Bits and bobs and vaguely gaming related

. As I mentioned, I did not receive any standing change after finishing the Amarr Epic Arc. My support ticket was answered after a day or two and a 12.5% increase applied by a GM. This impacted only Amarr Empire. It went from 5.49 to 6.05.

. I use RSSOwl to read the various EVE blogs I follow.  (I prefer downloading them to my desktop instead of relying on web based services.) Recently I wiped Java from my PC and did a fresh install of the latest Runtime. RSSOwl then failed to run, providing no error message I could find. In the end I worked out the problem was that it required the 32 bit Java Runtime, and I had installed 64 bit. Interestingly both versions can coexist fine.

. There was an article on The Mittani a little while ago which exemplified how I think many PVP focused players completely fail to understand Carebears. It was about Micro Conflict Drivers.  I am paraphrasing, but the author wanted some way for the bigger powers to go mess with the little Null Sec guy that did not require hitting strategic assets. The conflict driver had to in effect force Carebears to undock and fight; else they should be punished harshly. The example was making all the ratting revenue for the last hour or so being available in space. If it was not defended, the attackers could take it. I can imagine the author smiling with glee at the thought of it – except for the fact it would fail miserably. Bigger Powers would simply beat any Carebear defence and take the revenue anyway, so what incentive is there for a Carebear to undock?

. We have an old Panasonic DVD/PVR (DMR-XW450) that we use as a backup to record shows when our main PVR is too busy. It is configured to stop you from copying recordings off it except to DVD, which if you want to watch a show in another location is time consuming and now unreliable. I spent some time researching how I could capture the HDMI output, and ended up getting the AverMedia Game Capture HD II and using this specific HDMI splitter – vhd-1x2mn3d – to strip the HDCP copy protection from the signal. It has worked well, and should also be a solution for the PS3 HDMI output. The files are a little on the large size however – around 8GB an hour compared to our PVR’s 3GB.

. I still find myself employed in the same job. If I was under financial pressure it would have been pertinent to have started looking for work elsewhere some time ago. Things are good however in that regard, so I’ve stayed as it was convenient. Last week the state staff levels dropped from 7 to 5. Two resigned to go form their own company and work for their current clients. This would generally be a huge no-no in Consulting, but apparently they are doing it with the blessing of management. It might be because the clients were going anyway, or because these two were close to management, but it also raised a warning flag I hadn’t been considering. Up until this point the question was would I leave with about 3 months pay for owed leave entitlements, or around 6 months with a retrenchment package. Now I have to consider the possibility of the company closing its doors and me leaving with nothing.  I will still get my months off regardless, but I might not be so willing to open the wallet for some projects around the house I want to get stuck into.  I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but my colleague who has been looking for work has been told numerous times now to dumb down his resume and make it look like he has 10 years instead of 20 years experience.  Apparently some companies think if someone has too much experience they won’t be dynamic and edgy enough.  It is apparently more important to be able to talk the talk than actually do the job.


Centimetre imperfect

I’ve been rather unwell this week and haven’t undocked.  I am not likely to be able to rectify that this weekend as I’ll be busy watching all the TV coverage for the Bathurst 1000 race.  I’ve been fascinated by this particular race and watched it religiously since I was around 10.  It is the only weekend of the year that I can ignore (almost) all my responsibilities.

There was an accident today during qualifying where last years winner turned in a fraction of a second too early and ended up with a broken car, leg and wrist.  You can see video of it here:

Sorry – has been removed

More video and details here:

The track and race is phenomenal – it requires such fearlessness from the drivers and centimetre perfect precision for some 161 laps and 1,000km.  When they don’t get it perfect the track can sometimes, as it did today, make them pay dearly.

EVE drama doesn’t come close.

The EVE theme park

Sugar Kyle raised an oft repeated, heated and hijacked topic – what sort of development would people like to see in Hi-Sec.

I’ve seen discussions on this deteriorate into two very loud, hostile extremes – one side wanting their version of utopia, the other side wanting to burn it all to the ground. I expect the majority of Hi-Sec players would be frustrated by that. I saw in Sugar’s blog post a challenge for them to come out with some serious ideas.

While it is not possible to neatly pigeonhole everyone, I am going to start off with my assumptions. Plenty of people do not want to play EVE out of Hi-Sec. Attempts to force them to do so will result in many leaving the game instead. My ideas relate to what I think are two large Hi-Sec groups who can play a more theme park version of EVE – Miners and PVE Content Runners.

I think they are commonly motivated by aspirations to level up. Miners start off in Frigates, then Barges, then Exhumers, they work on efficient hauling, boosts from Orcas, implants, refining rates – with the long term goal of achieving the highest possible yield. PVE Content Runners work up from simple Belt ratting through to a selection of Exploration, Level 1 to 4, COSMOS, Epic Arc, Incursion and Drifter sites and missions. All the while they are upgrading their skills, equipment and hulls.

