When a review is not a review

There was a video review of EVE posted on YouTube recently which has been doing the rounds of social media.

It goes for 30 minutes, but I found it an easy watch.

While it is a better and more encompassing review than normal, it does have its faults. Primarily it tends to be dismissive of game styles that don’t align with what the Author likes. This is the problem I find with most comprehensive reviews of EVE – most people who know enough about the game to talk with some authority, do so with bias.

I managed to get my PC apps such as EVEMon and EFT working again with the new network environment. I’m not entirely sure why – one of the many changes I tried / rebooted for yesterday might have decided to work after the PC slept on it overnight.

Today I am going to try and read the Citadel patch notes and spend some time in space.

The black art of networking

I’ve had an unpleasantly busy but seemingly unproductive week that has kept me away from EVE.

I had reason to update my resume, which has turned out to be a much larger and longer task than I expected. I’ve put several days of effort into it, and while I am nearing completion there are still some hours of polish required. It turned out the last version of my personal resume was 17 years old! It has been quite a rigmarole to condense the last 20 years into a clear and easy to read narrative that didn’t pigeonhole me into just the one type of job.

I also lost a couple of days to an IT crash at home. For quite some years the center of my home network has been an old workhorse Billion ADSL modem router. A few features had degraded or died over the years, and it ended up with a switch and a wireless router attached, but it had managed the current network requirements of a desktop, 7 laptops, 4 iPads, 2 Android tablets, 2 Android phones, a NAS, a printer, 2 PVRs, a PlayStation and a number of other devices such as TVs. Had being the operative word.

I switched it off for 24 hours as I trialed an alternative setup around the newer wireless router. That turned out not to be 100% stable under such load – with one particular iPad game the kids play causing it to reset a number of times. I swapped the old router back in, but after being off for the longest period of time since it first went into service, it decided there would be no more working Ethernet ports for me. I replaced it, but after more than a day of full effort I still haven’t ironed out all the issues. Some have been particularly aggravating, such as the wireless router only being able to access the internet on its 5GHz network and not its 2.4GHz, with no apparent configuration which would impact such a thing. EVEMon, EFT, Trillion and my ISP usage meter also stopped working.

My annoyance was just a small shadow of that of my children. My god you would have thought the world was ending with how much they were complaining about the flaky internet access. Even my wife looked a bit exasperated at times that she couldn’t get onto Facebook.

Throw in a couple high school tours, multiple big exhausting meltdowns from my daughter, and my wife having a couple job interviews, and the week has been a total bust with nothing seemingly being finalised yet.

There was something about EVE that I read and found interesting – an interview with CCP Seagull published after Fanfest.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/14/feature/10803/EVE-Online-EVE-FanFest-2016-A-Journey-Through-Citadels.html

She said CCP had made an effort for Citadels to be accessible for individuals and smaller groups. I almost fell off my chair in disbelief and I am sure I stammered and frothed at the mouth. If I wasn’t so busy I would have run straight to the blog in self-righteous indignation. With some time to ponder however I guess I can see why CCP might think that. You can certainly anchor and use them as an individual. In some locations such as wormhole space they will be a game changer. I must just place more weight on being able to defend or unanchor them. If I thought of them as throw away assets, I might have been more enthused.

CCP Seagull goes on to give an idea on her mindset with current and future developments. She also acknowledged some people were feeling as if there was little in Fanfest for them – but suggested there would be some PVE related stuff coming for the non-PVP / non-Null Sec guys.

It is worth a read.

Fanfest from afar

(First a quick update – I mentioned the pilot Charlot theHarlot a week ago using kill rights and insurance to profit from the destruction of their ship. I ran an example of the profit they would make with a 500M ISK kill right, but had not actually taken note of how much it was.  I passed them again today on my way to Jita as they sat in their flashing Orca.  The Kill right was 500M ISK minus an ISK or two.)

I’ve watched parts of the Fanfest Twitch feed and followed CCP’s official channels. I perused any Fanfest related posts on my blogroll (although found surprisingly few) and kept an eye on the EVE News sites. I’ve even skimmed the EVE forums and the EVE Subreddit.

Initially, and mindful of my limited exposure from afar, there has been little announced that I am feeling enthused about or that positively changes my game. (Actually, there was little announced about EVE that I wasn’t already aware of.)

There was a place for solo / casual players to use POS, but I personally find the defence and un-anchoring mechanism of a Citadel means they are not suited. The rehash of details at Fanfest did not change my mind. Maybe it will be different for the Industrial Arrays, given CCP has apparently said they will be significantly cheaper than Citadels.

