Bronze

It took three long EVE sessions across a week or so, but I managed to get to the first reward tier of the Shadow of the Serpent Event.

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However – each of those sessions involved 45 to 65+ jumps back and forwards through Hi-Sec, including several mind numbing periods of visiting every belt in system after system. That was how much effort it took to find 5 Angel Research Bunkers, or 5 Serpentis Transportation Facilities, or 5 Serpentis Guards. In between those were the bread and butter Serpentis Shipyard and Research Facilities which I’ve run over and over and over again.

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You collect the Copper Ouroboros through the redeeming system.

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The interface for opening the container is somewhat new / odd / unnecessary?  (Particularly as the items are placed in your inventory once you open the container, so are revealed before you click on the reveal buttons.)

You get some clothes, a frigate skin, and a training speed boost which from memory reduced my training queue by something like 9 hours. In total the entire effort was worth 500M ISK.

I still have around 12,000 points for the Silver reward. I am not sure I am going to be able to make it that far. As I said in my previous posts, the event has certainly seen my activity in EVE increase dramatically, and I think the general idea and approach by CCP isn’t bad. However, I feel it is too much of a grind, and when it finishes (or I get sick of it), it won’t have a long term positive impact on my pattern of logging in. It might even leave me burnt out.

Camera Settings

Quicker than expected, you can now turn off those pesky dock and undock animations – along with other “dynamic” things.

As shown in today’s patch notes – https://community.eveonline.com/news/patch-notes/patch-notes-for-118.6-release

“Introducing a setting called ‘Dynamic Camera Movement’ in the settings menu that allows you to enable or disable automatic camera movement, this will be a single setting that enables/disables all of the following:

  • Docking animation
  • Undocking animation
  • Ship change animation
  • Animation when logging in to the game in space
  • Dynamic FOV
  • Dynamic center offset”

I happily turned it off.  While I still get an abnormally long blank screen when undocking (most, although not every time – seemingly introduced by the June release), the process is otherwise back to normal.

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This change does seem to have introduced a bug.  The Scope Network Information box – up near the Route / System name details, closes a little while after you dock.

Am I just being a Bitter Vet and not giving these things a chance, or has CCP’s camera related updates involved misstep after misstep?  The game feels snappier without the dock transition animations.

 

 

Statistical Anomaly

I had a mining opportunity pop up in the Shadow of the Serpent Event – collect 500,000 units of Scordite for 1,000 points. There was no explanation on if it could be Standard, Condensed or Massive Scordite, or if it had to be delivered to someone. Given I had visited 20 systems to earn 500 points, I figured it was worth a try.

I undocked in a Skiff and warped to a belt. It was soon apparent that the counter towards 500,000 units increased when the Scordite – of any type, hit your Ore hold. Some quick calculations showed I could collect 22,313 units of Scordite each 145.8 seconds at a range of 15km. With perfect (but impossible to achieve) timing, it would take 53 minutes to harvest.

I undocked my Alt in his Orca to haul and provide boosts. It has been quite a while since I have done that. Doing so increased my Skiff’s yield to 25,663 units of Scordite each 98.6 seconds at a range of 25km. That brought the perfect mining time down to 32 minutes – plus I wouldn’t need to dock or move to collect it all.

I wrote down my yield at quarter, half and three-quarter cycles, and using the survey scanner ensured I minimised unproductive mining time. In less than 40 minutes I had completed the opportunity and was docked with a bit over 11M ISK of minerals.

While I did not pay attention to it this time – during my second mining opportunity for Veldspar I noticed the Ore in my Orca did not add up to the Ore in my counter. It was roughly between 5 and 10% less.  I did not lose any ore that I noticed – certainly not due to lack of space, or jettisoning some.  It was as if the calculations were wrong – maybe my short cycling of the mining laser confused things, or the counter gave you benefits for mining the better versions of the asteroids.  Or more likely – I am just not seeing things right again.

It had been a long while since I had focused on efficiency when mining and I didn’t mind the process for a change.

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The next thing I wanted to look at was a revisit of the Keeping up the Pressure opportunity – where you have to clear five Serpentis Shipyard and Research Facilities. In a comment on a previous post a reader (Mark) had suggested these could be blitzed by just removing the central spawn and then looting the container. He also said it was worth running the site with others because anyone involved got attributed one count in their opportunity.

