Do you wish to launch the repair tool

Home and work have smashed me a bit today, so I haven’t been able to explore Crucible.  I did download the 1.2GB patch and hit a snag.

 

That gave me a bit of a heart attack.  The repair tool had to do very little and the client was up and running quickly. However…

… it had deleted the 1.2GB patch download, and I had 3 more clients to update!  So I downloaded it again, but this time before the patching of the second client completed, I copied the download out of its directory so I can use it again.  (Noticed others complaining of the same issue on some of the EVE forums.)

I then logged my main in…

 

… and realised I should probably not have left myself sitting in a ship that was being hit by the nerf bat.

Thankfully I loaded fine, but found my faction fit Dramiel had 2 offline guns and that I needed to rethink the fit.  I had assumed that would be the case, but quietly hoped that maybe I wouldn’t need to given the amount of faction stuff on it.  Nevermind.

Last of all I redeemed my 3 CA-1 implants, one for each of my accounts.  As I grabbed the last one, I had a fleeting glance at the expiry date and saw the 2nd of December.  Was that 2011, or 2012?  If it is only available for 3 days, you will want to grab it quickly.  Initial prices on contracts when I looked were buy orders of over 45M, and sell orders of around 80M.  This is a sought after freebee.

Today is the day

The Crucible update is scheduled today between 08:00 and 14:00 UTC.  Given the player revolt against Incarna, it is important that this goes smoothly.  Good luck CCP.

The deployment announcement is here:

http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=4804

The ever important patch notes (which I haven’t gone through closely yet) are here:

http://www.eveonline.com/updates/patchnotes.asp?newpatchlogID=3219

And the dumbed down feature list here:

http://www.eveonline.com/en/crucible/features/

In amongst the information is a warning that your overview and window placement will all be reset.  Not uncommon – and mildly annoying, but at least we know in advance.

 

In the week that was:

A summary of the Blog Banter 30 has been posted by Seismic Stan.  He’s done well:

http://freebooted.blogspot.com/2011/11/blog-banter-30-review-crucible-10-patch.html

 

CCP’s latest video was released.  It didn’t really cover anything new – localization, moving bookmark folders to the server (hoorah), etc – but it was worth a watch just to try and work out the source of the accent to CCP Punkturis’ English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZZOu_t5Azw

 

CCP ran a live player event where a fleet of them came out in pimped ships and took on any players they came across.

http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=4799

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=401722

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3210

An interesting idea, they dropped impressive loot, and it sounds like a great deal of fun was had until the null sec titan fleets cyno’d in.

 

A Dev Blog was released on the Corporation Bookmarks.  I am very pleased with this change – our Corp, like many, share bookmarks in the hangers, and they are forever being lost or not copied back.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3113

 

A Dev Blog was released just finalizing the Custom Office changes.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3143

 

There was a big Dev Blog on localization (allowing the easier handling of different languages – a good thing to be honest as it increases the potential audience to the game).

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3214

 

A Dev Blog on Engine Trails – including some geometric calculations which I assume were added to hint at how they are actually more complicated to do than you might think.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3217

 

And finally (unless I missed some) a little more information on the free implant coming player’s way:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3221

I don’t actually fully understand what the 50% set bonus means – I assume the power grid and capacitor bonus increases to 2.25% when paired with the other in its set.  I wonder if that includes the +3 Perception – having it go up to +4.5?  I assume not, but would be interesting to find out.

 

I expect there will be a hive of activity once the game servers come back up again.  I’m looking forward to it all.

So a Carrier sounds like a good idea?

As mentioned the other day, I purchased an Amarr Carrier (an Archon) for my main Character.  It is now fully fitted and parked safely in my low sec staging system.

I am mindful of how simple that statement appears – but it is the culmination of a long and sometimes complicated chain of decisions, effort and planning.  This is EVE after all.  So what are some of the basics that go into getting to the point of having a carrier in your hanger?