The increases in Broker Fees and Transaction taxes will go ahead, but are only being incrementally increased now as the Citadels won’t be fully operational. (Initially 3 instead of 5% and 2 instead of 2.5% respectively). I still won’t use them for markets, and this hasn’t changed my current focus on selling off assets before they are implemented. (Although I am obviously running out of time with that, I have cleared more than 50B ISK of assets so far.)

I’ve been quite aggravated by this tax change. Not for the ISK cost – but in the way CCP is trying to force us to use a particular feature, and because each time I hear about it I am reminded how they still don’t seem to understand their Hi-Sec player base. (And if they end up removing all Player Null Sec stations to be replaced by Citadels, it will show how little they understand any of their Non-PVP focused players.)

One of the things I put up on the market today was my Rorqual. I have enough information now on their new role and use that I know it won’t be suitable for my solo game style. Anchoring myself in place with an invulnerability timer isn’t much use if no one is available to come save me. I liked that they will become the highest mining yield ship in game through use of special excavation drones. You just need plenty of friends around before you would want to use them.

I am not really enamored with the capital changes. I have historically used a Suitcase Carrier to haul my ships around Low and Null Sec. I fit them for trying to quickly clear tackle and bug out if caught. If I am not successful in the first couple minutes, I am guaranteed to be dead. I’m not sure how that will work with no drones and the new squadron capabilities. I am leaning towards selling off my last Carrier and just sticking with far fewer ships so I can move them one by one.

There was an interesting comment from CCP about the introduction of a cap on the time taken to go into warp. If you are not tackled, it will never take more than three minutes. I expect that is aimed at helping people (primarily in Hi-Sec) who might be griefed by bumpers for extended periods of time. It may or may not help with freighter ganking. It would depend on if that 3 minutes reset or not each time a pilot was tackled.

I remarked a couple posts ago that it felt (illogically) like I was hoarding ISK and getting ready for some big upheaval in the game. There was nothing I’ve come across so far in Fanfest that will particularly impact me in that way – my game style will remain boringly unchanged.  Citadels could have a big impact on the game.  Initially they should give some quality of life improvements for those in more dangerous space.  Moving forward it will depend on how many are planted, the percentage that get destroyed, how players react to that, and how CCP react to the players decisions.

Bedtime

It is 1:16am here and I need to get to bed.

I’ve just finished watching the EVE Fanfest Keynote on Twitch (thanks to CCP announcing when their coverage first went live in game, and for providing a steady stream of updates on their Facebook Page).

There were some interesting Stats on where the assets are stored in game, such as there being 3,070T ISK on all active player accounts, 467T of it in the Jita 4-4.  The impact of Skill point trading on daily trading values was and remains surprisingly huge.

I was.. horrified is probably the word to use – at the low voter turnout for the CSM elections, and the mix of representatives (or lack of mix) that it resulted in. Wilhelm Arcturus was quick to post the results here:

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/csm-11-announced-xenuira-wins-at-last/

On May 6th EVE will turn 13.  It will be called Capsuleer day and the gift will be Pod Skins and the usual festival launchers and fireworks.

There will be a new book released with technical diagrams of the Frigates of EVE.  It will be a while away.

There will be an official EVE iOS and Android app.  It will have customisable notifications from the game, EVE Mail, EVE Calendar, support multiple characters from multiple accounts, and enable you to see and spin the ship you currently have active.  It will also allow you to directly buy PLEX and game time.  This last bit was met with a slightly awkward silence.  That will also be a little while away.

They had a nice indication of their focus on trying to retain new players – by giving them a story / narrative that they can get involved in from the start.  Sounds like a good idea.

There were lots of in game changes mentioned – but I had heard most of them already.  Nothing on initial view stood out as a wow.  You can check out http://updates.eveonline.com/ for details of everything they announced.

When the stream finished I noticed there were some 8,332 people watching.  I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but seemed like a reasonable number.

 

 

Into but not playing

Good Game is a local (Aussie) TV show about video gaming that has a good following.  They do a regular YouTube short Pocket edition.  Today’s upload included a segment on video games they like to read about or watch, but don’t actually play.  EVE got a look in.

Linked here just for interest:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uanmmpznLgY

A link to the bit on EVE:

https://youtu.be/uanmmpznLgY?t=611

Broking

A couple weeks ago CCP shortened the new red kill feedback animation. I find it now all works much better.

