New Toon .01

I liked the look of the new pilot, so decided she would be a keeper.  Meet my new PI Alt.  She is in my corp, had her first neural remap, has a set of +3 implants, a hanger full of skill books, and a training plan of just over a month.  The concept is to get her to rank IV in all the PI skills, and be able to fly basic T1 Fit Iteron IV and Mammoth.  I will use her to gather some of the resources I am either short on or haven’t balanced.  I’ll keep the more complicated installations on my Industry Alt so this one should only need to be logged in once or twice a week.  By the end of the month she should have the following skills:

Gallente Frigate III
Gallente Industrial IV
Minmatar Frigate III
Minmatar Industrial IV
Planetology IV
Interplanetary Consolidation IV
Command Center Upgrades IV
Advanced Planetology IV
Remote Sensing IV
Mechanic III
Survey III
Salvaging I
Shield Upgrades I
Hull Upgrades II
Jury Rigging III
Astronautics Rigging I
Science IV
Targeting III
Long Range Targeting III
Energy Management III
Energy Systems Operation III
Shield Management III
Acceleration Control III
Evasive Maneuvering III
Fuel Conservation III
Afterburner III
High Speed Maneuvering III
Warp Drive Operation III
Infomorph Psychology III
Trade III

Gifts

On May 6th CCP are celebrating turning 8, and are giving their players a free gift to redeem in game.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=903

Usually these are benign items that cannot be manufactured, with a recent trend towards one trick ponies to encourage players to look at new game features, like the Zephyr (Wormhole Exploration), Primae (Planetary Interaction) and Echelon (Incursions).

Strangely with free gifts, there usually seems to be a mini uproar in game about them not being of much use.  I simply follow the motto of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, and appreciate it for the small token it is.

CCP used to give out these gifts to each pilot in game (so you get up to three on each account), but in more recent times you only get one per active account.  In the blog above, they state the present will be available to “all pilots on active, paid accounts”.  I have three spare slots across my accounts, so I might go fill them today just I case.  It would hint that the gift will have no purpose (like the Apotheosis shuttle), or something they would like people to use / maybe lose a few because they know they have spares.

I had thought my PI installations would only require a couple visits a week, but that was overly optimistic.  Having to move output between planets means I will have to visit at least once every two days.  A more positive miscalculation is the possible value of PI – even in empire.  My current installations (still not optimal) are earning over 3M a day, which adds up over a month.

PI.07

I just wasted 11 days of training on my Alt – picking up Archaeology IV and V instead of Astrogeology IV and V that I thought I was training.  I only realised when the Exhumers skill refused to inject.  I had a moment of confusion before the penny dropped, and an “Oh fuck” escaped my lips.  I can’t even take solace in the fact he can now use T2 Analyzers – given I don’t use him as a prober.

I moved my PI installations along – it is now spread across 2 systems and 4 planets, and is producing Consumer Electronics and Mechanical Parts.  Robotics will be added shortly, possibly after down time today.  The process will require me to visit one of my planets first, and then move its dual outputs to two other planets.  It is certainly taking a little effort to work out what I need to do to chain the production lines efficiently, but it should be relatively low maintenance once the initial effort comes to pass.

I’ve noticed the resources on the planets I currently do PI on have generally increased over time.  While the initial strong deposits have diminished, other worthwhile pockets tend to develop to replace them.  The upkeep is also not as taxing as I had initially feared.  I basically just let them cycle twice a week.  I have also in some regards stopped investigating what will make me the highest profit, and just been focusing on the more expensive components of POS fuel for personal use.

Sensor Boosters

I attended an open destroyer roam last night, organised via one of the in game channels I sit in.  It was based on NPSI (shoot anyone not in fleet), and was the first time I had done any PVP for a year.

I set up an Artillery based Thrasher, fitted a tracking disruptor and scram (since the call was for mixed EW), loaded up Spiced Wine, Spirits, Tobacco and Exotic Dancers, and headed towards the rallying point.  As evidence of my carebear empire ways, the cheapest jump clone I had available was kitted out with a full set of +3 implants – but I was looking forward to losing it all.

It wasn’t the most polished of events, but given the random rabble of 60 to 70 pilots who were in fleet at any point in time, there truly was nothing to complain about.  It started with the obligatory Conga line as things formed up, was followed by an online gaming radio station, had what appeared to be the entire fleet disconnect on their first jump into 0.0, saw a dozen lost to a very nice bombing run, and accounted for the death of a number of HACs, Battleships, Battlecruisers, Covert Ops, Interceptors and a smattering of other ships (including those unfortunate enough to drop out of fleet at inopportune moments).

I took the opportunity to drop fleet as we passed a low sec area and headed to bed, somewhat disappointed I would have to wake up the next morning and fly all the way back to my home instead of getting the expected POD express trip.

It was worth doing and I had fun – but there was one aspect that detracted from the event.  Many of the other pilots had fitted sensor boosters instead of EW to their mid slots, and almost everything the fleet ran into was alpha’d before I could fire a salvo.

PI.06

I spent a lot of time in EVE today.  I moved all my trading across to my Alt, and shifted my BPO collection and minerals into the Corp.  (This prompted me to have a look at Corp roles and Container auditing.)  I picked up a set of +4 implants for my Trading Alt, and the Exhumer skill for my other Alt.  I also scanned 70+ planets for resources, setup some new PI networks, and retooled the old to target POS fuel.

