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.

Echoes

A couple of my recent posts were caught up on the edges of the Null Sec change maelstrom and garnered more attention than usual.

The first pointed out that change was coming, and rather presumptuously reminded people to be discerning when reading the related discussions.

The second took a moment to consider the emotion shown by those being directly impacted, and indicated I thought change was necessary, and at a high level why and what impact I would like to see.

Light-weight stuff focused more on the mechanics of the discussion than the mechanics of the subject.

The second post generated a somewhat curious discussion on Twitter,

https://twitter.com/evehermit/status/517298355785826304

It was triggered by this comment from current CSM9 member @FunkyBacon

ehimg425

 

My Favourite answer – in the “I wish I had thought of that” way was from blogger @Kirithkodachi

ehimg426

 

This is of course one of my main pet topics on this blog – how EVE players do themselves no favours with their inability to properly debate topics. (Obviously that is more of a worldwide phenomenon, not just confined to EVE.)

While it pays to be succinct when debating, twitter probably takes that too far. I mostly just watched the discussion from the sidelines. I figured I should be thankful that for a brief moment in time a few people had stopped to consider the topic.

To take it a little further though, just who should be allowed to have an opinion on the Null Sec changes?

I have been playing EVE for 8 years; I have lived in High, Low, Sov and NPC Null Sec space. I currently day trip into Wormholes and Null Sec, own 3 jump capable capital ships, pay a reasonable level of attention to what is going on in the game, and would consider returning to Null again in the future.

Is that enough? Who do I ask to judge and give me a star or a stamp or label which says I am allowed to have an opinion?

The answer is obvious. Anyone with an interest in Null Sec is welcome to their opinion. Whether it is worth listening to or not should be judged on its merits. Trying to define who is allowed to voice an opinion is a transparent attempt to stifle or control the debate. It also means you fail to take the opportunity to educate or exchange ideas.

There are of course people who you just can’t be bothered listening to. For example, I know I’m right on top of my wife’s list.  I am also not suggesting I have anything of note to say.  (My wife would agree.)  Unlike some though, I am not stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas, so am happy to have my opinions refined and improved from the input of others.

I do wish CCP the best of luck in finding the most useful inputs into this discussion from amongst the avalanche of feedback.  I expect the concept is set in stone, but I am confident they will tweak to improve or and to reduce unexpected consequences where players can raise the suggestions coherently.

I do have some specific thoughts on how the new jump distance and fatigue changes might impact me, and they will, but I want to undock instead of write more.

Suddenly there is excitement

I was astonished by CCP’s latest DEV blog, outlining jump travel changes coming likely in the next release, and giving the sort of very rough path they are looking to take with Null Sec.

http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/long-distance-travel-changes-inbound/

That has the capacity to be a real game changer, both obvious, and in ways I’d never likely consider.

After contemplating the huge weapons caches the current Null Sec Lords will likely spread around, my next thought was of an old pony express style situation where instead of changing horse at each station, a new pilot without cool down timers will step into a ship. Obviously that is only in the realm of those with great resources, but already I find the mind racing at all the possible ways players might unexpectedly adjust to this.

Now – frankly, you are not going to get insightful analysis on this from me. (As the pony express idea clearly shows.)

It does not change the ability of the current Null Sec lords to retain their power. They might not be able to respond as quickly, but an unassailable Capital armada moving via gate will still ruin the plans of any smaller group to hold space.

It makes the life of the Null Sec grunt more difficult. It almost forces then into wide spread Null Sec industry. It makes some space more valuable and other less desirable.

What I am really waiting for is to see how the current Null Sec lords respond. Do they take the opportunity over the next 6 weeks to punish CCP by scorching the earth, leaving no one else with any sort of foothold in Sov Null? Do they kick off one of the biggest wars in history against each other to try and get the upper hand over their rivals before it hits?

For the first time in a while I actually feel a sense of excitement about a change coming in EVE. Of course, all I have to do is consider where I want to park my 3 capital ships sometime over the next month or so. In the long run I think this sort of change will make for a more interesting and healthy EVE. In the short term I can see a lot of very unhappy people.