Two many options

Minmatar BS V completed, giving me the whole BS set.  I’ve purchased and trained the first couple ranks in Minmatar Carrier and Dread, also completing that set.  At the moment I am going to work on T2 Large Projectiles, which will keep me busy for around 30 days.

Normally I stick to one particular training plan until it is complete, but I’ve been swapping between multiple goals over the last 6 months, and I’ve ended up with lots of things that still need training from III to IV.

In addition on the BS front I am still missing T2 Cruise Missiles and T2 Large Smart Bombs.  I also need to get Jump Portal Generation for the Black Ops, and get Cynosural Field Theory up to V so allow the use of the Covert Cyno.  It doesn’t seem like much to finish all those off – but it adds up to 107 days, more once I drop out of the +5 implant set.

My Capital skill plan has even larger issues.  While I actually have the majority of skills needed to fly, tank and fight in the various carriers and dreads, most of those are only at rank II and III.  I have over 265 days in that skill plan, much of this 1 week periods just to get skills from rank III to IV.

I also have a 90 day skill plan to ensure I can fly every industrial and freighter.  I think those are the last ships in game outside of Supers that I can’t fly – 6 transports, 3 freighters and 4 jump freighters.  Actually, looking closer, it would only take 48 days to get them to rank III.  Being able to fly all ships in game bar Supers was one of my main goals at the start of the year, and a 7 week diversion would get me to that rather cool end.

There is one very big problem with being able to fly so many ships – and that is picking what to fly.

Several days ago I took an Orca into Jita with the goal of fitting up a variety of small ships for use in the new Corp.  I hit my first hurdle when I realised many of my fits hadn’t been used for 12 to 18 months, so needed to be revisited.  I started with my Hulk fitting, which took quite some hours to settle on this:

Goals:

. Empire use in Corp operations
. Cheap fit to deter profit based suicide ganks
. Be able to swap in and out Cargo Expanders, T2 Mining Laser Upgrades and T2 Strip miners without having to adjust the rest of the fit
. Be Cap Stable regardless of such fitting changes

[Hulk, M04]
Mining Laser Upgrade II
Mining Laser Upgrade II

Survey Scanner II
Small Shield Booster II
Domination Magnetic Scattering Amplifier
Domination Heat Dissipation Amplifier

Strip Miner I
Strip Miner I
Strip Miner I

Medium Cargohold Optimization I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I

Acolyte II x5
Mining Drone I x5

It seems rather uninspiring for the amount of effort I put into it.

I then repeated the effort for a couple Covetor fits for wormhole use, before opening an even bigger can of worms when looking at PVP fits.  The Interdictor wasn’t too bad – I wanted a versatile roaming fitting, which the Sabre shines for.  Next were Interceptors – of which I had 8 hull choices to pick between.  I went through the 30 odd old fittings I already had in EFT and cutting the ship list down to 2 fairly quickly.  Then it took half a day of going backwards and forwards, comparing and changing options before finally setting on a fairly standard Taranis setup that I could simply swap blasters for rails depending on if I wanted a long range version or short ranged.  It helps that my Alt can also fly the same fits.  The last half day effort was spent on Stealth Bombers.  At least I only had 4 hull options here – and I am down to a Manticore fit I am relatively happy with.  Next step is to go back and see if I can duplicate that fit on any of the other bombers before making my final decision.

I wonder how many more days I will spend in Jita…

New Corp Overload

Every so often while afk on auto pilot your ship will pass an interesting conversation going on in local.  When you return to your screen at some later point, you generally find those conversations have been cut short just before the most interesting bits – by your ship jumping into the next system.

I’ve started the process of moving ships and supplies to a couple new bases of operation.  After more than a year of playing around in Empire and six months of keeping an eye out for just the right sort of Corporation to join, I finally found one that appears to be a nice fit.  It is time to drag the carrier out of storage, step out of the +5 clone, and lose a few ships.

What I have initially been surprised by is the disorientation from the multiple busy chat channels.  There is a lot going on within the Corp, local becomes important when you operate outside of Empire, and with 3 Intel channels your screen suddenly becomes cluttered with scrolling lines of text.  I remember this same sensation the second time I moved to 0.0 – and how it took a little while to become accustomed and comfortable with the incoming data.  I had thought I’d just slip easily into it this time, but I must be getting old or something.

