Incursion 1.6

Without much notice, CCP announced a 6 hour extended down time tonight for the Incursion 1.6 update.  The patch notes are sparse:

… but this Dev Blog explains there have been some big changes under the hood, which we will see in affect once Incarna is released:

So a whole heap of changes to the underlying infrastructure – the one with overview bugs they haven’t been able to rectify for as long as I have played the game.  While CCP seemed to have done a good job of their recent object ID and inventory changes, I think I’ll just go set some very long training skills…

EVE History

Once a day or so I read through Kugutsumen’s EVE forums.

It is full of trolling, propaganda, inflated egos, derision, personal attacks, in jokes, hate, racism, sexism – actually, just about any sort of ‘ism you can think of. If your Mum knew you read such dribble, she would think much less of you.

But in amongst it all are glimpses of the battle reports, politics, internal dramas, and myriad of stories which all come together to become the history of EVE. They are told by the ignorant, those on the peripheral, the lowly grunts, the spies, the fleet commanders, the corporation and alliance leadership, and everyone else in between. You are given an insight into the epic battles, tactical brilliance and folly, the conquests and losses that ebb and flow across EVE. You hear the cheering of victors, and from those who are crushed and humiliated. Like possibly no other source, it gives you a window into what is happening in EVE, and what makes it such a special game.

Dawdling around Empire as I am, you can certainly explore and experience the majority of the mechanics of the game. You can also get involved in many forms of PVP. But you can’t stake a claim to a system which then shows up on sovereignty maps, and you can’t have a system and station taken from you. You generally won’t be involved in battles that involve hundreds of players. You generally don’t take part in what eventually makes EVE history.

Vanity Store

CCP released a DEV blog to discuss their planned introduction of a Vanity Store.  The suggestion is that you will be able to purchase clothing, ship coloring or logos, and station environment upgrades.  These will cost Aurum points, a new form of currency.  They can be purchased with PLEX, which in turn can be purchased for Cash or ISK.

In other games I have played that offer in game store purchases, the options come down to access to extra content or character options, mounts, guilds, homes, clothing, and boosts to your development speed or loot drops.  Here CCP is limiting it to vanity items – so you should not be able to gain an edge in game play.

Some would ask why bother – but there is obviously a market for such things (given their popularity elsewhere), and I can see how it might help some have a more immersive experience.  Mord had a much better financial reason that he discussed here –  – which is basically an ISK sink and extra profit for CCP.

Up until this point I thought it was interesting but easily ignored.  Then I read that these items could be traded between players.  Wow.  In other games store items tend to be locked to your character or account, and you often lose them if you upgrade an effected item.  I assume in the long run that forces people to spend more money, but here CCP is in effect allowing people to be wearing second, third, fourth hand clothing etc.

I assume you will buy an upgrade, and the clothing item or furniture for your quarters will be available in every station you dock at.  However – what if you can carry these upgrades in your ships?  I like the idea of such items dropping from wrecks – can you imagine the hodgepodge clothing a pirate might end up wearing in station?  A fallen 0.0 station might end up with contracts for shag pile carpets and Roman furniture at bargain basement prices.

I take a simple view – these changes might increase the number of players and CCP’s profits, which is a good thing to my mind.  Would I purchase vanity items?  That very much comes down to price or function.  If you are running a Corp and want a recruitment office open in a station, sprucing it up might be of value.  If there is a perfect accessory that just polishes off the image you have of your pilot that might be justifiable.  Unless they were brilliant however, I personally doubt I would spend more than the equivalent of $1 – $2 of real currency on an individual item.


With the new character (Alt 4) coming up to her 1 month anniversary, I decided to sit down today and ensure she was in a position to start being useful.  She has less than two days to go on her PI training plan – which was basically rank IV across the PI skills and being able to fly and T1 fit a Mammoth.

After a review I added an extra 7 days of training to get Cyno Field Theory III and Cloaking III (two skills which up the value of the character).

I then ensured she had the remaining skill books required to finish off the training, and set up a Mammoth to haul PI material & two Probe Frigates (one as a small cargo shuttle, the other as an emergency Cyno Ship).

At Rank III for Minmatar Frigate and with T2 Cargohold Expanders, her Hauling Probe can carry 598m3.  At Rank IV for Minmatar Industrial and also with T2 Cargohold Expanders, her Mammoth can carry 17,838m3.  Both are rather useful volumes for cheap ships without rigs and low SP requirements.

