Saved by the bell

I’m running out of time to move my Capitals. I have spent a great deal of time trying to find an optimum place for them – one or two jumps from Hi-Sec, containing a Station with at least a 20km docking range and repair facilities, not overly busy, and allowing me to extract some level of usefulness from the hulls.

By usefulness I mean allowing me to supply a low sec home, or within reach of Syndicate, Great Wildlands or Providence. Locations I might access while still playing my Solo game.

It was a big wish list, maybe even a little cheeky, but there were a handful of systems which fitted the bill and I sent my scouts out to investigate while watching their Dotlan and Killboard statistics.

There was one area however that every one of them failed at. The Carrier and Rorqual maximum jump range of 5LY meant the access to Low Sec or Null was so shallow that it was frankly no use to me. You would need to make at least two jumps and require me to go back to having 3 accounts.

While I have finally decided on a system within reach of the fringes of Providence, the reality of this long process has been an acceptance that – playing solo, I won’t have use for my Capitals. I was placing serious thought towards selling them.

And then the Dev blog summarising the final Phoebe travel changes was released.

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/phoebe-travel-change-update/

It contained this little quote:

“We’d like to allow capitals into highsec without restriction in the future, but it’s a major change that is for a later time. For now, this maintains the status quo in highsec.”

They had mentioned that before, but it seems a more serious thought here.  That would mean the hulls would have a little more flexibility in adapting to different locations and uses.  That makes it worthwhile keeping my Capitals for now.

Hull Tanking

My BPO research continues, with 593 now completed at ME10/TE20. I am up to large rigs at the moment. After that are POS related BPO, which from memory did not need ME research.

I have finished consolidating my non-capital assets back to my home station and have begun the process of culling things down to efficient and manageable levels. I’ve come across some oddities such as owning 5 Falcons.

I still haven’t found a suitable place to store my Capitals. I was hoping for a quiet Low-Sec system with suitable access to Hi-Sec, stations with large docking radius and repair facilities, all within a 5LY jump range of interesting space. I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent pouring over Dotlan statistics without luck.

I have started the process of fitting out my Rorqual. Well – I have applied the ORE Development Edition skin, assembled it, and fitted its tank:

[Rorqual, New Setup1]
Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Reinforced Bulkheads II

Capital Transverse Bulkhead I
Capital Transverse Bulkhead I
Capital Transverse Bulkhead I

It sits on 2.35M EHP which is nice, and that is without thinking about the implants for the clone I will use to fly it. I will have to complete the fit out and move it to my selected Capital home before Phoebe hits.

Speaking of Phoebe, there are quite a lot of changes coming in that next release. I am looking forward to the unlimited skill queue, the multiple item sell window, configurable sensor overlay and the separation of the probe and direction scanner windows. The last one will require me to rethink how my entire overview is set up again. I also note the new exploration content which will be interesting to look into, and of course the invention updates, and jump range and fatigue changes which are already impacting the face of Null-Sec.

It seems to be a very interesting time to be playing EVE, although that is not always apparent in the tone and mood of the various blogs I follow. The negativity and angst can wear you down, so it pays to keep yourself distracted from it.

Last – this made me laugh out loud

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/weekend-minipost-9-years-of-eve.html

An adjustment against a transformation

I finished abandoning my Low Sec home, shipped out the last of my assets and clones via wormhole or gate, and closed down the corporate offices.

I had already gone through the same process weeks earlier and abandoned my Hi-Sec Island home.

I am currently collecting ships stored in my carriers that I had forgotten about, and also checking all my Alts for the hulls they have spread about.

Everything is getting piled up high in my home station.

I’m not packing up and leaving the game; I am not changing my plans and heading out on some amazing new adventure – I’ve just been balanced to death.

For a while now I’ve been in the habit of prefixing my ship names with “CHK – “ when they have been impacted by the different ongoing balance, role and module changes. It is a visual reminder for me to revisit their fit before I undock in them again.

I tackle them one at a time when the mood takes me, but it can take up an entire EVE session in EFT to fully review just one hull. Depending on where the ship was located, it could then take weeks for me to manage to move in any updated fittings or a replacement hull so I can use it again.