 

Which one?

In reality this is probably decided within the first couple months of playing.  I suspect a person’s first carrier will often be decided by the initial racial frigates they enjoy flying.  That in turn leads to flying the same cruisers (because you already have half the pre-requisites for the hull and fittings), and then the equivalent racial Battleships for the same reasons.

Alt 1’s decision was easy –up until recently he only flew Gallente hulls, so the choice was somewhat pre-ordained by a quirk of roleplaying.  It was helped that I liked the look of the Thanatos.  My main is able to fly all carriers – so I reviewed standard fittings, and settled on the Archon as it seemed to complement the Thanatos the best.

 

What purpose?

Carriers are rather versatile and can fill many roles.  They get used for transportation, ratting in anomalies, bases to live out of, logistic platforms (from small mobile roaming groups to huge super capital fleets), structure repairing, and to a lesser extent as a purely offensive platform.

When I first took the steps to get Alt 1 into a carrier, it was with the view of using it as a base to allow me to do Ninja ratting in the Great Wildlands (NPC 0.0 space with few stations).  While that never eventuated, it, and this Archon are primarily being used for transportation, and on rare occasion in medium sized fleet engagements.

Living in 0.0 is substantially easier when you fly a carrier.

What skills to train?

The carrier skill appears daunting at first – but the reality is it makes up only a fraction of the training required.

The base stats of the carrier are much higher than the Battleship you step up from – so having all the ship support skills to rank V makes a worthwhile difference.  One trick is to view your carrier fit in EFT, right click somewhere in the white space, and select “Change Affecting Skill”.  You want rank V in everything but the Carrier, Capital Ship and Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing.

You will also want to be able to use Fighters, all available T2 combat drones, and field at least the T1 variants of all the other utility and support drones.

You will want Jump Drive Calibration and Jump Fuel Conservation to at least rank IV.

You will want to be able to use T2 Smartbombs and T2 Heavy Neutralisers.  Being able to use a cloak is also useful.

You will want to be able to fit a full T2 tank – preferably having the Shield or Armor Compensation skills to rank V when you get the chance.  If your carrier Shield tanks – you also want to be able to use a T2 Shield Boost Amplifier.

You must be able to fit the local Capital repair module (to rank IV), and you really should also have the Capital Remote Shield, Energy and Armor transfer skills to rank IV.  Being able to fit the Triage module also makes a considerable difference to your options.

I think that covers the basics – although you can also consider having the Capital Hull Repair skills down the track, if you end up doing lots of structure repairs.  Alt 1 has all of the above covered off.  My main Toon is mostly there, but just has a month or two to get the last few skills for the Archon from rank III to IV.

 

Where will it live?

You actually need to understand where it will be stored before you buy one.  In my case the Corporation has a couple low sec systems which they commonly operate out of, that are within 1 jump of the Null Sec Constellation the Alliance calls home.   There are a whole heap of things you are looking for – a station with a large docking radius, to allow you to safely Cyno in without bouncing off it, a station that doesn’t kick you outside of its docking radius when you undock, a quiet system which generally isn’t the home patch of active pirates or your main enemies, that is within one or two gate jumps from empire space, preferably with more than one entrance gate, not be on a travel pipe, somewhat close to a major trading hub, quiet and not heavily populated.  It also helps if your friends use the same systems  – for shared cyno’s, intel and support.  You should also keep an eye on the kill history for the systems – do Cyno Alts commonly get popped, do capital pilots regularly get hot dropped?  That isn’t even a full list.

Even if you manage to find all of the above (which the last couple systems I have stored my carriers have had) – you also need to be prepared to move.  PL might decide it is staging out of your system for 3 months, which might well change it from perfect to downright deadly overnight.

 

Do you need a second account if you have a carrier?