To keep things simple I am only planning on using her for gathering Processed PI Materials (the first step up from the raw materials you extract).  She will dump these into the PI Hanger, where Alt 2 will be able to grab them for input into the Refined and Specialized Commodity chains.

I then visited the 9 systems within 2 jumps of my home and manually surveyed the 82 planets within.  This seemed like a good idea at the start, but turned into quite a long chore.  Basically all planets of the same type within Empire are not equal, with some containing more sustainable deposits of the rarer materials than others.  With this reconnaissance done I will revisit Alt 2’s installations, and move or fine tune as required.  The last step will be to go back to Alt 4 and ensure I fill in any remaining material gaps.

While not constantly busy on this, Alt 4 was logged in for over 6 hours today as I worked on these tasks.  From an ISK perspective this effort won’t ever really be worthwhile in Empire.  I hope however the skills I hone here will make it easier and quicker to setup worthwhile chains in Low or Null Sec.

Multiple Accounts

I was disturbed to note on the weekend that this site was the WordPress EVE Online Tag featured blog.  I am somewhat embarrassed that my prolific posting caused that, so I will try to cut back.

Work and RL have limited my EVE time for the last few days.  Tonight however I have all three accounts logged in as I try to do some housekeeping.  I seem to find myself with dozens of notes left all over my desk, reminding me to do this, that or the other in game.  Most are inconsequential – but when you are trying to keep on top of 4 active characters, easy to forget.  I had an implant purchased for one character by another, sit forgotten in an Interceptor’s hold for months.  Another character had completed the prerequisites for a dozen different skills which I had neglected to actually buy.  The list goes on and on.  There really can be a lot of preparation required in this game.

It’s odd having all three accounts logged in together.  I used to do it all the time when I was in 0.0 – a Neutral Cyno alt in low sec, a scout on the Cyno beacon in our home systems, and the capital pilot jumping between them.  Moving up and down the empire pipes would usually involve two scouts being deployed.  I’ve even gone to the length of having one toon NPC’ing, another toon watching an in-bound gate, and the last sitting cloaked in a Falcon to provide a get out of Jail free card if called upon.  As I have said before, I tend to go out of my way to avoid nonconsensual PVP.

(I remember once uncloaking in the Falcon and jamming a red who was about to attack a hauler.  He swore at me in local for using EW as it wasn’t real PVP.  He didn’t seem to notice the irony in his own actions – which was to attack an Iteron V with a Vagabond.)

As useful as it is, it can take a bit to get used to running multiple accounts.  I had lots of near misses or oops moments where I lost track of which system I was in or what account I was using.  There were lots of ships left unattended on gates for minutes at a time, or even a hauler left on Autopilot through several 0.0 systems when I had mistakenly thought he had reached empire already.  Less dangerous were when you forgot to log off your Neutral Alt, and inadvertently caused all sorts of reports in the Intel Channels.

In one hostile system I had a red Titan try to DD an alt assuming they were sitting cloaked on the gate (back when it was an area effect).  I only realised this when I returned to the screen hours later and found a trail of agro in local from the red covert ops pilot who was inadvertently caught up in the DD fishing net.  What the Titan Pilot did not realise was that I never park an alt AFK on the same grid as anything NPC rats visit.  I don’t know if it still happens – but I found on rare but multiple occasions rat’s would slowly and unerringly cover hundreds of kilometers towards cloaked scouts on gates or within exploration sites.

I am reminded as I reminisce that for all its annoyances, instability, and problems, the stories you remember the most in game tend to happen in 0.0, and not in Empire.

Moving Along

I must say the BPO and BPC icon changes with Incursion 1.5 have been excellent – within a couple minutes I found 2 BPO in my BPC containers and 1 BPC in my BPO collection.

Account 1 – the Capital training on my Main is moving along well.  He can now use Capital Remote Armor Repair and Shield Transfer modules, and is working on the Cap Transfer one now.  While the skill levels are mostly at rank II or III, he can now cover off the standard sort of fits for the Amarr and Caldari Capitals.  In about a fortnight I am considering kicking off Minmatar or Gallente BS V.