I have been falling further and further behind in trying to keep up with CCP Fozzie’s work, and I literally have more hulls waiting for review than set up correctly. This situation arises from my preference to have lots of contingencies when I log in.  I like to be able to swap to whatever aspect of the game I feel like playing on a given day – but I don’t have the free time to keep on top of them all. I’ve now realised it is time to consolidate and really restrict the fleet of ships I maintain.

Overall I have felt the balance work has been a real positive for the game, but there are a couple of areas of note.

First is when everything is too balanced and has its defined place, you lose options for the unexpected or creative. It harms the sandpit. This was covered by a blog post from Susan Black:

http://www.gamerchick.net/2014/09/the-consequences-of-balance.html

Second is to keep in mind each balance change tends only to require a relatively limited and focused adjustment. They do not cause the type of brave fundamental transformation of the game which is required to break through any stagnation. They are no Jump Range and Fatigue change.

No consequence

I found this blog post from Gevlon Goblin to be interesting –

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/jump-changes-will-remove-fun-from.html

If you look past the usual anti CFC / RMT rhetoric, it brings up the point that the entrenched Super Powers and those under their Ship Replacement Programs can play the game without consequence.

There was an article on EN24 about the interesting conflict between Providence and Brave over systems in Northern Catch.

http://evenews24.com/2014/10/13/hostilities-re-ignite-in-the-northern-catch-pocket/

As with previous articles, PL turns up on their whim to dick around with one side or another, have their fun and depart. They do so without consequence, aside seemingly extending the conflict for their own amusement. It tells the other participants that their game is basically meaningless – and they are just play things for someone else’s entertainment.

I view this as one of the issues with Null Sec. Supported by moons and rent and the income streams of years of accumulated wealth, the super powers are not playing the same game we are.

I am never going to be a member of an elite corporation or alliance. I’m a casual and fairly average player of this game. I don’t begrudge people for their success, and I certainly respect the likes of PI for what they have achieved. I accept I and people like me will get curb stomped by them if they paid any attention to doing so.

The Capital Jump Drive Nerf brings consequence to where and how you move your Capitals. That will impact everyone, including the Super Powers. However it only delays the Super Powers, it doesn’t change how they can play the game compared to the rest of us. It will be interesting to see if CCP wants to, or is able to impact this current status quo. Or alternatively are we just meant to accept that we have to join one of these Super Powers if we want to play that sort of game too?

The Low Down

I’m in the process of abandoning my Low Sec home. (A process that is taking an age due to a lack of suitable wormholes to exit via.)

When I first moved in Easily Excited was the main pirate group in the area. While they would actively hunt you and salt systems by always leaving someone AFK in them day after day, it was quiet enough at times to undock and do something.

Lately they have been replaced by Surely You’re Joking. Reading chatter and trolling in local it appears as if there is some current bad blood between them. (Apparently in part around a corporation moving from EE to SYJ.) SYJ tends to be more numerous in my time zone, and while they still hunt and post scouts, they also often run sites or mine ice. As a result I wasn’t finding many opportunities to do anything.

I haven’t given up on the Low Sec notion. I enjoy the stories and image portrayed by The Nosy Gamer too much for that. The reality is however as a solo player I have to adapt and fit around what other players are doing.

So I am back to the drawing board looking for a different place where I can fairly regularly get 10 minutes at a time to undock unmolested in Low Sec.

I think I’ll give Genesis a miss this time round, and Faction Warfare space is just too busy. I do like Molden Heath – from its quiet statistics in Dotlan, to how it has been when I have occasionally visited. It just really isn’t useful if I want to store my Capitals there as well.

At the moment I am thinking Kor-Azor. It links to multiple regions and has multiple entrance points. My initial scouting suggests it is under the sway of Easily Excited. They seem to camp the more obvious entrance systems heavily, but some of the systems off the main pipes seem extra quiet.  (Probably because of the camping.)

It might also work as a place to store my capitals. I can reach Syndicate after the capital nerf in 3 or 4 jumps in one direction and Providence in 3 or 4 jumps in another direction. I’m not sure why that is particularly important, but since I have lived in both it seems comforting to think I can return.

The problem with Kor-Azor, particularly with the camping, is that there doesn’t seem to be a cluster of quiet systems to work in and around, instead just a couple here and there.

