A new Ore Mining Drone

Here’s the image of that Mining Drone I mentioned yesterday. I was too busy (maybe lazy) to link to it.

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The original link:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBacdwzgcQr/

The early comments in Facebook and Instagram that I read were hopeful this might be a capital sized drone for the Rorqual. We will have to wait and see. I like the idea, but I can’t see me (a solo player) sitting in a belt with one in Low or Null Sec.

I was back to hauling Capital fittings today. I only have one, maybe two loads to go to centralise it all. It might have just been timing, but like yesterday there seemed to be more than the usual number of Gankers patrolling the trade routes. I halved the value of my loads, meaning doubling the number of trips I needed to make.

Left Right Left Right

January was a total bust when it came to undocking in EVE. I was constantly on edge, listening out for the beginnings of my daughter’s next meltdown – needing to be able to immediately try and interject. The irony of finishing my job, yet finding myself working harder than ever was not lost on me.

Then school went back and it was like someone flicked a switch in her head. Her behaviour went from extreme back to its normal difficult. The Paediatrician who coordinates the various services we use for our daughter (at ridiculous cost) was not surprised. It is apparently common behaviour for her high functioning clients in the autism spectrum. They find comfort in the clear and consistent routine that school gives them, and act up worse when outside of it. At least we have some ideas for next holidays.

My wife and I are still rather rattled, but I’ve finally been able to cautiously start enjoying my unemployment. With the help of YouTube, I’ve been tackling some of the home maintenance items on my To-Do list, such as repairing the drywall my daughter has damaged. I have also been able to undock in EVE.

I feel a little precarious in my NPC Null Sec home. I can log in and have the place to myself for an hour, or I can find one of the local Corps active and not able to do much. The location is still good, but as I mentioned previously I do need to be able to relocate everything at short notice if the situation changes. For that I need a Carrier (until Capitals are reworked anyway). I had two of those, but they were on the other side of the map. I spent some time mulling over how to get one or both of them into the area. The distance however was just too far, with too many dangerous bottlenecks to try and get through.

I thought about trying to build my own carrier, and purchased an Archon BPC set towards that goal. In reality however I’d likely have to move out many times before that hull became a reality.

In the end I stripped my old Archon and Thanatos and put them up for sale. In a process that required far too many Star Gate traversals, I hauled their old fits out of Low-Sec and back to my Hi-Sec home. After watching for a while I was able to purchase a new Archon hull that lies within one Cyno jump of my NPC home.

Next I spent a long time in EFT and looking at Killboards, making some notable changes to my normal Archon fit. Given I fly solo, if I am caught a strong active tank will just delay the inevitable. No one will be coming to rescue me. I’ve now gone for a bigger buffer and some tools to try and shake off initial tackle. I’ve purchased everything I was missing for the new fit, and am almost done collecting it in one place in Hi-Sec. Again this required a lot of travelling.

The next phase will be trying to get 50,000m3 plus of gear to the location of the hull (in a busy and hostile system), and then move the hull across to my NPC Null home all without losing anything. I’m not sure yet on how I am going to manage that. A long wait for a suitable wormhole I suspect.

Here’s the new fit I will probably go with:

[Archon, Transport v2]
Capital Armor Repairer I
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Damage Control II

Shadow Serpentis Warp Disruptor
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Dark Blood Cap Recharger

Drone Control Unit I
True Sansha Heavy Energy Neutralizer
True Sansha Heavy Energy Neutralizer
Shadow Serpentis Large Plasma Smartbomb
Large EMP Smartbomb II

Capital Transverse Bulkhead I
Capital Transverse Bulkhead I
Capital Transverse Bulkhead I

I’ve also added another new ornament to my hanger – a Bhaalgorn that I will probably never use in anger. For no good reason, I’ve always wanted one. Given the price of the hull is now well under 400M, I didn’t go overboard with the fit.

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On the way home from Jita

I’ve kept my Rorqual while waiting for news from CCP about what changes they are going to make to it. They posted a teaser image to their Instagram page recently of what might be a capital mining drone. I expect that is what the Rorqual will end up being – an in-belt booster / mining platform. I can’t imagine a situation where I would do that as a solo player, but I’ll hold off selling the hull until its direction is confirmed.

Today I even flew the Victorieux Luxury Yacht for the first time in an age.

It has been good just getting out and about, well – in EVE. That of course requires not getting out of about as much in real life.  That has been nice too.

Hold on

I was watching the latest o7 show yesterday ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maVjcmXuMUw ), and they had a segment on the new Fighter Control Interface in development.  The example was shown via a camera recording a computer monitor – as you can see in the capture below:

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The Inventory Window had a long list of ship hold types down one side.  Obviously there isn’t a ship in game with that mix of holds, and I don’t expect we will see one in the future.  They would all be visible as part of CCP’s development work / testing.  Most of these I am already familiar with, but in addition to the Ship Hold and the Industrial Ship Hold were Small Ship, Medium Ship and Large Ship Holds.  That could add interesting dynamics to hulls used to haul fitted ships.  Or might we see Fighter squadrons launched and controlled from Citadels, which might have a mix of holds like that?  Just an idle thought.

