Gallente Battleship V

I noticed this little pop up notification a few minutes ago.

Any BS V skill is a bit of a milestone one.  I’ve just ingested the Gallente Carrier book, and am now travelling on autopilot to Gallente space to pick up their Racial Dread skill.  I can now fly the Sin and Kronos, and within a couple hours I will be able to fly the Thanatos and Moros.

Alt 1 is probably nervously looking at this Thanatos and wondering when it might be appropriated.  He need not be overly concerned just yet – where as he has all the carrier related skills to rank IV or V, my main is still at only rank III for most of them.

Three of four done – Minmatar Battleship V will probably be next just to finish them off.

Incarna 1.0.1

I had just been thinking there hadn’t been a full patch released for Incarna yet, when one popped up as being scheduled for tonight.  Patch notes:

A couple items I had raised in a recent post appear to have already been addressed – namely a page counter being added to the Agent Finder, and that you will be able to search for Agents via Region and Solar System.

Some fixes are more bemusing – such as “Salvager modules will no longer receive bonuses meant for tractor beams.”  Do the T2 Salvagers fitted to my Noctis currently an extra long range?  I was almost inclined to log in and see, but work calls.

(Fake Edit – I logged in to check, and my Noctis Salvagers currently have a range of 20.4km!)

Incarna thoughts 05

I spent Sunday morning doing my weekly PI updates, a data core run for Alt 1 (which netted 120M), and made some adjustments to my Trade orders.  I even – shamefully, glanced through the contracts for any interesting “I am leaving EVE, here is all my stuff” sales, but they were all scams.

(The above image is a fraction of the hundreds of Shuttles dumped on Jita 4-4 undock by protestors this weekend, designed (and effective) in causing great lag)

With further use of Incarna I can say my favourite bit is actually the automatic sort done after you do a stack all.  What a great little change.  The new turret icons however could use some work – they need to be clearer and cleaner.

I also kept an eye on what has become the “I don’t trust CCP with MT” thread which I will link to again:

It is up to over 11,400 posts in 3 days, most reporting dissatisfaction.  It is a little sad to watch to be honest – a sort of perfect storm of emotion that has its own momentum.

CCP (finally) released a new Dev Blog:

It reiterated that there are still no plans for selling EVE boosts via MT.  They have organised an extraordinary (i.e. emergency) meeting with the CSM in several days to discuss and work out how to address the player’s main concerns.  They won’t be discussing it further until after the CSM meeting due to the volatility of the topic and not wanting errors in their communication to make things worse.

I am not a great fan of the current CSM, being Null-Sec / Veteran heavy, but it has been comforting to read posts from Seleene and Mittani which show they haven’t mindlessly climbed above the rage train, and are focused on the in game issues with Incarna.

It seems an overly safe approach however – it gives CCP a chance for things to settle down, and “looks” to be doing the right thing.  However – it comes at the risk of allowing the anti-CCP movement to cause irreparable and lasting damage.

While it is easy to be swept up in the drama, at the back of my mind there is one thing which keeps me grounded.  The goals of some of those involved in the protests, possibly even whoever released the internal CCP communications, do not appear to be entirely wholesome.  The inferred and sometimes stated goal of some is to hurt CCP.  While the majority of people want the same – for EVE online to continue, grow and improve, some calling for action actually want it to crash, burn and die.

So I will wait and see.  I hope that CCP doesn’t get all emo and butt hurt about the protests, that they continue with Captain Quarters but give us back our ship spinning so we can multi-client happily, and that they continue to only post Vanity items to their store.

Incarna thoughts 04

The rage continues unabated.  The EVE Forum thread I linked too last post is now up over 200 pages and 6,000 posts.  There are online player protests in the main trading hubs, and news that some of the most enraged EVE twitter and blog writers are being handed out in game bans for threatening behaviour.  CCP released a Dev Blog on the issue:

It reads ok to me – but then again my issues with Incarna are only in game ones.  It can all get overwhelming however, so I’ve taken the proverbial Ostrich approach and stuck my head in the sand, and gone back to my original notes to myself.