There is plausibly a couple years of content available for people with such motivations, slowed by having to complete against other players, and stretched further if they have good social interactions.

These groups have value to the game – both financially through their subscriptions, and because when they undock they are still part of our MMO and available to interact with.

Interestingly within the context Sugar provided, was a warning not just looking at creating more theme park content. I am basically however going to suggest just that – but hopefully in ways that won’t require so much development time.

So my first suggestion is give these people something to further aspire to. We have capital ship rebalancing coming next year. Adjust the Rorqual and let it move through Hi-Sec via Gates. Allow Hi-Sec Miners to use it to compress ore at the Belt and provide a very small boost to yield over the Orca. By doing this you give such players an extra year of goals in skill training and acquiring and fitting one. Add Level 5 missions to Hi-Sec – but with only a minimal increase in LP rewards over Level 4 missions. Give the Mission runners a further challenge. I emphasis both should only provide a small incremental increase in ISK generation, but will expand the levelling options in Hi-Sec using existing game assets.

My next suggestion is to quickly add content – there needs to be more variety. As I discussed in my recent Blog Banter – .. start spreading NPC factions around. Have a small percentage of cosmic anomaly sites in a region be for different Factions. You can come across a Guristas or Serpentis or Blood Raider site in Sansha space for example. Give the players a reason to swap modules on their ships and adjust their tactics. The same could be done in the pools of missions available for an agent. Have the occasional one thrown in against an unexpected pirate faction. This might fit in with when Faction Warfare becomes a four way battle – have the pirates also spreading their wings. Again it uses existing game assets.

I think CCP should review all their theme park content and see what they might plausibly add to Hi-Sec from other areas of the game. Gimp or tax it to ensure it doesn’t became a particularly rewarding process, but give the Hi-Sec players a chance to experience it.

I am already hopeful that some of the existing work CCP is doing will have a positive impact on Hi-Sec. The NPC AI changes might shake things up a little. Having NPCs target drones for example made a notable difference in how many players had to approach their PVE content. Could you imagine if Faction Rats try to warp off once they drop below 50% EHP?  Pilots would need to change their fit to include a warp disruptor if they wanted to hunt those spawns.  Further changes could be good for keeping players interested. Some of CCP’s balance changes have also impacted Hi-Sec a lot – such as the Hauler and Mining Hull tiericide updates. Giving players a choice between yield, tank, speed and capacity changed the face of the Hi-Sec belts and space lanes.

If CCP has a little Development time to spare, I would like them to add lots of simple and small exploration sites. I already outlined my ideas in my blog banter –upsized rats (a couple battle cruisers or one battleship), out of place rats (wrong faction for the region), entirely out of place rats (a handful of sleepers or incursion rats) or out of place resources (1-3 rare small asteroids). It would also be nice if there were solo low reward options in Incursions, such as clearing incursion rats off gates or belts, just so everyone can play a small part.

As I said in my previous post – this is not to homogenise space or making Hi-Sec so interesting that you won’t want to move. The rewards from these sites should be low, and the frequency they can be found balanced. They should also be scaled up and placed out of Hi-Sec. The idea is to increase the variety in the theme park with hopefully somewhat limited development effort.

There are two further areas I would suggest be looked at, but which will probably involve a lot more development work.

First – if new missions are to be created, think about making them a little more dynamic, and possibly look at some of what is done well in COSMOS missions. Your agent sends you to speak to someone in space who gives you four tasks, of which you need to complete two in any order. One might require you to scan down a site to run, another to fly through the neighbouring systems to find your mission beacon, or another to visit an open / shared DED complex for something, much like some COSMOS missions.

Second – try to have most of the traditional out of Hi-Sec mechanism available in Hi-Sec. Have exploration sites containing a Pirate NPC Moon mining operation. Let players use Syphon units on them for minimal ISK across a few days or a week, or give the players the option to try and destroy them instead for drops and bounty. Find hidden Pirate Citadels, and get a Concord bounty and some loot for going through the process of capturing / destroying them. Similarly find Pirate Structures that require Entosis links to be used on them. I would prefer if different players can complete in various ways over these, and for the NPCs to defend them. For some players it will be enough to train up the required skills and purchase different hulls so as to do something different, for other players it will be a stepping stone to moving out of Hi-Sec and using their new learnt skills against other players.

So, in case I’ve rambled on too much, a summary. I think there are a noteworthy number of EVE players who at the core play a levelling up theme park version of EVE.  They still add value to the game.  I think with smart use of existing game assets, CCP can relatively simply and quickly expand their game play options and experiences. This might add a year or two more content to the “average” life of such a Hi-Sec player.  Also work to expose them to as many mechanisms of the game as possible, to make it easier to transition to different Space if they happen to change their minds.

Day 4

The CSM Summit meeting minutes have been released for day 4.

I always make a point of reading this sort of information from CCP, and take notes of anything that might impact my game or that I find interesting. Here were a few things that stood out.

