Screen Real-estate

So what is better than 3840 x 1200 worth of screen real-estate to play EVE on?

5120 x 1440.

I had two new 27” Dell Monitors delivered yesterday.  (Impressively just a day after I placed the order.)  Not that I actually managed to do my normal Saturday morning EVE session this week – instead spending the time re-arranging and re-cabling everything in my study.

CCP released the first of the promised insider videos regards the development for the winter expansion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kBAWayqELU

Can’t say the first glimpse of the Raven change impressed me all that much.  I was however impressed with the approach they are trying to take with the Nebulae, so in effect have it try and give you a sense of location within the universe of EVE.  It will be interesting to see if they manage to execute that properly.  All told I got the impression that there would be a lot more graphical changes than I was expecting.

The leaders return

CCP released Incarna 1.1.3 during the week.  I believe it was meant to slot in during the normal 30 minute downtime, but I wasn’t around to verify they managed that.  The patch notes are below:

http://www.eveonline.com/updates/patchnotes.asp?newpatchlogID=3008

I had the Station services and overview panel issue – but only on 1 of the 4 EVE clients I use.  Good to see that one being addressed.  They also allowed the disabling of the automatic crash reporting.  I can’t say I’m surprised people jumped up and down about this.  I’ve left it operating however.

Next they released a DEV Blog on the initial findings from the crash reporting.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3011

This included the news the 1.1.3 patch included several fixes for problems identified by the reports.  Unsurprisingly, they are also identifying that common crash triggers relate to graphics drivers and disk read issues.

Last of all they released images of the second Tier 3 Battlecruiser due out in the next expansion, the Gallente Talos.  The name is a bit meh, but it looks interesting.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3014

Elsewhere someone identified the initial ship balance changes CCP is looking to apply during the next expansion by comparing data dumps or the like, plus the stats of the new Battlecruisers.  There was a lot of excitement over some of these – even though CCP did try to be clear that these were not likely to get into Tranquility, and were in fact just simplistic starting points.  I’ll just wait until we see the final cut.

Meanwhile in game the Corp leadership made a return.  They had heard the grumblings and noticed a few better known members moving on.  I did feel a bit sorry for them to be honest – they had real issues to address out of game, and might have hoped things would have moved along a little better without them.  The reality is however they are generally pretty active and generate a lot of content for the members.  It only took 4 relatively quiet weeks (and the War Dec’s) for people to get unsettled.  “Like herding cats” was an aptly used description of trying to manage the Corp membership.

Part of the efforts upon their return was formalising some programs to encourage members to get into PVP and EW ships.  I took pity on the leadership group and organised and donated a dozen odd fitted EW Frigates to the cause.  Yes, my largess knows no bounds, but it is the thought that counts.

More on Player Owned Custom Offices

CCP have made a summary of people’s concerns with regards the Player Custom Offices so far:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=222897#post222897

There are a few suggestions there that will lessen teething problems, and help polish the concept off.  I’m still excited by the change, so I hope CCP doesn’t get put off by some of the negativity from players.

There were a few more updates from CCP with specifics:

. Anchoring will only take 60 seconds, and onlining 20 seconds.

. Gantry’s are invulnerable during anchoring, but not onlining.  The Gantry has no reinforce timer – I assume you need to take out all the modules on it before you can attack it though.

. POCOs generate kill mails

. There will be no drop from POCOs.  I knew that already, but the latest comment suggested any items in it are destroyed.  I had initially got the impression they were moved to a station automatically.  (The move was kind of odd anyway.)  To be frank it isn’t of much concern for me, as I don’t ever leave anything in the customs office.

. Attacking a Customs Office in Low Sec gives you a Global Criminal Flag, so anyone can shoot you

. Information about the Tax rate on a Custom Office is available to you while in system

. You can change reinforcement exit time, standings and tax rates remotely for your Customs office.

 

It has been interesting watching my Corp dynamic recently.  A good number of the management is AFK at the moment due to real life issues.  While the remainder makes an effort, there is a sense that the Corp is a bit lost and without direction right now.  We are also under our 4th War Dec in a month, this one immediately active after the Alliance let in a new Corporation.  I’m not sure if it is a serious Dec or a Shield Dec though, given it is just a one man Corp with a very young member.  Still – you can’t assume anything, so the Empire carebears are facing more time docked up.

So we are starting to see people leaving – including some of the more active PVPers.  It is a reminder about how important it is for the leadership of an EVE Corporation to be constantly communicating and having activities up and running for people to be involved in.

Effort

EVE requires effort.

 

Alt 3 has around 2 months of training in his skill plan, directed towards running missions.  He is a day off being able to use T2 drones, but is missing the Racial Drone Specialisation skills.

There are none at reasonable prices in his current region, and after a couple jumps to get into the next region over – none there either.

I figure I’ll fly over to Amarr and check the prices there, and also pick up a new salvaging destroyer.  (So he can have one at his mission base, and one at his home base.)  It is about 10 jumps away, so I look to buy a shuttle.  The local ones are too expensive, so I have to jump over into another system to get a cheaper one.

