile our corporation (aka a clan) got involved into a war and moved our headquarters into the warzone. This past Sunday night was the last convoy that got my stuff safely installed in the new HQ in Murethand system. After that I took off to our second base in a system called 9GYL so I could build up some capital by ratting in my brand new Caracal cruiser, outfitted with Heavy Missiles and an awesome shield.

That's where I am now and its going well. This morning I was on for 30 minutes and got to kill some rats (NPC Pirates) with two allies from other corps and earned about 2 million ISK (ISK = EvE money). Nice! I was able to pay off my debt to the corp for the two Caracals they provided me with.
I ran missions in a Herron, of all things.

As you can see, within a month of starting I was in low sec and null sec (yay Syndicate) and PvPing and having fun and that would set a pattern that I maintained for 10 years to today (no breaks) and for the foreseeable future.

I look forward to the next decade of playing EVE.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Brain Drain

Last week I talked about how I was going to use skill extractors on my boosting alt to extract all those leadership skills and turn them into skill injectors to sell. Well this week I did it:

I left the Mining Foreman skill for the Orca, but the rest were extracted using 20 skill extractors purchased at a price of  245 million each, requiring about 4.9 billion ISK. I then sold them for about 566-569 million each, making about 11.350 billion ISK. At the end of the day, I turned those skills into 6.45 billion ISK.

Now, just need that Industrial Array dev blog...

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Of Alphas and Omegas

I've been pondering the November release (can we call it "EVE Online: Out of Beta At Last"?) and I've listened to some podcasts (seriously, is Asherothi everywhere?!) and I'm ready to weigh in with my opinion on how EVE will change with the new free to play / unlimited trial Alpha clones.

In total, not that much.

While on the surface it seems like a game changer, and I can see how visions of newbros in Tristans and Merlins swelling the population of New Eden can be exciting, but I think everyone forgets that EVE Online is at the end of the day a very niche game, more of a sci-fi simulation actually, and while I expect we'll get some new players riding the free train but overall the major hurdles to expanding EVE's playerbase are still in place: the game is a massively complex simulation and very boring without social interaction and groups.

Now I realize that the New Player Experience is being worked on as part of this parcel by CCP Ghost, but I have trouble envisioning any NPE that can move a player from new to the game to enjoying it in its fullest to the point that significant numbers of Alpha clone players stick around and have an impact in any part of the game outside of high sec. EVE's just not built that way; only the most determined fight through the early part of the learning cliff.

I also realize that some larger groups plan to have programs in place to guide Alpha clone newbros to their organizations to increase their numbers and add to their fleets, but again I think people are vastly overestimating both the usefulness of these pilots with their Tech 1 modules and ships, and how much fun in low sec/null sec/wormholes that these skill limited pilots are going to have. After all, they will have less defensive tank, offensive damage, less speed and maneuverability, all of that on top of less experience in the game. And as they gain experience and learn why the pilot in the novice plex in a Tech 1 Incursus comepletely murders them anyways in a fight (along with two of their buddies), they are going to get frustrated and quit more often than they pay for an Omega clone.

In other words, Alpha clone players will exist, mostly in high sec, but they will not impact the game in a meaningful manner in my humble opinion.

I could be wrong. In fact, I hope I'm wrong and EVE is transformed into a two caste system bustling with players working and fighting together. But I'm setting my expectations low.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Mining The Mind

With the coming changes to boosting, the biggest upshot is that you can't just AFK an alt in deep space and have it running the links. The link pilot will need to be on grid, actively piloting, and paying attention to the FC and the battle.

That means that my alt that I trained up with amazing leadership skills for boosting and Loki Strategic Cruiser skills is no longer going to be useful to me in fleets where I am leading. I'm OK with this.

I've decided to purchase some skill extractors and try out the mind mining that EVE offers. There is at least 5 million skill points in Leadership skills alone that I don't need for my alt's other activities such as hauling, buying, and selling. I'll probably extract the skills for the Loki as well. I'll then sell the skill injectors on the market and use the funds for the Industrial Array BPO fund, which I hope is coming soon.

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