Once again I fleeted up with my Alt. Mark was right on both counts. The problem is being able to keep the middle spawn identified. The Serpentis Event Rats both damp you and close very quickly. Before you know it you are surrounded by a mess of mixed up ships. I first tried to just lock all the central targets using my Legion (can lock 5) and my Alt in his Claymore (can lock 7 from memory). The damps however would often drop these locks and before you have time to think all spawns were together. The Spawns would sometimes switch targets as a group so you could work out the middle spawn that way, but this was not a reliable option.

In the end it worked out better to solo this site to blitz it. I would lock the middle spawn, fire a shot, then slow boat straight away from the loot can. The middle spawn would then be drawn out and you could reliably kill them off. You could then burn back to the loot container, clear it, and the site would be done. While efficient, it does mean someone else could easily enough take the loot. I’ve collected 3 implants from the container so far – so it can on occasion have something worthwhile.

There is a level of exploration and enjoyment in finding efficient methods to clear these opportunities – and not just a little luck. (It took 20 systems to find my first Serpentis Guards, the second time I had the opportunity I found them in the second belt of my home system.)

I am now up to 7,300 points – including 2,000 for killing 200 Serpentis rats within 24 hours and another 1,000 points for 500,000 units of Veldspar which took less than 30 minutes. I have logged in more often and for longer in the last few days than I have in months – and CCP’s statistics will be showing them a success.

That is unfortunate however – as it is not entirely accurate. The scope of the grind is not as enjoyable as it could be, and I don’t feel like once the event (or my goals within it) have finished that I will maintain anything like this pattern of play.  I hope CCP don’t just focus on their stats – they seem to be on the right path, but they really need to finesse it to hit the mark properly.

On the other hand – I am now considering researching Drifters and Sleepers (do the Circadian’s count?) – aspects of the game I have basically ignored but come up as Opportunities. Are you able to solo a Drifter battleship in Hi-Sec without a guaranteed loss of your ship for example?  In that sense, the event might be more successful in changing the game longer term for me.

 

Snake Bite

The June Release Feedback thread holds some good news

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=6550145#post6550145

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Some time soon CCP will allow us to disable the dock and undock animations. The odd thing – in a sort of CCP way of giving what we want but not entirely in the way we want it – is that the toggle to turn it on and off will include several other camera actions.  Unfortunate if you like those.  I do remember CCP suggesting that they were running out of space in the options windows, so that might be the reason.

The Shadow of the Serpent Event had me undocked today for the longest period in months, but it did not leave me particularly enamored. One of my opportunities was to clear 5 Serpentis Shipyard and Research Facilities. I am not sure if the NPC counts vary, but they contain around half a dozen Battlecruisers, a dozen Cruisers, and a dozen and a half Frigates.

I ran them the same way – slow boat towards and orbit the loot can, clearing the Frigates first, then Battle Cruisers, then Cruisers. The first 4 or 5 I ran didn’t bother my tank in the slightest, the last couple actually had me thinking about overheating my repairer or aligning to a celestial at midpoint. The game logs suggested a lot more ships were hitting me. I don’t know if this was just circumstance or something more – but I remember a similar thing happening last event.

The sites took a little while, but I found them within a few jumps of home.  That got me 5% of the way to the lowest level of reward, along with around 20M ISK worth of Bounties and Serpentis Modified Capital Microprocessor parts, plus a 100M ISK+ implant.

(Apparently you can blitz these by just taking out the middle spawn.  I didn’t do any research before running them the first time – makes the exploration more interesting.  I might try that next time.)

The next challenge was to kill half a dozen Serpentis Guards in a Frigate. Guards are normally found in groups of 5 – 1 Battleship, 2 Cruisers and 2 Frigates, in Belts or on Gates.  They didn’t do a great deal of damage, but the BS could tank well, so after a bit of trial and error I went for a high DPS Worm. I then had to search 20 systems, every asteriod belt and in and out gate, before I finally found 5 Serpentis Guards. I did see a dozen Angel guard spawns and a handful of wrecked Seprentis Guards. The worm setup worked well. This moved me along to 15% towards the lowest reward, but took a hell of a lot of effort. Total ISK reward was maybe 10M, including a couple Faction Spawn.

I don’t mind seeing different things in belts and what not, but some of these sites would give newer players a heart attack.  The rewards however require far too much of a grind.  I’m not sure I will continue to make an effort.

The extra two screens in my Study work a treat.  Obviously they were a luxury / because I can / amusing myself type purchase.  There was no specific or pressing need to get them, I’d just liked the idea for some time now.  I don’t use them every time I sit down at my PC, but it was great being able to leave Dotlan up full screen on one and EFT on the other during my EVE sessions this weekend, and I use them regularly in my day to day tasks, particularly playing media or keeping track of Instance Messaging / Social Media.  They worked out better than expected.