I then auto pilot over to where I had a spare Thrasher hull (a mistaken buy at the time, but useful now), then jump across in the Amarr trade hub.

Damn – not much ISK on this Toon.  I log them off, and log into my Trade Alt, transferring some ISK across, and then log back onto Alt 3 again.

I buy the drone specialisation skills and ingest them immediately (safer than undocking with them), and quickly buy up the required modules for the destroyer.  (Using EFT to ensure he can fit everything in advance.)  While in Amarr I block a couple more of the scammers in local.

All set up, I figure I would check for any other skills I might be missing.  There are a few, so I jump over to Sarum Prime, and to the school station in system.  The most expensive purchase I need is Security Connections.  I decide to spend a couple million more outside of Amarr, so I don’t have to undock with it in the hull of a flimsy destroyer.

I then manually pilot the ship back to my home base.

More than an hour has gone, and I have done nothing aside from basically preparing the character to play.  But I ran out of time to do that – so once docked I log off, and hope I can actually do something of consequence next time.

I’m almost too ashamed to admit I find the game fun…

And it continues…

More information out of CCP.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3001

So we are getting 4 new Tier 3 Battlecruisers.  CCP has previously said that they are not adverse to adding ships to the game, but that they had to provide a new or unique flavor.  In this case, the new Battlecruisers will be able to fit Battleship sized weapons, but without the tank.  That is another very interesting idea out CCP.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3005

Next they provided an overview of the changes to the EVE Community Team (some well-known employees from that group were retrenched).  The recent flood of information out of CCP has been informative, focused on the game, and on topics that will generally interest or excite most players.  No need to over think things CCP – just keep doing that.

Last of all there was an interview of CCP Hilmar by Eurogamer.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-10-21-eurogamer-interviews-ccps-hilmar-petursson-interview

It is mostly a repeat of what we already know.  Of interest was that he gave the view that maybe the CSM was too pre-occupied by a certain play style.

In game I was finally able to safely jump clone my main and alt1 back to empire.  They ingested more than two dozen skill books – including Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration on my main, and most of the small to medium projectile turret and missile related skills for the Alt.  He can now fly the Loki – yet another step towards adding the Minmatar hulls to his current Gallente coverage.  I also finished off the weekly PI and trade runs – so it was a productive day in EVE.

I was watching some EVE Youtube PVP videos last night.  In 0.0 fleet battles you are yelled at if you local tank – yet many successful solo and small gang pilots do active tank (with cap boosters) to great effect.  I might have to consider looking into some fits to try.

And yet even more…

The surprising flood of CCP communication continues.  There was the press release which outlined the internal impact of their refocus on EVE:

http://www.ccpgames.com/en/public-relations/press-releases/article/2990/ccp-focuses-on-the-eve-universe

In short – putting World of Darkness on the back burner and reducing global staff by 20%.  It is what the rioting players wanted in many respects, and we are certainly already seeing the benefits in game.  This however is the very real, human consequence.  In the last few months my employer has been retrenching staff.  You can’t downplay the impact on those who go, or those who remain.  I am hopeful CCP and EVE however will be the stronger for it in the long run.

Next we have yet another much asked for feature – the inclusion of implants on kill mails.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2922

There will be a lot of people very happy with that one.  I have to give credit to CCP for the range and very large number of updates they are working on.  While it might well be just to placate the players, the game will be much better for it.

In amongst all of this – I have been playing EVE.  I am delighted with the spinning ships re-implementation – it works smoothly, quickly, and so far has been entirely stable.  The memory foot print of the EVE client has changed again.  When docked it seems to sit on average at around 650MB.  Out in space it quickly increases to around 800MB – but every time you jump through a star gate or dock up, it seems to quickly drop back to around 700MB.  It is odd seeing it seesawing up and down, but the overall effect is that the average memory usage has improved a bit.

The alliance has been under different War Dec’s for much of the last month.  While the empire Carebears have been for the most part careful and losses have been relatively small, many of them feel like they can’t actually undock and play the game.  As such some are quietly leaving, while others are switching over to the Sister Corp.  I’ve just spent the majority of the time down in NPC 0.0, so have for the most part not been impacted.

Where I have taken a hit – and this would impact most people who live permanently in 0.0, is I am having to delay and change my skill training plans due to lack of skill books.  My main needs Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration, Capital Projectile Turret, and will soon need Cruise Missile Specialization and Citadel Cruise Missiles.  Alt 1 is waiting on Small Autocannon and Artillery Specialization books, Medium Projectile Turret, all the Minmatar T3 related skills, and another dozen books related to missiles.  I will get both Toons up to Empire over the weekend, assuming the current War ends as scheduled.

While I am still pleased with the Corp and Alliance, I am not very happy with my failure to get back into PVP yet.  Part of this relates to just being unlucky (I’ve lost count of the number of times I see a roaming fleet disbanding as I log in).  Part relates to real life – and the constant family interruptions which leave me literally with only a couple opportunities a week where I can actually play for more than 20 minutes without having to continually walk away from EVE.  Part also relates to the type of PVP that is the normal here.  There is not as much solo stuff as I was hoping – instead it is more rag tag groups of a dozen ships running into each other, with the largest group winning.  There is also lots of baiting and hot drops, and some skilled groups which (not surprisingly) wipe the floor when they manage to corner some of the locals.  There is a lack of finesse to it, and I don’t feel inclined to needlessly throw away my favourite recon hulls to it.