Don’t even get me started on the Corp Forum, and the encyclopedia of information to digest…

The week that was

I made 32M in PI for the last week, which was pleasing.  I think I will still be short on Chiral Structures, so once the current stockpile clears I expect the weekly profits to be a bit lower.

Operation Noah’s Ark continues.  This (just named) goal is basically the setting up of pairs of cheap PVP ships to use and lose.  So far I have a pair of armor tanked autocannon Hurricanes, the two Anti Frig Celestis, and now a pair of armor tanked autocannon Thrashers.  I’m having fun reviewing large numbers of fitting options (collected over time, from killboards, or rated well on Battleclinic), and testing them out on my poor old Alt.  I have several possibilities on the go to ensure I actually have a use for them.

I’m having quite a bizarre issue with one of my alt accounts.  It keeps disconnecting, particularly if AFK or in a very busy system.  As I’ve mentioned, I have two client installs on my main PC.  I use one for my main Account (configured to run at higher resolution and quality settings), and the second is shared by my two Alt accounts.  The weird thing is the issue only happens with one of the alt accounts and not the other.

There is an odd behaviour that suggests something is not quite right.  All my characters have each other in their watch lists.  When someone on your watch list is online, there is a green dot on their avatar image in local and in the contacts list.  When they log off, this green dot turns red, and a short time later they usually disappear from local.  In my case, the Alt user on that particular account can often show up with a red dot as if they are offline, even though they stay in local and I am busy using them.  (I’ll try to remember to grab a screen capture next time I see it.)  The only thing that comes to mind is that the other two accounts have had their cache cleared recently.  I might have to do that for this account too.

Another little thing I’ve noticed is the return of the ship re-name bug.  This is where you rename a ship, undock or move it into a corporate hanger, and have its name change back to the original one.  I hadn’t noticed it happening for a while, but it occurred twice for me today.

The CSM is again asking for player input into ordering the wish list they take to CCP.  The blog can be found here:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=942

The Forum thread here:

http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1555249

And the list (on the EVE wiki) is here.

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/July_2011_Prioritization_Crowdsourcing

It was a bit of a hard slog to get through them all, but I did so and voted.  It was a touch depressing noticing how many of the suggestions have been raised with CCP for years now.  I picked a couple small but useful impact items, like AFK / Busy statuses and switching characters without having to re-log.  I actually liked the concept of allowing covert cyno’s in empire space, there were some very interesting ideas about changes for drones, upgraded POS, and several versions of managing settings differently.

PI.10

Last week was yet another very busy one for RL, so EVE was again neglected.

I did manage to find some time to yet again tinker with my PI chains.  Using 2 alts, I now have 10 installations across 4 systems.

Generally each installtion has an upgraded command centre (to rank 4), a space port for storage and flexibility, two extraction units (with 4 to 7 head units each), and four Industry Facilities to produce processed materials.  Given the Extraction Units are often at the end of a long (and upgraded) planetary link, there isn’t usually much capacity left.

With this setup in High Sec I am gathering around 300,000 to 700,000 units of raw material per Extraction Unit per week.  Even though I’ve decided not to re-anchor my POS, I am still concentrating on POS related fuel (Mechanical Parts and Robotics mostly).

My current process for each Sunday is… (PM stands for Processed Materials, RC for Refined Commodities, and SC for Specialised Commodities)

. Login Alt 4
. Make 2 jumps
. Visit planet and pick up PM A
. Visit planet and pick up PM B
. Make 3 jumps
. Visit planet and pick up PM C
. Make 2 jumps home
. Visit planet and pick up PM A
. Dump all materials in the Corporation Hanger
. Login Alt 2
. Collect extra PM A, B & C from Corporation Hanger
. Make 1 jump
. Visit planet for PM A & C
. Make 1 jump home
. Visit planet and pick up PM B & D
. Visit planet, drop off PM A, pick up RC A
. Visit planet, drop off PM C, pick up RC B
. Visit planet, drop off PM B, RC A & B, pick up RC C and SC A

The process looks convoluted, but it sort of grew organically and I mindlessly follow a script so it doesn’t take that long.