. The new Amarr Maller hull is an improvement.

. The new Agent Finder – the response is a little slow, often requires two clicks to start it, the Agent Level hot spots are a little too small, and the Prev and Next options should only be shown if there are in fact pages to navigate to.  Also need an option to search by region.  Basic functionality however is good, and it is a useful addition to the game.

. The new Corporation Recruitment interface is much improved and actually nice.  Seem to be responsive and is another useful addition to the game.

. Planetary Interaction in Captain Quarters seems to basically just be a hot spot on screen which brings up the old interface.  Not really anything that should be considered a feature.

. Ship Fitting tools in Captain Quarters again is just two hot spots on screen which brings up the old interface.  Not really anything that should be considered a feature.

. The bit about all players must customize their characters – I did not see this prompt when I logged my toons in.  Obviously if you have previously suppressed the message this new requirement wasn’t demanded of you.

. I have docked and undocked from multiple different types of stations, and I just can’t see how it is now more visually appealing.

I’ve turned off Captain Quarters in my all clients now.  (Actually, it would be nice to have that setting be character based and not client install based.)  I’ll revisit it each time there is a patch or update to check for changes, but just at the moment any interest factor doesn’t overcome the cost of the performance hit.

Incarna thoughts 03

I haven’t played the game much the last couple days.  I know it is nonsensical, but docking with a static background is off-putting.  It doesn’t have the sense of relaxed familiarity.  I keep catching myself trying to double click to open a cargo hold or rotate my camera angle.  Having the fitting window open does however help.

The Tsunami (and I use that word deliberately) of angst and rage coming from the user base and directed at CCP is just, well, astounding.   CCP Pann made an official acknowledgement of the issue in the thread here:

In less than a day there were 4,000 replies and growing.  CCP Pann did however mess up (in my opinion) by suggesting the primary concern of people was the pricing in the Vanity store.  I literally slapped my forehead when I read that.

In itself, Incarna and the related issues do not warrant the huge backlash and people screaming about cancelling their accounts.  This however is not really just about Incarna anymore.  It’s like that argument your wife starts about something minor, which suddenly morphs into covering everything you have done wrong over the last 20 years that she hasn’t forgiven you for.  It comes down to that lack of forgiveness for past indiscretions, a loss of trust, and a feeling that CCP is losing touch and doesn’t understand the player base.

I hope this all ends up in good make up sex, and not irreparable damage to the relationship.  Anyone got the number of a good marriage counselor?

Incarna thoughts 02

Two posts in one day…

I was reminded by one of the recent “A Day in EVE” blog posts that Incarna was something I have been looking forward to for many years.  I think the concept is good and the approach is the right one for growing the user base of EVE.  This initial iteration, while a little limited, has promise and is heading in the right direction.

Why then if you read the EVE forums at the moment are you finding the majority of the feedback is full of bitterness and complaints, especially from older players?  After spending more time in the game with multiple accounts, I believe the problem is that while CCP might have moved the game forwards, they have moved the Game Client noticeably backwards.

I have one of the earlier i7 920 CPUs, a GeForce GTX 460, and run 32 bit Windows 7 (my rather expensive scanner doesn’t have 64 bit drivers).  It would probably be middle ranged now.  Looking at the systems load with the new client is rather illuminating:

. Running E-Mail, Browsers, Office Apps and Remote Desktop
. CPU Utilisation under 5%
. CPU Temps 40 to 45c
. ~1.7GB Ram Free

The following figures are with running the same set of applications, plus…

Two Incursion Clients
. CPU Utilisation under 9%
. CPU Temps 43 to 48c
. ~0.9GB Ram Free
. No performance issue with system or other applications

One Incarna Client – in Captain Quarters
. CPU Utilisation 12-14%
. CPU Temps 55 to 60c
. ~0.6GB Ram Free
. Some stuttering or refresh issues with other applications

Two Incarna Clients – both in Captain Quarters
. CPU Utilisation 22-30%
. CPU Temps 60 to 62c
. ~0.3GB Ram Free
. Noticeable delays swapping between applications, system nowhere near as sooth