The short answer – yes.  Carriers cannot use gates or jump bridges.  To move to different systems they need to jump to a Cyno field, either on a Generator Array on a POS, or a Ship mounted Generator.  If you live in player owned 0.0 space, and your alliance has a good network of POS Cyno Arrays and you only use your carrier in fleet combat, you could get around without having access to a Cyno alt.  However – if you want to regularly jump into and out of null / low sec – and do not want to beg, borrow or steal cyno’s every time you undock – then you will want a second account.  (I actually use 3 accounts – so I can undock, jump to a cyno, load up quickly, undock, and jump back to a second cyno at the original location.)

 

Buying a carrier

Assuming you can afford it – this process is also not quite as simple as it first appears.

Carriers can be purchased off the market, via contract, ordered via the forums, or often through your corporation or alliance.  (If it is large enough and based outside of Empire.)  The final option can be the most convenient and sometimes the cheapest, but wasn’t an option with my Corp.  (Although it does offer somewhat cheaper blueprint copy sets, and you can contract out the mining if you are the type who likes to build everything for yourself.)

Price is not actually your most important factor here.  While there are a small number of capitals in empire space, you will only be able to purchase a carrier in low or null sec.  I limited my search to systems within one capital jump of where I would be storing the ship, and which looked as though they would be relatively easy to access and move the initial fittings too.  (I use Dotlan EVEMaps for that purpose.)

This will generally cut down and focus your options.  Do your research on prices though – many of the carriers on contract ended up being substantially more expensive than buying off the market.  Often a carrier with 10M worth of fuel on contract was selling for 50 to 100M more than on market.  A T2 fitted carrier with some fighters was often 100-300M overpriced.  While you shouldn’t underestimate the time and effort to source a full fit for yourself, be careful not to pay too much of a premium for that privilege.

 

Fitting the carrier

Aside being somewhat expensive, capital fittings, fighters, and fuel takes up a lot of space.  My Archon fit and supplies came in at over 90,000m3 in size.  It can take quite an effort to collect and move your fittings – with the most dangerous stage getting it through low sec.  As I mentioned above, the carrier is a versatile platform, so you will likely end up with several variations of your fit.  To get the most out of a carrier some people use Min/Max type configurations.  They work well if in coordinated and skilled fleets – but with my much more relaxed Corp, I just aim for cookie cutter setups for transport, and being able to adjust it to fit a somewhat useful fleet setup at short notice.

Note that no fit will save you from a super capital blob, and that all fits will be ridiculed if you die, no matter how well they suit their purpose.  Here are my two main fittings I am working with – keeping in mind I still have a couple skills to get from rank III to IV, which will improve the stats and might see a change in the final fittings used.

The goal of this fitting..

General fit for solo use moving gear between 0.0 and low sec.

[Archon, Transport]
Capital Armor Repairer I
Capital Armor Repairer I
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
Damage Control II

Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Triage Module I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Large EMP Smartbomb II
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Improved Cloaking Device II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

I am not completely convinced with the smartbomb. The idea of the neut is if you find yourself tackled, neut them and then jump before their friends can arrive. The idea of the smartbomb is if you are in combat, you can cut alot of DPS by removing drones. I should probably fit either a pair of smartbombs, or a pair of neuts – to ensure either option is more useful. I’ll think on that one.

 

The goal of this fitting..

Easy swap in from my travel fit – for use in medium sized, somewhat unskilled fleets

 

[Archon, Std v01 – Logistics]
Capital Armor Repairer I
Capital Armor Repairer I
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Triage Module I
Capital Energy Transfer Array I

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

 

My Archon

This long blog was started with the innocent enough line “It is now fully fitted and parked safely in my low sec staging system.”  What that actually meant was:

. I trained my character for many, many months to be able to fit the ship properly, with quite literally years of previous skill training which support the fitting

. I defined a number of regions I could buy the carrier in

. I watched the markets and contracts for over a month to find a reasonably priced hull in a reasonable location.

. I ended up purchasing the hull for 717M, in the Mya system in Everyshore.

