Mood Lighting

The April release has just gone live. This item is immediately noticeable:

This release sees the first update of an ongoing iteration of hangar visuals. Hangars have now been moved over into our Space Object Factory system, which improves maintenance and allows easier updating of the visuals going forward. What you will see is brand new lighting! The lighting has been reworked with a focus on the ship, with more contrast, color and life being the order of the day.”

First impression is that the background now looks a little too dark.  A bit like how the game can be I guess.


Not today

While hauling goods in a Bustard (Deep Space Transport Ship) recently I jumped into a system to find 6 Tornados and several Destroyers sitting on the gate.

I did a quick recalculation of the value and mix of goods I was carrying and thought I should be safe. Regardless, it seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to align and warp away, which I did safely.

Before I had landed on the next gate many of those pilots went criminal, with flashing red skulls against their names. Their chosen victim must have been just behind me.

There have been a lot of DEV Blogs recently, many which I have started to blog on but not had the time to complete the post.

One is about the move to a 64-bit client and DirectX 12, and the possibilities that might bring to the game.

While I am happy enough about the move, I did notice this comment:

“we’ll be increasing then minimum memory requirements for EVE Online from 2GB to 4GB when we release the 64-bit client”

That might impact some players, particularly those with multiple accounts and lower spec hardware.

I can’t think of a title today

I am still here – just extraordinarily busy in Real Life.

The Azbel is also still here, or there, in space.

It forces me to log in at least once a day to check for War Declarations. That, if I am to be entirely honest, can be a touch irritating. It can be refreshing not to log into EVE for a day or three, and a chore when you feel you are being forced too.

The vague justification for anchoring the Azbel was to allow me to flesh out and fully research my BPO Collection. I have been accumulating BPO for more than a decade and had more than 850 of them. I might justify them as part preparedness, part self-sufficiency, but mostly it is OCD.

I carefully went through my entire collection, looking for any that were not fully researched, and for any I was missing. This took quite an effort. I currently have 885 BPO, all fully researched or in the process of getting there. There are a further 64 I must fly around and purchase. It is not exciting but has me undocked.

Some of my BPO are for POS and their modules, which CCP are working towards withdrawing from the game. I presume I will get those taken off me and reimbursed at some point this year.

There were a lot of BPO I do not plan to buy due to cost. I was able to comfortably buy all the BPO I needed to build and fit a couple variants of small POS. The price of Structure related BPO however is substantially higher – to the point it seems unlikely most casual players could ever be able to justify buying them for their own use. CCP seems to have priced them for Null Sec players and corporations who are fat on the teat of anomaly Supercarriers and belt Rorquals.

I wish there was a level down in the structure tree – the equivalent of small POS – for the less wealthy players. I don’t feel I will see that unfortunately.

The standard training on my Main continues. He has most recently completed:

Precursor Destroyer V
Precursor Battlecruiser V
Precursor Battleship V
Black Ops V

He is currently working on Marauders V. This latest training is more for bragging rights than anything else. I still haven’t used the SP he purchased. I am not sure what way to go with that.

What else have I been up too..

I have finished stockpiling ships to be able to mount a defense if my Structures are attacked. I will only throw these away if it is viable that I will get something worthwhile out of the experience.

I have been playing around with dual box mining again – first with a boosting Porpoise, then a boosting Orca. They drone mine a reasonable amount by themselves and give an impressive helping hand to the second account. From memory the Strip Miner range went from 15 to 27km, and the extraction cycle dropped from 167 to 112 seconds. There is still a little room to move there to improve. I put that on hold however as one of the locals came under War Declaration and I did not want to parade myself around as a suitable next target for the attackers.

Last of all the Astrahus build continues – but I’ve missed weeks of PI cycles due to busyness. I’ve gathered above 76% of the total P1 requirements.

Anchoring.05 – Turning the lights on

If memory serves me right, when the structure was in the final stage of 15 minutes of repairing, I could dock and take control, but I could not fit it and the Shield and Armour were at zero.

At least that would explain the above screen capture.

Finally, without fanfare, cheers, or anyone else seemingly noticing, 24 hours and 30 minutes after first dropping the Azbel into space, it was anchored and online.

I started by moving in the fittings, consumables and fuel.

Aside from remembering to take control of the Azbel first, you fit it much the same way as you fit your ships. I think that approach works well. Taking control also gives you access to the Ammo Hold, Fighter Bay and Fuel Bay.