In the Ship Balancing session Jayne Fillion raised the issue of FC’s being headshotted – with CCP indicating they were interested in tackling that. I was horrified by that concept. It is up to the players to deal with protecting their FC’s, not some arbitrary game mechanic. I hope that never sees the light of day.

Sion suggested remote reps should be toned down to allow both sides to get kills more easily. CCP asked if that would encourage or discourage fights – with Sion suggesting the increased kill mails would motivate people to fight more. I suspect Sion should ask the average F1 Fleet Monkey with an average ISK Bank balance what they think.

(I don’t mind the idea of fall off ranges on remote assistance modules – just not for the reason of nerfing them to uselessness.)

In the Factional Warfare and PvE session they raised the idea of a Tribute system – where ISK rewards would be given out for, in effect, logging in and doing stuff daily. I’m in two minds over this. On one hand it is a crass was to try and encourage people to log in daily. On the other hand it might work – I’ve said many times before how just undocking to run an exploration site can lead to a much more involved and longer EVE session.

CCP are also looking at turning Faction Warfare into a 4 way war. They also raised the idea of NPC Patrols and Convoys that the players can interact with, and that will fight each other if they cross paths. CCP Affinity indicated that she would like to decouple standings from FW completely. Assuming there was some mechanism to delay the speed of swapping between factions, I think that would be an excellent way of encouraging more players into FW.  I know the standings impact is one of the reasons I’ve never looked at it.  Oh, and the fact I don’t seem to like PVP might also play a part.  I might however give it a try at times if it didn’t ruin standings.


There is an unpleasant aspect to flying the Golem that I wanted to remark on from a solo player point of view. Flying it makes me feel a lot more conspicuous than I like to be. It seems to say – “hey, possible loot pinata”, or “scan down my mission, I’m bound to fire upon someone stealing from wrecks.”

Maybe it isn’t a solo thing – maybe it is just me who doesn’t like it or the reputation it seems to come with.

I only have three Deadspace modules on it, the shield booster and the pair of shield boost amplifiers. They cost 400M ISK in total, which shouldn’t make me a gank target. I was contemplating the Gistum B-Type Adaptive Invulnerability Field, which would cost a further 300M ISK. I’ll see how the current fit works first. I wonder at what point people think it is worth ganking a Golem for?  Or is it a target simply as it is a 1B+ ISK cost to the owner?

I know even with the relatively cheap modules I used, when I undocked from Jita for the first time I had 3 Reinforced Bulkheads II fitted along with a couple extra Adaptive Invulnerability Field II modules.

As an aside, I know I said cheap, but that is obviously a relative term.  I would not have been able to afford this ship in the first couple years I played the game, and then I wouldn’t have wanted to risk that much ISK in one hull for a couple more years after that.  I don’t mean to be discourteous about flying what I expect is an aspirational ship for many solo Empire based Mission runners.  At the moment however I have the spare ISK, and I know ISK has more value when it is spent on getting you active in the game.


Sugar Kyle kindly commented on the blog a few weeks ago that solo pilots matter to CCP. I believe that is accurate, and you would hope so given there are a rather large number of us.

As I’ve read through the CSM summit minutes and the flurry of recent Dev Blogs about the short and medium term updates coming to EVE, I’ve again noticed however that very little of CCP’s work seems to focus on Solo Pilots who are not into PVP.

CCP probably understand those who like solo PVP. They have Developers who come from that background, and you see evidence of that in their small ship balancing and in such things as how faction warfare is designed.

But what about all the solo pilots who are out and about in space, but generally mind their own business and keep to themselves. You can compete against them on the markets or in exploration sites, chase them around low sec or wormholes, scam them or gank them – but if you ignore them, they will ignore you. You know – the apparent majority of solo players.

I found little in the recent CCP communications that was exciting for players like me – nothing aspirational and nothing to set goals for.

I wasn’t going to remark on it, but I noticed the indomitable Greedy Goblin had also picked up on aspects of my disquiet:

This isn’t a “CCP doesn’t care about us” post, or a cry to have my hard earnt subscription dollars spent on the specific way I play the game. I have however been pondering – does CCP simply not understand a numerous – but by their nature silent, proportion of their player base?

It is an interesting thought.


I had a great day of EVE yesterday – very long and productive. After finishing the Amarr Epic Arc I moved the Nestor and loot back to my home base and sorted everything. I then moved onto investigating Marauders. On paper I liked the Paladin the most, but I settled instead on the Golem. I mostly just want to play around for the first time with the Micro Jump Drive and Bastion Module.



Here’s my first somewhat inexpensive fit.

[Golem, Draft]
Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Large Micro Jump Drive
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Gist X-Type Large Shield Booster
Pith X-Type Shield Boost Amplifier
Pith X-Type Shield Boost Amplifier
Conjunctive Gravimetric ECCM Scanning Array I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron

Bastion Module I
Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile
Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile
Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile
Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit II
Large Capacitor Control Circuit II

‘Augmented’ Hornet x5