At the moment I am concentrating on Robotics and Mechanical Parts.  I should have the spare capacity to also look at Coolant.  It is difficult to judge how much of a dent I will be able to make on a monthly small POS fuel bill.  I’ll start out conservatively, and hope for around 20 to 30 mil.

For each planet I scanned I selected “Show other characters’ networks”.  While it can be difficult to see the command centers, I only noticed installations on one planet.  When I first tried PI there were other player networks everywhere.  I was expecting to at least see lots of abandoned ones – so I wonder if they get cleared up if unused for a period of time, like objects in space.  I can’t recall seeing that written anywhere.

Standings

My Industry Alt made use of my Corporations standings, and created a number of jump clones today.  The idea is to have one based around my home with +4 attributes and mid-tier industry implants, plus a couple of clones with cheap implants for Cyno and scouting work.  That will take a little effort to work out what to use, and then jump between then to plug in hardware and shift them around.

If you plan on spending a lot of time in Empire, standings can make quite a difference.  Their importance however is not always obvious when you start the game – to your detriment down the track.  An overview – and a hint at their complexity can be read here:

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Standing

You can view yours through the Standings tab on your Character Sheet.  You will notice they are divided into Faction, Corporation and Agent Standings, and further split between those that like you, and those that don’t.

Off the top of my head they can impact access to:

. Higher level and better quality mission agents
. Faction Warfare
. The cost of Industry jobs in stations
. Areas of space (if you have negative standings)
. Research Agents for Datacores
. Jump Clones
. Anchoring POS

The most obvious way of grinding standings is running missions.  Successfully running mission for an Agent increases you standing with them, and in turn the quality of their offers and rewards.  This in turn improves your standing gains with the NPC Corporation the agent works for.  Run enough missions of the same level for a corporation (each 16), and you will be offered a Storyline mission.  These in turn impact your NPC Faction standings.  You can read about Storyline missions here:

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Storyline_mission

I find it is very slow and takes an excessive effort to grind standings.

When you gain standings with one faction, you also gain varying amounts of standings with their friends.  Conversely at the same time you lose standings with their enemies.  If you don’t want to be locked out of running missions with opposing factions, or have their NPC Police attack you when entering their space, you need to manage these relationships.  You can offset some of this by training various skills, but I have ended up with a number of mission bases with opposing factions, to try and keep things balanced.

Just as an individual has standings with NPC’s, so do Player Corporations.  Very basically, the Corporation standing is the averaged standings of its players.  The exception is if the player has no standing for that entity, then they are not included in the equation.

Reading back over that it seems too convoluted, but in some ways I like the complexity it can add to the game.  There are three main tips that come to mind –

. Combat missions give higher standing rewards than non-combat missions.

. Do not run missions that directly involve opposing factions / killing of their ships.  The standing hits are much greater than you gain from completing missions, so it can require a huge effort to “atone” for your murderous ways

.  If you don’t plan on a character having worthwhile NPC standings, then never do a mission with them.  (This includes ignoring all tutorial missions.)  My industry alt has no standings at all, aside the one tutorial agent automatically given when you start the game.  This means when she joined my corporation, she did not dilute its standings.

You do haveat least two, possibly three options to fast track standing gains:

. You can use Data Centers to hand over faction tags, and in effect “buy” standings.  Be careful, as these agents can only be used once each.  You can read the details here:

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Data_Centers

. You can use COSMOS mission areas.  Again there are limitations to how often and even in what order they need to be run.  Again the wiki provides some details:

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/COSMOS_constellation

. I am not sure – but I think the Epic Arc missions provide higher than normal standings increases:

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Epic_mission_arcs

I have used both Data Centers and COSMOS areas to good effect when grinding for standings to anchor a Hi-Sec POS.  The later were also somewhat more interesting to run than the standard missions.

Hardware

Capital training on my main continues.  Repair Systems V completed, and Capital Repair Systems is in training towards rank III.  That means I will be able to run basic shield and armor tanks, depending on the Capital I am flying.  I have about a fortnight of training to get all of my current Capital skills to rank III.  I will then start on the Capital Emission and Remote Repair skills.  These will take around 9 days each to cover prerequisites and get to rank III.  My current Capital training plan in EVEMon just ticked below 365 days.

I re-opened my third account, and just completed the transfer of my Trading Alt to it.  I used her SP pool (from the removal of the learning skills) to get Hull Upgrades V.  I will spend the first couple weeks getting her into a Covert Ops Frigate.  I need to spend a little time reviewing her assets, training and implants.

To put a frame work around how I use three accounts…

My desktop is an older i7 920, running 32-bit Windows 7, a GeForce GTX 460 and 2 x 24” screens.  I have two EVE clients installed, and run them in Windowed mode.  The main client is run at 1680×1050 with almost maxed settings.  The secondary client is run at 1440×900, with slightly lower settings.  I usually don’t have an issue running the main client and two of the secondary clients at the same time.  If running the three accounts at the one time I will more commonly run two clients on the desktop, and the trade, cyno or scouting alt on my laptop.