The problem is that when I only visit these installations once a week, I have to be very careful with my storage space. As raised above, I generally have very little capacity left to add storage units, so I rely heavily on the spaceport.  With input to the chain now coming from two users, I find I am getting quite a stockpile of processed materials waiting to be moved planet side.  On the weekend I ended up using Alt 4’s last Planet slot to set up extra Industry Units, and she will be processing this excess.

When I started out I figured I might be able to generate around 30 Mil ISK a month.  Last month I had calculated I earnt over 50M ISK.  With extra installations coming on line over the last couple weeks and the latest changes, it looks like I will earn over 100 Mil ISK a month from PI.  For around 5 hours of actual effort a month, that reward is reasonable.  Of course – it has taken me almost 4 months to get to this stage…

I wonder how much more profitable Low Sec and Null Sec are for PI.

CSM May Summit Minutes 02

Part two of the things which stood out for me from the May CSM summit minutes.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=938

. CCP is getting significant results by concentrating on individuals who write and distribute bots, and trying to exterminate individual bots when they become popular.

. As part of protecting the EVE client, CCP are considering not allowing their client to be run in Virtual Machines (as very few players use them for legitimate purposes).

. They are considering formalising an internal program they refer to as “PLEX for snitches”, in effect rewarding those who report on botting or security issues

. When CCP comes up with detection tools for ISK buying, they do not plan on going on a fishing expedition to look into the deep past

. CCP is in contact with the security teams of other MMOs (which I think is a good thing)

. There is no hard date on when the authenticator given out at FanFest will work (which I think is not so good.)

. The 30 second session timer is there to allow the various nodes in a cluster to settle on a consistent state.  Black screens usually indicate these nodes failing to do so within that time.  A major cause of black screens when loading a lagged out system turned out to be the fetching of character names for the chat channels, which was being done in an inefficient way. That has now been fixed.

. They are thinking about implementing “Brain in a box” – an improved skill-management system which allows you to track or understand how your skills impact your ships and modules.   (EVEMon within the client?)

. There is interest in a modular POS system in the long term, including docking modules and factory modules. The major bottleneck is the Art department, which is busy until next year.

. Both CCP and CSM agreed that fewer specialized silos and assembly arrays would be better.

. Fuel pellets were discussed again

. CSM asked for personal hangers, especially for wormhole residents, and to allow passwords on individual POS modules

. CSM pointed out that jump bridge passwords were stupid.  Removing the need for these passwords was discussed, but no promises were made.

. CSM asked that anyone be allowed to deposit fuel in a jump bridge. CCP agreed that this would be reasonable.

. CCP talked about removing ABC (Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite) mining sites from wormhole space at some point in the future. This may be from all wormholes, or possibly from lower class wormholes only.

. A tweak that is being considered is not paying out Insurance claims when a player gets Concorded

. Running animations for characters are being worked on, but there is no release date for it at this time.

. The Art department wants to make modular stations

. The Scorpion and Maller were side projects of one Art dev. He recently did a new Raven, but the model didn’t pass muster.  (This is the sort of input into the game which is “good”.)

. The CSM was shown statistics related to the anomaly nerf, which had a bigger impact than CCP expected.  There was quite a bit of discussion about how the nerf disproportionally hurt alliance grunts.

. It was revealed (again) that electronic attack ships have the least number of pilots out of all the different hull types, followed by Black Ops and Titans.

. There is a goal to have at least one ship for rebalance once per release (roughly 4 times a year).  CSM would prefer to see a steady stream of minor tweaks as opposed to once-in-a-blue-moon overhauls.

. Capital ship suicide (self-destructing when you’re tackled to deny the enemy of loot/killmail) was raised as a concern. Repeatedly.

 

A few things amongst that which I found interesting.  Nothing yet which I can truly say was exciting for the empire carebear.