Account 2 – I had only 5 days of training left planned on my Main Alt – he was just polishing off his mining and ice harvesting skills to compliment his new Exhumer skills.  I’ve added Gas Cloud Harvesting and being able to fit T2 crystals for all the Empire Ores now, stretching out his queue to 23 days.

Account 3 – Training of my new PI alt is progressing well.  Her skill plan is down to 9 days, with just 2 left for PI skills and then a smattering of ship skills to allow her to appropriately fit a Mammoth.  She doesn’t have any active planet installations yet – I will probably start that once her last PI skill finishes to rank IV.  When that is done I am contemplating switching over to training my Industry Alt to fly the Orca.  After all this effort I might consider one little solo mining op with two Hulks and an Orca.  Yep.. just the one.

In the coming weeks I plan on reviewing the impacts of the agent changes – and will likely move my mission bases (and all their ships and fittings) to closer locations.  I will probably keep working on improving my Minmatar standings by following suggestions in a forum thread which including taking their tutorial missions.  I also need to start clearing out my “To Sell” station container, which is where I dump mission loot and spare equipment destined for the market.  I don’t think I’ve cleared it in over a year.

Blood-Stained Stars 04

I finished up the Blood-Stained Stars EPIC arc.  Final rewards totaled 17.8 M ISK (12.4M mission rewards and 5.4M salvage, loot and bounties.)

The final chain of missions was more of the same – lots of moving around systems and some slightly add conversations.

Nearing the end I had a 20 jump diversion to run a Storyline mission for the Sisters of EVE Faction – so it is nice to see the jobs you do for each agent add towards the faction mission count.

Mission 48 was an interesting reminder not to get over confident.  The NPC target was in a Battlecruiser – so I just zoomed out on the overview, set an orbit and started shooting once I got within range.  I was not paying close attention however and suddenly my speed dropped to nothing, my shields disappeared, my cap disappeared and my modules started shutting down.  I had a momentary thought of “oh crap, I am going to have to blog about losing an Assault Frigate in a level 1 mission”.  Turns out I had got caught up inside a structure and the NPC was using neuts.  I extracted myself from that little mess and decided I should pay closer attention for the remainder of the missions.

There were two aspects of note during the final couple missions – the first was that your final target is rather well tanked.  It was taking me so long to wear him down in the Retribution that I resorted to overheating my guns to push things along quicker.  The second aspect is that you have to decide which of the four factions you want to support you in the final mission, which in turn influences what faction standings you earn at the end of the Arc.

I picked Minmatar, since I need to work on getting that out of the negatives.  Normally when you run a Storyline mission for one faction it influences your standings with the others.  An unrealistic example – if you do an Amarr Storyline mission your standings might be adjusted as so:

Amarr +2
Caldari +0.5
Galantee -0.5
Minmatar -1.0

Obviously if you only run missions for one faction, you can find yourself with a large negative standing for another and can be excluded from their space if things get too bad.

The Arc faction standing change however did not follow that sort of pattern.  I got a worthwhile boost to my Minmatar standing, but basically tiny and inconsequential changes to the rest of the factions.  It was almost a “free” standings boost, without the usual negative consequences.

I found the end of the Arc was a bit of an anticlimax to be honest – while the ISK rewards seem well balanced, especially for a new player, it would have been nice to see some drops from the end NPC’s that were at least interesting, an unusual trade good, a next to useless and cheap faction module, or something like that.  The faction standing change however – by itself, made the whole process well worthwhile.

Grabbing your Interest

Is it just me, or has the average count of the users online dropped by 10,000 or so over the last couple months?

I’ve updated my skill queues to allow at least 3 days of training to cover the update tonight.  Better to be safe than sorry.

A friend was offered a 3 day return to the game by CCP, so queued up a whole heap of blueprint research and logged off again.  (In the process destroying the industry slots in one poor station, which now has something like a 3 month wait for ME research.)

He’s noticed my renewed enthusiasm for the game – but can’t imagine returning to it yet himself.  He’s asked several times recently just what was grabbing my attention so much.

It is hard to explain why I am keen on it again, but there are probably two factors.  The first has been an attitude change.

To do really well at EVE you normally have to either work very hard at it, or be told or come across its sweet spots.  Most of the useful tips I have been given in game come after the big money has already been made on them, so for real success I would have to work hard at it.  The fact is though – I don’t what this to be a second job, and I don’t really care about success.  I just want to amuse myself and have some fun.