Quiet

It has kind of snuck up on me, but many of the older school EVE bloggers I have followed over the years have gone quiet or changed topics. Talvorian Dex mentioned it recently, which opened my eyes to it. I expect the lack of their stories, example and ideas has sapped some of my appetite for EVE.

My logins remain sporadic. For the first time since I started playing EVE I could envision it being fairly easy to walk away with no particular regret. It is a reminder to myself about just how important it is as a Solo Player to keep active goals, else you drift away. It is an interesting place to be – but in an academic sort of way. It is not a decision I plan to entertain until after I hit 10 years.

I also know it is not just EVE. I haven’t played my favourite iPad games for months either. I seem to be having a midlife crisis. Well – crisis is far too harsh a word. It is more a midlife trifling, as I review my career and life in the most boringly analytical way I know how. Throw my troubled and troubling 7-year-old daughter into the mix and there hasn’t been much room left for gaming.

I have gone over the romantically named 118.6 release notes and patched the client.

I glanced at the Shadow of the Serpent Event Opportunities as I logged in. My very first thought was a deflating “oh crap, could I really be bothered running so many sites?” Probably not the most auspicious start.

I then got to witness the new docking animation, which seemed to go on for too long and had the camera pan artistically across the ship in a somewhat annoying way. The concept is interesting, but the execution seems amiss.

I then undocked. I’d like to give feedback on how that animation works, but all I got (and have got since) was a long pause looking at a black screen before appearing undocked like normal.

The patch notes suggest you can cancel this “cinematic” sequence by moving the camera. That didn’t seem to stop it. I then went looking in the menus for a way to turn it off but did not notice anything either. I suspect people are likely to complain about this feature.

While undocked I added 3 tabs to my overview, bringing the number up to the allowed 8. I need to spend an hour or two really thinking about how to make the most of them. To start with I ensured I had all the new event NPC’s added.

I wandered about until I found one of the new Event Sites on my overview. It had a surprising number of battlecruisers and what not in it, but they melted quickly and didn’t trouble my shields. Nothing seemed to drop and my scope network summary showed 1 of 10 such sites complete. There are – as to be expected, a lot of people running these sites initially. I’m going to have to find and compete against other players for 100 odd sites to get the lowest level reward. Maybe I am missing something, or have unknowingly succumbed to bitter vet syndrome, but “Meh” about sums up my initial enthusiasm. I’ll see if I change my tune on the weekend.

For the privileged

The latest o7 show is available here on YouTube –

For something different, it was simulcast across YouTube, Twitch and Facebook.

It was a little more polished than normal, although didn’t have a great deal in it.

They talked about the costing of some of those new Serpentis Capitals – the Vehement Dread will be 35-40B ISK, and the Vanquisher Titan up around 400B ISK. It seems like a fair bit of work to go into something available to a relatively small number of players. They also showed some video of what the Industrial array looks like, from about 22 minutes in.

The patch notes for the June release are also available:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/patch-notes/patch-notes-for-118.6-release

I’ll have to log back in to check out the Shadow of the Serpent event. It was nice to see the Cynosural field range will show on the Tactical Overlay, I’ll have to do some research on the boosters as they haven’t been anything my characters have tried, I will of course make use of the 8 overview tabs and the Cinematic camera sequence for docking and undocking might be interesting.

Not so recurring

A little unexpectedly (at least to me) CCP will be removing the daily SP opportunity during next weeks patch.

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=6539629

There was a big bump in the number of people who killed an NPC when they were logged in, but there was very little change to login behaviour.  (That’s the pattern I followed.  It certainly did not make me log in, but I used it when I did.)

I understand CCP’s approach and reasoning.  Hopefully the information CCP have learnt helps make future opportunities better.

Meanwhile I gave my study an upgrade today – a couple small Dell 22″ IPS 1920 x 1080 monitors.  I’ve been wanting more screen real estate for things like displaying Dotlan while playing EVE, IM windows, music videos, background TV shows, twitter feeds and the like that I wanted to keep half an eye on but without impeding what I was doing on my main screens.

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My wife’s first reaction was “Oh good god, that’s suitably offensive”.

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Apparently she can see one of my ears from the study doorway, so I am not completely hidden.  There are some annoying “quirks” with having mixed resolutions of 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 with different scaling between them.  I am learning some of the tricks to smooth these, but I don’t think I can fix them all.  (Particularly around Icons and text sizes on the smaller monitors.)