Two Incarna Clients – One in Captain Quarters, 1 in Space
. CPU Utilisation 10-15%

Two Incarna Clients – 2 in Space
. CPU Utilisation 5-9%

Two Incarna Clients – Docked but with station environment turned off
. CPU Utilisation 6%
. CPU Temps drop to around 50c

So – I went from being able to run 3 EVE Clients without any impact on my desktop, to running 2 EVE clients and finding it running noticeably slower.  It impacts the way I can play the game – I can’t just leave an industry or price check alt logged in for hours while I work, playing 0.01ISK wars or watching a contract, as it impacts the desktop too much.  Oh – but I can turn off the station environment.  And then I find myself wondering how EVE’s latest upgrade has in fact turning out to be a downgrade.

There are also a growing list of annoyances and bugs – such as finding if I sit down on the couch, my character will then stand again, but will refuse to walk anywhere until you re-dock or re-log.  Or how if you are opening windows and moving assets around, you keep finding 3D menus jumping up in the background as the mouse crosses hot spots.  What I really want right now is the option to have my old station environment back – where I can see my ship, spin it around to my heart’s content, and not have it impact the running of my desktop.  I want to go into Incarna when I have a reason to – and not be forced to all the time.  If you ran multiple clients on an even lower spec’d computer, you would be screaming about now…

I’m not raging, I am not cancelling my accounts, I am not hating CCP.  I don’t however want to run the current Incarna Client.


Incarna thoughts 01

. Patch took longer than scheduled.  CCP, it looks better to quote a higher outage time and deliver early, than to do the opposite.

. The animated splash screen at login is rather odd.  The position of the cruiser as it does a flyby is down low on the screen and half obscured.  It is also somewhat slow as it crosses in front of you.

. I must admit I had a slight amount of trepidation as I put in my main characters password and pressed enter.

. The very first load time into the captain quarters was very slow.  Perception subsequently however is that it adds a maybe 4 or 5 seconds to your first log in, and maybe a second or two when re-docking.

. My first unexpected hurdle – after standing there and looking around for a few minutes, was how the hell do you move?  Turns out it is double click.

. Interacting with objects is kind of logical (you click on them or hover your mouse over them and options pop up) – but it seems to take into account distance, so I could click on the couch, select sit, and nothing would happen. I would have to move a bit closer and try again.

. It is not as immersive as I first thought – the station, hanger, ship, local overlays etc can make it seem just like an animated background.

. Too slow to move around – especially when you dock up and find yourself outside of the quarters.  It would be nice to have the option to walk fast instead of stroll.  Maybe even an option to run…

. The position of your character kind of makes sense – standing when you first log in, out on the hanger gantry when you re-dock.  Moving around however is so slow that I can see myself simply ignoring most of the features.  Would be nice to be able to select a default starting point – mine would be sitting on the couch.

. Character texture is rather unnatural and not as high quality as I expected, and the turn movement is too jerky.

. Is there a way to spin your ship in the hanger?

. It was a nice touch seeing your pod parked below the quarters, although you can’t seem to approach it.

. Last of all looked at the Noble Exchange and fell off my chair.  A PLEX costs around $17.50, or 320 to 420M ISK.  Each PLEX can be converted into 3,500 Aurum.  The items in the exchange cost between 1,000 and 12,000 Aurum, with most around the price of a PLEX.  The initial offerings were slim and frankly less than inspiring.  Who set such a ridiculous pricing point? Who would pay that much for a pretend skirt or Jacket!?  I had two PLEX put aside to buy some Aurum, but based on that initial view I cashed them out for ISK.

So – I am glad to see it finally here, and I look forward to when there are corporation and public areas to visit.  It seemed to work ok, although I suspect as I mentioned above, I will just regard it as an animated background and ignore it.  (Being able to start myself in a default location might change my view a little.)  This was of course just my initial view.  I’ll have to go back and look more closely at things over the coming weeks.