More research is required.

Impractical ornament

As suggested, I did end up buying an unnecessary and expensive hull to note my 8th year in game. I now have a new hanger ornament – a Widow. (The Caldari Black Ops Battleship) ehimg428 It was frankly a complete pain in the backside to fit. I ended up Armour tanking it with an Afterburner, Tackle, 4 Dread Guristas Multispec jammers and Torpedo Launchers. The fitting options with Torps seemed very limited. It is also very impractical. I play solo and only have two accounts. That means while I can have one flying the ship, and another opening up the Covert Cyno, I have no one left to actually bridge via the Covert Jump Portal currently riding in its hold. I also fitted up the Garmur frigate I purchased with vague ideas of trying a burner mission. As an experiment I only checked the forums for suggested fits after I got home with it.  Looks like I over tanked and it won’t do enough DPS. Back to the drawing board before I use that one in anger. ehimg427

A hop, skip and a trip

A couple of the more positive responses to the incoming Jump Drive Nerf stood out for me. The first was that it made geography more important again in EVE. The second was where and how you used your capitals becomes a more meaningful tactical choice. It is that sort of thing which gives me enthusiasm for the change.

So – whether I am meant to have an opinion or not, how does this change impact me – the solo risk adverse player based in Hi-Sec? Directly it turns out.

I have three jump capable capitals – an Archon (Carrier), Thanatos (Carrier), and an as yet unused Rorqual (Industrial Ship). I used the carriers regularly when I lived in Null Sec, primarily as a means of moving ships and supplies in and out. They were a key factor in being self-sufficient, and gave me the option to redeploy or evacuate.

While I have not flown them since returning to Hi-Sec, they still factor into my plans. The most obvious is if I return to Null Sec – either through change that makes it viable or renting or joining a new Corp. I have also considered using them as a base to operate out of in an out of the way Null Sec area, and most recently for moving things in and out of deeper Low Sec. They are still of use to me and how I play the game.

My main response to this incoming Nerf is to consider where I leave these Capitals.

I know the new maximum range is meant to be 5 Light Years with Jump Drive Calibration V. If my Math is right (never my strong point) the range should work out as:

Jump Drive Calibration Rank – Range

I – 2.77 LY
II – 3.33 LY
III – 3.88 LY
IV – 4.4 LY
V – 5 LY

My two Capital characters have the skill at Rank IV. That should mean they are only able to jump 4.4 LY. (This is 1/3 the distance they currently can.)

So I need to take this opportunity to get them close to where I will most likely use them. In reality that means either within range of Genesis Low-Sec or Providence.

I am using a trick I noticed on the Failheap forum. I use a Blackops range report on Dotlan at Jump Drive Calibration rank II, manually changing the starting system in the URL:

http://evemaps.dotlan.net/range/Redeemer,2/G-B22J

This shows a rough maximum range of 5 LY, and I just stop when I get to 4.4 LY.

Excuse the French, but Fuck! Going through this process just reinforces how short that distance really is.

It looks to be an either or decision for me – either I leave them in Low Sec Genesis, or in Low Sec Domain that also happens to be in striking distance of Providence. I can’t see a semi direct route between the two, so it will probably end up being a very long roundabout trip if I change my mind later.

I know I will be able to move Capitals via gates – but that basically means suicide. I’m sure it will be an option for a large group of capitals, but it isn’t for solo players. I am reliant on cynos.

I only have two accounts. Given Capital movement will now generally require multi-jump routes, I will both likely lose more of these (I have no blues), and have to move Cyno Alts after each jump, which is both less than ideal, and flags my movements to anyone watching.

In my research I did notice there were key systems / possible choke points in the areas I was looking at.  I can see these as being highly populated or key gank targets.

I also presume, after a period of adjustment, that it will impact the markets in Hi-Sec. I am not sure it will be major, but there might be a new sort of normal.

Overall it certainly seems to drastically shrink my options for using Capitals, and the thought of living in deeper Null Sec will be far less appealing. (No – those are not tears, that is simple logic.)

I have no doubt it will be a major imposition on people who are reliant on using capitals for logistics. After doing this exercise I’ve come to understand it will be worse than I first thought.