150

I hit 150M Skill Points on my main at 2am local time tomorrow morning. That seems a milestone worth acknowledging, although I won’t bother staying up to see it tick over…

For those interested in comparisons:

I have 382 skills, split across the following ranks:

Skills at Level 0 – 0
Skills at Level 1 – 0
Skills at Level 2 – 0
Skills at Level 3 – 21
Skills at Level 4 – 218
Skills at Level 5 – 143

And divided up across the following categories (just shy of 150M SP below)

Armor – 5,894,353
Corporation Management – 1,220,549
Drones – 9,355,768
Electronic Systems – 4,858,058
Engineering – 6,446,589
Gunnery – 12,648,946
Leadership – 1,627,845
Missiles – 7,412,943
Navigation – 7,577,333
Neural Enhancement – 1,782,825
Planet Management – 769,335
Production – 2,738,705
Resource Processing – 6,450,594
Rigging – 1,312,395
Scanning – 7,168,000
Science – 9,365,113
Shields – 6,446,588
Social – 1,115,845
Spaceship Command – 49,224,552
Subsystems – 1,537,335
Targeting – 3,207,765
Trade – 1,824,395

Jack of all trades, master of few.

I haven’t remarked much on his training for a while. It has not been exciting – I spent almost two months getting all his Science skill ranks up to IV or V (aside the non-functional Astronautic Engineering). I am now working through getting more SP into the Production skills. This was done in response to the Crius update, to give me maximum flexibility in trying out most of its options.

Foibles

Generally I don’t use the EVE launcher – instead I run the client executable directly.

The exception is when there was a patch. Since the launcher was introduced I found the direct client patching to be a bit unreliable, so when it advised me there was a patch to download I would cancel the session and run the launcher instead.

I noticed in the Crius patch notes this little comment:

“In-client patching system phased out. Game client no longer tries to use the legacy patch system and popups, players are rather directed to use the launcher to update their client.”

And this is what my client reports any time there is a patch to be applied:

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Must be Icelandic for “Run the Launcher”.

I also noticed this in the patch notes:

“The guests station list count will now update when guests dock and undock.”

I’ve found since Crius that the Station Guest list is not accurate / doesn’t seem to update. I presume the Guest number though works.

What’s EVE without its quirks and foibles.

On a more positive note, CCP Seagull mentioned a couple times in her recent flurry of media interviews and the Reddit Ask Me Anything session that shareable overviews are in development and coming soon.

I did a little mental jump for joy.

 

Sting like a non-goon bee

Unfortunately my usual Saturday and Sunday morning EVE Gaming sessions were lost this weekend. The first due to a half day trip to catch up with my parents, the second due to a 30 minute work task taking most of the day.

I have however been logging in nightly to continue my BPO research, running up to 28 jobs across three of my characters. I’m working through my 779 BPO, getting them to ME 10 / TE 10 where practical. (I found a lot of cheaper BPO were at ME 9 and TE 9 after the change-over.)

There are another 553 donated BPO which I will turn my attention to later.

I will say again, the new Industry interface is much improved, and it is quicker and easier to submit research jobs. New players should be able to research their cheap BPO cost effectively, even with 10% Tax and a heavy job index in their system.

However, the performance is clunky and seems to be unnecessarily slow. I thought it might have just related to my BPO Library, but it is still apparent when interacting with my POS when it had less than 40 BPO in it. It can take too long to display a BPO in the top half of the industry screen when you click on it, it can take too long when you click between ME and TE research options, it takes too long to refresh the BPO list when you deliver jobs, move BPO in or out of displayed containers, or submit new jobs.

Again – the whole thing is improved, better, and I don’t want to go back. It just doesn’t seem to be working optimally.

I also spent some time arming my medium POS. It is now a scary and formidable foe with 16 small batteries, 8 sensor dampeners, and a couple each of Warp disrupters and Scramblers. I might put up more once I finish experimenting with the Reprocessing Array and remove it. Ok – when I said formidable I was only joking, it won’t stop any group of consequence, but it amuses me.

I did practice controlling them and shooting an Alt. They do a surprising amount of damage.

I did have one strange occurrence to remark on. While launching batteries from the cargo hold, one seemed to bounce off the POS and slowly move away. It would then rubber-band back before moving away again. I tried to anchor it, and while it followed the little green box, it gave some odd message about being out of sync. I had to scoop it up and jettison it again before it would work.