So I am doing lots of little things – with smaller goals that don’t become a grind; and results that frankly won’t make me rich.  I am having fun fine tuning fittings, or testing new and different approaches to the game.  I am enjoying reading forum posts about industry, wars, game changes etc – but don’t mind if I fall behind on threads or skip whole pages because of trolling.  The same goes for my PI and trading at the moment – if I am a few days late updating things, I’m relaxed about it.

The other aspect which is helping is this blog.  I did not mention that to my mate, as while I know people read this and I write as if I am talking to people, my mindset is very much that I am just talking to myself.  Just being able to muse over the game in this type of medium adds a dimension to my gaming experience.

It certainly isn’t much of a sales pitch though – my mate hasn’t been encouraged to resub.

Blood-Stained Stars 03

The end must be nearing – a dozen more missions finished and I am back in the system I started from. Current rewards total 13.6 M ISK (9.1M mission rewards and 4.5M salvage, loot and bounties.) This last series of missions has been easier again, but involved lots of moving around – 2 jumps for Mission 34, 10 jumps for Mission 37, 3 more jumps for Mission 39 and 42, and a nasty 23 jumps for Mission 44.

The storyline continues to be a little confusing, like having to deliver a doll to the family of some up and coming pirate leader you had to assassinate, as way of apology from your boss for letting them go astray in the first place. Even though I am making a point of reading the mission text, the plot is not always easy to follow, and the links between events can be farfetched or even a little lame!

Some of the adventures also do not fall into the mold I am used to – sometimes the people you pick up or assets you move are real, and you place them in your cargo hold. Other times their pick up or drop off is just flagged by your arrival or killing of the last NPC rat. This inconsistency is another area that could do with some polish.

Not wanting to be too negative, the process has still been worthwhile, and on the plus side – almost every combat mission takes place in the same system as the agent is.

I have been very happy with the trusty Retribution – the Beam Turrets are making very short work of these missions, with quick reloading, rate of fire, good range and damage. It has been so nice that I am considering revisiting some of the other Amarr ships such as the Legion.

Incursion 1.5

CCP is releasing Incursion 1.5 Thursday.  Patch notes:

The biggest change is to Mission Agents:

I’m not sure what to make of that change.  The obvious benefit for CCP will be to hopefully cut down the population in the current main mission hubs.  It should also make it easier for me to patch up some of my negative Faction standings, and require less travel between the Agent types I want to use.  Assuming a spread of Security Agents for each R&D Corp, it will also make it easier to get Datacore research underway.  More of an unknown will be the impacts on population densities and the markets currently based in mission hubs.  Making a game less complicated is also not always a good thing.

Other changes of note to me –

. Finally different icons for blueprints and blueprint copies

. The onboard scanner range has increased to 64 AU with quicker response.

. Ships with jump drives (excluding Black Ops) won’t be able to use Jump Bridges (so that part of the nerf is being implemented quickly)

. A few fixes to the Fleet interface

Blood-Stained Stars 02

I’m noticing as I am moving around these newbie systems that there are people on my block list in local.  I don’t make a habit of blocking people unless I am (relatively rarely) in Jita or Amarr – and even then I only block people who are spamming or scamming too hard in local.  It appears that the type of people who plague the market hubs with unsavory behaviour, also troll the newbie areas causing grief.

I am also kind of surprised at how populous the systems have been.  I’ve lived a reasonable amount of time in 4 regions during my EVE life, 3 Empire and 1 Null Sec.  It is uncommon to have more than 20 people in most of the systems I frequent, yet moving around the Arc missions I am commonly seeing 100 to 200 people in each station system.

I managed to clear another 15 missions.  The rewards after 32 missions totaled 9.0M ISK (6.1M mission rewards and 2.9M salvage, loot and bounties).  I did however have to hurriedly spend 3.4 M in overpriced fittings to get through a couple of them.  (There was more salvage that I did not collect this time round, mainly from Drones.)