BB71 – The Harbour Crush

BB71 – Are there too many Ships in EVE? Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are?

Earlier on in EVE ships (and modules) were generally Tier based. The higher the tier, the more effective (and expensive) it was. This linear approach was easy enough to understand and keep track of, but inherently hurt newer players with less SP and ISK, and meant lots of lower tier ships had little use other than a short term stepping stone.

I’m not entirely sure about the timeline, but I think from around early 2012 within the Crucible releases CCP started on a process called Tiericide. In effect it was the removal of these linear tiers, and replacing them with groups of hulls with distinct roles. These were balanced through different strengthens and weaknesses into a complicated game of rock, paper, scissors. While some are more niche than others, almost every hull in game now has a use.

(This Tiericide process is still ongoing.)

It is still possible to have tiers of power within a role – with a mix or all of T1, Faction, T2 and T3 Hull versions available. It is not always however a straight forward step up through these Hulls. Some are more powerful in certain niche circumstances, but weaker in others.

During this same time frame CCP has added new hulls to the game, sometimes filling in gaps, sometimes adding completely new roles.

I don’t doubt that this has made EVE a more complicated game for solo and small gang PVPers, particularly those who roam long distances. It is harder to identify ships, understand the appropriate tactics to use against them, and maintain a suitable mix of ships in your hanger to allow you to maximise what you can counter.

Do I think this is a problem? No. I think it is a glorious thing. It has made space a more complicated and vibrant place.

While that answers the BB question, I don’t think the situation is all a bed of roses.

Trying to balance so many hulls and roles would be very difficult. I think in most circumstances CCP have done an amazing job of it, but it seems to have come at a cost. Personally I have felt the Tiericide process has pushed players towards more cookie cutter role related fits. While it is still possible to surprise others through smart and unique ways of fitting a hull, it is not as easy to do it well. I can understand the necessity, but I read multiple bloggers who when they undock can pretty much preordain which fights they will win, which fights they must run from, and which fights will be close. It might be a complicated version, but a game of rock, paper, scissors will still become boring.

Sometimes I think there is only an illusion of choice. When you really sit down and look at what role you want or need to fill, you can end up with only a very limited number of options. It is also true if you want a more Generalist or Jack or All trades hull. It just takes you longer to go through all the hulls available to come to that realisation.

Obviously it is also a steeper learning curve for new players, and more difficult to keep on top of for established players. It also requires more effort to collect and maintain the ships you store in your hangers.

Having said all that – it has still made for a better game than what we had when we had less, tier based hulls.

Other Blog Banter posts on this topic can be found here

Plugging in good and bad percentages

As I remarked, I’ve tried to spend time recently reviewing the implants I am using across my characters. It is a task I’ve started and stopped over the years, but never finish. There are a mix of reasons – having some 35 different clones to update across my accounts, the time it takes to swap between each one, and the complexity in the choices available.

I’ve been using EFT to check effectiveness.  You expand the Boosters\Implants section for a ship fitting, and drag and drop implants into it from the equipment bar.  (You can do the same in Pyfa.)  As I’ve gone through my spreadsheets and notes I was hit by just how big, or how little, difference these things can make.

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Above I was looking at increasing my Sensor Strength on my Golem against the Guristas Jams, and was looking at the Talon Implant sets.

My current Golem fit has a Sensor Strength of 16.8

A complete Low-Grade Talon Implant Set (Alpha to Omega) would cost around 80M ISK and increase the Sensor Strength to 25.2.

The offset to using Low-Grade would be that they only provide +2 bonuses to my training attributes.  I could instead use the more expensive High-Grade implants, which would increase that to +4.

The High-Grade Talon Implant Set (Alpha to Omega) would cost around 447M and increase sensor strength to 29.5.

Now to put that into perspective – I could alternatively fit one ECCM Gravimetric II for the cost of 1M ISK and some tank, and would end up with a Sensor Strength of 32.9.

Based on bang for your ISK, you might discount this implant set for PVE.  Things do however get more interesting when you add both implants and modules – the complete High-Grade set and one ECCM give a Sensor strength of 57.8, substantially higher than the 16.8 default.

When reviewing there are a whole heap of implants that – when you plug them in and look at the statistics, just can’t be justified.

Then there are some which really punch above their weight. The EE-602 (+2% CPU for 6M) and EE-603 (+3% CPU for 20M) allow me to squeeze all sorts of my favourite fits onto a Hull.

Speaking of Hull – there are also implants that only work in certain circumstances

MC-803 adds 3% hull. For the most common ship I fly – the confessor, that equates to 67 EHP for a 2.5M spend. That is certainly not worth it.

There are three ships however that I primarily hull tank. The MC-803 adds 324 EHP to my Retriever, 10,528 EHP to my Orca, and 63,282 EHP to my Rorqual. Those are all quite reasonable increases for such a relatively cheap spend.