Researching Research

Time is POS fuel, so I made the effort this evening to start looking at the new Industry interface.

I began with something I’ve had plenty of experience with – researching BPO.

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I opened up the Industry window and clicked on the Material Efficiency icon. I then selected the Blueprint tab and displayed those owned by the Corp, in the current station, and restricted to Originals. I then sorted on the Material Efficiency to see what lost out in the Crius conversion and would need some research to get up to the perfect ME 10.

So far so good – the process was logical and there were interesting tool tips everywhere. I was mindful however that I understood this concept already, having previously researched 1,000 odd BPO. I could see it might be useful to have a help button or a link to a tutorial to explain the overall process to a new player, and why they would want to do it.

The other thing was those BPO without ME research had that field greyed out. I had initially thought this reflected that they gained no benefit from having a ME rank (which was why I had not researched them originally). In clicking and playing around you can actually research these. The field will turn blue I expect once they reach ME 1. I’ll have to see if these BPO are different now and need to be researched.

I arbitrarily selected 10 BPO to move to the cargo hold of my ship. I looked for a way to right click / move them through the interface, but it looked like I would have to separately grab them from the Inventory window. Later with some experimenting I found I just had to drag and drop their icons.

Each BPO I moved however would kick off a refresh of the Blueprint lists, which took a while as I had 1,000 or more in the current station. On one hand I’m impressed it is as quick as it is with the number of BP’s I have, on the other I wonder why it has to do a full refresh of the list after each individual move.

The other area where performance was an issue was between selecting BPO or activity type, and having that update reflected in the interface. There were some long delays, or you’d suddenly get 2 or 3 quick updates reflecting a couple button presses you made while wondering if it was going to respond or not.

I undocked and flew to my POS, dropping the 10 BPO into the Research Lab.

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I opened up the industry tab again, selected blueprints, the research lab, selected a BPO, and put in whatever job runs were required to get the BPO to ME 10. For this batch it was mostly 5 each. The timings seemed about what I would have expected, and the cost was minimal.

9 ME research jobs kicked off (the most my main can do), and I am pretty happy overall with this single aspect of the game.  I expect I will make an effort while the POS is still running to get as many of my BPO as possible to ME 10 / TE 10.

I will say however – be extremely careful about the job cost. I experimented with cheap BPO and the cost was minimal. Later I was looking at Time Efficiency research costs and on some fairly innocuous BPO the price was staggering. To get my Amarr Control Tower Small BPO from TE 8 to TE 10 it would cost 2.28B ISK. Yes – Billion. That would be an expensive miss-click.

 

* EDIT – after the patches on 23.07 and 24.07.2014, the job cost field is now blank unless you move the BPO into a facility with the appropriate activity available, and fixes were made to the research cost calculations.  (Confirmed in patch notes.) To get my small Amarr Control Tower TE from 8 to 10 is now showing 2.03M ISK (and 128 days).  Much, much cheaper!  Getting ME from 0 to 10 is 155 days and 16.7M.  Again, more reasonable.  I don’t want to fly the capital related BPO about to check their prices, but I suspect they should all be more reasonable.

Moon rush, or not

I got the heads up on when the Crius update file was available on Twitter, so I was patched and ready to log in when the servers returned.

I can’t say I was feeling any particular excitement about Crius, but I wanted to grab a moon in a 0.9 system which happened to be rather close to a Trade Hub. I figured I might have some competition. With that in mind I had already scouted out a couple moons and placing book marks around them. My main alt was logged off nearby in a Blockade Runner with a small POS. I figured that ship would allow me to move around quickly, and scout out other moons cloaked if required. My main was also nearby in a Deep Space Transport holding fuel for the POS.

I logged in during the early minutes of Crius and had the system to myself. I warped down to the moon and tried to anchor the POS. It wouldn’t allow me because my alt did not have Charters in the hold. That will teach me for separating the POS and fuel into different hulls. A quick scramble and that was rectified, and the POS started to online.

I still had the system to myself.

I then sat down to throw a few modules on the POS, and realised within minutes that I couldn’t do what I wanted with it. I hadn’t really done my preparations for this.

Some research, checking of prices, a purchase off the market, and a run to and from the Trade Hub had a shiny new (or I guess it could have been well worn) Medium POS.