 

CSM May Summit Minutes 01

I logged into EVE last night to investigate the closest options to my home for Gallente and Minmatar missions.  That soon got me looking at what ships I should be using at my L4 Mission Bases.  I originally started out using Ravens, then the Navy Issue Raven, then Nighthawk, and now Tengu.  I’ve also been playing with the Rattlesnake at one of my bases.

I’ve recently had fun with my Beam Retribution, so I thought I would check if there was a Beam Legion fit I liked, but they (still) come up short on the Tengu.  I then checked out other fittings for the Abaddon, Paladin, and some of the Navy Issue variations, finding nothing that quite stacked up.  In the end I made no decisions and achieved nothing concrete for my evening in EVE.

The minutes from the May CSM summit have been released.  (Note this was from before the Incarna Dramas).  It can be a bit of a slog, but they are worth reading:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=938

http://www.eveonline.com/council/voting/transcripts.asp

Various things which stood out for me (some have been raised before):

. Coming updates will be less on content, more on iterations of current features.  New content will generally relate to current features.  (This is kind of disappointing, but does match what many players are demanding.)

. The main theme of this winter expansion would be null-sec sovereignty related features, super-carriers, smuggling contraband and establishments in station.

. The contraband and booster area was interesting – the idea is changing the enforcement of their transport from NPC customs to the players, and allowing the sale of such items directly between players in establishments.  I wouldn’t mind that being introduced.

. Fairly commonly (as during past summits, and on the rarely updated Q&A thread) there were references to not having the resources to address many of the more complex requests.  It is good that their planning and development methodology can highlight these sorts of things, but I am getting a little tired of the excuse to be honest.  They risk having worthwhile changes never get off the back burner.  They need to be braver with some of these.

. CCP doesn’t seem to like the idea of Treaties – in case it makes it harder for smaller entities to move into 0.0.  I am not sure I like that argument, but I can see treaties being useful for the large alliances that rent out their space, which I am not sure I want supported or made easier.

. One of the bottlenecks in development is actually the art team, so anything that requires visual changes is going to the back of the queue.  POS work is one of these affected areas.

. The notion of bringing more POS modules outside of the shields was raised to allow smaller gangs to further harass established empires.

. Wreckable stations was raised again by the CSM.

. Titans are thought of as being ok.  Focus is meant to be on the Supercarriers – with a fighter or bomber only drone bay being a suggested change.

. The Cyno effect was politely skirted around by CCP with a vague “yea we’ll work on that, too” statement.

. Local has to be updated because of changes to EVE’s infrastructure – however it would be replaced by a new (not yet designed) intelligence gathering tool.  It will not simply be turned off or put into delayed mode such as in wormholes.  CCP does not want people to be left feeling alone in space.

. Unified Service Layer (USL) is being constructed upon the API, will would be capable of allowing end users to buy items from the Eve market without logging in, and the like.  Not sure on that one.

. Some of the nice to have one day / abstract concepts raised were new asteroid fields that encircle planets, a complete revamp of the map to be more of a planning tool, comets (and comet mining), utilizing the sun as an energy source and alliance assets such as death stars

. EVE players will not be able to get out of their pods and turn on a console to play DUST – they will need to create new DUST characters.

Since this is getting a little long, I’ll post part two tomorrow.

Trundling along

I haven’t played EVE for the last week, instead spending each evening in DDO running quests with guild mates.  I’ve been enjoying leveling my first pure grunt – a Barbarian.  It provides a level of somewhat mindless but enjoyable play.

Training continues – my Main is just under 3 weeks off Minmatar BS V, Alt 1 is working on getting each of the Shield Compensation skills from IV to V (1 down, 3 more to go), and Alt 2 is working on being able to fly an Orca.  (She is about 20 days from that – then I suspect might need to work on one or two support skills to be able to fly the same fit as my other Toons.)

I noticed another possible Corp to join the other day.  I know after my previous failed attempts to find something suitable I decided to stick with the solo approach, but I’ve realised I’ve been favouring DDO recently due to the interaction with Guild mates, and not so much the game itself.

I’m busy this weekend with family events, so EVE might have to wait a bit longer before it gets any attention.  I did make 250M in sales over the last week, including starting to clear some of the PI stuff I’ve been stockpiling, so even when you don’t log in, your EVE life can be progressing.