. I flew one of my Orca’s to Jita, purchased a full fit with some spares and options (which came to around 700M in cost, and over 90,000m3 in volume), and moved it to Torvi – one jump from Mya.

. I jumped into +3 clones, bookmarked safes and watch points in Mya, and had my Alt move 80,000m3 of the gear to the carrier in an Occator (Transport Ship) while my main watched cloaked in a Falcon.  (Some 5 trips in the end.)

. I then waited for a quiet time to jump the carrier from Mya to my low sec staging system.

. The actual fitting of the carrier and moving took well over 100 gate jumps, 1.4 Bil ISK, and a good half a day in game.

This is EVE – saying it can be complex is an understatement.

Scams

I’ve enjoyed a series of EVE scam related blog posts over the last couple days from Pricess Bride.

http://eveprincessbride.wordpress.com/

Nothing new, but worth a read and a refresher of the more common scams you have to look out for.

http://eveprincessbride.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/walkthroughs-of-some-common-local-channel-scams/

While I am very much a carebear, I don’t mind the fact that there are pirates, war dec’s, suicide ganking and scams within EVE.  It adds an interesting dynamic to the game – although the trolling and spam in local can get annoying after a while.  It helps when you read blogs like that, where the perpetrator is matter of fact about what they are doing, and not masturbating over how smart they are every time they get a win.

Crucible

 

November 29th is the day the winter expansion is released, although history has shown this can slip.

http://www.eveonline.com/en/crucible

 

There is a reasonable list of updates in this forum thread:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=33091

 

Based on player feedback, there have been some smart changes to the PI updates:

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3075

All Low Sec, Null Sec and wormhole Customs offices will remain, but be owned by Interbus.  These can then be shot down without standings or security penalty, and will remain until removed by players.  I like this approach.  While I expect some scorched earth behaviour, it removes the immediate need for players to anchor their own.  Other nice changes are that the tax rates are more flexible, and ownership can be transferred.  I don’t plan on anchoring my own, and will just stick with my Empire installations for the moment.

 

CCP released another video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSBkaz3khMs

Not quite as interesting as the previous ones – they discuss ramping up visibility of customer fronted employees, their efforts to minimise downtime (which has really improved since I started playing), and remarking on new hardware.

 

They have made changes to the value of Anomalies, and remarked on the previous changes having more of an impact on players than expected.  I haven’t run these for a long time.  An addition for the to do list.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3086

 

They have changed the star gates so that they point towards their destination.  With the nebula, this is another little update to help give a sense of your location.  Kinda cool.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3087

 

Next was a DEV blog about lots of cool little changes.  (I am going to have to go right over the release notes, and ensure I make use of all of these things).  I love the change to the Keep at Range and Orbit buttons, which will save their settings per ship type.  Brilliant.  The Loot All button is discussed.  I have a macro key setup to do that, so it will take a bit to get used to clicking on screen. Options to Open Cargo, scoop to various bays etc will now try to get to the correct range to do the action, there are drone re-connect options, and so on.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3108

 

There is more information on the missed shot changes, including where and why they are not completely accurate.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3089

 

And finally another Dev Blog on more small changes, including one in particular I cheered about (the world map control panel staying minimized if that is where it was last time), updates to the information shown on the skill info boxes, etc

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=3097

 

I suspect the true benefit of this expansion won’t be felt for a few weeks – until everyone is used to the new short cuts and better way of doing things in game, and just find the whole overall experience “better”.

PI.11

Time and time again, the very moment I start up the EVE client either my wife or kids come in demanding my attention elsewhere.  It drives me crazy.

PI has turned out a little more bemusing and profitable than I expected, so I am biting the bullet and spending a bit over 2 months of training time to give both my PI Alts Command Center Upgrades V and Interplanetary Consolidation V.