I checked my backup moon and it was still available. Actually – I still had the system to myself.

I got the second POS anchored and online, and dropped the modules I needed for my playing – a compression array, a reprocessing array, a design laboratory and a research laboratory. I updated my overview (the Compression Array is a new object, and so not selected by default), looked at the new Industry interface, took a couple screen shots, and then I was done for the night.

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I still had the system to myself.

(Two more POS were anchored overnight – so people made use of the changes, but not quite as many as I had expected. I’ll decide later on if I end up with a Small or Medium POS. I’ve left both online for at least a month.)

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Snippets from undocking

Putting my PI on ice has had one side benefit – I’ve been able to move one of my Alts to Jita again for Price checking. I know there are web sites that provide reasonable approximations of current prices, but they are not as good as having a Toon there.

I tested my Rattlesnake fit with the Gecko, as was suggested by some readers. It is indeed better than the heavy drones, but I still found it nowhere near as effective as using the sentries. They hit quicker, don’t have delays in reaching targets or returning, and, assuming you are orbiting, are much easier to scoop up and redeploy when they start taking damage. Now that’s settled in my mind, hopefully I won’t need to run missions again for a while.

This weekend I scanned down my low and high sec pockets but found no useful wormholes back to main Empire space. Both areas were pretty busy so I stayed around my home system.

I went through my various containers and refined anything I didn’t need and wouldn’t be worth selling – to get in before the refining nerf hits with Crius.

I purchased a refining array for the POS for experiments after Crius.

I also purchased a medium intensive refining array, which should turn into a compression array after the update, again for experiments.

I purchased and fitted out a couple of Prospects to try out.  I did some mining.  I put them away.

I refit my main roaming Orca with reinforced bulkheads, splashing out on the T2 versions.

I moved a bit of POS fuel around.

I looked at fits for the Machariel, Nestor, Bhaalgorn, Orthrus and Garmur. I felt the need for another hanger ornament, but nothing jumped out as a must have.

Distraction and downtime achieved.

Be what we want

Something this blog has taught me is that I should not make assumptions about what people enjoy doing in EVE.

I can remark on some pretty mundane things, the process of neatening and organising assets, hauling, undocking to earn unremarkable ISK, and people pipe up in comments to confess that they too like that aspect of EVE.

People find their EVE joy in so many different nooks and crannies that I couldn’t begin to guess at half of them.

I really like that. To me it is one of the attributes that holds EVE up as a sandbox game. It is important.

The discussion about the new player experience is popular again. I tend to find it a touch disheartening. Despite the best of intentions, the ideas often seem to end up trying to direct players into specific play styles.

Force people into Player Corps – they will be happier and stay longer.

Force players to lose lots of ships during the tutorials so that they become less risk adverse.

Force players into Low Sec, or Null Sec, or Wormhole space, and the game will suddenly be much better for them.

Of course they don’t use the word “force”, but they might as well do. I can’t argue that some of the suggestions might well come with a measure of success, but they also weaken the sandpit and marginalise the people who might want something different out of the game.

I’d prefer that the new player experience start with a common basic tutorial of standard game mechanics, and then ask the pilot what they would like to try or learn about?

Gathering resources
Building
Trading
Hauling
Exploring
PVE
PVP

.. and so on. Describe the categories based on the sort of favourite Sci-Fi characters people might start off thinking they could emulate in EVE. A deep space trader, a smuggler, a Pirate, a Naval officer.

Each category would then be divided up into logical sub sections, such as ore or gas mining, blueprints, manufacturing, invention, pirating, faction war fare, war declarations, kiting ships, brawling ships, sniping and so on. Cover the skills, ship options and basic fits, and walk them through actually doing it in game.  Flesh these out so that in the end there are 60+ individual tutorials that you can run covering most accessible mechanics in the game.

I started EVE 7 years and 10 months ago.  If some of the suggestions I have read were in place back then, I’d have quit after a day or two because I’d have assumed the game was obviously not for me.  It is a confronting thought.

Have the best damn possible PVP tutorial possible – but don’t push the player through it if they don’t want to.  As I started out saying above – don’t assume you know what the new player is here for.  Open their eyes to the possibilities, but then let them explore it for themselves.

Unfortunately I don’t think that is what we will end up with.