And to be honest, part of the problem is me.  I am so used to being risk adverse and keeping myself alive, that when the stars all line up and I am actually in a position to concentrate on PVP, I keep making excuses for while I don’t join up. I am always waiting for a better opportunity, when I actually need to just throw caution to the wind and start losing ships.

 

Player owned Custom Offices!

Another day, another Dev Blog from CCP:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2899

My immediate thought – got a few concerns, but the underlying idea is excellent.  It adds to the industry within the game, and provides new dynamics.  I won’t repeat the contents of the blog, aside to say that Customs Offices will be removed from Low and Null Sec, and will need to be replaced by Player owned Offices.  Hi Sec Custom Offices will remain, but will be nurfed a bit by the doubling of the tax.

You can view the feedback thread here – which for the first 20 plus pages had a lot of clarifications from CCP Omen:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=22964

A summary of those responses:

. Customs Office Gantry HP:

Shield: 10,000,000
Armor: 500,000
Structure: 300,000

. Customs Office HP:

Shield: 10,000,000
Armor: 2,500,000
Structure: 2,000,000

. The shield regen is extremely slow!

. The Customs Office is still operational while in reinforcement, so unless the aggressor sticks around for the entire time you’ll just rep the office back up when they are gone. If this becomes a big problem, CCP have solutions to mitigate it.

. Currently no defenses will be able to be anchored on them

. They acknowledge the fear that all customs offices will be griefed – they will monitor that.

. The CSM helped in significantly lowering the costs from what they had initially planned.  (CCP really doesn’t seem to get what the average player thinks is an acceptable price for things in game!)

. There is no current upkeep cost.  They are very relevant in their future plans, so increased capability and cost will probably be added in future

. The tax is quite complex – but basically CCP sets a default value on every PI item that can go through a customs office

. The Customs Office can be anchored a certain distance from a planet.  It doesn’t perform any more checks than that.   So it might be possible to have it close to an Outpost

. Customs Offices are always visible on the Overview – no matter who owns them

. When destroyed, the stuff that you have in the CO’s will be teleported to a station hangar. He forgot the exact details

. And giving the reason for that – CCP don’t want to incentivise taking Customs Offices down, other than if you want the spot or want to refuse the current owner access.  They want it to be a political feature more than a mechanical one.   They will monitor the kill ratio of the offices themselves to see if they have to make changes.

. You will not be able to name them

. CCP are operating under the assumption that most PCO owners will allow “neutral” access at least for the extra ISK.  (That is a very, very big assumption.  I expect that aside some low sec areas, the only access you will have to CO infrastructure is if you are in the local alliance etc.)  If that assumption turns out to be wrong, they might intervene with a future update.  They hope however people will set them up and allow others to use them to get income from the taxes.

. If there turns out to be too much of an upset to PI price and supply, they will take action.  (I got the impression they do expect price increases though)

. It’s ready to go now, but is waiting on adjustments from feedback.  No indication of when it will go in though.

. High Sec apparently produces 50% of all current PI goods!

. A player suggested the current costs would be 30mil for the first stage module, and another 30M in parts to add the CO.  The BPC cost 6k LP and 20mil from CONCORD LP store (incursion) or 3k LP and 10mil from factional warfare LP.  He  guessed the first mods would be around 200Mil, drop to around 100M after a month, and probably won’t see bottom dollar (~75M) for at least 3-6 months.  No one argued too much on those figures.

. There was a bit of attitude in one CCP response which irritated me – indicating it is cheap for a solo person to create their own Corp to allow them to Anchor these (true), but the advice is for the “little” guy to just use the CONCORD customs Offices in High-Sec.  (Grumble)

. They will have to put in a method to transfer the ownership of a CO

There were a couple great little player suggestions that bare comment – in particular that there should be some way to allow ninja-PI to continue.  The suggestion was the idea of a Smugglers office. (I like this – a much cheaper but easily destroyable structure.)

Another player was curious as to how much the current ‘small operators’ contribute to the supply of PI materials, who then might give up on them with these changes.  (I assume if 50% of supply comes from high sec, CCP are not so concerned about the supply all disappearing)

Another player was afraid the bigger corporations and alliances that already have much power will have another way for having more income and gaining more power.  (This is a concern I also have.)

Personally – I think PI has encouraged more empire dwellers into Low sec.  I don’t think the removal of CO’s from low sec is a good idea.  They should be left.  I also noticed no one seems to be talking about the obvious implications that this is a two stage setup – a gantry and a office module.  What else will you be able to add to the gantry going forward!

Last of all, props to the DEV for answering so many questions, and giving a clearer indication of what is happening.  So it has faults, is too expensive for the smaller operator, and is likely to be griefed more than CCP expect.  BUT.. the approach is a good one.  I like it a lot.