The new camera is still not as good as the old, but I’ve found in heavy use over the last fortnight that it is workable, and only occasionally niggling.

Both of these fixes have come as a bit of a relief. I found the game less enjoyable with their initial versions. I’m not sure why the developers didn’t see their shortcomings before the players complained.

I’ve been undocked a lot – focused again on selling off assets. How often do I seem to say that? The problem is it is such a chore moving and selling stuff that I never get all the way through the process. Then my hangers slowly fill again with different ship hulls to test, more loot and the leftovers from finished (or unfinished) projects. For example, I’m selling off the last of my 3 complete POS set ups, the left over fittings from the two carriers I sold, the hangers of the two characters I terminated, plus billions in manufacturing materials that I won’t be using any time soon. There is a long list.

It has been the changes to the broker fees that have given me a real impetus this time to clear all this stuff out. It might only be a few percentage points on each transaction, but when you have many billions to sell it really adds up.

At the moment I am sitting on the most liquid ISK I’ve ever had, with more inbound as I shuffle between Jita and Amarr continuing the selloff process. It makes no logical sense, but it feels like I am preparing for some big upheaval in the game, getting myself into a more nimble and flexible position to adapt.

I’ve already said however I don’t think Citadels will have much of an impact on Hi-Sec, and I am not aware of anything else coming that should cause this feeling in me. I think it might be the vibe I am getting off my traditional circle of bloggers I follow. Lots have gone quiet or their tone has changed. Whatever it is, it seems pertinent to have some ISK stashed away under the mattress.

If you haven’t already, it might be worth a trip over to the Amarr trading hub to check out the circle of Titians.

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Solo Hi-Sec Carebears might not get too many opportunities to get up and close to such things.

Is there anything else I am missing

It is not that uncommon to find people with available kill rights sitting in haulers on trade hub undocks or on the gates of well travelled trade routes. Charlot theHarlot was the most recent example I passed.

https://zkillboard.com/character/94742955/

Now I assume the scam is as follows:

Charlot theHarlot fires one shot at an Alt, generating a kill right.

The Alt makes the kill right available to the public at a suitably high price, lets say 500M ISK.

Charlot theHarlot buys an Orca with a basic tank fit for 740M ISK and fully insures it (Platinum) at a cost of around 220M ISK (30%)

Charlot theHarlot sits in a well travelled path until someone / a group of people activate their kill right.

They die.

Expense

. Some Security Status for shooting the Alt
. 740M ISK for Orca and Basic Fit
. 220M ISK for Platinum insurance
—–
960M ISK

Income

. 500M ISK to Alt for activation of Kill right
. 740M ISK Insurance payout
—–
1240M ISK

Profit from this example
—–
280M ISK

In this case the pilot has lost 198 Orca’s so far, one, two or three every day or two. The profit from my made up figures above would be over 55B ISK.

The player could increase profits further by sourcing the Orca’s as cheaply as possible (buy orders instead of sell orders), so ensuring the insurance payout is even greater than their cost.

The worst thing that can go wrong is that the kill right is priced too high and no one activates it. Charlot theHarlot seems to have got it right as they are activated regularly. They also sometimes fly around with plenty of extremely cheap items in the cargo hold so as to make themselves look more like a legitimate target.

The second worst thing is that you are killed – giving you a profit.

Ideally however Charlot theHarlot escapes. They get the 500M ISK payment for the kill right activation regardless if they die or not. Their Orca fit is just a damage control, bulkhead, and a rack of shield extenders. Do they attempt to jump through the gate and flee once attacked? I’d have thought they would have fit a prop mod for quicker warp off and a cloak once they get to a safe. Do they use ECM drones or do they instead have a suicide Alt in an ECM T1 Frigate, who jams a smaller group of attackers and lets the Orca warp out as the frigate is killed? Or as it appears from looking at examples of their losses, do they just accept their current profits as worthwhile? That way they can AFK auto pilot between trade hubs until they are killed.

If you look at the kills and losses for Charlot you can find what other account they work with and see evidence of earlier versions of scams. I didn’t notice related kills however, so I am not sure they are making much effort to try and escape in their Orca.

Is there anything else I am missing here? If you activate a kill right do you just get a limited engagement flag, or is there a suspect flag? Is there some other aspect to the scam? Still – 200-300M ISK profit an hour is nothing to sneeze at. If I see the pilot again I will have to think to check the price of their kill right.