In Mission 18 I came across Guristas for the first time since their boosting.  Against 4 small NPC frigates I spent over 90% of the fight jammed.  I came up with a couple alternative fits and collected the required modules.  The first drops the T2 Heat Sink for a T2 Radar Backup Array.  That increases the ships Sensor Strength from 12 to 17.8, but reduces DPS from 113 to 93.  The second swaps the Afterburner out for a T2 Radar ECCM.  That change also needs the T2 Salvager swapped for a T1.  That increases Sensor Strength from 12 to 23.5, DPS remains unchanged, but ship speed drops from 876m/s to 327m/s. The second fitting proved effective, but the slow speed offset the benefits.

The very next Mission required 150m3 of cargo space – so I had to temporarily remove the T2 Heat sink for a T1 Expanded Cargo Hold, and got through that one with 0.6m3 to spare.  I didn’t mind this requirement to be flexible with your fits.

The next kill mission was somewhat confusing – the text suggested you would find something in the ruins or wreckage, but there was nothing there.  (I even take out the most obvious structures, just in case.)  It completes happily without anything.  Mission 21 involves 7 jumps back to the starting point.  Mission 23 is an 8 jump round courier mission.  There seems to be a lot of moving around.

Mission 24 gives you a choice of paths to follow.  The text makes vague references to your choice impacting your standings to Gallente or Caldari, so I go with Gallente as my standings cannot afford to take a hit.  However none of the subsequent missions seem to have any effect on faction standings.

Mission 25 throws up a little bit more of a challenge for a newbie – a 30K ISK NPC Frigate and 3 x 17.5K ones.  That would require a reasonable tank and DPS to clear safely.

Mission 28 also ends in a somewhat confusing state – your target is destroyed by this mysterious “Society of Conscious Thought” Cruiser which then flees.  You return to your agent to explain, and they seem to have a leap of faith and refer to the mysterious pilot by name.

Mission 29 is a 14 jump move.  Blah.

One of the last combat sites has 30 odd red battleships and the like in it.  I consider going to grab something bigger than the AF, but figure I would just follow the plot.  I warp out unmolested.  Next mission you move to a new system – and subsequently return to the same combat site.   It seemed to have miraculously moved.

Still finding it amusing to do – appreciating the different scenery, and intrigued about where this is taking me next.

Game Change Ideas 001 – Making Local less Reliable

One of the ideas bantered around since I started EVE has been the removal of Local.  I hated the idea as basically it is designed to make it easier for people to Gank others.  If I want to avoid PVP, I shouldn’t have to spam the scan button every 5 seconds I am out of Empire.

I have and will regularly comment here that if you want more small scale player interaction in Null Sec, then you need to encourage a large population of solo and small groups to live there.  Losing Local will not do that.

I have been thinking of an alternative to this – making Local less reliable in 0.0, and boosting the value and concept of Black Ops and Wormhole travel.

The idea is that the Local list is maintained by the Infrastructure within the Null Sec system – and is only updated when the Infrastructure knows you are there.  So when you:

. Are docked, dock or undock at a Station
. You enter or leave a system via a gate
. You enter or leave a system via a normal Cyno
. You spend any time uncloaked within – let’s say 1 AU of a Gate, Station or Customs office
. You speak in local
. You log in or out

This leaves two important times when you are not automatically added to the Local list:

. When you enter a system via a Wormhole
. When you enter a system via a Covert Cyno

To my mind it makes logical sense, and adds another interesting dynamic to the game.  You can no longer trust local.

To expand on this, you could look at new ship modules, ship class, or System Infrastructure updates:

. A Ship module (should reduce the utility of the ship, so maybe requires the use of a high slot) that gives you a chance to scramble or hack or confuse the System Infrastructure into not registering when you Jump through a gate.  That means you have a chance not to be flagged in Local when moving around via Gates.  The base chance might be 5 to 15%, based on the module quality, with an extra 4% chance per rank in a relating skill.  (So a T2 module with rank V would give you a 35% chance of not being registered each time you jump into Local.)

. A new ship class designed to move through gates without being registered – with a Ship bonus of (example) 4% per rank to this chance.  (So at Rank V in both the ship and module skill, with a T2 module, you might have a 55% chance of jumping into a system without being registered in Local.  Obviously the balance of that would need to be played around with.

. Alliances can spend to upgrade the Gates in a system to make it more difficult for this Stealth jumping to work, and separately to increase the range it works to register uncloaked pilots.

