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.

Winning at EVE

Consider the idea of EVE suddenly being switched off and never being accessible again. Your ISK balance, your skill points, the ships in your hanger, how much space you owned – all gone forever.

What tangible value then did you get from all those hours you spent on the game? How do you define if you came out winning EVE or not?

You can’t use in game measurements – they no longer exist. I think at its most basic level, and common to almost every player, EVE is a game that is meant to entertain. You can define the value of the hours spent in game, and your success at it, on if it provided you amusement and enjoyment.

I had that thought some time ago, and ever since I have defined people who were being entertained by their time in EVE as winning it. It doesn’t matter where they lived in game, what they were doing, how well or not they were doing it, or even if no one else would find it entertaining. It wasn’t tied to ISK, or skill points, or ships owned, lost, or killed. It is instead shown in enthusiasm, curiosity, pleasure, satisfaction, and even contentment.

Maybe if you want to win at EVE, you should worry less about what others are doing or saying, and focus more on what pleases you.

No, that’s not right

After some interesting feedback and further reading, it is apparent my naïve view on Sov Null Sec renting was wrong.

Corporations will of course want to rent from the largest and most powerful landlords – those that can defend their holdings, provide region wide Intel channels and reasonable access to Hi-Sec. Renters don’t want lots of tiny fiefdoms to choose between.

Despite them being an income source, Renters will still be looked at with derision by those who feel they are weak and don’t deserve to be there. I’ve lived in Null Sec, I know the divide between PVPer and Carebear, and I should have thought that through more. There could be synergy, there should be synergy, but there isn’t and probably will never be.

So I need to refine my thoughts.

First – I like that there is an option to rent Sov Null Sec. That was reinforced by the pragmatic view of some renters, who make their decision to hire out parts of null sec based on logic, economics, and the fun factor. They are there because they want to be. I don’t want to see that option removed. Frankly, I want that option to remain open for myself.

Second – I don’t think the current status quo is a good thing – where the only viable option for most is to rent, and the options of who you rent from are limited. I know it is (again) naïve, but it would be nice if a group was still able to gather resources and strike out to own a small piece of space land for themselves.

Under, off, over the Radar

My wife has started her new job. She leaves the house before the kids get up, and gets home after they have had tea. I find myself the full time stay at home parent, who also happens to have a busy paying job. I’m not sure EVE will get much of a look in during the week.

I scheduled for a long session in game on Saturday, and actually managed to achieve it. I started by logging in my Low Sec Scout, but the system I am basing out of was once again awash with Pirates. It has been the same since Kronos – far more pirate gate camps, far more pirates out hunting. It is just not feasible to do any carebearing, so I move my focus elsewhere.

Next I log in my Island Scout and go looking for access to Hi-Sec. There are only 4 wormholes in the constellation, but luckily one is to Hi-Sec. It is some 20+ odd jumps from where I base my supplies, but I make use of it anyway. I ferry in one of my Gila, a Gas guzzling Venture, and a PVE Stabber Fleet Issue I wanted to test out. While there I picked up a contract purchase and brought back a Pilgrim I wasn’t using.

I had one stumbling block – I couldn’t work out how to get a bookmark from my out of Corp Alt to my main that didn’t involve a Contract. I ended up moving the Alt into my main Corp and putting it in a Corporation bookmark folder.

The moving of ships took quite some time, so while manually flying 100+ combined jumps I looked at my PI Alts. I remarked the other day about two pilots at war, one in a station, the other outside trying to goad them into undocking. It turned out the war was against the Corporation I have blue standings with in my old home system. I had originally witnessed an Ally to the defending Corp goading one of the aggressors. Later, I witnessed an Ally to the aggressors trying to goad the defenders to undock. The irony was not lost on me.

We had both remarked that we could call on each other for help if our POCO were in danger – but they didn’t send me a message. That was probably lucky for me as I am not really in a position to log in.

Coinciding with them losing their POCO someone offered to buy my four. I expect, unless unusually fortuitous, it is probably from the person behind the takeover of my blue’s POCO. Given I don’t use them, can’t defend them, and they generate very little income; it’s prompted me to sell them. I’ve spoken to the blue and offered it to them first. They will look at it after their war is finished. If the wars move to me I’ll lose them for no ISK, but that’s a minor price for doing the right thing by another player. (I am really not suited to this game!)

I emptied my planets and cleared the installations so, if I ever felt inclined I could set up new planets closer to my new home. I think I have remarked before, my dabbling in POCO would last simply as long as it took for someone else to notice I had them and take them off me. Once I sell (or lose) them, any further PI I do is at the mercy of finding planets with reasonable tax rates. It’s the price of solo play. I finished off my session with yet more hauling, moving my PI supplies to my new home and closing the old corporate hanger.