Boredom

“Your kids don’t know how to be bored.”

My father said this to me a few years ago, and unusually, he was right.

He wasn’t suggesting my kids needed the ability to quietly accept boredom as some sort of badge of self-punishment. He meant that they didn’t seem to be able to rectify boredom for themselves.

Aside from school, my wife shuffles our children from one scheduled activity to another all week. In between are many visits to and from friends and family. If they stop and idle in place for a moment, she drags them out on a bike ride or to visit a park or to get some treat from the shops. Any time left over will generally find them glued to their precious screens or demanding food.

They are always getting attention and never having to entertain themselves.

Every so often however, on school holidays when my wife has had to return to work, the kids get boring time at home with Dad. It is a small window for them to detox a little from their hyper busy lives and just relax. It is also when I try to teach them how to be bored. It has not been easy, and my success limited.

I wonder how much of an issue CCP has with this in EVE.

CCP is now competing in a world where there is a bewildering amount of entertainment available on demand when and almost wherever you want it. When it comes to games, I still find it astonishing how many enjoyable and usually free to get into games there are in the iOS and Android platforms. You don’t even need to think for yourself – there is always a chain of tweets, or articles, or posts or reviews that point you towards the next great time sink.

That is the world most of us now live in. My kids have known nothing else. When I was a kid I had a modest collection of Star Wars Figures, Lego, Army Men, Hot-Wheel cars, colored pencils and a cricket bat which kept me entertained for many years’ worth of school holidays. I remember days spent in the garden with huge combat bases carved into the dirt, and the hard lesson of toys being buried or chewed up by the dogs if you were not careful with where you left them. My kids have much bigger collections of the same stuff – but it barely provides them 5 minutes of distraction here and there, and then often only under sufferance.  As I said – they expect their entertainment to be served up without much thought or effort on their behalf.

How does EVE fit into such a world – especially after the initial excitement and enthusiasm wains. They offer up a sandpit game where you are to entertain yourself. I know CCP pushes the social game and acknowledges the content drivers and providers. I love reading The Ancient Gaming Noob, and how he is able to be alerted to what fleets are operating and to log in for some sort of guaranteed EVE content. It is such a different game to what I play – even if some days it sounds like an hour or two of watching cats being herded around space.  I see the failure in that approach however when those social groups break down. I also see it doesn’t support the hermit players.

At the moment my EVE time is really disjointed and constrained. I feel my options are limited, and it is easy to fall into the trap of doing a bit of ship spinning then logging off bored. That’s what my kids would do – they would discard EVE and be chasing the next shiny bauble. Once they attain that, it will be discarded for the next and so on.

Instead I know EVE can be rewarding, so when I have some free time I will go look for entertainment in it. I’ll try to catch up on some of my blog reading, looking for some inspiration and ideas. I’ll undock and clear the local exploration sites. Occasionally I’ll get a faction spawn with some nice loot, or an escalation that sees me flying across the region or having to slip into Low Sec. I’ve been half AFK mining a lot lately in a Skiff, just because by being logged in I’m available if something turns up. (In recent weeks it was Operation Frostline sites appearing on my overview.) The other day I went to clone jump my alt into NPC Null to check the market and mistakenly clicked on an empty hi-sec clone instead. That saw me fly over to Jita and get lost for hours in reviewing implant options and costs. It doesn’t make for interesting blog posts, but like I did as a kid, I have been taking control of my own entertainment.

I’m not sure how I can get my kids to do the same.  I’m not sure how CCP can get the younger adults of today to do it either.

(As an aside, the game that has most successfully held my kid’s attention over the years has been Minecraft. They don’t play it every day any more, but regularly something will trigger their interest and they will be immersed in it again. CCP could put more Minecraft into New Eden. Just imagine the Citadels that would pop up in space.)

Throwing away the Worlds Best Dad Mugs

I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday period.

I’ve not blogged much about EVE as I am not getting much of an opportunity to play. I’ve tried revisiting the implants used in my various clones, hunting for Frostline sites, and finally working out a fit for that Rorqual I’ve had laying around, but had little success.

I’ve mentioned in the past how difficult our daughter can be. While she is delightful and affectionate enough normally, be it very stubborn, she has absolutely out of control tantrums. Yesterday, six years old, standing in the middle of her trashed room, body taunt with intense rage, fists clenched, eyes bulging, teeth bared and with spit flying, she told me in the purest venomous hatred how she was going to stab us all to death.

To know – without a shadow of a doubt, that she would have tried if she had a knife at hand was one of the worst moments I’ve had as a parent.

She threw four full tantrums yesterday. That one was over a lost game of Monopoly or an argument with her brother about the rules of Downball. Maybe it was when she was asked to brush her teeth.  I’m not sure which. We thought we were mostly on top of it, but apparently not. Back to the Pediatricians, Psychologists and Therapists. EVE will have to wait.

I have been watching some TV shows as they are easy to pause. I’m really enjoying The Expanse at the moment.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3230854/