There are some obvious questions:

. Do you register when you leave a system via a Cyno Jump Bridge or Wormhole?  By the logic used to come up with this idea, the answer would be no.  That might leave you flagged in Local even though you have gone, until you are picked up by the infrastructure in some other system / log off etc.  I don’t mind that concept.

. Do Alliance Jump bridges also automatically register people’s coming and goings?  For ease of implementation I would say yes.

. Is there a chance this adds too much complexity or a source of possible lag?

. Will this be loved by Macro/Bot Hunters?

While this does make life a little more difficult in 0.0, it increases the career path options for those who like to move around in small groups, and in recons and black ops.  It can be used by both attackers and defenders to mask their numbers and presence, and while I suspect might be a little complicated to implement, seems to add to the sandpit dynamic of the game and have a “cool” factor about it.

Blood-Stained Stars 01

I moved an Alt over to replace my Main to keep an eye on a couple Auctions.   I then moved my Main to Armon (via my Home Station to pick up the PVE Retribution) to begin the Blood-Stained Stars Epic Arc.

After almost 80 jumps moving the two characters around I arrived.  There were almost 200 people in the system.  The local chat is of the newbie type, as you would expect.  A fair few unsavory characters float around the gates, station undocks and agents in space.  As I move around they seem to stay put, and from the innocuous can’s left lying around and chatter, I assume they are praying on said newbies.

I managed to run the first four missions until Wife & Kid agro interrupt proceedings.  The first mission is to investigate an SOS, which leads you into a debris field containing a fleet of destroyed battleships and a couple wrecked Dreads.  Subsequent missions relate to trying to find out what happened, or doing something unrelated that in turn frees up the time of your agent to help.

The second mission was also non-combat, and was basically to go visit a different agent for a new mini chain of missions.  The third mission sees you returning to the debris field to pick up an item.  I wondered at the intelligence of investigating the source of an explosion which took out so many ships in just an Assault Frigate, but the Agent didn’t seem to mind.  You clear half a dozen NPC frigates in this mission and the next which should be easy enough for all but brand new characters.

The rewards after 4 missions totaled 1.4M ISK (730K mission rewards and 700K salvage, loot and bounties).  That seems a reasonable return for someone who is fairly new to the game.

Initial thoughts –

. Make sure you make a point of reading the storyline

. Make sure you stop to enjoy the scenery at each location

. Make sure you can use a Salvager as it is the only loot so far worth much of anything

. While you can follow your progress in the Journal > Epic Journal section, you have to use the Journal > Agents > Mission Tab to keep track of what is coming up next.  That could have been done a little better.

. The Retribution turns out too be a very nice little PVE ship, particularly in being able to change the range of its guns so quickly

Five hours later I logged back in – having earnt some quiet time after taking my son to a six year old birthday party at a Play Centre.  (As most parents would know, that is worth a few brownie points.)

I did a dozen more missions.  Mission 7 threw drones into the mix, Mission 10 involved a 8 jump relocation, Mission 13 saw an upping of the Rat size to include a couple Destroyer Class and one Cruiser Class, and Mission 15 involved a 7 jump relocation to yet another agent.  Some of the later missions would be a challenge for someone only in the game for a week or two.

The rewards after 15 missions totaled 4.6M ISK (2.79M mission rewards and 1.86M salvage, loot and bounties).  That would be enough to cover the ship loss or two a new player might expect – those destroyer NPC’s hit hard.

I have kind of been impressed with the process so far.  It is not 100% smooth, and the diversions and explanations from the various agents could be more unique, but overall it adds to the game.  It would be nice to see at least one level 2 and level 3 Epic Arc introduced, just as further stepping stones for developing characters, or a distraction for older ones.

EVE Dev Q&A 02

My main Toon is stuck half way across the galaxy watching a couple interesting auctions.  I am not sure about leaving him there for the weekend, or have him crisscross the galaxy to run through the Sisters of Eve (level 1) Epic Arc mission – just for the interest.

The DEV Q & A continues.

More things that I found of interest:

. More Tech 3 ships are coming, probably starting with smaller hulls, but they are not likely for 3 years or more.  (This is extremely disappointing to be honest.)

. Over 3,000 full accounts have been banned in the past month for botting or RMT.

. Jump clones might be revisited

. They agree Low Sec needs a lot of loving, but they are not working on it.  (I think they really need too…)  They are however focused on playing around with Null Sec.