Again, I came across something I found a little odd. When I plugged the Research Lab in, it seemed to be immediately put online, consuming the required starting fuel and putting the structure into powered mode. While that was my intended course of action, I had assumed it would initially be offline when I plugged it in. I held off plugging the refinery in, in case it too automatically was put online. (I want to leave it offline until a War Dec.)

So, this was the result as I first undocked from my Azbel once it had an online service and was in powered mode.

My Corporation Logo festooned on either side of the undocking bays, and crowned by my (default) Alliance Logo

So here is Hermitville in all its glory, with the undock alignment working as hoped.

Goal complete, much to my own amusement.

The odd thing about this process is I know that the level of preparation I put into could all be ignored. Assuming you have the ISK, you could just blindly go about it without a care in the world and trust in luck to carry you through to success. That doesn’t seem like as much fun to me.

Now just one last image to finish off this series.

I’ve had a short play around with the structure fighters. Interesting. I’m not sure yet how to send them off to a random area of space to loiter. Actually, I’m not sure about lots of things with them. Another goal to work towards.

Anchoring.04 – Out in Space

Compared to the effort required to safely procure the Azbel and thoughtfully decide on where to locate it, the actual anchoring process was almost anticlimactic.

I did a slow warp in my Freighter from the station to my bookmark, aligned to the direction I wanted the station undock to face (mid way between the home station and inbound gates), then I right clicked on the Azbel in the cargo hold and selected “Launch for Corporation”

The process is adequately documented by CCP and available to view on various YouTube videos.

You align the structure on a tactical overview with your ship at the centre.

The controls were easy enough. The only odd things about the process was that your ship blocked the deployment of the structure, making you move it further away from you, and the further you moved it away, the trickier it was to get your camera views just right.

I had already found other Azbel in the Structure browser, and done test undocks in various size ships to check if there was anything special about the different undocking points. There wasn’t.

Once I was happy with its alignment and selected the position button, I named the Structure, and set its reinforcement hour (which the game varies randomly +/- 2hrs) and its final reinforcement Day.

Once satisfied I selected Anchor, which put the structure in to a 15 minute “preparing to anchor” status. It is during this small window that someone could have given the Alliance a War Dec. The chance is small, but as I said in the last post, I waited to start the process when I had the system to myself.

Not wanting to leave a Freighter floating in space inviting questions or investigations, I then warped away, leaving an out of Alliance Alt cloaked and watching proceedings.

And this is where things got a little strange. After the structure had finished preparing and started to anchor, this is what my out of Alliance Alt saw:

An anchored but low power Azbel with my Corp and Alliance logos on it. (That is, I must admit, a little cool.) It did show the structure was anchoring and how long it had to go.

And this was what my Main saw when he warped back some time later – the version of the anchoring structure I was expecting to see:

Slowly over the next 24 hours my Main saw the structure come together. Unlike what my Alt was seeing, my main saw an “off” version of the structure, without undocking lights or my corporation or alliance logos.

It turned out – despite my nonchalance towards structures, I did find due to a small level of excitement that the anchor process seemed to drag.

Once it anchored the structure visually “turned on” and went into a 15-minute repair period.

During this time, I could not fit or fuel the Azbel, allowing anyone who had an active War Dec on me to kill it more easily.

The last step was to move in supplies and power it up.  I’ll show more pictures of that process next time..

Anchoring.03 – Odd configuration and washed-out planets

While I had a basic idea, I do some research into what I need to do to get the Azbel operational. Once in place, the only way this thing is likely to be removed would be via an explosion, so I need to get it right.

There were four items to tick off.

. Fit, Ammo & Fuel

It takes 2 minutes to work out the fit for the Azbel. I use the Astrahus fit, minus a low slot (one less Standup Ballistic Control System) and minus a mid-slot (dropping the Standup Cap Battery). The effort put into understanding the fitting options for the Raitaru pays off.

I already have everything required for the fit, plus some ammo, fighters and starting fuel. I had gathered all that for the Astrahus. I spend another billion ISK to get the fuel supply to cover one year, paying 5% over Jita prices but picking it up locally.


. Configure a Structure Profile

The settings for a structure are applied through a Profile. This covers docking rights, who can control it, Corporation Offices, Clone Bays, Industry Tasks, Market, Navigation and Reprocessing.  A structure can have one profile, but you can use the same profile for multiple structures.

Most of the setting have two attributes – who can access, and how much it costs.

I seem to remember back when I lived in Providence that Null Sec Station owners could charge people a fee to dock, based on the volume of the ship. That no longer appears to be the case.