I’ve watch a few PI videos and read a few related blogs over the last couple weeks, and picked up a few more tips regards setting up installations.  One particular idea is to use Storage Facilities to buffer output from Extractors.  I had been just using a spaceport for storage – but as a consequence was having to upgrade the links from the Extractors back to the Factories, and having extra Factories running to clear the initial extraction spike you get over the first 24+ hours.

I readjusted about 70% of my PI installations (across both characters) over the weekend, with a preference towards using Storage units and just moving things in much closer to each other.  All told, the installations look neater.  I had no improvement, or a slight drop in performance on a couple planets, but most saw an increase in production of between 10 and 20% due to getting more extraction head units down.  One saw an increase of over 40%.

My Alt Corp has paid back the initial investment put in by my main.  It is currently sitting on..

650M in the bank
320M in trade, PI and mineral stocks
80M up for sale

Given it is based in a quiet region with a relatively poor market, and I am only looking at it a couple times a week, I am happy with its progression.  I can see how much more profitable it would be if you moved to a market hub, and logged in several times a day to maintain your orders and installations.  That doesn’t sound like much fun though, so I will continue happily meandering along at this slower pace.

Oh – I also purchased myself an Archon on the weekend for my main.  Now for the painful process of collecting all its fittings and getting them into low sec.  I’ll just do that slowly.

Blog Banter 30: “The Melting Pot”

“With the Winter expansion being named ‘Crucible’, it certainly is a melting pot of refinements and tweaks aimed at making the EVE experience smoother and more wholesome. If the developers suddenly found themselves some spare resources and approached you for an additional feature to include before release, what single concept would you pitch them and how would you implement it?

For bonus points, the one thing lacking from this “patchwork” of iterations is a cohesive storyline to package “The Crucible” together. How could this expansion be marketed to potential new customers?”

My pet area of interest revolves around ways of encouraging solo and small groups of players out into Low and Null Sec.  But instead of regurgitating one of these, I think I will throw up something unrelated.

I would like to see a new ORE (or Pirate Faction) Decloaker ship.

It should be around the size of an Industrial, with similar hits and base speed, but without the carrying capacity.  It’s one trick however is that it can generate an electromagnetic pulse that disrupts the cloak on nearby ships.

There would be two modes it operates in.  The first is a full grid pulse, where the ship has to be stationary; the module then has a short spool up time, and then a subsequent cool down.  The second would be a constant radius effect, with an optimal range, and a subsequent fall off which reduces the chance of it being effective.

The most obvious fault with this idea is that it would simply be used to make gate camps impossible to get through.  To offset that, the effect would only work on ships that were not accelerating to, or moving at speeds greater than 100m/s while cloaked.

In short – ships designed to move while cloaked, and being actively piloted, will still escape the effect of this de-cloaking ship.

Why?  This would make it dangerous to AFK cloak off any celestial object, and gives attackers and defenders the chance to find such pilots.  It also provides extra tactical awareness for the fleet commanders on grid.  While the cloaking ships can escape the effect of this ship, they have to be constantly moving.  That means they are either piloted, or will soon float off grid. It adds a further dynamic in how fleets can be operated.  A small, fast roaming gang will have to both wait for it to catch up, and provide protection so that it manages to stay on grid long enough to be useful.

To really throw the cat in amongst the pigeons, so to speak, allow it to be used in Empire without aggression.  That probably goes too far, but the possibilities amuse.

A subsequent T2 version might have a much greater range – I’m thinking 1AU or more for its pulse.

So – useful for both attackers and defenders, provides an extra dynamic to fleet composition, and adds a level of danger to AFK cloaking.

I’m afraid I won’t be getting an extra point – I think the crucible name is very apt, a melting pot of so many updates and mini features that it would take an age to explore and full utilise every single one of them.  The sandpit just got bigger.

A list of participants (that will be updated by the owner as time permits) can be found here:  

http://freebooted.blogspot.com/2011/11/blog-banter-30-melting-pot.html