. One part of that is looking at industry in 0.0

. Supercarriers and Dramiels are on the nurfing block

. Priorities after Incarna are DUST, World of Darkness, and “improving” EVE.  (Meh… )

. A chance that with the release of the Tornado hull (competition winner), that the other races will have comparable ships released at the same time or soon after.

While I am certainly enjoying my renewed enthusiasm for EVE this year, I was hoping for something more from CCP.  To my mind this Q&A isn’t as comforting or as interesting as the last one.   There are too many “nice idea, but it is not in the pipe line” responses.  There are no ships I am really aspiring too fly, no content I am excited to attempt, and nothing published in the pipe line I am eagerly anticipating.  The last Q&A gave exciting glimpse of possibilities.  This one so far seems more about what we won’t be getting.

CCP is trying to fix 0.0 by making it harder to live there

CCP has announced that they are going to change Jump Bridges.  In future ships with jump drives (aside Black Ops) won’t be able to use them.  They will also only allow one jump bridge per system – so that if you are travelling along a Jump Bridge chain, you need to use gates to move between each link.

I assumed this is the approach CCP would take – but I don’t think much of the logic.   I still contend that ganking haulers and ratting ships on gates is not small gang PVP, and that if you want to increase the amount of small gang PVP that goes on, you need to increase the population of solo and small groups of people in 0.0.

To my mind, a more effective change would be to remove passwords from jump bridges, and only allow their use by alliance members.  Stop congomerations of alliances from sharing each others networks.  Make it a little harder, or of less benefit, to have dozens of alliances living together as a power block, taking up multiple regions of space.

EVE Dev Q&A 01

This is an EVE Online thread worth keeping an eye on:

Basically CCP developers are answering questions put to them by players and fans for a day or three.  The overview and questions being asked are here:

You can often glean useful and interesting bits of information from these types of Q&A sessions – although you do need to take the answers with a grain of salt.  What the Devs want and dream about does not always come into fruition.

Early bits that stood out for me so far –

. The long and often requested improvement to the Cyno graphic is in a pipeline somewhere.  (The old effect was so much better than the current one.)

. Next in line for Incarna treatment are Establishments and Corp Offices

. Floated an idea of a new ship class for anti-missile work – but of more interest is the concept of a class of ships designed to reduce incoming damage.  Nasty to get the balance right, but it could add an interesting fleet positioning dynamic, particularly if the defense was not just passive, but required the setting of a short range defensive cone or arc.  Tricky to get right though.


So I was a little over optimistic with my interpretation of CCP’s gift.  It ended up just being 6 doses of QUAFE Zero per paid account.  These provide a minor boost to ship and scan speeds that last for an hour each.  They are of little value or interest to me – but when I first checked there were plenty of contract buy orders of around 40M ISK for 6 doses.  (I probably should have filled some of those at the time – now there are mostly just exorbitant sale contracts.)

Been a busy week with some travel thrown in.  My PI chain has halted and my market orders are out of date.  It doesn’t matter – I’m happy that they can wait for me to have some quiet time to address them.  I am mindful of achieving the balance where you work hard enough in EVE to get things done, but not so hard that it ends up just being work.

It is nice to see CVA back in Providence ( ) – even if it was not really conquered, instead being transfered by Ev0ke.

Mission Retribution V01

You get two posts for the price of one today.

I think it was Sebadai ( ) who remarked on running static sites in empire for quick ISK.  I haven’t looked at them for literally years, and given there are a few in the area I operate, I thought I would have a look.   First – these get farmed – constantly, by some rather old characters – so there must be some value in them.

I started out in my trusty old Hawk, which I leave in my hanger for when I have to grind low level missions for standings.  It soon became apparent that if you manage to get into one of these sites immediately after it respawned, you had to clear it quickly before someone else turned up.  While the Hawk easily tanked and one shot most of the rats, the cycle time of its launchers was painfully slow.  I quickly went through the options and settled on trying the Retribution.  A couple fitting changes later and I think I now have a new PVE Assault Frigate.  (With my usual mix of cheap faction fittings, all of which were in my hanger.)

[Retribution, Mission v02 rf]

Coreli C-Type Small Armor Repairer
Damage Control II
Heat Sink II
True Sansha Adaptive Nano Plating
Capacitor Power Relay II

Gistii B-Type 1MN Afterburner

Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Dual Light Beam Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Salvager II

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Energy Collision Accelerator I

It cleared the sites in literally a 1/4 of the time, had range options on its weapons, and was fun to fly.