You seem to be able to configure different taxes and fees for any plausible service you can install on a structure.

There is a default profile created for the corporation anchoring the structure, giving full access and zero fees to it. As my corporation is only made up of me and my alts, this will suffice for now.


. Configure Access Lists

An access list is a collection of characters, corporations and alliances, which you can then associate with individual attributes of a Structure profile.

Again, there is a default Access list just covering my own Corporation.

Technically I am good to go with the default access list and default structure profile.

Initially I don’t plan on allowing anyone else to access the structure. This is because the only service it will provide is a Research Lab, and I want to be able to offline that whenever I need too without inconveniencing any one else.

I did have a look around at how to set up access lists, but found one apparent glaring issue.

You can add an “Everyone” option.

You can add Alliances – which will supersede the Everyone settings.

You can add Corporations – which will supersede the Alliance settings.

You can add Characters – which will supersede the Corporation settings.

That way you can set docking and taxes at an individual level, which may be different to their Corporation or Alliance.

What seems to be missing – is you can not make any of these settings based on Corporation Standings. If you only allow Blues to dock, and you give a new corporation positive standing, you will also need to go and separately update your Access Lists. I’m not a fan of that.


. Deployment

If possible, I wanted to align the undocking bays of my Azbel with the main station I use in Akes and the two Star Gates. This would make it easy to undock and quickly warp away. Looking carefully at the system map I could see this would be possible from Planet V.

There was already a low power Raitaru anchored in that position, and no other moons or planets aligned behind it. I checked all my available bookmarks and the Cosmic Signatures in system in case there was a better option, but Planet V seemed to be it.

I could just fly 1,000km from the Raitaru and anchor mine, but there was a problem. The planet was one of the amorphous blobs which had no features when you were warped at 0. It was just a brown circle. I didn’t want that as the background to my Structure.

So – using a cap stable Interceptor I had handy, I undocked from my main station, aligned myself between the station undock struts and above Planet V, and flew off into space for many (AKF) hours.  I went out of the house, came back, went out again, and waited until I had flown over the planet, and far enough away that it stopped being a brown blob and had some rings and surface details to see. There I bookmarked the location where I would anchor the Azbel.

I’m almost there – I have the Azbel loaded in a Freighter and I am ready to go.

When you anchor a structure in High Sec it takes 24 hours and 30 minutes. There is a tiny window of opportunity for someone to War Dec you in the first 30 minutes and be able to attack the unfitted and repairing structure at the end of the deployment.

The chances are slim – but I do some due diligence on the pilots currently in local. There are several members of one Corp that I don’t see here often. A quick check shows they never initiate a War Dec, BUT – they have one pending against them that will go live shortly.

I look at the Aggressors – who are familiar to me. It is a group that often War Dec’s corporations in the region, and does structure take downs. The next pilot I look at in local is the CEO of the attackers.

Better to be safe than sorry, so I wait another hour or so before everyone clears out and I can undock.


Anchoring.02 – How to execute the change of mind

If I was going to anchor an Azbel, how would I go about it? I had no desire to gather the resources and build one for myself – it would take too long. Instead I checked the contracts and EVEMarketer to see where I could buy one. The cheapest by a margin too big to ignore were in Jita, at around 3.5B ISK.

A packaged Azbel is 80,000m3, which means I must use either a Freighter, or Orca set up to carry Cargo to move it. Carrying 3.5B ISK using either option might make me a target for suicide ganking, and there wasn’t a great deal I could do solo to mitigate that.

I pondered that for a little while – do I move during the quietest times (I see Gankers at any hour), do I wrap it in a courier contract for myself or others, do I use a webbing Alt and just make a run for it?  Maybe I could build one locally for myself after all – but from components purchased and hauled in from Jita? I checked the available Azbel BPC on Contract and worked out the cost of the parts and build fees. It was roughly 3.5B ISK plus a week to manufacture.

So that is what I did. I purchased a BPC and all the main parts and hauled them in safe(ish) volumes and values to Akes.

I thought I was done with Hauling for a while – at least I got to enjoy looking at one of my favourite skins – Spirit.


But I was getting sick of the sight and sounds of Gates


I had so many pauses and interruptions during the hauling


Docking with the final cargo


After what seemed like an inordinate effort across several days, I had safely gathered all the components for my Azbel.

Then with the magic of blogging understatements, it was just a simple case of submitting the job

And (a week later) delivering it when finished.

A suitable solution to the risk, or the burden of the risk adverse?  Whatever – I now had my Azbel.