And are static sites in Empire worth it?  I picked up a half a dozen faction modules over an hours effort, most not worth much, but which you might consider using on your ships.  They were interesting, and when you have a spare 5 minutes, worth having a look at.

Mission Rattlesnake v01

I might have been wrong in my last post – I seem to remember owning a Damnation for a week or two, simply so that I could say I achieved that goal.  Or was that on the test server?  As you can see, even though I lusted after the ship for quite some time, it failed to leave a lasting impression.

Speaking of ships I long desired, I took my Rattlesnake out on its first mission the other night.  T2 bouncers and Cruise Missiles made short work of the NPC battleships, while my Alt’s Proteus cleaned up the smaller and closer hulls.  It worked a little better than expected, and I might actually end up using the ship regularly.

I went for the long range flexibility of the Cruise (which I don’t have T2 yet) over the short range DPS of the torpedoes, which on initial appearances seems to have been the right option.

The goal of this fitting:

. Tank Level 4 missions
. Use only cheap faction modules
. Not required micro management

[Rattlesnake, Mission 01 rf]

Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Pithum A-Type Heat Dissipation Amplifier
Gistum B-Type Magnetic Scattering Amplifier
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Shadow Serpentis 100MN Afterburner

‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
Drone Link Augmentor I
Small Tractor Beam I

Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I

Ogre II x5
Bouncer II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Hammerhead II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5
Warrior II x5

EVE Blog Banter #26 – Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Welcome to the twenty-sixth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to  Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month’s topic was proposed by @KatiaSae of the much praised “To Boldly Go” blog. Katia asks: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As an astrophotographer, I’ve found it in the stars and planets of New Eden. Where have you found it? Perhaps you’ve found beauty in the ships we fly? Maybe it’s the sight of profits being added to your bottom line? Or maybe it’s the pilot portraits you see in the comm channels? Where ever you’ve found it, write about it and post an image.” Don’t be afraid go beyond the simple visual aspects of EVE as well. Is the EVE Community in itself a thing of beauty? What makes EVE the game, the world, the Community, so appealing to you?

I like the Wikipedia definition of Beauty – “a characteristic that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction”. []  With that in mind, there are four areas of beauty that stand out for me in EVE – a ship, the scenery, the order, and the distraction.

While there have been others, the very first ship that left me in awe in game was the Damnation.  Most of the ships I had initially come across were awkward and (frankly) ugly.  You could grow to respect them for their utility, but there was nothing artistic or intrinsically attractive about them.  The Damnation however just looks superb – the symmetry, the lines, the look of speed, strength and stability.  Seeing it for the first time was a wow moment – and I remember thinking “I want to fly one of those”.   (I have long since had all the skills to fit and pilot one, and the ISK to afford it, but I have never actually owned one.  I have not found a fit which I could make use of in the way I play the game.)

The scenery in the game can be breathtaking.  I’ve seen many examples where non-players question the authenticity of in game screen captures.  “That’s not real, is it?”  Followed soon by a slightly smug response from a player “Yep, that’s exactly what it looks like.”  But it doesn’t.  95% of the time you are zoomed out so far from your ship that it is just a tiny bracket in space, you have overlays and containers and the HUD and your Neocom and chat channels organised across the screen, or your on autopilot, or maybe you have the market and scan and science and journal and whatever other window you happen to be using splashed across the top of it.  But – every so often you are struck by the scene, remember to use CNTL F9, and just marvel at the beauty of the game.

The next thing of beauty is something I probably shouldn’t admit too. I like the fact that order can be achieved in game.  Everything can be filed and sorted and structured and optimised, and put neatly away.  I wouldn’t like to imagine how much time I spent trying to come up with the perfect mix of Corporation hangers and wallet division descriptions.  I don’t imagine ever getting the same sense of order in my real life, so at least I can enjoy doing so in my imaginary one.

The last aspect of beauty that stands out for me in EVE is the distraction.  I have a fairly busy and stressful life, with (quite literally) hundreds of tasks on my to-do list which I cycle through and never get close to clearing.  EVE gives me a balance of amusement, recreation, interest and distraction, and gives me some much needed downtime.